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It's Not the Years. It's the Mileage.

by Rob Gonsalves

"Interregnum" is a fun word. It means, among other things, "a period between reigns" or "a lapse or pause in a continuous series." And we've seen lots of those in recent years — or, rather, we've seen a lot of series being revived. The one everyone's worked up about at the moment, of course, is the Indiana Jones relaunch. And we've seen a batch of popular characters re-animated in the last couple years. The trend is nothing new, though.

Last seen: The Freshman (1925)
Returns in: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947)
Interregnum: 22 years
Harold Lloyd came out of retirement to revisit his sweetly nerdy gridiron hero from The Freshman (where the character was named Harold "Speedy" Lamb). In the 1947 Preston Sturges comedy, Harold has been wasting away as an accountant for twenty years, then gets fired, gets drunk, and goes wild. Howard Hughes produced the film and kept it shelved for three years, then hacked 15 minutes out of it and released it under a different title. Lloyd went back to retirement and stayed there.
Will he return again? What's Christopher Mintz-Plasse doing next?

Last seen: Dracula (1931)
Returns in: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Interregnum: 17 years
Contrary to popular belief, Bela Lugosi played his most famous character only twice (on film, anyway). He did it seriously in Dracula, then strayed away from the king of vampires until a paycheck compelled him to do Drac for laughs with the "Who's on First?" boys. Lugosi remains one of the saddest cautionary tales of typecasting in Hollywood history — he never broke out of the horror/suspense genre, and he dearly wanted to.
Will he return again? Lugosi won't, obviously, unless someone pulls an Ed Wood and resurrects him via found footage. Dracula, on the other hand, seems to pop up again every few years.

Last seen: A Shot in the Dark (1964)
Returns in: The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
Interregnum: 11 years
I've never understood why the entire series got slapped with the "Pink Panther" label, since that was the name of the diamond in the first film, and the diamond only appears in five of the ten films. Anyway, Peter Sellers starred in the first two films. Then Alan Arkin dropped in for 1968's Inspector Clouseau. Seven years later, and eleven years after leaving the character, Sellers picked Clouseau up again. After Sellers' final Clouseau appearance in 1982 — a posthumous crazyquilt of unused footage from The Pink Panther Strikes Again — director Blake Edwards unwisely offered Ted Wass as replacement dunce Clifton Sleigh in 1983's Trail of the Pink Panther. This proved as unsuccessful as Edwards' attempt ten years later to reboot the franchise with Roberto Benigni as Clouseau in 1993's Son of the Pink Panther. A decade after that, Steve Martin stepped in, and the rehash did well enough to support a sequel next year. Peter Sellers is still dead.

Last seen: Bed & Board (1970)
Returns in: Love on the Run (1979)
Interregnum: 9 years
In 1959, director Fran็ois Truffaut made his debut with The 400 Blows, which introduced what would become Truffaut's cinematic alter ego, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre L้aud). The saga of Antoine spanned four films and a short, over a period of twenty years. Truffaut strayed away from the series for a while, in favor of such classics as Day for Night and The Story of Adele H., but then returned to Antoine a final time for 1979's Love on the Run.
Will he return again? Truffaut died in 1984, and one must assume his alter ego died with him. Jean-Pierre L้aud is still around, though.

Last seen: O Lucky Man! (1973)
Returns in: Britannia Hospital (1982)
Interregnum: 9 years
Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) started life as a rebellious student in Lindsay Anderson's classic if... (1969). A few years later, McDowell wanted to make a movie based on his early experiences as a coffee salesman, and it became O Lucky Man!, a gigantic satire of British life. McDowell and Anderson then went their separate ways for a while, until reuniting for Britannia Hospital, in which Travis played a much smaller part as a reporter trying to cover the goings-on at a shambolic hospital. Throughout this informal trilogy, it doesn't seem that Travis is meant to be taken as a literal ongoing character — he's more like a concept floating through whatever points Anderson wanted to make in certain periods of his career.
Will he return again? It's unlikely that McDowell would want to do another Mick Travis film without Anderson, who died in 1994. Though if David Sherwin (who wrote or cowrote all three films) were to come up with a suitable premise, perhaps McDowell could be lured away from the likes of the Halloween remake. Who wouldn't want to know what ol' Mick is up to these days?

