When executives have a hit on their hands, the first thing they tend to want is a sequel to cash in on the hype. But sometimes the creators don't cooperate. Maybe it would take a long time to really do a sequel justice and the execs want a quick turnaround. Maybe the creators have become tired of the franchise and want to move on to something new. Sequelitis Or maybe one or more key creators fell victim to Author Existence Failure.
Fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be), there's a compromise solution: hand it off to the B-team and let the original creators either take their time to make the "real" sequel or move on to whatever they'd rather be working on next.
This often happens in video game franchises. Since a totally new sequel with new assets and even a new engine can take many years to create, publishers will often task a different studio with making a quick-and-dirty Mission-Pack Sequel while the original studio takes their time to make the "real" sequel. Some annualized franchises even alternate years between the A-team and B-team.
In film, this often happens when the original director steps back into a producing or consulting role, and is sometimes accompanied by a "soft reboot" in which previous installments are still canon in Broad Strokes but there's a major tonal shift. As such, the line between this and a full Reboot can sometimes get fuzzy.
This is de rigueur in comic books, where until relatively recently franchises very rarely stayed in their original creator's hands; thus, only especially notable comics examples should be listed.
Naturally, results vary, and many a Contested Sequel has come about due to this practice. Sometimes the B-team feels too beholden to the original, leading to cries of It's the Same, Now It Sucks!. Of course, if they stray too far, fans may cry that They Changed It, Now It Sucks! because Only the Creator Does It Right. Either way, it's a leading cause of the Sophomore Slump in video games and movies.
On the other hand, sometimes a fresh set of hands can lead to a Surprisingly Improved Sequel or Even Better Sequel; if and when the original creators do return to a franchise, they might be surprised to find that fans now consider the "B-team" to be My Real Daddy. In extreme cases, the cycle can continue with the B-team becoming the new A-team when the franchise is handed off to a third creator years or even decades down the road.
Another major cause of a sequel falling into different hands is when a group runs afoul of Creative Differences. If one vision contrasts with another, it may become a tug-of-war for creative control until someone wins out. In other situations, problems may arise that force one group to bail out, or sell off the rights to produce if they go bankrupt. Contracts can affect where these rights go and when, and if companies divide, it's possible the work will be handled by a replacement group, some of which may have divergent ideas from the original. There is also Sequelitis, the trend where works fall out of favor when new installments don't do the previous ones justice, and a lot of the time, it's because someone gets too fast and loose with the elements of a work and creates a big mess as they run out of ways to keep the magic going. The simplest fix is to hand it off to new blood with decent ideas to employ.
Compare Changing of the Guard, which is when a sequel focuses on different characters, and with which this sometimes overlaps.
- Although he occasionally did some minor consulting or character design work, Akira Toriyama largely left the Dragon Ball franchise in the hands of various other writers and artists after the end of the Dragon Ball Z anime; most notably, he had little involvement in Sequel Series Dragon Ball GT, which many fans treat as a Dork Age. This changed with the newer Sequel Series Dragon Ball Super, the first Toriyama-headed Dragon Ball series in almost two decades. Notably, it largely retconned GT into Canon Discontinuity. However, with Dragon Ball Xenoverse introduced, a plug-and-play multiple reality situation goes into effect, and Super also touched on the idea of multiple universes existing.
- Downplayed with Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, which changed animation studios from Diomedea to Studio Comet, but retained some staff from the original (although quite a few notable production roles changed hands between staff).
- For the second season of Psycho-Pass, there was change in the animation studios (Production I.G to Tatsunoko Production* ) and main writer (Gen Urobuchi to Tow Ubukata). The end result became a Contested Sequel as Ubukata revealed that he had to "fill in the blanks" when he was told of the movie's plot. The movie had the original studio and writer back and was better-received than Season 2 was.
- The animated series of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- was done by Bee Train but after the Rekord arc, the rest of the second season had a lot of fillers. This led to a change of animation studios from Bee Train to Production I.G. and staff with Nanase Ohkawa of CLAMP to adapt the rest of the arcs into two OADs, ignoring the filler material from the TV series.
- There was also a change in the animation studios and director in Hoozuki no Reitetsu because Wit Studio, who were in charge of Season 1, had been very busy with other shows which leaves Studio DEEN to do the OVAs and Seasons 2 and 3.
- FLCL Progressive and FLCL Alternative are spearheaded by new writers, but they stay firmly rooted in the spirit of the original FLCL and take many cues from it.
- Both the anime and the manga of Fairy Tail have been subject to many distinct changes of production. The first anime was criticized for being somewhat Off-Model from the manga's designs, featuring over-saturated colors, using magic circles for all the spells cast that weren't in the manga, and toning down a lot of the violence and Fanservice. This was the setup up before the anime went on hiatus in 2013. In 2014, the anime went under new production which toned the colors back to more like what is seen in the traditional ink colored art of the manga, removed the spell circles, made the characters accurate to their designs in the manga, and gained better reception. However, it also had some faults, coming at the cost of losing nearly all its signature songs (the rights of which belong to Ponycanyon) and replacing them with shaky imitations by the same composer. The second anime ran until 2016, with a third anime to cap off the run of the original manga to air in October 2018. On top of all this, Fairy Tail advanced over to a new author while the original stayed on as a storyboard artist, co-creating Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest while launching a new series, Edens Zero.
- All of the Direct-to-Video sequels made by Disneytoon Studios fall into this, since they were Disney's animation sub-studio as opposed to their in-house animation department that makes the Disney Animated Canon films. In some cases, such as the two Cinderella sequels and Bambi II, this was out of necessity as almost all of the original artist that worked on the films had long since passed away or retired.
