Every time an unlicensed sequel gets announced, a Hollywood lawyer gets their wings.
Earlier this week, surprising news hit the wire that Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions are planning a sequel to the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life. And, nope, not just one of those “spiritual sequels” or a film that simply draws from the aims and lessons of the first film, but a direct sequel to the Frank Capra gem, bolstered by the news that Karolyn Grimes (young Zuzu from the original film) would return to play an angel who helps George Bailey’s (Jimmy Stewart) grandson (wait, her son? Or her nephew?) see “how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.” (This original wording from the first Variety piece on the film has now been changed to read, “how the world would be if he had he never been born.”)
You read that correctly – it’s the plot of the original film, but the exact opposite. This is, of course, deeply stupid. To add to the insanity and insipidity of this idea – the grandson is also named George Bailey. Oh, also, the film is set to be titled It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, a moniker that easily highlights just how unoriginal this idea is.
But it turns out that the most poorly thought-out element of the sequel might not be its actual existence, it might just be the production team’s belief that they could simply make a sequel to a classic Paramount title without pursuing the proper licenses.
The studio has now released a statement on the matter through Variety, that simply reads: “No project relating to ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ can proceed without a license from Paramount. To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.”
In short, stop your stupid sequel – or at least try to do it the legal way (and good luck with that).
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