Announcement: Coming soon from Paramount Pictures -
Hey Paramount, how 'bout you make a movie without a number after the title!
A common way to name movie sequels
is to take the title of the original, possibly abbreviated, and add a number. So Foomovie
will be followed with Foomovie 2
, Foomovie 3
), etc. Also common is to follow Foomovie
with Foomovie, Part 2
, etc. - though the word "part" will usually be dropped when talking about the movies. (This is usually done when the stories of the movies are supposed to form one big story.) Sometimes there are subtitles as well.
The result of this is that the original Foomovie
will become known as Foomovie 1
, and on occasion will actually be rereleased this way (see Retronym
). This is actually a recent practice, beginning in the 1970s.
If the movies in a series were made out of chronological order, the numbering can refer either to the order in which they were made or the order in which they take place. The latter gets you titles like Resident Evil 0
and The Lion King 1˝
. Very rarely, you'll see a prequel with a negative number. The print version of the webcomic Order of the Stick
has two prequels, numbered #0 and #-1, and the French comic Donjon
(planned to run from #1-#100) has spinoff series planned to run from #-99 to #0 and #101 to #200.
Some series use Arabic numerals, some use Roman numerals, and some use either. The distinction between Roman numerals and Arabic seems to be the distinction between grand-scale affairs that take themselves very seriously (and thus borrow a bit of grandeur from the western world's most prominent Vestigial Empire
), and stories that either don't take themselves entirely seriously, or have a futuristic bent that makes the Arabic numerals look all sciency and mathematical.
This trope can be subverted
: The Marathon
series started with Marathon
and Marathon 2
but then jumped to Marathon Infinity
. The subsequent release and open-source development of Marathon 2
's game engine restored sequential numbering by naming the engine Aleph One
, the next largest infinity
. (See below.)
In the Horror genre a Sixth installment may be called 666
(Or sometimes called that even if it isn't the 6th) it will almost always be pronounced Six-Six-Six rather then Six Hundred and Sixty Six.
This is, if anything, even more common in video games than in movies, although the "Part 2" variation is absent there. Literary examples, on the other hand, are very, very rare.
The first use of a number without "part" was probably Quatermass 2
in 1957, the follow-up to The Quatermass Xperiment
. These were the original UK titles; in the United States the first film was issued as The Creeping Unknown
so the second one had to be retitled as well: it was known as Enemy From Space
For some reason (Four Is Death
? Rule of Three
?) it's very common for Numbered Sequels to stop at 3, and any subsequent media to be given a subtitle alone instead.
Parodies take this to extremes with Ridiculous Future Sequelisation
Compare Lettered Sequel
, Sequel Number Snarl
, Episode 0: The Beginning
, Title 1
. See also Un Installment
Contrast Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
, Recycled Title
, Trope 2000
and Super Title 64 Advance
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Anime and Manga
- Macross 7 is not the seventh Macross series — it's the third in the official continuity, after Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Macross Plus. Confusingly, a different production group created an unofficial sequel called Macross II. It wasn't well received. The prequel series Macross Zero really does come first chronologically.
- Not a movie series, but deserving of mention, are the cyborgs of Cyborg 009. The protagonists are cyborgs designated 001-009. But the one that follows 009 ("zero zero nine") is named 0010 ("zero zero ten"), rather than the logical 010. The series also does this with all subsequent cyborg characters.
- Digimon Adventure 02 looks like this, as it is after all the second Digimon series, but the number actually derives from its status as being set in the year 2002. One could assume the number doubles as this.
- 100 Bullets has an interesting twist on this- every story arc/trade paperback has a title that either incorporates its number into it (eg- book 4 is A Foregone Tomorrow, book 9 is Strychnine Lives) or uses part of a known phrase that includes the number, but leaving the actual number out (eg- book 7 is Samurai and book 12 is Dirty)
- The Ultimates 2 and 3.
- Kick-Ass 2.
Films — Animated
- The Pokémon movies go like this: "Pokémon: The First Movie", "Pokémon The Movie 2000", "Pokémon 3 The Movie", "Pokémon 4Ever", and then they stop trying to incorporate the numbers into the title and just go to straight subtitles.
- Made absolutely ridiculous by the fact that the subtitle of "The First Movie" is "Mewtwo Strikes Back", clearly implying that it was a sequel. (This had long been what we Americans had been told, but it turns out that this is not totally true, as The Origin of Mewtwo was just a short featurette of the same length as those ubiquitous Pikachu specials.) The origin story, which had been removed from the American theatrical release of Pokemon: The First Movie in order to preserve the G rating, was eventually packaged on the direct-to-video release Mewtwo Returns. So we have a "Strikes Back", and then we have a "Returns". Is anyone else sensing a Star Wars Homage here?
- The Shrek films seem to be using the same system as Black Adder as an Homage: Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After.
- They were supposedly reluctant to use the title "Shrek 3," lest it create confusion with the short "Shrek 3-D" which was released in a box set with the first two films. Apparently Viewers Are Morons.
- Wanna hear something funny? The Land Before Time started to number its sequels with roman numbers, and to this day never changed that formula. We're talking about ''thirteen'' movies, by the way.
- Of course, after reaching double-digits the movies started to go out of their away to avoid mentioning what number they were up to, as if out of embarrassment. Re-releases of the sequels on DVD rarely state the number of the movie anymore either.
Films — Live-Action
- The first major film to start using this Shakespearian title technique was The Godfather in The Godfather Part II. It was one of Francis Ford Coppola's three demands for working on the sequel. His two other demands were approved, but the studio highly objected to simply following the title with a number. Its success began the tradition of numbered sequels.
- Oddly, enough, this was inverted for The Godfather Part III. Coppola wanted to call it The Death of Michael Corleone but the studio wouldn't let him.
