Thanks in part to Judd Apatow, the movie spin-off is going places. He already produced one with “Get Him to the Greek,” which branched off “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Now he’s got a directorial project in “This is 40,” a story spun off from “Knocked Up.” For those unaware, what makes it a spin-off rather than a sequel is that it follows minor characters from the original story. (It’s just like Coach Lubbock from “Growing Pains” getting his own series in “Just the Ten of Us,” except it’s on the big screen.)
But Apatow isn’t the only one making spin-offs. This year, there was “The Bourne Legacy,” and -- in some backward spin-off way -- “Prometheus." Meanwhile, with the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, fans have been calling for spin-offs of supporting “Star Wars” characters, including Boba Fett.
So, we thought it would be fun to come up with ten more very minor and/or supporting characters from movies that we’d watch in their own spin-off feature. This is only the start, though. Please, join us with more suggestions in the comments.
Jesus Quintana (John Turturro) from ‘The Big Lebowski’
There are tons of characters from the films of the Coen brothers that could warrant their own full-length feature. But none are as popular as “The Jesus,” probably because he’s a bit of a mystery. What does he do when he’s not bowling? Are all his clothes that spectacular? As it turns out, Turturro has actually mentioned the idea of a Jesus spin-off in interviews and apparently to the Coens. He says they just have to write it, and he’ll direct. Part of this is because he thought the role was going to be bigger. Another part is that he’s sort of a mini-phenomenon within the <em>big</em> phenomenon of “Lebowski” fans and Dudeism followers. This is the Coens’ “Star Wars,” in a way, and The Jesus is its Boba Fett.
Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel) from ‘Pulp Fiction’
Almost as great as the Coen brothers as far as creating great minor characters, Quentin Tarantino could easily write a spin-off of any surviving person from his films. (That’s not necessarily a lot, however.) One that stands out is “The Wolf,” another big mystery of a character who is snazzy and snappy and presumably as “Kool and the Gang” as a man could possibly be. Give him a nice spin-off where he’s like an American James Bond of problem-solving -- we assume he always wears that tux -- and where he doesn’t have some predictably tragic downfall after making one minor alteration to his routine of 40 years (we see that too often). Maybe find a place for Raquel (Julia Sweeney) in there, too.
Floyd (Brad Pitt) from ‘True Romance’
Another Tarantino-scripted film, this favorite from the recently deceased Tony Scott has a whole lot of supporting characters, but somehow everyone loves the barely there Floyd the most. Again, it’s likely the mystery. We don’t really know anything about him other than he smokes weed, watches TV and is not good about replacing the toilet paper roll. Also, he’s played by Brad Pitt, albeit, just on the cusp of the actor’s explosion to stardom. Pitt still enjoys eclectic projects and he’d possibly pay great tribute to Scott by giving the fans a film that shows where Floyd is today. (We’re guessing he just moved to Colorado.)
David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) from ‘Dazed and Confused’
Here’s some insanity: Richard Linklater’s classic teen film will be 20 years old next year. Imagine the reunion and a sequel, and then realize you basically just want to see what McConaughey's Dave Wooderson is doing now. Is he a creepy old man still leering at high school girls? Is he still packing a nice engine under his hood? Did he wind up going all yuppie in the ‘80s? Did he move to Tampa to start a strip club? Or is he just chilling in 1996, “L-I-V-I-N”?
Charlie Parker (himself) from ‘The Imposter’
Another great Texas character, this one is a little more obscure and a lot more real. Charlie Parker is a scene-stealing private detective who appears in this new documentary, which tells the story of a French con artist who winds up impersonating a boy who went missing years earlier. Based on how astute he is in the film regarding certain discoveries and certain speculations, we imagine he’s great on other cases as well. He’s almost like a real-world Coen brothers character, a guy who could at least star on his own reality series if not another feature.
Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) from ‘The Twilight Saga’
Another Charlie from this year who we wanted to see more of. With the “Twilight” series now finished, a lot of Twi-hards are in withdrawal and are surely populating the web with petitions asking for sequels and spin-offs. Of course, most of them would rather see other vampire and/or werewolf stories, while we just want to follow Bella’s dad on his fishing trip with Sue Clearwater. (Sounds nice and relaxing.) And is it just us, or does Charlie Swan always get even more of a positive crowd response than Edward or Jacob? He doesn’t even have to take his shirt off, either -- he’s just a really nice guy. (By the way, the upcoming movie “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” is not a Charlie Swan spin-off.)
Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) from the ‘Harry Potter’ Series
Everyone has a favorite minor character from the Wizarding World they’d like to see continue the franchise in their own stories, and for us that character is Luna. A movie starring a freak among freaks, this eccentric and loopy -- yet often very helpful -- witch would be a perfect change to the Potter-focused movies. We already know that after Hogwarts she becomes a famous naturalist who discovers many new species of creatures, and that would be a wonderful area to go in.
Yvonne (Jessica Stevenson -- now Jessica Hynes) from ‘Shaun of the Dead’
Nearly a “Harry Potter” character herself (she lent her voice to “Order of the Phoenix”), Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) ought to be as much of a major player as her old “Spaced” co-star Simon Pegg. Perhaps what she needs is to do a sort of side-quel spin-off of “Shaun of the Dead” that gives us a parallel account of the zombie apocalypse, and how she goes from leading her own gang of friends to showing up with the military at the end. The film’s DVD gives us animated appendixes depicting what happened to other characters at certain points of the narrative. Yvonne didn’t get one of those, so she needs a whole movie.
Rosemary and Dill (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) from ‘Easy A’
Oftentimes we’re watching a so-so movie and all of a sudden there’s a supporting character or two who are such a treat in their minor scenes that we wish we were focused on them the whole time. That’s how we felt about the parents of protagonist Olive (Emma Stone) in this teen movie. Clarkson and Tucci have terrific chemistry in their short time on screen, and we want more of it. Presumably, Olive is now at college, and her parents remain home with adopted son Chip (Bryce Clyde Jenkins), making jokes and having fun and being even more of the ideal family than that of an ‘80s sitcom.
Boy in Police Station (Charlie Sheen) from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
You could tell Sheen was going to be a huge star all those years ago when he popped up at the end of “Ferris Bueller” for just a few moments and stole the entire movie. But what was that guy’s story? And where is he now? Our guess is he followed some total deadbeat path yet still wound up in the exact same place Sheen has found himself in a couple years ago. Given his appearance in “Being John Malkovich,” we figure Sheen is down with being very meta. Perhaps he could also play himself and it’d be like a “Prince and the Pauper” story, with Boy in Police Station winding up taking over Sheen’s life and career.