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Hollywood has gone from occasional reboots to semi-regular reboots to now building definite reboots into future plans for a mega-franchise. And gone are the days when studios would give viewers a bit of breathing room between an original story and its inevitable re-telling. Nowadays, if a valuable IP doesn’t click the first go-round, it’s resurrected in just a few years.

With the news that James Gunn’s Suicide Squad movie isn’t a sequel to the 2016 DCEU film, but a total reboot called The Suicide Squad, we’re presented with a grand opportunity to sift through all the recent reboots and marvel at how little time has passed between films.

So what qualifies as a reboot? Well, it’s not just an actor change. It has to be the restarting of a story. So while most of the James Bond movies don’t count simply because they switched Bonds, Casino Royale does because it was the James Bond story starting over from scratch, with Bond earning his 007 status and embarking on his first mission. So, despite Judi Dench still playing “M,” all the Daniel Craig Bonds exist in a rebooted Bond universe. She’s not the same “M” who tussled with Brosnan’s Bond. Got it?

OK, with that out of the way, read on for the most notable quickest movie franchise reboots!

The Dark Knight Rises to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Time Between Reboots: 4 Years

Warner Bros. was going to have to reboot Batman no matter what, since Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy told a very specific three-part Batman story that – well – ended. It came to an official conclusion and there’d be no going forward with Batman in that universe. Once the DCEU began, the call was made, after Man of Steel, to bring Batman in as part of a shared movie that wouldn’t focus solely on the Caped Crusader. Ben Affleck donned the cape and cowl as fans watched Thomas and Martha Wayne get gunned down for the ninth or tenth time on screen.

Justice League to The Batman

Time Between Reboots: 4 Years

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Matt Reeves’ The Batman was originally intended to be an Affleck Bat-flick, part of the rickety DCEU. Now, years of swirling rumors later, Affleck is out and The Batman will reportedly be set in the 1990s – featuring a younger version of the Dark Knight, as well as Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler and friend Alfred Pennyworth. Is it still part of the DCEU though? That’s unclear as of now.

Superman Returns to Man of Steel

Time Between Reboots: 7 Years

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A Superman franchise featuring Brandon Routh never quite grabbed hold, even though Superman Returns was intended to be, of sorts, a sequel to Superman 2 (ignoring Superman 3 and 4). Which made Returns less of a reboot and more of an actor swap. But with the DCEU came a full-fledged Superman reboot with Henry Cavill donning the tights as Kryptonian refugee Kal-El.

Spider-Man 3 to The Amazing Spider-Man

Time Between Reboots: 5 Years

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While a five-year gap may not seem like a big deal these days, the rebooting of Spider-Man, from the Raimi-verse to a reworked Sinister Six set-up (that got axed before paying off), stunned fans everywhere. Instead of a fourth film with Toby Maguire, the saga was rebooted, Andrew Garfield stepped in as Peter Parker, and a brand new Uncle Ben took a bullet. It was just bad closure all around since the original series ended on a bummer of a third movie and the second series never got a third movie at all.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to Captain America: Civil War

Time Between Reboots: 2 Years

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In order to utilize Spider-Man in the MCU, a deal was brokered between Disney and Sony that allowed a form of “insta-Spidey.” The upside here was that we got Tom Holland as Peter and a wonderful, seamless Spider-Man integration into the long-form ongoing story Marvel was telling (nixing the origin story completely). The downside was that the Amazing Spider-Man series got short-sheeted before it could wrap things up properly.

Hulk to The Incredible Hulk

Time Between Reboots: 5 Years

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While the shift from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner isn’t considered a reboot, because Norton’s movie was part of the MCU and counts as part of the massive story (William Hurt is still around even, as General Ross), the abandonment of Ang Lee’s Hulk movie, which featured Eric Bana as the gamma-ray’d green menace, in favor of a new Hulk was most certainly a re-do.