- Before the Godfather there had already been the Kraut Westerns Winnetou I, Winnetou II, and Winnetou III (1963-1965), although these were named after the books they were based on. Although these examples of the highly successful Karl May franchise did not sell that well outside Germany, they were taken notice of in America because they showed that the Western genre was not dead yet.
- The Rocky series followed this trope until the sixth installment which was called Rocky Balboa (as if the other movies were about some other guy named "Rocky").
- Word of God says that the movie was not called "Rocky VI" to avoid any possibility of another Rocky installment.
- Parodied by The Naked Gun series; The Naked Gun was followed by The Naked Gun 2˝ and The Naked Gun 33⅓.
- 33⅓ is the speed one plays an LP.
- Another sequel, provisionally titled The Naked Gun 444.4 or The Naked Gun 4 Score and 3 Sequels Ago was in development in the late '90s, although obviously nothing came of it.
- ZAZ didn't want to have anything to do with Airplane II: The Sequel, (and even claim to this day to have never watched it), even though they'd later make sequels to The Naked Gun and Hot Shots!. Airplane II lampshades the trope with the announcement at the end of the credits "Coming soon from Paramount Pictures : Airplane III" followed by William Shatner saying "Wait! That's exactly what they'll be expecting us to do!"
- The Ocean's Eleven remake proved popular enough to warrant a couple of sequels. Instead of using the rather cumbersome Ocean's Eleven Two or somesuch, the makers dubbed the sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen. This led to many jokes about where the first 10 movies went.
- And the titles end up being spot-on with the number of people involved in the main heist (12 adds Ocean's wife, 13 adds the antagonist of the other movies and a technical expert).
- Likewise, the second live-action 101 Dalmatians film was titled 102 Dalmatians.
- Although there was a straight-to-video follow-up to the original animated film (42 years later!) called 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch's London Adventure.
- Many Star Wars fans were rather confused when the 1977 original, simply titled Star Wars, was followed by Episode Five, The Empire Strikes Back. A rerelease of the original rechristened it "Episode Four: A New Hope", paving the way for later prequels.
- Despite the initial confusion, there was a level of optimism that resulted from the episode numbering system that opened the door for prequels. In the meantime, the Classic Trilogy continued to be marketed by the movies' original release names: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, with the episode numbers confined strictly to the opening crawls. The Phantom Menace began the trend of prominently featuring the episode number in marketing the movies, to the point where theaters often listed it as "Star Wars Episode I" rather than "The Phantom Menace". When the Classic Trilogy received its first DVD release in 2004, the movies were now labeled Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, etc.
- For its European release, Italian director Lucio Fulci heavily re-cut George Romero's Dawn of the Dead to produce what was essentially a completely different movie, which he titled Zombi. After its success, Fulci went on to produce five sequels, which were titled Zombi 2, Zombi 3, and so forth. Zombi 2 was simply retitled Zombie for its North American release, but the later sequels shared their numbering on both sides of the pond - meaning that while you can find Zombie, Zombie 3, and Zombie 4 at your local video rental outlet, there is no movie available in North America titled Zombie 2.
- No longer true on DVD. Zombie is available as Zombie AND Zombi 2 (just different packaging), while the European cut of Dawn of the Dead is available as Zombi. Meaning we have Zombi, Zombie, Zombi 2, Zombie 3, Zombie 4, and Zombie 5.
- According to popular myth, the reason the play The Madness Of George III was filmed as The Madness Of King George was in case people avoided it until they'd seen The Madness of George and The Madness of George II.
- Along similar lines, though this was just a joke, was the story of people wondering how they had missed seeing the nine prequels to Spike Lee's Malcolm X.
- A similar joke is used in a 3rd Rock from the Sun companion guide, which features the aliens documenting their understanding of Earth. When describing the concept of movies, Dick cites Apollo 13 and The Seventh Seal as examples of movie sequels. He then mistakes the film Se7en for being a prequel to the Blake Edwards film 10.
- Spoofed in Back to the Future Part II (itself a victim of this trope, along with Part III) with the fictional movie Jaws 19. In reality, the Jaws series never spawned more than four movies, and the last two weren't even Numbered Sequels to begin with.
- The entries in Matthew Barney's avant-garde "Cremaster cycle" were filmed out of their numerical order: Cremaster 4 (1994), Cremaster 1 (1995), Cremaster 5 (1997), Cremaster 2 (1999), and finally Cremaster 3 (2002).
- In the Jerry Stiller film The Independent, long-time exploitation film director Morty Fineman is asked by the filmmaker — it's a Mockumentary about Fineman's fictional career — if it's true he invented the sequel. Fineman corrects that, saying he invented the roman numeral after the title. The film then shows the title card from his post-nuclear sequel, World War III II.
- The Friday the 13th series is surprisingly consistent with this. Of the 10 movies (excluding Freddy vs. Jason), 7 of the movies were numerically numbered, with #4 being (the misleading) The Final Chapter, and #9 being Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. #10 uses the roman numeral X. Because it's cool and took place in space.
- Spoofed in the British slasher satire Unmasked Part 25, which also ends with the killer shouting a Big "NO!" upon seeing Unmasked Part 26 on a cinema marquee.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street was similar, with five numbered sequels, then Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (which is not much misleading, as all the following sequels and Freddy vs. Jason have him truly dead) and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
- A gimmick employed by a few franchises is to have the second sequel to the original movie filmed in 3-D, so the number affixed to its title can be "3-D" instead of just plain 3. See Third Is 3D.
- The four movies of the Rambo franchise were originally named and ordered thusly: First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, and Rambo. Note the conspicuous absense of "Rambo II" — they followed up a movie called "Rambo" with "Rambo III", and followed that with another movie called "Rambo". Even Sly was confused, but then, he usually is.
