Sequels are hard. On the one hand, it’s flattering to know that audiences want more of your characters, more of the world you created in the first movie. But on the other hand, it’s a big commitment to make a sequel, and then you’re walking the tightrope balance of making it new/different enough while also not alienating those that sparked to the original movie in the first place.
Such is the issue facing Edgar Wright when fans ask for a follow-up to Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. It’s the latter that would seem the most apt of any of Wright’s films for a sequel, and in a recent chat with MovieWeb (via The Playlist) the filmmaker agreed, going so far as to say he and co-writer/star Simon Pegg have even discussed Hot Fuzz 2 ideas. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to actually make the sequel:
“I’ve definitely had some ideas and me and Simon have even talked about it at points, but it’s that thing of, do I want to spend three years of my life doing that? Or do I wanna, if I have the opportunity to tell a new story, would I do that? If somebody said to me, if Baby Driver 2, if that kind of came up, it would be like, ‘I have ideas.’ I would never say never, and you’re not wrong to say that that’s the one that you could do further installments.’”
Wright went on to address the story issues that crafting a Hot Fuzz 2 poses given that Hot Fuzz concludes with Danny and Angel in peak (facist) form, and stressed that at this point in his career, he’d rather spend his time on original stories:
“It’s funny. I think the thing with sequels is that I’ve always been looking for what’s next? And the thing with any movie is, it’s going to take up at least two years of your life. Maybe three. So, when you’ve got youth on your side, and I’m already in my forties now, it’s like, I guess I would rather be telling new stories than revisiting old ones…Hot Fuzz I think is the only one of the Cornetto trilogy that you could do a follow-up. The tricky thing with a lot of sequels, and especially comedy sequels, is once characters have finished an arc. You know, in Hot Fuzz Danny Butterman especially, Nicholas Angel becomes less of an automaton and becomes more human and Nick Frost’s character becomes less of a simpleton and more of a badass. So then the thing is like, when that’s your starting point for the next one, where do you go from there?”
I get that fans would want to see more of Danny and Angel (who wouldn’t?), but I actually think in crafting the Cornetto Trilogy Wright, Pegg, and Nick Frost found the best possible way to create “sequels” following the smashing success of Shaun. All three films share cast, writer/director, and are connected thematically, but at the end of the day they’re different characters and stories, told in new, unique visual ways. Plus, if we’re talking a sequel to a Cornetto movie, who doesn’t want to see Pegg roaming a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a gang of blanks in The World’s End 2?
Wright’s reasoning here is sound and refreshing. It’s not like he hasn’t been offered major IP in the past—he was reportedly approached for Star Trek Beyond when Roberto Orci left the director’s chair—but it’s really nice to see a unique filmmaking voice such as his focused on telling original stories. Plenty of people can make an interesting Star Trek movie, but only Edgar Wright could’ve made The World’s End or the upcoming Baby Driver. So hats off to him, and here’s to whatever’s next.