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Why The Thing Needs A Proper Movie Sequel (Not A Remake)

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Here’s why John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror movie, The Thing, should get a proper sequel instead of a remake. Based on John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There?, The Thing attained the status of cult classic due to the visceral aura of paranoia the film manages to evoke, along with its impressive visuals rooted in parasitic mutation and body horror.

A reboot of The Thing by Blumhouse Productions and Carpenter himself seems to be in talks, with the project still being in its initial stages. Although it is unclear whether this yet-to-be-titled project is a prequel, sequel, or a remake, the narrative of The Thing should be crafted as a full-fledged sequel in its own right, instead of simply revamping the premise to a much more contemporary setting. An attempt to expand upon the universe of The Thing was carried out by Universal in 2011, in the form of a prequel of the same name starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton. While the 2011 prequel was an ambitious attempt, it received mixed critical reviews mainly due to its derivative nature and lackluster addition to the original’s genuinely terrifying premise.

However, the predominant reason why the prequel did not work is that it functions more along the lines of a remake than an attempt to expand upon the film’s history or mythology. Keeping these factors in mind, it makes the most sense for the upcoming project to be a compelling sequel set after the events of Carpenter’s The Thing, possibly picking up right after the original’s ending while revealing the events that befell MacReady and Childs, the two sole survivors at the camp. In 2005, Syfy had a four-hour sequel miniseries named Return of the Thing, which would have potentially been set in the year 2005, wherein the frozen corpses of MacReady and Childs are found, along with the remnants of an alien spacecraft. While the sequel was meant to herald a return of the alien parasite in the postmodern world, the project was eventually canceled.

oreover, the upcoming The Thing project has been rumored to purportedly expand upon Dark Horse Comic’s sequel series The Thing From Another World, as well as the expanded version of the original novella, Frozen Hell. Both of these sources are promising from a narratorial standpoint, as the comic series continues MacReady’s story, with him returning to the U.S. Outpost 31 with the intention of torching the entire place. However, things go awry when he is interrupted by a military unit, who assume that it was MacReady who killed everybody as a result of cabin fever-fueled insanity. This spurs the cycle of alien-possession to continue, as the creature is still alive, and it is only a matter of time before it jumps onto another host body and ultimately reveals itself.

This premise not only makes for solid sequel material but also holds the potential to re-create the original’s paranoid-horror atmosphere without rehashing its plot. A sequel of The Thing would also allow long-time fans of the franchise to witness the creature’s evolution under wildly-different circumstances, while possibly allowing mutations of a more complex and grotesque nature to evolve. A lot can be accomplished in terms of visual special effects as well, and it will be interesting to see how Carpenter chooses to breathe back life into a cult classic, while injecting it with newer horrors and possible characters to root for.
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