- This becomes evenmore confusing with the exported titles: In France, they are known as Rambo, Rambo II, Rambo III and John Rambo.
- In Brazil, it's more straightforward, with some subtitles added: Rambo - Programmed to Kill, Rambo II: The Mission (fun fact: "The Mission" is the equivalent of "Electric Boogaloo" in that country), Rambo III and Rambo IV .
- The planned fifth movie is titled Rambo V. This sounds fine, and actually logical, until you realise that means they're following up Rambo with Rambo V.
- In one of the least intuitively named movie series yet, The Fast and the Furious was followed sequentially by Two Fast Two Furious, The Fast And The Furious Tokyo Drift and now a fourth movie simply called Fast And Furious. However, this makes more sense than it appears, as Tokyo Drift is a sequel In Name Only while the new film is a return to the original cast and setting. Then the fifth movie goes back to numbers is called Fast Five, followed by Fast And Furious 6. Yes, the sequel to Fast and Furious is Fast Five, and the sequel to Fast Five is Fast and Furious 6 — note the non-existence of Fast and Furious 2-5.
- Parodied in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, which does not have any sequels to justify the "1."
- Also parodied in Leonard Part 6, which claims that the first five adventures of the hero are so secret that the movies were covered up.
- The Star Trek movies did this starting with Wrath of Khan and ending with Undiscovered Country, spanning all of the films based on the original series. Movies based on The Next Generation abandoned that though they are sometimes referred to as 7 through 10 by the fans. As the 2009 film is simply called Star Trek, it is also unofficially referred to as Star Trek XI.
- In fact, the original onscreen title for the second movie (and its novelization) was simply Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. The "II" was added to later prints and home-video editions.
- The Saw film series went from 1 to 6 (using Roman numerals for the second to sixth films). Then an Oddly Numbered Sequel (at least over here) is the seventh movie, known as Saw 3D.
- King Kong Lives was released as King Kong 2 in several countries.
- The two movies based on the last Harry Potter book are titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The choice of Arabic numerals over Roman numerals is odd, as these films are the epic finale to the whole series and also decidedly lack any kind of futuristic bent.
- The first three Mission: Impossible films do this. Then the fourth was Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol.
- Men In Black has two sequels but the first uses Roman numbers (Men in Black II, stylized MIIB) and the latter using regular Arabic ones (Men In Black 3, stylized MIB3).
- Played straight with the Iron Man sequels. Averted in the sequels for Thor (The Dark World) and Captain America: The First Avenger (The Winter Soldier).
- And even Iron Man plays with this trope, as the third film is officially titled Iron Man Three.
- The Scary Movie sequels began with numbers but switched to Roman numerals for Scary Movie V.
- The second sequel to Alien was titled Alienł.
- German novelist Karl May was a pioneer of this when he started to publish his adventure stories into volumes. It began in 1892 when he wrote Winnetou I as a prequel to the existing stories featuring the Apache chief, some of which were collected in Winnetou II and Winnetou III, which came out the same year; Winnetou IV was published in 1910. Other May book titles with Roman numerals are Old Surehand I-II (1894-1895), Im Lande des Mahdi I-III (1896), Satan und Ischariot I-III (1896-1897), Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen I-IV" (1898-1903), and Ardistan und Dschinnistan I-II'' (1909).
- One of the few literary examples is Rama II, and there the title can also be taken to refer to the spaceship the book features.
- The sequel to E. E. “Doc” Smith's The Skylark of Space was called Skylark Three, again after a ship starring in the story.
- Another is Fantastic Voyage II, written by Isaac Asimov, who novelized the original Fantastic Voyage and is often mistaken for its original creator because the novelization came out first. This may not technically be considered a sequel because Asimov only used the basic concept.
- Psycho was originally a book. The sequel (which was never filmed) was called Psycho II. None of the actual Psycho sequel films adapt Bloch's sequels, Psycho II and Psycho House.
- A similar situation exists with Brian Garfield's sequel to Death Wish, Death Sentence. None of the Charles Bronson sequel films adapted it. Death Sentence was later filmed with a different hero.
- Martin Caidin's first book about Steve Austin, Cyborg, had three sequels, with the last named Cyborg IV (the other two had completely different names).
- Gary Brander wrote Howling II and Howling III.
- Numerous paperback original series such as the Destroyer, the Penetrator, the Marksman, etc. had numbered titles.
- The UK versions of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot have fun with this; the sequels are called The Princess Diaries: Take Two, The Princess Diaries: Third Time Lucky, The Princess Diaries: Mia Goes Fourth, The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five, The Princess Diaries: Sixsational, The Princess Diaries: Seventh Heaven, The Princess Diaries: After Eight, and The Princess Diaries: To the Nines.
- The Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich take this to the extreme, being no more than a short phrase containing the number in the series (except for holiday specials). The series goes from One For the Money, Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly all the way to Explosive Eighteen in 2011.
- Megan McCafferty's popular series includes Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, and will conclude in April 2009 with Perfect Fifths.
- Several Marcus Didius Falco novels had a count down. Thus Three Hands in the Fountain was followed by Two for the Lions and then One Virgin Too Many. Since the Romans never got around to inventing the number zero, subsequent novels had to drop the numerical theme.
- David Charney wrote Sensei and Sensei II: The Swordmaster.
- The second and third The Science of Discworld books are numbered and subtitled as The Science of Discworld II: The Globe and The Science Of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch.
- Some printings of The Second Jungle Book use the title The Jungle Book II.
- Waylander II by David Gemmell
- The BBC science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf opened its third series with a Star Wars spoofing scroll past of text ending with the line Red Dwarf III: The Same Generation (Nearly). This led the BBC's official listings magazine, the Radio Times, to list the series as Red Dwarf III. Subsequent series were likewise shown as Red Dwarf IV, Red Dwarf V and so on. Eventually, the creators began numbering the series on screen... after which the Radio Times just called it Red Dwarf. This was dropped for the Back to Earth three-parter, although it is referred to (usually unofficially) as Series IX.
