An Acceptable Sequel

31 Jul

I saw a bunch of excited posts recently about a sequel to Edge of Tomorrow, the criminally-underrated, modern sci-fi classic that came out in 2014. Most seemed to be stemming from comments Tom Cruise made (here talking about sequels to pretty much everything) with no details, of course, except that he wants Emily Blunt in on it.

If you didn’t ever see Edge of Tomorrow, stop reading and go watch it. Suffice it to say, I preordered it on BluRay, and when I rewatched it at home, it made me excited about movies. I can’t overstate how awesome it is. If you need to, borrow it from me. I’ll be here when you’re done.

So now that you’re back, I won’t be spoiling anything.

Anyway, Tom Cruise saves the world, and gets the pleasure of meeting the woman he’s fallen in love with for the first time all over again. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s a pretty perfect ending (heard some people didn’t like it, obviously those people are tools.) Bam. Black. Fin. We’re past the edge of tomorrow and into it fully, and Cage doesn’t have to die anymore. The world is safe from the Mimics!

The only sequel idea that I think would be acceptable, given how the story ends, is as follows:

So you’ve got a massive, international military force, armed to the teeth to fight an enemy they no longer need to fight. The whole beach invasion for which the armed forces have trained is a NO-GO, because it has gone.

But now the world must deal with two things.

First, there is no common enemy to fight. The troops split up, deactivate, and return home–albeit probably a hero’s welcome, to a world freed from an invasion that would have destroyed it. And now you’ve just sent home battle-ready troops to countries who will very quickly remember all the terrible, horrible things they were doing to one another before the Mimics stopped their warring. World War III, pretty much guaranteed, and if it’s not atomic, it would be mano-a-mano. Fields of soldiers in exo-suits fighting each other, Rita swinging her sharpened helicopter-rotor blade through waves of Chinese or Iranian mechs.

Second, and much harder to display on-screen, is the fact that we are not alone in this universe. I just recently read through Rama II, the sequel to Arthur C. Clarke’s excellent Rama. The second chapter spends pages describing the social and economic impact of the fact that, for the first time, humanity had proof that they were not the only beings in this universe. In the world of Edge of Tomorrow, how will humanity treat it, once the initial shock has worn off? Does the regular population realise the implications of the “alien” part of an “alien invasion”?

So what does this sequel look like? A political thriller? A gritty war film, where brothers-in-arms become enemies-at-hand? Perhaps Brendan Gleeson’s General Brigham tries to make a power grab, and attempts to rule Eurasia with the military he now commands. Rita and Cage somehow end up on opposing teams, forced to fight in a battle that does not have a reset function.

I trust Chris McQuarrie–he seems like a cool guy, and Jack Reacher is great too, so he clearly knows what to do with Tom Cruise.

I also think it’s hilarious that many of the people who whinge about Hollywood’s obsession with sequels are now the ones salivating at the thought of Edge of Tomorrow 2: Edgier.

Will I see it? Probably. Will it be as described above? If it is, I’d at least like partial credit. Does it need to happen? Absolutely not. Tom, Chris–if you’re reading this, please don’t retread these already-worn steps. Make another balls-to-the-wall action movie, use mech suits, whatever, but just leave MAJ Cage to smile at SGT Vrataski, with the knowledge that he lived through hell with her and can still love her.


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