E.2.: The Extra-2rrestrial
Thirty-five years after having his childhood disrupted and his worldview shattered by the arrival of an alien being, a divorced, alcoholic Elliott (Henry Thomas) is just starting to become functional again (with the help of his sister, Gertie, who’s now a therapist) when E.T. returns to Earth to look for his house keys, which he MUST have left here, he can’t think where else they’d be. (He was almost back to his home planet, a 20-year trip, when he realized they were missing and had to turn back.) Now Elliott — who’s been afraid of bicycles ever since that terrifying ride and cannot use a telephone without weeping — must come to terms with having E.T. in his life again. E.T., for his part, still can’t hold his booze.
It’s been 35 years since actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) shocked the world by pretending to be a woman in order to get a role on a soap opera. His life has been #problematic ever since: women were angry that he stole a job from an actual woman; conservatives were outraged that the network showed a man in drag; Hollywood executives were upset that he ruined their plan to cut costs by hiring men for female parts and paying them female salaries. Michael never worked another day in the industry after his stunt (though he’s something of a folk hero to the boys on Reddit for proving it’s impossible for a white man to get ahead in showbiz anymore), but now he dusts off his thespian skills and fake boobs so he can Mrs. Doubtfire a situation with his ex-wife (Jessica Lange) and their young children.
The Second Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds reprise their roles as brothel madam Miss Mona and small-town sheriff Ed Earl in a musical comedy about sexual liberation and the approach of death! Some 35 years after she closed the Chicken Ranch and married Ed Earl, with their kids now grown and out of the house, Miss Mona has a hankerin’ to rejoin the workforce. She feels bad for the hookers she used to employ who have been unable to find work in a world where pornography is so abundantly available and people will often just have sex with you for free, so Miss Mona comes up with a brilliant new idea: a whorehouse just for people like her and Ed Earl (senior citizens who have had a lot of work done). A sex-positive club for the elderly is just what this tiny Texas town needs — but don’t tell that to the crusty young mayor (Josh Gad), a 30-ish prude who’s only mad that he’s not allowed to join! If you have a family of whores, it’s a feel-good romp for the whole family!
The Darker Crystal
The Gelflings named Jen and Kira have lived happily on Thra ever since their efforts 35 years ago restored the Dark Crystal to its original form, healed the planet, and eliminated the mean, power-hungry Skeksis. But now, get this — there’s another crystal! It’s more powerful than the first one (which makes it strange that no one mentioned it before, but that’s none of our business), with an even more dangerous capability: anyone who touches it turns into a flesh-and-blood creature with legs and feet, able to walk and talk without strings or puppeteers. Jen and Kira agree that this would be too much autonomy for their simple-minded race, so they destroy the crystal and continue to exist only from the waist up.
Julie Andrews returns as a cabaret singer who now has three personas — male, female, and transgender — allowing her to perform at every club in Paris.
It’s 1968, and 45-year-old plucky redhead Annette Warbucks Kennedy (Debra Messing) is helping her wealthy liberal husband (Dylan McDermott) run for president — much to the dismay of her ancient adoptive father (Patrick Stewart), who believes there are communists hiding under his bed and is sinking all of his money into the Richard Nixon campaign. Daddy Warbucks’ obscene wealth and casual indifference to human suffering have become liabilities for him, even though he keeps reminding everybody of that one time he let an orphan sleep in his house as a publicity stunt. Will politics be the thing that finally drives a wedge between Annette and the only father she’s ever known? No, because Daddy Warbucks dies of baldness before that can happen. Songs include “I Think I’m Gonna Like These Tax Cuts,” “(We’ll Get Out of Vietnam) Tomorrow,” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without an Enemies List.”
Just kidding, they would never make a sequel to Tron.
Other possibilities for 1982 sequels:
An Officer, a Gentleman, and the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Sophie’s Second Choice
John Carpenter’s Other Thing
The Last American Virgin (Because It Turns out the Other One Was Actually Next-to-Last)
Fast Times at the Ridgemont High Reunion
Das Other Boot
Eric D. Snider lives in Portland in 1982.