Reboot (fiction)

Reboot (fiction)

The verb reboot, in media dealing with serial fiction, means to discard much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh ideas.[1] Effectively, the writer(s) declare all established fictive history to be irrelevant to the new storyline, and start the series over as if brand-new.[1]

Through reboots, filmmakers can revamp and reinvigorate franchises to attract new fans and stimulate revenue.[1] Therefore, reboots can be seen as attempts to rescue franchises that have grown "stale".[2] They can also be a "safe" project for a studio, as a reboot with an established fan base is less risky (in terms of expected profit) than an entirely original work.[3]



The term originates from its use in computer science.[1]

Comparison to remakes and prequels

A reboot differs from a prequel in that a prequel is generally consistent with the canon (previously established continuity) of the series. With a reboot, the older continuity is largely discarded and replaced with a new canon.[1]

Additionally, prequels are often developed by the same creator as the original series they lead up to, while a remake is often produced by a different author from that of the original series, and can be seen as re-telling of the same story and essentially maintaining the same canon. The term "remake" often applies to films or film adaptations of TV programs, such as 1993's The Fugitive, whereas the term reboot is ascribed to franchises such as Police Story (rebooted in the 2004 film New Police Story), Batman (2005's Batman Begins), James Bond (2006's Casino Royale), The Pink Panther (the 2006 Pink Panther film), Star Trek (the 2009 Star Trek film - though still in the existing canon, but in an alternate universe), and The Incredible Hulk (2008's The Incredible Hulk).[2]


This term is often applied to comic books, where the prevailing continuity can be very important to the progress of future installments, acting (depending on circumstances and one's point of view) either as a rich foundation from which to develop characters and storylines, a box limiting the story options available to tell, or even an irreconcilable mess of contradictory history. Such large continuities also become a barrier to introducing newcomers to the fandom, as the complex histories are difficult to learn, and make understanding the story very difficult. A reboot gives the chance for new fans to experience the core story by reintroducing it in smaller and easier-to-understand installments and/or by refocusing the story on its most important elements and abandoning many subplots and an overgrowth of minor details. Reboots may also serve changing audience expectations as to storytelling style, genre evolution, and sophistication of material.

Reboots in films and television

Franchise First release year Reboot Reboot release year
Battlestar Galactica 1978 Battlestar Galactica[citation needed] 2004
Batman 1989 Batman Begins[4][5] 2005
James Bond 1962 Casino Royale[5] 2006
Halloween 1978 Halloween[citation needed] 2007
Hulk 2003 The Incredible Hulk[6][5] 2008
The Punisher 2004 Punisher: War Zone[4] 2008
Friday the 13th 1980 Friday the 13th[7] 2009
Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood[citation needed] 2009
A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street[8] 2010
Harriet the Spy 1996 Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars[citation needed] 2010
The Karate Kid 1984 The Karate Kid[citation needed] 2010
La Femme Nikita 1992 (film), 1997 (TV) Nikita[9] 2010
Scooby Doo 1969 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated[citation needed] 2010
Hawaii Five-O 1968 Hawaii Five-0[10] 2010
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe[citation needed] 2002
ThunderCats 1985 ThunderCats[citation needed] 2011
Planet of the Apes 1968 Rise of the Planet of the Apes[11][12] 2011
Conan the Barbarian 1982 Conan the Barbarian[citation needed] 2011
Charlie's Angels 1976 Charlie's Angels[13] 2011
Spider-Man 2002 The Amazing Spider-Man 2012
The Fly 1958 The Fly 2012
Superman 1978 Man of Steel 2013

Video games

Franchise First release year Reboot Reboot release year
Alone in the Dark 1992 Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare 2001
Shinobi 1987 Shinobi 2002
Prince of Persia 1989 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2003
The Need for Speed 1994 Need for Speed: Underground; Need for Speed: Shift 2003; 2009
Doom 1993 Doom 3 2004
Wolfenstein 3D 1992 Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2001
Ninja Gaiden 1988 Ninja Gaiden 2004
Spyro The Dragon 1998 Legend of Spyro A New Beginning; Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure 2006; 2011
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter 1997 Turok 2008
Castlevania 1987 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2010
Medal of Honor 1999 Medal of Honor 2010
Mortal Kombat 1992 Mortal Kombat 2011
Splatterhouse 1988 Splatterhouse 2010
Tomb Raider 1996 Tomb Raider: Legend; Tomb Raider 2006; 2012
Syndicate 1993 Syndicate 2012
Devil May Cry 2001 DmC Devil May Cry 2012


