aka: George Lucas Throwback
Remember back in the day, when there was that prevalent, cheaply made form of entertainment that was So Bad, It's Good
? Wouldn't you like to bring it back?
Well, if you're in Hollywood and you have a high enough profile, you can. And you can do it better
with a brand-new franchise, better special effects, better actors, a better budget and (it is hoped) better writing. If the old form of entertainment has been Deconstructed
, then this work will probably feature a lot of Reconstruction
If especially successful, this can result in a game of Follow the Leader
as everyone else begins mining the past (or, more frequently, ripping off the successful modern version) in the hope that lightning will strike twice. If these follow-ups are of poor quality, or if there's just too many of them (or both as is often the case
), then it can result in the genre being thrown right back in the trash
until someone else decides it's worth reviving.
If done especially well, it can hide the fact that it is
a throwback. It is only upon reviewing its similarity to past incarnations that the connection is made. Compare Older Than They Think
Note this should not
cover instances of a specific franchise being brought back
, e.g., the later incarnations of Star Trek
or Doctor Who
, or the Flash Gordon
movie. This trope is much closer to a Spiritual Successor
than an actual reboot.
Related: Affectionate Parody
. Two-Fisted Tales
is a subtrope. And nothing to do with Evolutionary Levels
, we promise.
, Genre Deconstruction
Anime & Manga
- Justice is Super Friends with the Camp and Token Minority Ethnic Scrappy characters removed.
- In that vein, Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier, set in the 40s, 50s and 60s amidst the climate of the Cold War, nuclear testing and the civil rights movement.
- Within Grant Morrison's Batman, the post-Final Crisis/Batman RIP series Batman And Robin has quickly established itself as something of a throwback to the Batman TV series.
- Alan Moore loves these.
- 1963, which is a sendup of early Marvel comics, especially those of Stan Lee (Moore was able to replicate Lee's Purple Prose and self-promotion abilities perfectly).
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen does this for several genres and periods, albeit with a darker edge.
- The first six issues of Tom Strong each featured a flashback done as a pastiche of an earlier age of comics.
- In Supreme Moore not only recreates the Silver Age Superman atmosphere, but also brings back all the different decades and styles including 80s grim n gritty, Captain Marvel Family and EC comics stories just to name a few.
- In Planetary, Warren Ellis throws in pastiches of comic book genres that were popular in the 1950s (sci-fi, pulp adventure, western, horror, etc.) before being almost completely eclipsed by the superhero genre in The Silver Age of Comic Books.
- Matt Fraction's Casanova is this for the psychedelic spy comics of the sixties.
- Marvel had a whole small line dedicated to reinterpreting its properties including Spider-Man in Crime Noir and Pulp settings.
- Sin City is a rare example of a cross-medium throwback. The series takes its cues from Crime Noir books and films, as well as Exploitation Films despite being a comic books series. It was eventually made into a movie where the homages were perhaps more apparent.
- The works of George Lucas include several well-known examples:
- The original three Indiana Jones adventures (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade) were based on 1930s pulp adventures, with Those Wacky Nazis or an evil cult as the villains, and supernatural, often Biblical forces. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, meanwhile, was rooted in '50s pulp sci-fi, with the atomic bomb and the Cold War featuring prominently, the Soviets replacing the Nazis, and a plot based around aliens from Another Dimension.
- Star Wars: 1930s sci-fi serials among other sources, Flash Gordon in particular. (It originated as an attempt to actually revive Flash Gordon, except that Lucas could not buy the rights.)
- Red Tails: '40s and '50s war movies. It wasn't directed by Lucas, but he did produce and finance it, and it had been one of his dream projects for years.
- Radioland Murders: 1930s screwball comedies. Again, Lucas produced but didn't direct.
- Quentin Tarantino is also heavily associated with this trope:
- The films of Ed Wood, believe it or not. Many people think of his films as the definitive examples of cheap 1950s B-movies; in reality, his films were intended to be the anti-thesis of those types of films, and were created as throwbacks to science fiction and horror movies from the 1930s. This is even lampshaded in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, in a scene where Wood and Bela Lugosi bemoan the fact that horror movies in the 1950s had basically degenerated into "giant insect" films.
- Machete: '70s blaxploitation, but with Mexicans (Mexploitation?).
- Hobo with a Shotgun: Low-budget '80s action movies, of the kind made by Cannon Films and Troma
- The Mummy Trilogy: 1930s adventure serials.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: 1930s sci-fi serials.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling pirate films. The genre had previously been killed by Cutthroat Island, by virtue of it being the biggest Box Office Bomb in history.