- The 2012 series is referred to as Red Dwarf X which does officially make the Back to Earth three-parter a mini-series.
- Another BBC comedy, The Black Adder, was followed by Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth
- In Robot Wars if a team came back with a new version of an old robot they would often call it (Name of Robot) 2 (or whichever number they got up to), one example would by Firestorm which by the time the series ended had got up to Firestorm 5!
- An early episode of Law & Order: SVU was called "Closure." In the second season, the victim from that episode was brought back as a vigilante. The follow-up episode was called "Closure 2."
- Which is kind of an oxymoron if you think about it.
- When CBS revived Goodson-Todman's Match Game in 1973, it was suffixed with "'73," as opposed to calling it "The New Match Game" (which some TV listings actually had). The year in the title changed accordingly each December 31st. (In 1979, NBC revived Password as Password Plus; they were going to name it ''Password '79''.)
- Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut album was followed later the same year by Led Zeppelin II, and by Led Zeppelin III the following year. The untitled album that followed it is informally called Led Zeppelin IV by fans.
- Meat Loaf's breakout album Bat Out of Hell was followed sixteen years later by Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, with Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose following thirteen years after that.
- Metallica released the song "The Unforgiven" on their self-titled album. Six years later, on the album Reload, came the song "The Unforgiven II". Subverted a bit in the lyrics; they are about the Unforgiven from the previous song finding a lifemate and asking "are you unforgiven too?".
- And another twelve years later, on Death Magnetic, Metallica released "The Unforgiven III". Strangely enough, it's the only song in the cycle that doesn't contain the word Unforgiven in any of the lyrics, and musically and lyrically it has very little to do with the other two.
- Although it doesn't contain the musical motif or the word "Unforgiven" it does have the lyrics "And how can I blame you, when it's me I can't forgive?"
- Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion I & II (though released simultaneously)
- Pink Floyd's The Wall has the three-part song "Another Brick In the Wall" (the one involving schoolteachers is Part II).
- Like Led Zeppelin, Queen's debut album was the eponymous Queen, which was followed by Queen II a year later.
- Chicago. They're up to about Chicago 30 now.
- Overkill's self-titled song has currently four sequels.
- The Dethalbum by Dethklok was followed by The Dethalbum II. Also, "Murmaider" from the former was followed by "Murmaider II: The Water God" on the latter.
- Most of Nine Inch Nails' albums, singles and EPs have a "Halo number" appended to the title, indicating the chronological order of its release. The Downward Spiral, for example, is designated "Halo 8", while their most recent release, The Slip, is "Halo 27". Usually the releases that don't have a Halo number are releases that Reznor's record company forced him to release and fall under Canon Discontinuity.
- As a response to the NWOBHM, Guitar Player columnist Mike Varney established the Shrapnel Records label, and issued a U.S. Metal compilation to spotlight unsigned American metal bands. U.S. Metal Vols. II-IV followed.
- An unusual case of this happening with a band name: King Missile III, so named because it was the second time they'd made significant lineup changes since forming. Technically, there was never a King Missile II: The first incarnation of the band was King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) and the second was simply King Missile.
- Big Audio Dynamite became Big Audio Dynamite II once Mick Jones was the only original member left.
- Normally, in classical music, number of works isn't really that important, but there's a particular superstition around writing exactly nine numbered symphonies...
- Gustav Mahler, superstitious that several other previous composers had died either leaving 9 symphonies, or 8 and an unfinished 9th, at one time said that the symphony now numbered his 9th was actually his 10th, by counting the symphonic cantata "Das Lied von der Erde" as a symphony and thus as his actual ninth (this is what qualifies him for this trope). Subverted in that nobody else has since accepted that renumbering, so "Das Lied" remains defined as a symphonic cantata, is NOT counted in the sequence of symphonies, and the 9th symphony as a 9th. Oh, and he died shortly afterwards, leaving sketches for a half-completed 10th.
- Double subverted in that the examples Mahler was thinking of were Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak and Bruckner... but of those, Schubert's "7th" never existed beyond the sketch stage (and still doesn't), the 8th is famously unfinished (and performed in its incomplete version), the 9th *was* completed, but none of them beyond the 6th were published during his lifetime: Bruckner died part-way through writing his own 9th (still performed in its incomplete version) but left at least two "unnumbered" published student works to which critics have given the numbers "0" and "00": and Dvorak retired after *his* 9th, lived quite a few years afterwards without attempting to write another one, but had attempted to withdraw his first four symphonies from publication and refer to symphonies 5-9 as 1-5, and they were published under those numbers for years until the earlier ones were rediscovered... leaving only Beethoven as someone who had definitely written exactly 9 symphonies. (And also left partial sketches for one or two movements of a 10th, but had apparently not touched them for some time.)
- On the other hand, both Ralph Vaughan Williams and Malcolm Arnold have written 9 symphonies and then died. At a very advanced age in both cases.
- Van Halen has a weird case: Van Halen II is a Chronological Album Title (and basically a sequel to the Self-Titled Album as well). Van Halen III is the band's 11th - but third line-up.
- The Beatles' sixth album released by Capitol records in the U.S. was Beatles VI.
- The first two albums by Music/Queen are titled Queen and Queen II. They also released Greatest Hits, Greatest Hits II and Greatest Hits III.