Franchise Year of first release Status
RoboCop 1987 In development[14]
Fantastic Four 2005 Announced[15]
Daredevil 2003 In development[16]
Mortal Kombat 1995 In development[17]
Street Fighter 1994 In development[18]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 In development[19]
Judge Dredd 1995 Filming[20]
Tomb Raider 2001 In development[21]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1992 Announced[22]
Police Academy 1984 Announced[23]
The Haunted Mansion 2003 In development[24]
The Howling 1981 Announced[25]
National Lampoon's Vacation 1983 Announced[26]
Godzilla 1954 In development[27]
Jack Ryan 1990 Announced[28]
The Fly 1986 Announced[29]
Doom 2005 Announced[30]
Spawn 1997 In development[31]
Punisher: War Zone 2008 In development

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Willits, Thomas R. (2009). "To Reboot or Not to Reboot: What is the Solution?". Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Tallerico, Brian (27 April 2009). "Twenty Film Franchises in Need of a Reboot". Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  3. ^ Sunday Discussion: The Mighty Hollywood Reboot Trend. (October 6, 2008). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Todd Gilchrist (December 6, 2007). "Interview: Lexi Alexander". IGN. Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2011. "Alexander: I would say it's a complete reboot because the first one – neither of them – are relevant to us at all" 
  5. ^ a b c Box Office Mojo, "Franchise Reboot Battle". Accessed 28 June 2011.
  6. ^ "The Incredible Hulk: A Smashing Sampling of Scenes". Superhero Hype!. May 27, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ Nathan Lee (February 13, 2009). "A Slice of Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Rich, Joshua (April 3, 2009). "'Nightmare on Elm Street' reboot: Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy Krueger". Hollywood Insider (Entertainment Weekly). Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  9. ^ Martin, Denise (July 25, 2010). "Why A Nikita Reboot Can Work". TV Guide. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (October 8, 2009). "Trio to Reboot "Hawaii Five-O"". Variety. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  11. ^ Lussier, Germain. (April 14, 2011). "Collider Visits The Set of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES; Plus Video Blog". Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  12. ^ Kevin Melrose (April 7, 2011). "Fox’s Planet Of The Apes Prequel Gets Renamed … Again" (in English). p. 1. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  13. ^ "". 
  14. ^ Robocop Remake Finds A Screenwriter in Josh Zetumer. ReelComix (March 11, 2011). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  15. ^ "Fox is Rebooting Fantastic Four". Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  16. ^ Screenwriter hired for Daredevil movie reboot | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  17. ^ Rebooting the Mortal Kombat Franchise – Movies Feature at IGN. (January 29, 2010). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  18. ^ Comic Con 2010: Capcom Says More Street Fighter Movies Are in Development. GamerLive.TV. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  19. ^ Pollard, Mark. (May 13, 2009) Producer Scott Mednick talks ‘TMNT’ reboot « Kung Fu Cinema. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  20. ^ First Look At Karl Urban As Judge Dredd. (November 19, 2010). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  21. ^ Tomb Raider Films Getting Reboot. (January 28, 2009). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  22. ^ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Next on the Remake/Reboot Chopping Block. (May 26, 2009). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  23. ^ Set The Reboot-O-Tron To: POLICE ACADEMY!!. Antitcool. Mar 5, 2010
  24. ^ Comic-Con Guillermo del Toro Interview DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, THE HAUNTED MANSION, FRANKENSTEIN. (July 27, 2010). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  25. ^ Mwangaguhunga, Ron. (November 23, 2009) 'The Howling' Gets a Reboot: Are Werewolves the New Vampires? – The Moviefone Blog. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  26. ^ National Lampoon's Vacation Reboot | Movie News | Empire. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  27. ^ Oh, Boy...Is Legendary Pictures Gearing Up For A GODZILLA Reboot?? [Ain't It Cool News]. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  28. ^ Brodesser, Claude. (August 2, 2010) Vulture Exclusive: The Jack Ryan Franchise Gets Lost Director Jack Bender – Vulture. Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  29. ^ The Fly Reboot to Fly, With Cronenberg Behind the Camera. Row Three (September 23, 2009). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  30. ^ Hollywood Insider : Doom you Hollywood – What’s Playing. (March 9, 2011). Retrieved on June 13, 2011.
  31. ^ [1]

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