- The Muppets: Jim Henson movies of the 1970s and 1980s, which themselves were genre throwbacks:
- The Fifth Element: French comics of the late 1970s/early 1980s.
- Down with Love: Romantic Comedies of the late 1950s/early 1960s.
- Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid: 1930s sci-fi serials.
- The Mist: 1950s/1960s sci-fi horror.
- Tremors: again, 1950s/1960s sci-fi horror, only with a more comedic bent.
- Alien is It! The Terror from Beyond Space meets Night of the Blood Beast, only it doesn't suck.
- Ghostbusters is a reimagining of 1940s ghost/haunted house comedies such as The Ghost Breakers and Spook Busters, except it featured actual ghosts and Lovecraftian overtones.
- Doomsday: 1980s dystopian sci-fi.
- 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake, along with the Affectionate Parody Shaun of the Dead, went a long way towards reviving 1970s Zombie Apocalypse movies.
- George Romero himself has said the original Night of the Living Dead film was inspired by the EC horror comics he enjoyed when he was younger.
- Romero collaborated with Stephen King on the movie Creepshow, which is also a direct throwback to EC horror comics.
- The Little Mermaid took most of its inspiration from the classic Disney animated musicals of The Golden Age of Animation. It was so successful, it wound up resurrecting the entire genre and kicking off what came to be known as the Disney Renaissance.
- Winnie-the-Pooh was designed in a manner that mimicked Disney's original Pooh featurettes from the 1960s and 1970s, right down to copying the (no longer used) Xerox "sketchy" animation style.
- The Rocketeer: 1930s adventure serials.
- Gladiator: Sword And Sandal epics.
- The Host: All those cheesy Asian monster movies that followed Godzilla.
- Independence Day: '50s Alien Invasion movies.
- The Forbidden Kingdom: '60s kung fu films.
- Scream (1996): '70s and '80s Slasher Movies, with a bit of Deconstructive Parody thrown in.
- Moon: 1970s sci-fi B-Movies with an undertone of intellectual thought experiment.
- Slither: 1980s creature features, particularly Night of the Creeps, with Shout Outs aplenty.
- The Expendables: Rated M for Manly action movies from the '80s and early '90s, starring many of the action heroes who made their careers on such films.
- Up all but announces its 1930s-adventure-serial-ness in the opening sequence.
- Buckaroo Banzai is a Parody Sue version of Doc Savage.
- Ninja Assassin: Cheesy ninja movies of the '80s.
- Hatchet: '80s slasher movies.
- The House Of The Devil: '70s and early '80s horror movies in general, and Religious Horror in particular.
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: '80s slashers, much like Hatchet (which came out the same year), albeit in a less comedic manner.
- Super 8: late '70s and early '80s Amblin films
- House of 1000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects: '70s redneck-sploitation horror movies, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: '40s adventure films
- Inception: '90s Cyberspace or Cyberpunk movies, or the Platonic Cave idea in general.
- Drive: '80s crime films
- Australia: Golden Age of Hollywood sweeping romantic epics.
- Attack the Block: '80s monster movies and horror-comedies, like Gremlins and The Goonies
- The Film of the Book of The Woman in Black: '60s British Gothic Horror. Seeing as how it's being made by the new incarnation of Hammer Film Productions, which specialized in such films back in the day, this makes perfect sense.
- Dark Shadows: '70s Gothic horror (including the show it's based on) and '80s-'90s adult-aimed horror comedy.
- Prometheus: Looks to be to the first Alien. But ultimately subverted; it's actually a direct prequel.
- Lockout: 80s-early 90s sci-fi action flicks such as Escape from New York, The Running Man and Total Recall (1990).
- Welcome to the Jungle, to the "cannibal boom" sparked by Cannibal Holocaust.
- For shockumentaries such as Faces of Death, there's Murder Collection V.1.
- Hit and Run: '70s-'80s car chase action-comedies like Smokey and the Bandit.
- The Possession: '70s and early '80s religious and adult-driven horror.
- Silverado : Among the first attempt to revive the Western genre.
- Dredd: Minus it being a comic property, the action scenes seem to resemble the gory '80s action movies.
- Psycho Beach Party: '50s psychodramas, '60s beach movies and '70s slasher movies.
- The Man with the Iron Fists: '70s martial arts movies
- Jack Reacher: '60s-'70s crime movies, such as Bullitt.
- Larry Crowne: basically a modern-day interpretation of the works of Frank Capra.