Last seen: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Returns in: Never Say Never Again (1983)
Interregnum: 12 years
Sean Connery was persuaded to return as James Bond for this kinda-sorta remake of Thunderball (it's too complicated to get into here), and wound up with a broken wrist courtesy of Steven Seagal (the flick's martial-arts instructor) for his troubles. Some were happy to see Connery back in the role; others winced at his toupee and wished he'd left well enough alone. Perhaps he learned from the experience, since he passed up the chance to come back as Indiana Jones' dad.
Will he return again? Connery said "Never again" — not only to 007, but to movies in general (how sad is it that his cinematic swan song turned out to be League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?) — and it doesn't look like he's going to change his mind this time, though he did do Bond's voice for a 2005 videogame based on From Russia With Love. Besides, Daniel Craig has it covered for the next few years, at least.

Last seen: Psycho (1960)
Returns in: Psycho II (1983)
Interregnum: 23 years
"My name is Norman Bates/I'm just a normal guy," went the Landscape song, which was released two years before this belated sequel in which Anthony Perkins' jittery Oedipal trainwreck gets out of the looney bin. Director Richard Franklin (who died last July) got the unenviable job of following Hitchcock's act on the strength of his Hitchcockesque thriller Road Games. Franklin was also reportedly a friend of Hitchcock's. Norman returned for two more sequels; Perkins died in 1992.
Will he return again? We shall not speak of the 1998 remake. The only consolation is that there won't be a sequel to it. Right, Michael Bay?

Last seen: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Returns in: 2010 (1984)
Interregnum: 16 years
Oh, how purists bitched when Peter Hyams, in a ballsy move equalled only by Richard Franklin, presumed to follow in the great Kubrick's footsteps. Purists forgot, of course, that Arthur C. Clarke — without whom there wouldn't have been a Kubrick classic — had written his own sequel, upon which this movie was based. Keir Dullea's Dave Bowman, last seen becoming the Star Child (or something), returns here to promise cryptic things like "Something wonderful."
Will he return again? There seem to be no plans to adapt Clarke's third and fourth Odyssey books, 2061 or 3001. Dullea isn't getting any younger, either. If Michael Bay announces plans to remake 2001, I think it would be legally permissible to kill him. I may have to double-check on that, though.

Last seen: A Man and a Woman (1966)
Return in: A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later (1986)
Interregnum: 20 years (duh)
Claude Lelouch made a big splash in 1966 with Un homme et une femme, which took the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The story of a lovestruck widow (Anouk Aim้e) and widower (Jean-Louis Trintignant) was continued in a 1986 follow-up, which got panned by then-critic and future screenwriter Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco), reviewing it for the Washington Post: "It's nothing but a pathetic self-homage." Ouch. Pwned.
Will they return again? Aim้e, Trintignant, and Lelouch are all in their seventies but also all still working. So is Pierre Uytterhoeven, who wrote both screenplays (and also co-wrote Lelouch's segment of the 9/11 anthology September 11). Despite that, I think all the parties involved have moved on, much to Paul Attanasio's relief.

