Tom Cruise
might march to the beat of his own drummer (probably the drummer from Foghat), but for all of his eccentricities it's hard to deny that he's also one of the last true movie stars we've got left. He's charismatic, powerful, totally inaccessible, and his brand is almost as universally recognized as Coke. But Cruise's appeal has been a bit diluted since he boldly revealed to the world that he's kind of completely insane, and despite the consistently high caliber of his projects, 'Knight and Day' proved that he just can't deliver an original film to box office glory like he once could. Fortunately, there are always sequels to fall back on. Production is already underway on 'Mission Impossible IV' (directed by Brad Bird!), we recently brought you word of a potential 'Top Gun 2,', and now there's supposedly a 'Risky Business 2' scriptment out there in which a happily married Joel Goodsen would be reunited with Lana, the call girl of his dreams.

So as we steel ourselves for what might be a veritable tidal wave of Tom Cruise sequels, we thought we'd take a look back at his illustrious career and consider 3 hypothetical sequels we'd be excited to see, and 3 that would be among the most sad and inexplicable things to happen to his career since his 'Mission Impossible II' hair. Or 'Mission Impossible II.'
We Want To See


'Legend'

Why We Want It:


Because 'Legend' is amazing, and it's growing more beloved by the day. Despite the rise of fantasy epics to which we've been witness in the aftermath of the 'Lord of the Rings' phenomenon, they just don't make original, go-for-broke, adventure stories about sunshine and unicorns anymore. But back in the Era of 'Krull' (or the mid-1980s, as historians refer to it), Ridley Scott was given the green light to thoroughly fashion a fantasy world of his own design, one replete with wizards and orcs and goblins and all of those other staples of a better time gone by. The film's happy ending is capped by an ominous coda, and many are beginning to feel as if the rivalry between Jack and the Lord of Darkness deserves further episodes.

What It Could Be About:

Well, it's a bit like a Super Mario game, really. Evil is defeated, the Princess is rescued and returned home, and everyone lives happily ever after... until Bowser somehow returns, nabs the Princess, and another quest is born. The world of 'Legend' was too complete and well-considered to deny audiences greater exploration, and any story that allowed for Jack and the Lord of Darkness to battle again would be one worth telling. If Lily didn't return, perhaps Jack could find a new love with every future installment, effectively becoming the James Bond of the fantasy realm. He and his nemesis could battle until light and darkness are consumed by one another and the land of "Once, long ago"is put to rest forever.

Odds Of It Happening:

Only in dreams. Although 'Legend' was effectively (if abstractly) remade by Danny Boyle under the title 'Sunshine.'


'Magnolia'




Why We Want It:

Because Frank T.J. Mackey is arguably the greatest character that Tom Cruise has ever played, and also because a 'Magnolia' sequel would mean that there's a new Paul Thomas Anderson movie.

What It Could Be About:

'Magnolia' leaves Mackey a soggy mess, reconciled with his dead father but also completely stripped of the ribald exterior upon which he built his "Search and Destroy" empire. A possible sequel could ditch the mosaic structure that was so critical to 'Magnolia's resonance in favor of a Mackey character study, in which the reformed huckster has to grapple with an alter-ego / cash-cow whose tagline is... well it's not suitable to be repeated here.

Odds Of It Happening:

Slim, but you never can tell with an auteur like PTA. It would certainly seem like a regressive move for a filmmaker who so relentlessly moves forward, but with his Kilgore Trout / Scientology film stalled indefinitely, it's possible that a story that touches upon similar themes could be spun from T.J. Mackey and his small cult of sexually frustrated acolytes.


'Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles'



Why We Want It:


The only possible reason that someone wouldn't want a sequel to 'Interview with the Vampire' is because they need a sequel to 'Interview with the Vampire.' It's that simple. 'Interview with the Vampire' is one of those rare Hollywood miracles, a lavish and popular film that's too completely drunk on its own ridiculousness to be denied. The wigs are big, the accents are bigger, the performances are so over the top that they could dominate Sylvestor Stallone in a competitive arm-wrestling match, and most of the movie's actors are even more famous now than they were back in 1994. If Neil Jordan could collect Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirstin Dunst, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas it would be the greatest casting coup since John Malkovich was convinced to play himself, and the resulting movie would be a salve to all the world's evils.

What It Could Be About:

Anything. The sky is the limit with this one, as the first film left things wide open. It's likely that a sequel would borrow a story from another of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, but watching Louis and Lestat wreak some melodramatic havoc in Palo Alto during the start-up era would be so much better.