- Beyond the Black Rainbow: Mind Screw Science Fiction movies of the '80s, like Altered States.
- Billy Ray's movies (Shattered Glass, Breach): 70s political thrillers, particularly All the President's Men.
- Joseph Kosinski's word is that Oblivion 2013 is meant to evoke sci fi movies of The Seventies. What we see wouldn't be (that much) out of place in a Heavy Metal or Moebius comic.
- Superman Returns: Compared to the upcoming Man of Steel. Would seem like a throwback to '70s/'80s Richard Donner Superman films (and according to Word of God is set after Superman I & II).
- A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a strange example, given its complicated production history. When it was a Stanley Kubrick project, he envisioned the film as a throwback to classic Steven Spielberg/Amblin movies of the '80s. However, after it got stuck in Development Hell, Spielberg himself took up the task of making the film, and he imagined it as a throwback to classic Kubrick films as a tribute to the late director (he died in 1999). The end result was a muddle of the two directors' visions and a Love It or Hate It finished product.
- Space Vulture (cheesy 1950s Sci-Fi)
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor - 'pre-Zahn Star Wars books', specifically the distinct Han Solo singles, only this time with other Original Trilogy characters. Possibly also 1970s Marvel-made Star Wars comics.
- Karl Schroeder's novels tend to mix this with hard science fiction.
- Michael Moorcock's Kane of Old Mars series is a throwback to the Planetary Romance pulps, specifically Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars novels.
- Lin Carter's Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown series is an attempt to recreate Doc Savage-style pulp adventures.
- The novel Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor is a deliberate throwback to the E. E. “Doc” Smith-style space operas, including referencing some of Smith's novels directly, and a setting that allows for classic Star Wars-style dogfighting.
- Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day and Inherent Vice. The former mixes popular genres from around the turn of the 20th century, such as Westerns, spy novels, and early science fiction; the latter is based on early pulp Detective Fiction featuring the hard-boiled detective.
- All of John Irving's novels are throwbacks to 19th century literature, particularly Charles Dickens.
- Nathan Long's Jane Carver of Waar to Planetary Romance, especially John Carter of Mars.
- Michael J. Sullivan's The Riyria Revelations is a throwback to classic fantasy.
- The genre of Outrun Electro (which includes such labels as Rosso Corsa Records and electro acts such as Kavinsky) is a genre throwback to synth-heavy '80s film soundtracks. The soundtracks to films such as Drive and games such as Hotline Miami (which are themselves both throwbacks to 80s crime films) both provide very good examples.
- She & Him (Zooey Deschanel's band) — '60s and '70s pop music.
- Mark Ronson is also doing his damnedest to revive Motown-era singles.
- Composer Erich Korngold was critically panned in Europe because his music was a throwback to the lush romantic era of classical music, while his contemporaries like Stravinksy were composing aggressive, challenging pieces like "The Rite Of Spring". However, he found his place in Hollywood and with his film music, defined the lush sound of the movie soundtrack.
- In the same vein, John Williams reintroduced the sweeping orchestral soundtrack to films with his Star Wars scores in the '70s.
- The 12-member big band-style group (they call themselves a "little orchestra" instead) Pink Martini, who play jazz, lounge music and old-fashioned pop.
- Kat Edmonson, whose music is very reminiscent of old-fashioned, Dusty Springfield-style country ballads.
- Also, singers such as Duffy and the late Amy Winehouse, who have thrived on their "old-fashioned" sound.
- John Barrowman's albums recall the days of Andy Williams and Dean Martin, with showtunes.
- Wolfmother for '70s stoner rock and Heavy Metal.
- Brian Setzer did one for rockabilly with The Stray Cats, and later one for swing music with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
- Cee Lo Green's famous hit song "Fuck You!" is one towards '60s era Motown Soul music. (A throwback, not a fuck-you.)
- Sweden’s Änglagård play a pastiche of early 70s prog rock that is surprisingly convincing, thanks in part to an almost slavish use of vintage 1970s musical instruments.
- The Black Keys sound more at home in the late '70s than the early 21st century.
- Likewise, The Darkness is an '80s-style glam metal band that broke into the mainstream around 2003.
- Big Star: British Invasion-styled guitar pop at the height of Progressive Rock.
- The whole 90s Swing Revival was an attempt to bring jump blues and Big Band swing of the 30s and 40s back to the mainstream by infusing them with modern pop elements. The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies were the big names in that scene, with the latter's "Zoot Suit Riot" being the biggest commercial hit. The movement fizzled out sometime in the new millennium, but several of the bands are still making music.
