Throwaway Movie Lines That Could Inspire Whole Sequels

It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. As beloved IPs are scraped for additional content, studios pore over every line of the source material for inspiration. In the right hands, each reference or seemingly innocuous statement uttered by a Bryce Dallas Howard could potentially launch the next Jurassic World trilogy.

Just a few years ago, Ghostbusters: Afterlife literally raided the tomb of Ivo Shandor, the briefly mentioned occult architect who designed Dana’s apartment building, for a hook to launch a new franchise. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took a line of text from the opening crawl of Episode IV and developed its own film and TV series. Not to mention the recently released A Quiet Place: Day One, a prequel inspired by a line of Djimon Hounsou’s dialogue in A Quiet Place Part II, or the the upcoming Beetlejuice Beetlejuice–which, as evidenced by Monica Bellucci’s jilted bride character, developed an entire story around a single gag from the original movie.

Today, we present some very strange, off-handedly mentioned lines from famous sci-fi films and franchises that actually beg to be their own stories.

King Kong (1976)

Image: Paramount Pictures

“In 1605, Fernando De Queres was blown south from Tenotang. He wrote of piercing the white veil. That’s the cloud bank. And landing on the beach of the skull, where he heard the roar of the greatest beast… the rest of that log entry was suppressed by Rome. In 1749, a waterIogged lifeboat was found in the same area. It was empty, but drawn in blood on the port was a likeness of a huge, slouchy humanoid thing. And this strange warning: ‘From thy wedding with the creature who touches heaven, lady—God preserve thee.’”

Of course, there are several small, Predator-esque vignettes to unpack from the above, but the major takeaway here is the suggestion the Vatican has been willfully suppressing knowledge of Skull Island for centuries. Catholicism simply cannot square the existence of an island of uniquely evolved megafauna, and an entire narrative exploring this idea could very well be the greatest movie never made.

As films about exorcisms and the church remain popular, a story replacing Satan with the specter of a giant gorilla feels like a slam dunk. The beloved Shin Godzilla explored the politics surrounding the destruction of the Fukushima reactor through the medium of a kaiju story, so it only feels right King Kong should get a crack at something similarnamely, a religious political thriller. Consider the latest Omen movie, and its shot of a candle-lined tabernacle, framed in such a way to resemble a human skull. Now, imagine an entire movie using the same conceit with Catholic imagery to create abstract renderings of King Kong beside the Pope.

The Matrix Reloaded

Image: Warner Bros.

“Every time you’ve heard someone say they saw a ghost, or an angel. Every story you’ve ever heard about vampires, werewolves, or aliens, is the system assimilating some program that’s doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.”

While the first Matrix proposed experiencing deja vu was merely a “glitch” in our simulated reality, its sequel went a step further, suggesting every brush with the supernatural in recorded history was the system responding to illegal activity on the internet. This is such a bombastic piece of lore to drop on us and not revisit (there was an Underworld-inspired gang war in the video games) it should have caused the Matrix itself to hemorrhage in course-correcting disbelief. The implication a family’s generational werewolf curse may have originated from a teenager downloading Cannibal Holocaust on Limewire is golden. Was Trinity the Mothman? Could Bigfoot be the physical incarnation of a shared Disney+ password? The concept could justify a second Matrix trilogy, not to mention a monster-of-the-week police procedural.

RoboCop 2 and 3

Image: Orion Pictures

“On the international scene, the Amazon nuclear power facility has blown its stack, irradiating the world’s largest rain forest. Environmentalists call it a disaster. But don’t they always?”

“From the blazing fields of the Amazon war comes state-of-the-art urban pacification…”

As mentioned in RoboCop 2 and expounded upon in RoboCop 3, the explosion of a nuclear facility in South America owned by North American interests led to a conflict called the “Amazon War.” Though details are hazy, an OCP-backed paramilitary force known as the “Rehabs” were known to participateof which Cain, the leader of a designer drug-influenced cult, was a former member. An episode of RoboCop: The Series additionally notes OCP developed a plasma cannon for the incident with which to disrupt enemy aircraft and armored vehicles alike.

The Amazon War is such a fascinating idea, but we’re left to our own imaginations to decide what followed in its wake. Given that this is set in the continuity of RoboCop, radioactive sloths and jaguars are a given in a brutal, bloody war film set against the unexplored territory of an irradiated rainforest, populated with constantly mutating flora and fauna. Sort of like Annihilation meets Salvador. Couple this with corporate-sponsored U.S. mercenaries in a foreign country they have no business being in, and you have the license to print money in any global currency.

Rollerball (1975)

Image: United Artists

“You know how the game serves us. It has a definite social purpose. Nations are bankrupt, gone. None of that tribal warfare any more. Even the corporate wars are a thing of the past.”

By a similar token, the post-apocalyptic world of Rollerball is stated to be set some years after the world’s largest corporations decided to take up arms against each other. The victor, apparently, was the titular “rollerball”a highly profitable game providing a violent distraction to a population ruled by a handful of powerful masters, where each match is preceded by the solemn “Corporate Anthem.”  Of course, we’d love to see a movie in which Johnson & Johnson forms a queasy alliance with General Electric to level a crushing blow against Nestle foot soldiers. To quote Ned Beatty in Network, “There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today!” Our only concern is that it may be a little too preachy.

28 Weeks Later

Image: 20th Century Fox

“Why isn’t she showing any symptoms?”

“I don’t know.


“A genetic abnormality which acts as some sort of natural immunity.”

“But the virus is still in her blood and saliva, so… technically, she’s not immune.”

“She’s a carrier.”

In the sequel to 28 Days Later—and soon-to-be prequel to 28 Years Later—it’s speculated a mother and daughter sharing heterochromatic eyes (one green, one brown) are somehow immune to the effects of the zombifying “Rage Virus.” How, exactly, the distribution of melanin could defend oneself against the virus remains entirely speculative and open to peer review, but let’s consider what the discovery implies: a host of celebrities including, but by no means limited to, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Seymour, Simon Pegg, Henry Cavill, Christopher Walken, Kiefer Sutherland, and Riverdance’s Michael Flatley would become the inheritors of the Earth.

Forgetting for a moment someone would surely notice that one or more of these people were not becoming rage zombies fairly early on in the pandemic, it’s easy to envision their stock would rise exponentially among the few who manage to stick it out in this post-apocalyptic world. Their eye color would be noted, eventually, but likely not at first. Word would spread. Celebrity sightings would be discussed among each pocket of survivors—”I saw Kate Bosworth get bitten, and she’s fine!” Conspiracies, religions, and potential fiefdoms would follow. It’s estimated six people out of every 10,000 shares this same mutation. If a vaccine could truly be developed from their blood, then there are quite a few candidates on record. However, someone would have to notice this shared trait ahead of their celebrityand would that happen, when they’re them, you’re you… and everyone else is dead? 

We turn it over to you, readers. Was there an intriguing, weird ,or inconsequential line from a movie, book, or TV series you’ve never been able to completely forget? Pitch us your sequel ideas in the comments.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.