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5 animated movies that deserve sequels alongside 'Toy Story 5'
The Toy Story franchise won't end. These animated stories shouldn't either.
This week, Disney head Bob Iger announced on an earnings call that the company's animation division is at work on several sequels to hit films, one of which is now one of the company's longest-running animation franchises. In the near future, according to Iger, we can expect more news on a second Zootopia film, a third Frozen film, and a fifth film in the Toy Story series that's now been running since 1995 and already includes follow-ups like TV specials and the spinoff movie Lightyear.
Toy Story is a franchise that's seemed like it's reached a natural conclusion twice now, but the appetite for more adventures from Pixar's original roster of beloved characters just refuses to go away, and so we're headed back to the universe soon. And it's not the only animated series that just keeps going. In the last year alone, we've seen new entries in the Shrek franchise (Puss In Boots: The Last Wish), the Despicable Me franchise (Minions: The Rise of Gru), and the Hotel Transylvania series.
But for every animated sequel that's hitting our screens, there's another animated adventure we'd love to see followed up with new stories. So, here are five of our favorite animated films that deserve sequels alongside Toy Story, Frozen, and the rest.
A Bug's Life
Toy Story's not the only franchise the folks at Pixar Animation Studios have built. They've also managed to expand into franchises based on Cars, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo, among others. But somehow, Pixar's second ever feature release, A Bug's Life, hasn't received a follow-up yet. Sure, the film is somewhat overshadowed in Pixar history by the two Toy Story films on either side of its release, but the story of Flik and his friends basically doing a Seven Samurai and saving their colony is still a great one, and there are lots of other places the bugs could go in some future installment.
Did we need another Grinch story? There was a lot of skepticism in the lead-up to its release, but 2018's The Grinch managed to win over audiences, and more than a few critics, with its surprisingly in-depth new take on the classic Dr. Seuss tale. So, where can that story go from there? Well, while they never got the same play as How The Grinch Stole Christmas (now streaming on Peacock!), there are other Grinch specials floating around out there, written by Seuss himself. Halloween Is Grinch Night, which features the title character enjoying a different holiday altogether, could make for a great feature expansion in the right hands.
Monsters vs. Aliens
Though it expanded as a franchise thanks to TV specials and a short-lived animated series, Monsters vs. Aliens hasn't made it back to the big screen in the decade-plus since its release. That's a shame, because while the concept -- a group of monsters are recruited by the government to fight off an alien invasion -- is very simple, the payoff in terms of spectacle in that film was a whole lot of fun. It would be interesting to see the right animation team at the right time taking on a new version of this story.
The folks at Laika are still making some of the most beautifully crafted animation in the game, and their devotion to new stories doesn't leave a lot of time for sequels, at least not at the moment. If they ever did decide to start getting into the sequel business, though, the story of Norman and his ghost friends feels ripe for another haunting, another adventure, and another series of strange supernatural events.
The Sword in the Stone
OK, we realize this is a long shot on a list with a couple of fellow long shots, but hear us out. The Sword in the Stone is a beautiful fantasy comedy about a boy who realizes he's going to be the new King of England, with the help of his eccentric wizard friend. It's a Disney classic that still has its devotees, but you don't even need to necessarily get people to watch the original film to make a follow-up. Imagine a modern Disney adventure about Merlin -- still weird, still hilarious -- and a teenage Wart just trying to learn to be a good king. Throw in some more magic, a big battle sequence, and more of Merlin's Bermuda shorts, and it's a ton of fun, and the original movie can still serve as a great accompaniment to anyone who wants to go looking for it.