- The Neo-Soul genre was a throwback to smooth '70s soul.
- Speaking of Neo-Soul, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are a throwback to 60s/70s soul and funk.
- Birdeatsbaby's music video "Feast of Hammers" throws back to Hammer Horror movies.
- Ariana Grande's music has been described by... well, pretty much everyone who listens to it as a throwback to '90s R&B, of the likes of Mariah Carey.
- The Heavy Metal genres Power Metal and Melodic Death Metal are both throwbacks to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal of the late '70s and early '80s.
- Eminem's single "Berserk" is a throwback to old 90s rap - primarily the Beastie Boys, even using a rock-based sample, as the boys were wont to do (though the influences range from Public Enemy to NWA)
- Bruno Mars' "Treasure" is a throwback to 70s funk and soul, especially Kool And The Gang.
- The current home park of Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, was built in 1992 as a throwback to stadiums built early in the 20th century, as opposed to more modernized stadiums of recent decades. The park was an instant hit, and sparked a trend in retro baseball stadiums for the next two decades.
- Serious Sam and Painkiller — Early-to-mid 1990s first-person shooters.
- Lost Odyssey — Turn-based RPGs of the late 80s/early 90s. (helps that the main driving forces behind the game worked on the original Final Fantasy games)
- God Hand — Arcade beat-em-ups.
- For a while, any time a new Adventure Game came out and got any press, people treated it like the sole hope for the resurgence of the genre (while ignoring excellent titles like The Longest Journey and Syberia). Right now, Telltale Games is probably the most visible, putting out episodic adventures regularly.
- Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is an intentional throwback to mid-80s console RPGs, iffy gameplay mechanics and all. (Not so) coincidentally, it is made by the same developers of Final Fantasy III DS and Nostalgia.
- La-Mulana is a throwback to classic Nintendo Hard metroidvanias, most notably Maze Of Galious and Castlevania.
- Double Dragon Neon is a throwback to old-school Beat Em Ups, especially older Double Dragon games, as well as The Eighties themselves.
- The Wii version of A Boy and His Blob - 80s cartoons.
- Legend of Grimrock - To Faux First-Person 3D dungeon crawler RPGs like Eye of the Beholder.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, is a throwback to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
- The Emogame series is a throwback to old-school, 16-bit side-scrollers, while their final levels (especially in the second one) are throwbacks to Metroidvania-style games. The average Super NES game probably wasn't chock full of Black Comedy and audacious, twice-line-crossing humor, though, and certainly didn't allow you to kill the final boss by skull-fucking him.
- Fittingly for a game based on a movie (and comic) that is itself based on old-school arcade and Nintendo games, the licensed game of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a throwback to old-school Beat Em Ups.
- Rally Trophy is a heavily retro (60s and 70s) take on the rally racing sims genre, with lots of Played for Laughs lampshading and Stylistic Suck.
- Obs Cure: Post-modern, Genre Savvy teen horror movies from the mid-late '90s, of the type made by Kevin Williamson.
- Uncharted is a throwback to pulp adventure stories, and features (and updates) many of their tropes.
- Red Dead Redemption not only does this with The Western, but a case can be made for each part of the game being a throwback to a different type of Western. The first third of the game hearkens back to the old-school John Ford/John Wayne Westerns, where morality was more black and white and the focus was on America's westward expansion, complete with cattle drives, cowboys and outlaws. The middle part of the game, meanwhile, feels more like revisionist "spaghetti Westerns" like the Dollars Trilogy and Django. where there were no clear-cut heroes and the harsh reality of life in The Wild West was emphasized. Finally, the last parts of the game, set in the comparatively "civilized" town of Blackwater and on the Great Plains, have very strong elements of the New Old West to them.
- Then you have the expansion pack, Undead Nightmare. While the middle section of the main game was a throwback to spaghetti Westerns, Undead Nightmare throws back to another Italian Exploitation Film genre — the '70s zombie movie of Lucio Fulci et al.
- L.A. Noire, as the name suggests, is a throwback to Film Noir from the '40s and '50s.
- The future in Space Channel 5 reminds very much of 60s and 70s style future, if that makes sense.
- Dragon Age: Origins is done very much in the style of mid-to-late-nineties RPGs based on Dungeons & Dragons, and was envisioned as a Spiritual Successor to BioWare's own Baldur's Gate, one of the most noteworthy of said games.
- Mass Effect 1 is in the style of 70s / 80s Space Opera, with Mass Effect 2 moving into a darker 90s-style area.