Odds Of It Happening:


Not bad. Rumors swirled in 2007 that United Artists was hoping to option The Tale of the Body Thief, a Vampire Chronicles novel that also stars Tom Cruise's Lestat, but there hasn't been much news on that front since. If only vampires were inexplicably popular these days...

We Don't Want To See

'Risky Business'




Why We Don't Want It:

'Risky Business' is very much like a Bernini sculpture -- immortal in its genius, but ultimately defined by the particular action or moment in time that it captures (I'm sure that Bernini was a profound influence on the 'Risky Business' production team). Without Phil Collins and the amazing synth score or without Tom Cruise on the verge of super-stardom, 'Risky Business' would be just another movie about a fresh-faced kid with a bright future crossing paths with a ridiculously perfect call girl and her killer pimp. But it's so much more than that -- it's as much a fantasy for teenage boys as 'Cinderella' is for little girls, and it's every bit as locked into a particular time, place, and magical realm as that most famous of fairy tales. 'Risky Business' is to the 80s as the Mark II is to Tony Stark -- to revisit this world in the present day would be like taking the magic out of a myth. Also, rumor has it that Rebecca De Mornay is no longer 23 years-old.

What It Could Be About:


As mentioned above, the sequel would supposedly find a happily married Joel in crisis mode after an unexpected run-in with the girl who changed his world back in 1983.

Odds Of It Happening:

Apparently decent, but a "scriptment" does not a movie make. Don't be surprised if this is the last you ever hear of 'Risky Business 2.'





'War of the Worlds'




Why We Don't Want It:

Because watching Spielberg's 'War of the Worlds' is like having a fine (if slightly unhealthy) steak dinner, except for instead of dessert the meal ends with a pubescent boy punching you repeatedly in the face. Even the people who might be into that sort of thing were disappointed by the film's staid, implausible, and hugely Spielbergian ending, in which Cruise's son (Justin Chatwin) is alive and well and Morgan Freeman's disembodied voice is all "And then the aliens spontaneously died because of, um... microbes? Yeah, we'll go with microbes. Time to go home!"

It's a dramatically unsatisfying conclusion, one made doubly frustrating due to the fluid filmmaking and vibrantly creative imagery of the movie's first two acts as well the intriguing breadcrumbs of mythology that are sprinkled along the way (the Tripods have always been buried on Earth? Tell me more!). Like so many of Spielberg's films, this is ultimately the story of a fractured family, but it leaves the Ferriers together only in body, standing over the rubble of any number of equally uninteresting futures. There's more story here, but 'War of the Worlds' might be in greater need of a mulligan than a sequel.

What It Could Be About:

The aliens return - but this time wearing sanitary masks! Or there's something even more sinister than Tripods buried deeper in the Earth's core, and the fluidity of modern family dynamics are explored as the extended Ferrier clan struggles to survive. Or maybe it's just ninety minutes of Tom Cruise calling Justin Chatwin an idiot.

Odds Of It Happening:

Slim. Spielberg and co. seemed in way too much of a hurry to wrap this story up the first time around to ever try again.


'Jerry Maguire'



Why We Don't Want It:


It's tempting, because 'Jerry Maguire' is one of the best and most rewarding romantic comedies Billy Wilder never made, and a movie of Cruise's eponymous character on the phone with a client for 90 minutes would be better than 85% of what's currently clogging the Hollywood pipeline (well, it would at least be better than 'Phone Booth'). But the original was a fulfilling mess of indelible characters, and a sequel could only taint the legacy of a near-perfect film. Also, sequels and romantic comedies are naturally incompatible, as "happily ever after" only works because it's imagined rather than seen.

What It Could Be About:

'Jerry Maguire' ended by revealing Ray's ability to throw a baseball - as far as surprise endings go it's not exactly the stuff of Keyser Soze, but it's something. The sequel could pick up on the action thirteen years later as Ray -- a pitching phenom in college -- is fielding offers from the Major League. Maguire -- who so memorably learned how to balance work and family in the original film -- is his step-son's manic agent, and must grapple with the prospect of losing Ray to the business that almost cost him having a family to begin with. Or maybe it's just about steroids, and Maguire has another moral breakdown.

Odds Of It Happening:

Low, but 'Almost Famous' proved that Crowe is no stranger to nostalgia. And he needs a hit. As does Tom Cruise. And Cuba Gooding Jr. And Renee Zellweger. And Jonathan Lipnicki... nevermind, 'Jerry Maguire 2: Judgment Day' is clearly imminent.
CATEGORIES Cinematical, Features