The Karate Kid is back, but not as you know it. It launched on Wednesday (May 2) as a 10-part series on YouTube Red, and picks up in the present day with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) down on his luck and living in the shadow of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
It’s the latest project seeking to breathe new life into an existing franchise, in this case one that’s already spawned five films and an animated TV series. Below is a list of 10 reboots that reinvigorated some of our favorite franchises.
10. Star Trek
Trekkies were eagerly waiting another installment of their favorite show by 2009: there were no series airing on TV and it had been seven years since the last film, Star Trek: Nemesis, was released. J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 take rebooted the franchise by returning to the original characters of Captain Kirk, Spock and Scotty, albeit younger versions of them in an alternate universe.
Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man ushered in a slew of blockbusting films way back in 2002, predating the current trend for superhero movies by a few years. By 2012, it was rebooted with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire in the sticky web-slinging lead role, until last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming (this time played by newcomer Tom Holland) took things back to basics, smuggling a dorky high school saga under the all-too familiar superhero action.
8. Jurassic Park
Sequels The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III didn’t live up to the fantastic 1993 original movie, but after a 14-year gap, Jurassic World (2015) finally did, with a park built on the remains of the original one and a new dinosaur antagonist in the form of the “indominus rex.”
The original 1984 movie sparked a sequel, two animated TV series, and multiple video games, but a third celluloid outing seemed increasingly unlikely, especially when original cast member and co-creator Harold Ramis died in 2014. That all changed in 2016, when Bridesmaids director Paul Feig resurrected the four ghost bustin’ oddballs, with just one catch: this time they were all female.
X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are the most polarizing films in the X-Men franchise, among critics and fans alike. They were followed by X-Men: First Class in 2011, which saw the return of Bryan Singer – this time as a writer – and ushered in an age of high-quality X-Men films.
5. Star Wars
2015’s The Force Awakens wasn’t the first time George Lucas‘s epic space opera had been rebooted, of course. The first took place in 2001, 18 years after Return of the Jedi left theater screens. It’s fair to say the first reboot didn’t go down well, taking us back before it all began, and bumping the original trilogy into episodes four, five and six in the process. Ten years after Revenge of the Sith, however, original characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) all made a triumphant return.
4. Bridget Jones
Our Bridge (Renée Zellweger) is the ultimate singleton, so when she accepted a proposal by Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at the end of her second film outing in 2004, we assumed the franchise was done and dusted. Not so fast. Twelve years later, it turns out things haven’t gone smoothly at all, and Bridget is back, and once again having to choose between two fellas. Mark was back, but Patrick Dempsey replaced Hugh Grant as his rival for her affections, and it helped that the divine Emma Thompson was on writing duties — with Helen Fielding, of course.
3. James Bond
It could be argued that the Bond franchise gets a reboot every time a new actor slips into 007’s tux, and so far there have been six in the 24 films produced by Eon. The first film to star Daniel Craig, though, felt different — here was a younger, tougher Bond, with new personnel, fewer gadgets, and a back-to-basics attitude.
Almost a decade after the reviled Batman and Robin, it’s fair to say no-one was looking forward to Batman Begins. It represented the third director (Christopher Nolan) to tackle the Caped Crusader in fewer than 20 years, while Christian Bale was the fourth leading man to enter the Batcave. Audiences didn’t exactly flock to the theater, but it became the first of one of the most celebrated trilogies of all time.
1. Mad Max
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is the very definition of a reboot that reinvigorated a franchise. Released 30 years after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, it took both critics and audiences by surprise, earning rave reviews and easily surpassing its predecessors in terms of box office takings. No Tina Turner, though.
Which film franchise of old would like to see brought back to life?