- The WWE's Wrestlemania Pay-Per-View events are normally numbered (although they seem to have trouble deciding whether to use Roman or Arabic numerals), with three exceptions: the sixteenth was dubbed Wrestlemania 2000 to capitalize on millennial fever (and because it was in the year 2000), and the seventeenth and eighteenth were Wrestlemania X-Seven and Wrestlemania X8, respectively, for Xtreme Kool Letterz effect. Their other Pay-Per-View events don't use any form of numbering, instead being identified by the year in which they were held
- The only other Wrestlemania not to use Roman numerals was 13 - which was promoted with Arabic numerals.
- 21, 22, and 23 used Arabic numerals as well (the installments between 2005 and 2007).
- 2012 sees a return to Arabic numbers with 29, although its logo is still shown as "WrestleMania NY NJ◊".
- WrestleMania XXV was promoted as "WrestleMania 25th Anniversary" or "The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania".
- WCW's first nine Superbrawl PPV events were appropriately numbered, then the next was named Superbrawl 2000 much like WWF did with Wrestlemania. This was followed by Superbrawl Revenge, the final Superbrawl before WCW was closed down.
- When TNA began numbering their annual Slammiversary show (so named because it marks the anniversary of the company's founding) beginning with the 2010 event, they decided to number the shows based on which anniversary they were celebrating rather than how many Slammiversary events had been held. This means that the 2014 event, Slammiversary XII, is the tenth event in the series.
- William William Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 2, and Henry VI, parts 2 and 3
- Spoofed by The Book of Sequels, a book consisting of humorous fictional sequels, spinoffs, and adaptations of famous works, with Romeo and Juliet Part 2, which reveals that Romeo's poison was actually a sleeping potion, the knife was actually a fake prop knife, and that Romeo and Juliet live on to go on a bunch of wacky adventures.
- Only three of the first six Final Fantasy games were released in North America. Two of those — IV, and VI — were renumbered for North American release, making them II, and III. This was made all the more confusing when, starting with Final Fantasy VII, Square decided to release the games with their proper numbers globally, making it seem in North America as though Final Fantasy IV-VI had simply vanished. This was further muddled when the NES and SNES games were rereleased worldwide on other consoles and given their original numbers.
- The series also features Final Fantasy X-2, which - perhaps confusingly for some - is neither Final Fantasy XI nor Final Fantasy XII. Or Final Fantasy VIII, for that matter.
- Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV are MMORPGs; every other Final Fantasy game is a single-player RPG. The former makes this distinction with its official title being "Final Fantasy XI: Online".
- Notably, Final Fantasy X-2 is the only direct sequel of a game to be named like that. All the others (Advent Children, Revenant Wings, The After Years, Dirge of Cerberus) are sticking with just a subtitle.
- Final Fantasy X-2 may have started a trend within the franchise since Final Fantasy XIII has gotten a direct sequel named Final Fantasy XIII-2. Also, XIII got a SECOND SEQUEL, named Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, making the XIII games a mini trilogy.
- There also exist Final Fantasy Legend II and III for the original Game Boy. In Japan these are part of the SaGa series, also numbered 2 and 3. The same series has sub-series with numbered sequels in Romancing SaGa 2 and 3, as well as SaGa Frontier 2.
- Trying to arrange the Kingdom Hearts in chronological order can get confusing. Birth By Sleep is the first Kingdom Hearts game by canon, despite coming out 8 years after Kingdom Hearts(I), which was the first released title. Kingdom Hearts II, the only game with a straightforward numbered subtitle, was neither the second game released nor the second chronologically (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories being both). The most recent game, Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], while the direct sequel to II, is not the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III. According to Nomura, III is to be release next after the HD remasters, and it will be the eighth game in the series (ignoring updated rereleases).
- The SimCity series has had a lot of fun with this one: the first sequel was named SimCity 2000, presumably in homage to the year 2000, one of the game's optional starting dates. The third game was then named SimCity 3000, presumably because it would be odd to go from 2000 to 3 in terms of sequel numbering. (Though nobody told that to the Pokemon movie people.) Of course, the fourth game was called SimCity 4.
- And now the game that should be SimCity 5 is simply titled SimCity because it's a reboot of the series.
- The Unreal Tournament series also had its share. The original was called simply Unreal Tournament, the sequel was Unreal Tournament 2003 (to sound like other sports titles such as Madden 2004 - they wanted to emphasize the 'bloody sporting competition' aspect). The sequel/re-tool of that was Unreal Tournament 2004. The next game was originally Unreal Tournament 2007, but now it's just Unreal Tournament III. Apparently, even the developers didn't think 2004 was that different from 2003.
- The 200X games were both based on the Unreal Engine 2. UT 3 uses an entirely new engine (The Unreal Engine 3, naturally), and is therefore the third generation of the series.
- There's more reasons, too. UT03 was rushed, so they released UT04 as sort of an upgrade. As such, they count as one game. Also, before Unreal Tournament there was Unreal and Unreal 2, which were single-player games. UT3 has both single and multiplayer modes, so it counts as Unreal 3 as well as Unreal Tournament 3. Phew.
- Depending on which games you count as canon, Worms 4: Mayhem was either the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth Worms game.
- The Japan-only Shin Megami Tensei NINE is almost a subversion: 'nine' is the number of endings, the main series only having 3-5 games depending on what you count as a spin-off. Counting spin-offs and remakes, the number of games actually jumps over 50...
- Super Mario World actually had a subtitle when it was first released in Japan, namely Super Mario Bros. 4. Then, for the Western releases of Yoshi's Island, it had the subtitle "Super Mario World 2". And in the handheld world, the first game of the Wario spinoff series was named Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.
- Mario Party has numbered sequels from 1-9.
- Mostly avoided by Mario Kart, which instead went for the Super Title 64 Advance format (though the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube installments were examples of Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo). It succumbed to this trope starting with Mario Kart 7, although the numeral in Mario Kart 8 is shaped like a Mobius strip to highlight the antigravity segments present in some tracks.