- Interstate '76 and its Spiritual Successor, Vigilante 8, throw back to a number of '70s genres and tropes.
- Duke Nukem Forever, thanks to being a sequel with a 12-year development cycle, manages to be an unintentional throwback to Duke Nukem 3D.
- Sonic Colors was intended to be a throwback to the Genesis games in terms of lighthearted presentation and surreal design.
- The New Super Mario Bros. games are a return to Mario's classic 2D platformers. Super Mario 3D Land is intended to be a throwback the structure of those classics without actually being in 2D.
- Daisuke Amaya, creator of Cave Story, had intended to show his love of a certain genre of game - the 2D Metroid Vania of old, with retro style graphics (drawn by hand by him) and music (in TurboGrafx-16 style, composed by him).
- Metal Gear Solid 3 is a throwback to the cold war era spy genre.
- Epic Mickey - The Golden Age of Animation.
- Zombies Ate My Neighbors — B-movies, bonus points for being made by LucasArts.
- The Fallout series are an homage to '50s B-movie scifi flicks with a good dash of horror tossed in.
- While the games in the series beforehand had a very strong Film Noir feel, Hitman Absolution, with its cast of eccentric and oddly-dressed characters, had a distinct 1980s Exploitation Film feel to it (but with a definite modern day setting).
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a reincarnation of 80s sci-fi action movies, stuffed to the brim with manliness, explosions, meta humor and one-liners. And neon, lots and lots of neon.
- Shinji Mikami, maker of the Resident Evil games up to the fourth one, consciously designed the upcoming game The Evil Within as a throwback to the tropes of those games and '90s Survival Horror in general.
- Jonathan Blow made The Witness in part to bring back the Adventure Game genre with more refined modern game design sensibilities.
Blow: What I'm trying to do as a designer is take everything about adventure games I don't like — 'cause I loved adventure games when I was a kid but, man, as a game designer now who has ideas about design I just look at them and I think they're all really bad and I just kind of solve them in a way that uses our modern understanding of game design as best as I can.
- Knack is this to the cartoony platformers of the PS1 era, especially Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.
- Dragon's Crown is Vanillaware's love letter to all the classic High Fantasy games of the past, such as Wizardry, Dungeons & Dragons, and Golden Axe.
- '90s Arcade Racer is a throwback to, well, arcade racing games from the '90s like Daytona USA, Ridge Racer, and Sega Super GT. The developers specifically tried to replicate and update the exaggerated, high-speed driving physics of the games, as well as their over-the-top, fantastical race tracks.
- The Secret Saturdays (1970s Saturday morning adventure cartoons)
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold is an animated throwback to the Silver Age incarnation of Batman, where instead of being a grim loner he's a somewhat cheery fellow with a dry, ironic wit, closely resembling the Super Friends incarnation. Notable is the fact that Bruce Wayne almost never appears, and in comparatively serious episode "Chill of the Night!", where we actually see Bruce Wayne, face and all, he looks like his 1990s incarnation.
- The trope is lampshaded in the Batmite episode where the little imp reads a "prepared statement" in response to some 4th wall breaking humor, explaining that this incarnation of Batman is just as legitimate and true to source material as the "tortured dark avenger crying out for mommy and daddy".
- The Venture Bros. does a bit of this and a bit of parody with 1960s action shows like Jonny Quest and such, plus a hefty dose of increased badass. Instead of lame plots about random monsters, we get genuine nightmare fuel about a dead twin-brother still living inside his twin and eventually building a robot body for itself.
- Fillmore! takes a lot of inspiration from 70s buddy cop shows, not that any kids noticed.
- More specifically, those made by Quinn Martin Productions.
- In Animaniacs: The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) can be taken as a throwback to The Golden Age of Animation and other comedies of the time like those of the Marx Brothers, expecially considering that their backstory is that they were created in the Thirties. Also they stole many, many jokes from them.
- Ren and Stimpy was like a tortured, horrifying version of Golden Age cartoons, complete with animation style and specific gags copied from Looney Tunes.
- The House of Mouse cartoon "Mickey And The Goat Man" was done in the style of early 30s black-and-white cartoons.
- The upcoming theatrical short Get A Horse will do the same.
- Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?: '70s/'80s vintage cartoons. Similar to the ones like School House Rock.
- Black Dynamite: Is an obvious Homage to blaxploitation films from the '70s.
- Rob Zombie described The Haunted World of El Superbeasto as an attempt to make an R rated version of classic Looney Tunes.