Last seen: Batman (1966)
Returns in: Batman (1989)
Interregnum: 23 years
Many Bat-geeks had lived out their childhoods and teen years with no screen Batman except Adam West's campy take (the TV show spawned a theatrically-released movie in 1966). Of course, even before West, there were Lewis Wilson (in the 1943 serial) and Robert Lowery (in the 1949 serial) — so there'd already been a 17-year gap between celluloid Batmen. It's difficult for those who weren't born before 1989 to imagine how crestfallen the Bat-nerds were to hear that Michael Keaton had been cast as Batman; of course, he ended up being pretty good in the role — certainly better than Val Kilmer or George Clooney. (And, I think, Christian Bale.) As Eric Snider points out, there was also an eight-year gap between ClooneyBat (Batman and Robin, 1997) and BaleBat (Batman Begins, 2005). And if you want to throw in the Joker, he was absent from 1989 to 2008.
Will he return again? Yeah, there's this little movie called The Dark Knight. You may have heard about it.

Last seen: The Godfather Part II (1972)
Returns in: The Godfather Part III (1990)
Interregnum: 18 years
Just when Al Pacino thought he was out...Francis Coppola pulled him back in. The troubled production also saw the returns of Talia Shire's Connie, Richard Bright's Al Neri, Jeannie Linero's Lucy Mancini, Al Martino's Johnny Fontane, and even Enzo the baker. Conspicuous in his absence was Robert Duvall, who wanted too much bank, so his Tom Hagen was written out. Pacino himself balked at the $5 million payday at first, but when Coppola threatened to write Michael out of the script, Pacino relented.
Will he return again? That final scene is Coppola's way of saying "Hell to the no."

Last seen: Escape from New York (1981)
Returns in: Escape from L.A. (1996)
Interregnum: 15 years
"I thought you were dead." Nope, he was just relaxing for a decade and a half. In 1996, John Carpenter and Debra Hill reteamed with Kurt Russell to plop Snake Plissken into a broad satire of the California lifestyle, complete with surfers and plastic surgeons. For many Carpenter fans, and for the general audience, it didn't wash. I liked it.
Will he return again? Speculation abounds. There was supposed to be Escape from Earth, but that got torpedoed after L.A. flopped. There was supposed to be a remake of New York with Gerard Butler as Snake, but Butler turned it down. There was supposed to be a TV series, there was supposed to be an anime film...Fuck, someone just give Carpenter the money, okay?

Last seen: The Blues Brothers (1980)
Return in: Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
Interregnum: 18 years
So what if John Belushi was dead? Director John Landis and star Dan Aykroyd saw no reason not to restart the band with John Goodman, Joe Morton and a little kid. More than anything, the flick comes off as Aykroyd wanting to jam with blues greats on film one more time. On that level the film is understandable and even fitfully enjoyable.
Will they return again? I'm guessing no, even though Aykroyd is still committed to the House of Blues project.

Last seen: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Returns in: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Interregnum: 16 years
You could also say that we hadn't seen Obi-Wan, Yoda, C3PO and R2D2 in 16 years. And you could say that almost 20 years passed since we saw Boba Fett again (in 2002's Attack of the Clones), and a whopping 22 years since we last heard Chewbacca's roar (Revenge of the Sith, 2005). But the whole prequel trilogy was built around Anakin Skywalker and his fall from grace, and the first teaser image from Phantom Menace was of a boy casting the shadow of Vader...not R2D2.
Will he return again? Since Lucasfilm apparently doesn't have enough money, there will be a CGI Clone Wars TV series, inaugurated by a theatrically-released pilot. Boy, it's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century all over again!

Last seen: The American Friend (1977)
Returns in: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Interregnum: 22 years
Actually, this wasn't the first time there was a largish gap between movies based on Patricia Highsmith's anti-hero. Purple Noon (1960), a French film starring Alain Delon and based on Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, came first. After 17 years, Wim Wenders decided to adapt Ripley's Game, the third in Highsmith's quintet of Ripley books, as The American Friend with Dennis Hopper in the lead. A couple of decades passed, then Matt Damon was recruited by Anthony Minghella for The Talented Mr. Ripley. If it had been more successful — or truer to Highsmith's work — Damon could've had a nice franchise to put alongside Jason Bourne. As it is, there've only been two subsequent, little-seen efforts: Ripley's Game (2002), with John Malkovich, and the long-shelved Ripley Under Ground (2005), with Barry Pepper.
Will he return again? There are still two unfilmed Ripley books: The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water.

