I’m old enough to remember a time when the term “prequel” wasn’t a thing. It remained that way until Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace hit theaters in 1999 and Hollywood collectively realized, “Hey wait a second, we make even more money by telling the ‘origin stories’ of our biggest franchises.”
Here are 5 prequels at the Box or streaming through Redbox On Demand that make me happy prequels are now a thing.
The Many Saints of Newark – Whether you were a huge fan of HBO’s The Sopranos, which ended its critically acclaimed run 15 years ago, or have never seen an episode, you’ll be able to enjoy this tale from Sopranos’ creator David Chase about what made Tony Soprano, Tony Soprano. The late James Gandolfini’s son Michael plays a younger version of Tony, and is surrounded by an excellent cast you can never fuhgeddabout, including Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll and Leslie Odom Jr.
Joker – Joaquin Phoenix won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of one of the most, if not THE most, complicated villains of all time. As a desperately lonely and delusional man still reeling from the lingering effects of horrible childhood, Arthur Fleck sets his sights on becoming a stand-up comedian. You know a joker. Let’s just say Plan A doesn’t go so well for him … or anyone else.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – I enjoyed this movie so much when it came out in 2014! It cleverly tells the story of how Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) went back in time to 1973 in order to find other mutants to help him change the course of history and prevent pretty much everyone’s destruction in the present day. The whole gang’s there in either or both timelines!
Casino Royale – With No Time To Die closing out the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films this year, let us not forget about the most excellent movie that set everything up back in 2006. In Casino Royale, we learn how 007 came to be the tormented—but still suave—MI6 agent we all know and love.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – In 1968, Charlton Heston starred in Planet of the Apes as an astronaut whose crew awakens from hibernation and crash-lands on an alien planet where apes rule. How did it get to be that way? Enter 2011’s franchise reboot and prequel, starring Andy Serkis in a groundbreaking motion-performance role as Caesar, one of the chimpanzees who might’ve started it all.