- Technically, Mario Kart 7 would be the ninth game in the series and 8 the 11th if arcade installments were counted.
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
- The Contra series only had two numbered sequels. Contra III: The Alien Wars for the SNES, which directly followed the original arcade and NES games, Contra and Super Contra (aka Super C), although Contra III was just the Market-Based Title for the American version (the Japanese version was titled Contra Spirits). The second numbered sequel was Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, although it was released more than a decade later after other Contra sequels were made. The "4" on its title has less to do with its release order and more to do with its setting (taking place after Contra III, but before Contra: Shattered Soldier)..
- The Anno series started with Anno 1602, then 1503 (yes, exactly like that), then 1701, 1404, and 2070. The only pattern in this sequel numbering is that the numbers add up to 9.
- All of the 2D Samurai Shodown sequelsreceived consecutive numbers from II to VI (plus V Special); however, in Japan, each game had a variation of the Samurai Spirits title and some were prequels. Still, Samurai Shodown V in Japan was Samurai Spirits Zero. The fictional chronology goes like this: V, VI, I, III, IV, and II.
- Subversion: 'Marathon was followed by Marathon 2 which was followed by Marathon Infinity. Infinity was then given a joke award by MacFormat for "largest version number increase." As if this wasn't enough, the game engine for Marathon 2 was subsequently released and developed into an open-source version named Aleph One, thereby restoring sequential numbering at the expense of being understandable by anyone who wasn't a math major. (The subversion was partially justified, if that's the right term, in that much of the "plot" of Infinity was based on universe hopping and the game was released with the creators' level-design, physics-editing, and graphics-editing tools so that players could make their own stories, making the game "infinite.")
- Infocom's Zork series/universe started with Zork I, II and III, but after that got complicated, with the Enchanter Trilogy (Enchanter, Sorcerer and Spellbreaker) and then titles like Beyond Zork and Zork Zero.
- Another bizarre example is the Leisure Suit Larry series: The first three games were numbered normally, but after the third one the series' primary game designer realized he'd painted himself into a corner by giving the franchise closure in the third game. He then decided to skip the fourth chapter in the series altogether, and went on to make Leisure Suit Larry 5 while leaving the events of the fourth game to the players' imaginations, so that he himself wouldn't have to explain how Larry got to where he was in the fifth game.
- Half-Life being followed many years later by Half-Life 2, then the sequels (which even Valve admits should be referred to as Half-Life 3) being called Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
- Wizards And Warriors for the NES was followed by two sequels on the same console, Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II and Kuros, Visions of Power: Wizards and Warriors III. There was also a side-game for the Game Boy titled Wizards and Warriors Chapter X: The Fortress of Fear, which came out between II and III, making us wonder where IV to IX went.
- The Might and Magic series tends to follow this trope but two entries are an exception. The fourth game dropped the number and called Might and Magic: Clouds of Xeen while the fifth game was Might and Magic: Darkside of Xeen. Both can be combined to form one world and were later released as one game called Might and Magic: World of Xeen. This can be confusing for those who only know of the combined version, as they assume World of Xeen is #4 then wonder what happened to #5 when the next game in the series is Might and Magic VI.
- The original Mega Man sequels used Roman numerals in the actual games, even though the packaging logos always used Arabic numerals. This caused a bit of confusion when the Sequel Series Mega Man X was eventually released, as some people assumed the letter "X" was the Roman numeral for ten and not the letter, even though a Mega Man VII was eventually released for the SNES alongside X2 and X3. Capcom switched to Arabic numerals for the in-game logos starting with Mega Man 8, so there wasn't that much of a confusion anymore by the time the actual Mega Man 10 came out.
- In regards to the Game Boy games, both the ingame titles and the packaging logos always used Roman numerals... except for the fifth game, which still carried a Roman numeral for the title screen, yet the packaging logo had the same Arabic numeral problem as the console games at the time.
- Note that this was never an issue for the Japanese versions, where the Rockman sequels always used Arabic numerals.
- Fire Emblem is a notable aversion. Officially, the games are primarily identified by their subtitles, not numbers. However, the internal programming for most of the games and official sites do use numbered titles reflecting their placement in the series (i.e: the GBA games are numbered 6 to 8) and the English speaking fandom do use numbered titles as a shorthand for the sake of simplicity.
- The Legend of Zelda games are similar to the Fire Emblem games in the lack of numbers in the titles; only the second game ever released was a numbered sequel — Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which was a direct sequel to the original game. As with the Fire Emblem series, most of the others are Nonlinear Sequels, which probably accounts for the lack of numbers, although fans sometimes do refer to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as "Zelda III".
- Touch Detective called its sequel Touch Detective 2˝ as an homage to the Naked Gun.
- The Star Wars Dark Forces series seems to be afraid of the number 3, instead naming both the second and third game "2": after the original Dark Forces was "Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight" and then "Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast", dropping the "Dark Forces". They then dropped the numbers entirely with "Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy" (it was, unfortunately, not called "Jedi Outcast 2")
- The Battlefield Franchise has 13 or so full games, and 21 instalments if you include expansion packs. The WW2 version of the game is titled Battlefield 1942 & the sequel 1943, there is a Battlefield 2142 (set in the year of the title), while the "modern" version of the game were called Battlefield 2 (despite there not a Battlefield 1, as Battlefield 2 was the sequel to Battlefield 1942), Battlefield 3 & Battlefield 4, with a strong likelyhood of a Battlefield 5 being released in 2015. There is also a Bad Company 2.
- The Sam & Max episodes have tv-production-style episode numbers, in the form of "101" to "106" for Season 1, and "201" through "205" for Season 2.