Die Another Die to Casino Royale

Time Between Reboots: 4 Years

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The James Bond actor changeover is old hat, but with Casino Royale, the decades-long franchise started the entire story over from the beginning. Judi Dench remaining on as “M,” a holdover from the Brosnan films, made things a bit murky, but the intentions were clear: Daniel Craig’s Bond was just starting out. He was fresh to the game. “A blunt instrument,” as “M” called him. And these Craig movies, over time, have morphed Bond into the guy we met back in 1962’s Dr. No. After four movies, the Craig arc has established Moneypenny, Q, a new “M,” and a ton of traditional Bond hallmarks.

Star Trek: Nemesis to Star Trek

Time Between Reboots: 7 Years

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A big gamble by Paramount, J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise – which was actually established as a new, separate timeline that still exists within the same universe/multiverse as all the previous movies and TV shows – was the first Trek movie to feature new actors, who’d never appeared on Trek TV before, playing iconic roles. The Abrams-verse seemed bright, briefly, but now the tide has shifted back to Trek TV and a fourth movie has been stalled, perhaps permanently.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine to Deadpool

Time Between Reboots: 7 Years

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In a rare occurrence, a superhero got rebooted with no actor swap. Ryan Reynolds, who many said was born to play Deadpool, got a second stab at the character, thankfully, redeeming the mess that was X-Men Origins. By Deadpool 2, the Origins blunder even got called out – and cleaned up. Which may actually make Origins a part of the Deadpool timeline, but…nah.

The Punisher to Punisher: War Zone

Time Between Reboots: 4 Years

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Though no one would get Frank Castle quite right until he landed on Netflix, several theatrical attempts were made before the streaming series. The shortest gap between reboots came between Thomas Jane’s origin tale and Ray Stevenson’s Punisher vs Jigsaw film, which ditched the origin and just threw us into a world where Punisher existed and killed a bunch of people. Sometimes people doing parkour. Sometimes with rocket launchers. Please google this.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to Fantastic Four

Time Between Reboots: 8 Years

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Made simply so that Fox could keep the rights to Fantastic Four, an issue they no longer need worry about, 2015’s rehashed Fantastic Four movie was a craptastic mess. And here we thought nothing could be worse than the two movies in the Aughts, which now aren’t all that terrible upon reflection.

Hitman to Hitman: Agent 47

Time Between Reboots: 8 Years

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Though a sequel was always planned for 2007’s Hitman, based on the video game franchise, star Timothy Olyphant never had any intention of returning to the lead role, stating once that he only did the movie to pay the bills following the cancellation of Deadwood. Eventually the planned sequel morphed into a reboot and in 2015 Rupert Friend (apparently subbing in for Paul Walker, who was supposedly tied to the movie before he died) took over as Agent 47.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army to Hellboy

Time Between Reboots: 11 Years

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Originally intended as a sequel to the much-lauded Guillermo del Toro franchise, Hellboy morphed into a full reboot when del Toro wasn’t offered full creator-ship of the project and star Ron Perlman refused to do it without del Toro’s involvement. Now a Neil Marshall joint starring Stranger Things’ David Harbour, Hellboy is punching a path back into theaters this April.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to Possible Reboot

Time Between Reboots: Unknown

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This is all a touch unclear, but it seems as though Disney is simultaneously developing a sixth Pirates film while also considering a reboot of the entire thing – though whether or not the Jack Sparrow character would be a part of said reboot is also unknown. There’ve been some snags in development, so some reports say the reboot has been set adrift, but it wouldn’t take much to turn the tide, steering us back into dark and rough reboot waters.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows to Possible Reboot

Time Between Reboots: Unknown

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The reports here go back and forth. Michael Bay is still on as producer, and a new Ninja Turtles movie is being developed, but whether or not it has actual ties to Out of the Shadows is hazy. Andrew Dodge, who penned Jason Bateman’s R-rated comedy Bad Words, is writing the script.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.



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