Five 7s that JJ Abrams' Star Wars VII Should Emulate, and 10 Sevens that It Should Not

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15 Cinematic Sevenths; Or, Five 7s that JJ Abrams’ Star Wars VII Should Emulate, and 10 Sevens that It Should Not

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | July 23, 2013 | Comments ()


Assuming the director actually winds up directing Star Wars Episode VII: The Search for More Money, J.J. Abrams will one of a handful of filmmakers who had the opportunity to bring the seventh installment of a film franchise to the big screen. Apparently, in the history of cinema, there are only 15 movie series that have actually gotten to movie seven — at least in terms of theatrical releases. Children’s movies that are released directly to the home market would explode the category, but most blockbustery franchises are just children’s movies released nationwide in big boy and big girl l movie theaters. While it would be tempting to say that there’s a negative corollary in terms of quality for any series that gets that high, or higher, in their numbering, that isn’t entirely true. Yes, many franchises reach their absolute nadir at this point, but some of the best movies in a franchise also just happen to be the seventh.

So, as Abrams and his scriptwriters prepare to boldly go where a dozen-or-so people have gone before, let’s take a trip down memory lane to see what successes he should emulate and what travesties he should avoid. Behold, Cinema’s 15 Sevenths:


The Dark Knight (Batman Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, Batman Begins
Reason to Emulate: Take your fantasy world seriously, not like it’s a joke.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Planet of the Apes Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: The Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Planet of the Apes (2001)
Reason to Emulate: Tweak what came before to capitalize on modern sensibilities.

Diamonds are Forever (James Bond Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Reason to Emulate: Don’t be afraid of the formula.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Harry Potter Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Reason to Emulate: Let the story and characters catch their breath.

Iron Man 3 (The Avengers Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers
Reason to Emulate: Don’t be afraid to let your voice sing, like Shane Black.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Star Wars Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Star Wars (A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith
Reason Not to Emulate: Over reliance on flatulation humor.

Curse of the Pink Panther (Pink Panther Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther
Reason Not to Emulate: Copy cats kill curiosity.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Jason Vorhees Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part 3, Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th part V: A New Beginning, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Reason Not to Emulate: Plot-less, cynical money grabbing. (Possibly too late?)

Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (Police Academy Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Police Academy, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Police Academy 3: Back in Training, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege
Reason Not to Emulate: Franchise killer!

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (Freddy Krueger Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Reason Not to Emulate: Going meta isn’t even cute when Abed does it.

Star Trek: Generations (Star Trek Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Reason Not to Emulate: If you’re going to kill off a beloved character, make it meaningful, damn it.

Halloween: H2O (Michael Meyers Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Meyers, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Meyers
Reason Not to Emulate: Or just don’t bring back any original cast members at all.

Saw 3D (Saw Franchise) and Texas Chainsaw 3D (Leatherface Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Saw, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Reason Not to Emulate: No more 3D movies ever!

Prometheus (Alien Franchise)
Previous Theatrical Releases: Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Alien: Resurrection, AVP: Aliens Vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
Reason Not to Emulate: Don’t pussyfoot around, just embrace the franchise.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He has a feeling if this were written next year, that Fast and Furious 7 would have made the to-do list.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Three_nineteen

    The Bob Hope/ Bing Crosby "Road" pictures made it to seven. I don't think I've seen Road to Hong Kong, so I can't weigh in on which list it should join..

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I thought Generations was actually a decent transition movie. Not great, but it set the tone for the Next Generation. Also, do remakes count? Star Trek Generations makes sense but the Steve Martin Pink Panther isn't even in the same sport, let alone the same league, as Peter Seller's Pink Panther. I know I am picking nits, but I just don't see the Pink Panther fitting in with the rest of these franchises. For that matter I am not entirely sure Batman should be on this list. I mean, do redcons count? I mean, the last three films completely ignored the preexisting films. It is the same characters in the same-ish universe, I grant that, but same-ish is not the same as same.

  • James Hodge

    Yes, actually it is cute when Abed does it

  • cruzzercruz

    Excuse me, but it IS cute when Abed goes meta.

  • chanohack

    My brother and boyfriend would like to point out that Prometheus is far from the worst Alien movie.

  • space_oddity

    If you're going to include something like Batman or James Bond, how can you leave out Tarzan? Sure, there are only 6 glorious Johnny Wiessmuller movies, but what about all the others? That Buster Crabbe one, the couple in the 60s, Greystoke. THE FUCKING DISNEY ONE. I see from your source, they didn't even bother to include Tarzan either. FUCKERS ALL.