- Anubis II is not a sequel to anything - the title is meant to be read as "Anubis the Second"
- Most Bemani series use "[game title] nth Mix" (such as Dance Dance Revolution, up to 7th Mix), though beatmania IIDX used "beatmania IIDX nth Style" up to 10th Style. From IIDX 11 onards, IIDX uses just numbers followed by a subtitle ("RED" for 11, "Happy Sky" for 12, etc). pop'n music uses numbers too, with the 12th main installment onwards having subtitles ("Iroha" for 12, "Carnival" for 13, and such).
- Initial D Arcade Stage used "Initial D Arcade Stage ver. n" for the first three releases; the fourth game onwards drops the "ver," signifying an overhaul in the game's mechanics.
- Bubble Bobble: Oddly named Non Linear Numbered Sequels: First there was Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble II, and Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III (whose subtitle was often altered to "Rainbow Islands II" by the European publisher). Then a Bubble Bobble Part 2 comes out for NES and Game Boy, and then Bubble Symphony aka Bubble Bobble II comes out, and Bubble Memories: The Story of Bubble Bobble III. This makes three second-installments and two third-installments.
- The Wild ARMs sequels are numbered 2 to 5 in America, but in Japan the sequels have the following subtitles: 2nd Ignition, Advanced 3rd, The 4th Detonator, and The Vth Vanguard. Yes, that's a Vth.
- The only numbered sequels to the original Castlevania were Castlevania II Simons Quest and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the NES, as well as the oddly named Super Castlevania IV for the SNES. Ironically III is actually a prequel to the first game in terms of setting, while IV is a remake; neither had a numbered title in Japan. Castlevania The Adventure for the Game Boy had its own sequel, titled Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge. The rest of the series simply used subtitles (most of the time).
- The first Metal Gear Solid game is actually the third Metal Gear game, following Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 on the MSX2, but uses the word "Solid" as a substitute for the number "3". The subsequent sequels kept the word "Solid" as part of the title and began a new line of numbered sequels (MGS2, MGS3, and MGS4). Portable Ops, despite being part of the MGS canon, is not counted as part of the numbered series due to the fact its on a portable platform. Ironically, Kojima's original intention for MGS2 was to call it MGS III just to confuse people about the numbering.
- Street Fighter II, the sequel to Street Fighter, had its own sub-series of pseudo-sequels, none of which were named in anyway that reflected their release order. On the other hand, the original Street Fighter III was followed by 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike, and before that there was the Street Fighter Alpha prequel series, which had its own pair of sequels (Alpha 2 and Alpha 3), as well as the EX series (EX 2 and EX 3). Then there's Street Fighter 2010, an obscure NES platformer that has nothing do with the rest of the series and is named after the year it's supposed to take place.
- The Metroid series does a weird mix with numbering. After the first Metroid game, the next game was dubbed Metroid II: Return of Samus. In the 3rd game, people clearly see "Metroid 3" in the opening scene, but it does not appear in Super Metroid's official title. Done again with "Metroid 4" for Metroid Fusion. The Metroid Prime series have their own set of numbered sequels with Echoes and Corruption bearing 2 and 3 in their titles while Metroid Prime: Hunters lacks a number. (and then there's Metroid: Other M, taking place between the third and fourth)
- Grand Theft Auto can be confusing to people who play it casually, or have little knowledge of it. It started out as Grand Theft Auto, then got expansions, and was followed up with Grand Theft Auto 2. Grand Theft Auto III (notice the change to Roman Numerals) was released as a whole new gameplay style. Afterwards, they cut the numbers and started using the fictional city names as subtitles. They also released prequels, with the city name, and "Stories" in the title. Then, they released Grand Theft Auto IV (thus grouping all the city-ed games together as Grand Theft Auto III games), and made special episodes. So you can have people who believe that Vice City is GTAI, Liberty City Stories is GTAII, San Andreas is GTAIII, and Ballad of Gay Tony is GTAIV. And if you show them Grand Theft Auto 1 or 2, they will assume they are simply handheld ports of whatever they think I and II are.
- Rockstar seems to follow the "It's not a sequel unless the engine changes" rule of numbering. GTA III, VC, and SA all used the same engine (improved slightly over time), whereas GTAIV,TLAD and BOGT not only used the same engine, but basically the same map.
- Rayman has had two numbered sequels with subtitles, Rayman 2: The Great Escape and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Later for Rayman Raving Rabbids with Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (RRR itself was tentatively titled Rayman 4). Averted with Rayman Origins, which is a prequel to the first game.
- The sequels to Sakura Wars are Sakura Wars 2, 3, 4... and V.
- The Sonic series has become very cluttered with sequel numbers. The games for the Sega Genesis include Sonic the Hedgehog (also called Sonic 1), Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the two halves of one game. Three console generations later, a fourth game was added to the series, called Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
- Sonic 1, of course, should not be confused with the identically named Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), which is not part of that series of games.
- Numerous other games in the franchise have their own sequels, some more straightforward than others:
- id Software likes to do this with their DOOM and Quake games, but their Wolfenstein titles avoid this.
- The Jumper series, consisting of Jumper, Jumper Two and Jumper Threenote .
- Assassin's Creed, which consists of the original game, Assassin's Creed II, and Assassin's Creed III. Also includes a pair of sequels, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations to the second game.
- Played with as the next game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
- The three Compile-developed sequels to Puyo Puyo have puns on numbers. Tsū, the Japanese word for expert, also sounds like the English word two; SUN, when pronounced in English, sounds like the Japanese word for three; and the "yon" in Puyo Puyo~n means four.
- Namco really, really didn't want to make a fourth game in the Ace Combat series. When they had to, it was only under condition that its number was padded to Ace Combat 04. They finally gave it up after Ace Combat 6.
- Gauntlet was followed by Gauntlet II, Gauntlet: The Third Encounter and Gauntlet IV. The Third Encounter is an oddball not only in title; it was only released for a handheld system, namely the Atari Lynx.