Last seen: Crocodile Dundee II (1988)
Returns in: Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)
Interregnum: 13 years
The original Crocodile Dundee was a massive hit, both in the U.S. and in its native Australia, and a sequel was quickly ordered. By the time Paul Hogan got around to a third installment, though, the moment had passed; Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, presumably marketed to an audience that hadn't been born yet when the original flick premiered, barely made back its cost in America. Y'gotta stroike while the barbie's hot, mate.
Will he return again? Hogan hasn't done much lately, other than 2004's Strange Bedfellows, widely believed to have been plagiarized by I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. He's also getting a bit long in the tooth for adventure-comedies. Then again, so is Harrison Ford.

Last seen: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Returns in: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Interregnum: 12 years
This, of course, is if you don't count 1996's T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, which I don't, since it's a 12-minute short you can only see at the Universal Studios theme parks. For all intents and purposes, the 2003 effort was Arnie's multiplex return to the clanking warrior from the future. Aside from a cameo as himself in The Kid & I and a bit in Around the World in 80 Days, this was Schwarzenegger's final major role before taking office as the Governator.
Will he return again? I wouldn't hold my breath. 2009's Terminator Salvation most likely won't feature Arnie, and TV's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles seems to be chugging along okay without him.

Last seen: Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994)
Returns in: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Interregnum: 9 years
And here we'd thought that Kim Henkel's inept third sequel — so incoherent it would probably remain on a shelf today if it didn't have the before-they-were-stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey going for it — had killed off the chainsaw-wielding man-child forever. Executive producer Michael Bay, though, apparently decided the original Tobe Hooper masterpiece needed to be remade, so a noseless Leatherface — complete with a name, Thomas Hewitt — hit theaters, and a prequel arrived in 2006, on the assumption that what we really needed was to learn more about Leatherface's emo childhood.
Will he return again? The prequel was cheap and made a profit (though only half the gross of its predecessor). So the buzz will most likely be back. Again.

Last seen: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Returns in: Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Interregnum: 9 years
One, two, Freddy's coming for you...even if he takes almost a decade to get there. Of course, he was supposed to have been killed in 1991's Freddy's Dead — it even said so in the title! — but that didn't stop Wes Craven from bringing him back for the 1994 meta-movie New Nightmare. After that, other than appearing in a 1998 Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episode (with Robert Englund doing the voice), Freddy chilled out until Ronny Yu's long-gestating face-off between Freddy and Jason Voorhees. Freddy also turned up on CBS' short-lived 2005 reality show A Nightmare on Elm Street: Real Nightmares, in which Freddy invited contestants to face their fears. Dear lord, what a stupid idea.
Will he return again? Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes is working on a remake of the original Nightmare on Elm Street — with someone other than Englund under the burn-scar latex. Another reason to hate Michael Bay.

Last seen: Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Return in: Saraband (2003)
Interregnum: 30 years
Who ever thought Ingmar Bergman would make a sequel? But he did. Saraband, his swan song as a director — some 21 years after he effectively retired from movies — revisited the troubled couple played by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson in Scenes from a Marriage. (Technically, both Scenes and Saraband began life as films for Swedish television, but they were both released theatrically in the U.S.)
Will they return again? Uh, Bergman's dead.