  • Fuckers!

  • Arran

    I thought New Nightmare and H20 were actually pretty good. Especially considering what came before them.

    Also, Friday the 13th Part VII DOES have the sleeping-bag death, for which it deserves many kudos.

  • Amanda

    The sleeping bag kill is legendary in the horror community. And I also thought New Nightmare and H20 were the best sequels in their respective franchises.

  • AudioSuede

    Confession: I liked Prometheus more than any of the Alien movies. Partially because it wasn't an Alien movie.

  • Torgo

    Whatever. I liked Prometheus.

  • I did, too. But I hate the last shot.

  • Bert_McGurt

    How in the actual f*ck did Ron Perlman and Christopher Lee wind up in the seventh Police Academy movie?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Also, the series was dead way before the seventh movie.

  • TenaciousJP

    Holy sardines! You forgot the 1966 Batman movie with Adam West!

  • I wouldn't say I missed it, Bob.

  • TK

    You motherfucker. You worthless, shit-eating son of a cancerous whore. I will give a leprous hobo a fucking handjob before I let you causally rip on the Friday the 13th franchise, you fuck. Do you not remember when he went to New York, the city that never sleeps? It was like a Sinatra film, but with disembowelings. And then there's the one where he possesses people and is killed by that knife from The Golden Child. It's ART, you worthless heathen. HE GOES TO SPACE, ROB, IF THAT'S YOUR REAL NAME. HE GOES TO FUCKING SPACE AND HE GETS A FUTURISTIC HOCKEY MASK AND FIGHTS THAT CANADIAN CHICK FROM ANDROMEDA.

    I can't believe this shit. God, it's like you don't know anything about film. You disgust me.

  • stella

    Well this escalated quickly

  • TK, you're my hero.

  • GDI

    They aren't even worth faux outrage.
    Now, if you're serious...

  • *slow clap*

  • Matt C.

    Wait, is clone wars the 7th or is the upcoming JJ Abrams the 7th?

  • Clone Wars is the 7th theatrically released film in the franchise, but JJ Abrams is directing the 7th chapter in the main story. Think of Clone Wars as a Episode 2.5.

  • Matt C.

    Yeah but I still think it has to be one or the other. If you're counting spinoffs then VII isn't the 7th film in the franchise. If you're not then Clone Wars doesn't count because it's a spinoff.

  • BWeaves

    Well technically, the first film was the fourth episode, and the fourth film was the first episode, so I just quit counting (and caring).

  • Josh

    Its obviously a cherry picked list ignoring released movies and including them to target specific movies in specific franchises. Not to be taken too seriously and mainly to advertise that the future of Star Wars is precarious at best.

    However, Ep. VII could be the worst movie ever and will still make all the money, so I dont think anyone who is working on the movie cares about quality.

  • Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

  • Considering they are counting the Alien vs Predator movies (and the Batman movies, for that matter), you are right: this doesn't make much sense, does it?

  • cecicijywop

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт...­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    If you're going to include something like Batman or James Bond, how can
    you leave out Tarzan? Sure, there are only 6 glorious Johnny Wiessmuller
    movies, but what about all the others? That Buster Crabbe one, the
    couple in the 60s, Greystoke

  • It makes sense if you don't think about it.

  • greg

    way to advocate not thinking

  • Thanks for reading!

  • Bert_McGurt

    Hey, you're back! I was just talking about you in the other thread!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Why include it then? Did you run out of examples?

    Yeah, it had a theatrical release. In reality, it was a mediocre pilot to a well done series, which had lots of great moments (and several bad ones, especially the Gungan who shall not be named), until if very much jumped the shark in its last season.

  • Why did I include a 7th theatrical release of a film franchise in a list about 7th entries in theatrical releases of film franchises? Is that a serious question?

    Clone Wars was the seventh Star Wars theatrical movie. Star Wars Episode VII will be the eighth. Once again, we must blame George Lucas (or, Lucasarts) for any confusion.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Why did I include a 7th theatrical release of a film franchise in a list about 7th entries in theatrical releases of film franchises? Is that a serious question?

    No, I questioned your decision to include a TV series pilot, which - according to your own words - only makes sense "if you don't think about it". It had a theatrical release, but that only was a PR stunt.

  • "It had a theatrical release[.]" And we're done.

    Lighten up, Francis.

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