- The Ys series had two different fourth installments produced concurrently: Ys IV: Mask of the Sun for the Super Famicom and Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys for the PC Engine. The seventh game was titled Ys Seven instead of Ys VII.
- Two different games titled Spelunker II were released in Japan: one for arcades, one for the Famicom.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver's Working Title was Pocket Monsters 2: Gold and Silver. Years later, sequels to Black and White were made and titled Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
- The Unnkulia series features "Unnkulian Underworld: The Unknown Unventure", followed by "Unnkulia 2", "Unnkulia Zero", and "Unnkulia One-Half".
- Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is a somewhat confusing title, as considerably more than two Shinobi titles were released before it. The Japanese title, The Super Shinobi II, marks it as a sequel to the earlier Sega Genesis game known elsewhere as The Revenge of Shinobi.
- The Tengai Makyou Gaiden Game Fuun Kabuki Den has a fake title screen reading Tengai Makyou III. The real Tengai Makyou III was not released until eight years after Tengai Makyou IV.
- The console games based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise fall into Sequel Number Snarl, but in North America they are as follows:
- Luigi's Mansion 2 is the European name for what the rest of the world knows as Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon.
- The Neptunia series is an odd case. The first game, Hyperdimension Neptunia, was developed on a shoestring, so the game was developed to be a one-off with a completely satisfying Golden Ending that left no loose ends. When the game turned out to be a Sleeper Hit in both Japan and the west, a sequel was announced and properly funded. Rather than completely abandon all the characters and/or blatantly Retcon the first game, the developers instead opted to reboot and retell the story while still marketing it as a sequel, branding the result Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. When it came time for the third game, a direct sequel to mk2 without any reboots, they simply spared everyone the confusion and titled it Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory.
- Operation Wolf 3 was the only numbered sequel to Operation Wolf.
- None of the Dizzy sequels carried numbers in the titles, but Treasure Island Dizzy, Fantasy World Dizzy, Magicland Dizzy and Spellbound Dizzy displayed "Dizzy II," "Dizzy III," "Dizzy IV" and "Dizzy V" on the Status Line.
- The two samurai-themed Platform Games developed by Vivid Image were titled First Samurai and Second Samurai.
- The sequel to Vigilante 8 was titled Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense (2nd Battle in Japan).
- The fourth Magical Drop game was titled Magical Drop F instead of Magical Drop IV, in a blatant case of tetraphobia.
- Fire Pro Wrestling had two numbered sequels on the PC Engine, and Super Fire Pro Wrestling had two numbered sequels on the Super Famicom. The rest of the series Stopped Numbering Sequels in Japan, though the second Game Boy Advance installment was released as Fire Pro Wrestling 2 in the U.S.
- Chase HQ 2 is actually the fourth game in the series, after Special Criminal Investigation and Super Chase.
- The Super Robot Wars franchise includes numerous numbered sequels, though the Japanese titles use Sino-Japanese ordinal numbers, e.g. the actual Japanese title of Super Robot Wars 2 is Dai-2-Ji Super Robot Taisen.
Webcomics and Web Animation
- Homestar Runner spoofs this with its movie, "Dangeresque 2: This Time, It's Not Dangeresque 1". The end of that e-mail announced "Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective" (in 3D). In an e-mail concerning Dangeresque 3, Dangeresque 1 was revealed as "Dangeresque 1: Dangeresque, Too?" (not in 3D).
- Also, in the Halloween cartoon "Three Times Halloween Funjob", Coach Z tells Homestar he's dressed as Kool Moe Dee of the Treacherous Three (and not "Wesley Snakes"), and Homestar remarks "I only saw Treacherous 1 and 2, so I wouldn't know."
- A Halloween cartoon is titled Jibblies 2, although it is pointed out that there was no original Jibblies. Quoth the Strong Sad: "Original? Horror movie? Not these days."
- The Sluggy Freelance Story Arc "KITTEN" was based around parodying horror movie tropes. Naturally, it was given a sequel titled "KITTEN II."
- Survival of the Fittest, a RP board, is split up into "versions" by Danya. Each version takes place on a different island with ~150 characters trying to be the last one standing. Version 0 refers to the final "test run" which was only shown on an obscure channel, and Version 1 was shown nation-wide (and the first where people started writing). These were followed a year later by Version 2 and another year later by Version 3. The fourth version takes place in 2008.
- In the Facebook app Rock Band World, the only goal to get one of these is the Scavenger Hunt goal "Rock Band Petting Zoo". With seventeen songs, "so think of this as the main event to Part 1's opening ceremony."
Real Life — Sports
- Each Super Bowl is known by its Roman numbered ordinal. This began with Super Bowl III in 1969, after the first two were simply known as the "AFL-NFL Championship Game" and later retconned into Super Bowls.
- The Olympic Games are officially referred to by number. The 2016 Summer Olympics will be the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.
- It's worth noticing the ones cancelled due to World Wars still count for the Summer Games, but not for the Winter Games.
- Makes a certain amount of sense since an olympiad is a measure of time.
- In boxing and mixed martial arts, rematches between notable competitors are often numbered, such as Ali-Frazier 2.
- The Ultimate Fighting Championship began using numbered sequels after the first event, which was retroactively renamed "UFC 1: The Beginning." Interestingly, there was much fanfare over UFC 100, even though it was actually the 105th UFC event due to the fact that five previous events did not follow the traditional numbering scheme. The smaller Ultimate Fight Night series of events used a numbering scheme until UFN 6, after which they were usually named after their headliners. The Ultimate Fighter reality series is numbered based on season. A new line of free events airing on the Versus channel is set to debut with "UFC Live on Versus 1," a rare instance of a work receiving a number before it has any sequels. Many other mixed martial arts promotions have followed suit by numbering each of their events.
Real Life — Other