Last seen: Before Sunrise (1995)
Return in: Before Sunset (2004)
Interregnum: 9 years
Richard Linklater made a beautiful little film with Before Sunrise, then decided to return to the talkative lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) nine years later and made an equally beautiful film. Sometimes you can go home again. The characters — or at least a rotoscoped Hawke and Delpy — had also appeared in a segment of Linklater's Waking Life.
Will they return again? Why not? Go for a trilogy, Rich — preferably in 2013.[br]

Last seen: King Kong Lives (1986)
Returns in: King Kong (2005)
Interregnum: 19 years
Kong has been rather poorly treated over the years. After his debut in the 1933 classic, a quickie sequel (Son of Kong) appeared the same year, and then Kong collected dust for almost 30 years before Toho resurrected him for 1962's King Kong Vs. Godzilla, and again for 1967's King Kong Escapes. Hollywood finally reclaimed the big guy, for all the good it did, in 1976's King Kong. If you wanted a sequel to that remake, you had to wait ten years until King Kong Lives. After that, Kong cooled his heels for another couple of decades before a post-Oscar Peter Jackson decided to make Kong his next big toy.
Will he return again? I tend to doubt it. Aside from the fact that Kong was pretty definitively iced at the end, the movie was considered a disappointment relative to its budget: sure, it grossed $218 million domestic, but it cost $207 million. If you would spend $207 to make back $218, you probably need to take a business course.

Last seen: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Returns in: Superman Returns (2006)
Interregnum: 19 years
For a long time, after the stink-up-the-joint fiasco that was The Quest for Peace (fuckin' Nuclear Man?!?), Superman was relegated to television (Lois & Clark, Smallville), while Warner toiled for years to get a workable Superman flick off the ground. Kevin Smith came and went; Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage came and went. Finally Bryan Singer brought home the (very expensive) bacon, though to many it was limp.
Will he return again? One keeps hearing about that Justice League movie, though nobody's sure yet whether Superman will actually be in it. As for another solo Superman flight, well, the 2006 effort cost too much and didn't perform as expected.

Last seen: Clerks (1994)
Return in: Clerks II (2006)
Interregnum: 12 years
They appeared briefly in Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back (2001), and of course they starred in their own ABC cartoon for about two minutes (Clerks: The Animated Series, 2000). But Clerks II was their full metal comeback, eventually bringing them full circle.
Will they return again? No matter what Kevin "No more Jay and Silent Bob" Smith says — either yes or no — I wouldn't trust it.

Last seen: Rocky V (1990)
Returns in: Rocky Balboa (2006)
Interregnum: 16 years
Years after Philly's favorite son had become a jingoistic joke, Sylvester Stallone wanted to bring Rocky back to give him a fitting send-off. The result was a genuinely moving flick that deserved to stand shoulder to shoulder with the original film.
Will he return again? Initially, Stallone spoke of the film as a definitive goodbye to the character. Having tasted success with the revivals of Rocky and Rambo, though, Stallone has now been saying that he'd like to make future movies with both characters. Sly, dude, know when to say when.

Last seen: Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
Returns in: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Interregnum: 12 years
...if you can even call Live Free or Die Hard a Die Hard movie, which I'm not sure you can. Bruce Willis is back, and he's playing someone called John McClane, but there isn't much continuity between this super-agile chrome-dome and the wisecracking Jersey cop of the previous films. The studio-mandated PG-13 rating, which even robbed McClane of his signature line ("Yippie-ki-yay, motherfBLAM"), didn't help.
Will he return again? Willis has said he's up for more.

Last seen: Rambo III (1988)
Returns in: Rambo (2008)
Interregnum: 20 years
Stallone chose to bring the lumpen assassin out of mothballs to highlight the atrocities in Burma. Most viewers just wanted to see Rambo back again, kicking ass and not even bothering to take names.
Will he return again? See Rocky Balboa entry above.

Last seen: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Returns in: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Interregnum: 19 years
If you don't count a brief appearance as a 50-year-old Indy on a 1993 episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, we haven't seen Harrison Ford in fedora and stubble in almost two decades. The hell with that, though; Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood, also returning in the new film, has Indy beat — we haven't seen her character onscreen in 27 years.
Will he return again? Pfft, we're lucky Ford came back for this one.

(Thanks to Eric Snider, Peter "Bear Suit" Sobczynski, Brian Orndorf, and David Cornelius for their input on this piece.)

link directly to this feature at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=2394
originally posted: 02/19/08 23:48:52
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