- Every single animated feature directed by Don Bluth likewise had almost all of their sequels shipped out to outside studios or departments, and Bluth had no involvement with them. Bartok the Magnificent was the lone exception since it was directed in-house at 20th Century Fox's animation department by Bluth himself to keep his animators busy between work on Anastasia and Titan A.E..
- While there was no official reboot, the tone of the '90s Batman films shifted notably between the Tim Burton–helmed Batman and Batman Returns and the Joel Schumacher–helmed Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Most fans consider the latter of two films to be an irredeemable Dork Age, although a minority find it So Bad, It's Good. Fans are divided on Forever.
- After Richard Donner left partway through the filming of Superman II, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace were helmed by the B-teams of Richard Lester and Sidney J. Furie, respectively. Reactions were so bad that Bryan Singer considered them Canon Discontinuity when he directed Superman Returns almost twenty years later, although that one fared only slightly better.
- Ridley Scott had moved on by the time the producers got serious about making a sequel to Alien, so they tapped then-newcomer James Cameron for Aliens instead. Both films are well-regarded, although questions of which is the better film often become heated. Other B-teams took over for Alien³ and beyond.
- Bryan Singer left the X-Men Film Series for Superman Returns after directing the well-regarded X-Men and X2: X-Men United; the Brett Ratner–directed X-Men: The Last Stand and subsequent spinoffs under various other B-teams were... somewhat more poorly regarded. The franchise got back on track with Matthew Vaughn's prequel X-Men: First Class, and Singer returned for X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.
- James Cameron declined to return to write and direct Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, saying that he'd finished the story with the classic Even Better Sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The rights having changed hands a couple times since T2, this didn't stop various B-teams from taking a crack at sequels anyway, with hotly contested but generally less-well-received results.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek went through this quite a bit. After the disappointing Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Roddenberry was Kicked Upstairs and largely locked out of the production process as essentially Producer Emeritus for about seven years (especially after the film ran way over budget and Roddenberry's pitch for a sequel had the Enterprise crew have to ensure the assassination of John F. Kennedy). The B-team consisted of producer Harve Bennett during these years, with Nicholas Meyer and then Leonard Nimoy helming the vastly improved Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Roddenberry wouldn't return himself to the center seat until Star Trek: The Next Generation, with his death in the '90s necessitating another B-team, Berman and Braga, taking over.
- After near–Franchise Killer Star Trek: Nemesis, the torch was passed again, this time to J. J. Abrams, who used some Timey-Wimey Ball magic to softly reboot the franchise with Star Trek and follow up with Contested Sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.
- The Force Awakens is the first full-fledged Star Wars film not to directly involve George Lucas, instead created by J. J. Abrams. Due to the severely Broken Base over the Prequel Trilogy, this is a rare case of the B-Team Sequel being more anticipated because of a changing of the guard from the original creator.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Iron Man: Iron Man and Iron Man 2 were both directed by Jon Favreau. Favreau refused to direct the third installment thanks to all the Executive Meddling he put up with on the first one, so Iron Man 3 ended up being directed by Shane Black.
- Captain America: Captain America: The First Avenger was directed by Joe Johnston. The two sequels, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, were both directed by Joe and Anthony Russo.
- Thor: Thor was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Patty Jenkins was brought in to direct Thor: The Dark World but was fired and replaced with Alan Taylor. Taylor criticized Marvel's Executive Meddling, so Thor: Ragnarok was directed by Taika Waititi.
- The Avengers: The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron were both directed by Joss Whedon. However, once again, Executive Meddling reared its ugly head during filming of the second film, and Whedon declined to direct the third installment. The above-mentioned Russo brothers replaced him as the directors of Avengers: Infinity War.
- Planned for the The Pink Panther film series. Originator/Director Blake Edwards and star Peter Sellers were not getting along during the production of Revenge of the Pink Panther so Sellers was in the middle of arranging for another Pink Panther to be made without Edwards' involvement. But then Sellers died, and Edwards made the sequel without Sellers instead.
- The first Jaws is largely regarded as a great movie and was directed by a young Steven Spielberg. Jaws 2 was a mediocre sequel helmed by Jeannot Szwarc, but it has its fans, and then the series went downhill with Jaws 3D and Jaws: The Revenge being helmed by Joe Alves and Joseph Sargent, respectively.
- A similar creative team were behind both Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park: both were based on novels by Michael Crichton, adapted for the screen by David Koepp, directed by Steven Spielberg and scored by Spielberg's regular composer John Williams; none of these people were involved with Jurassic Park III. A second B-Team took over for Jurassic World
- Exorcist II: The Heretic was made without director William Friedkin or writer William Peter Blatty. The results spoke for themselves. Blatty did write and direct The Exorcist III, which was a vast improvement.
- Damien: Omen II was made without director Richard Donner or writer David Seltzer. Donner was busy directing Superman, while Seltzer wasn't interested in doing a sequel.
- Neither John Milius nor Oliver Stone had any involvement with Conan the Destroyer. The result was a sequel that went for a PG rating by toning down the violence and nudity.
- Neither John Hughes nor Harold Ramis had any involvement with National Lampoon's European Vacation. Ramis was busy with Ghostbusters (1984), while Hughes had no idea the film had even been made until he saw a TV spot.
- Predator 2 was made without Arnold Schwarzenegger or director John McTiernan. Arnie didn't have much confidence in the idea, while McTiernan was busy directing The Hunt for Red October.
- McTiernan didn't return for Die Hard 2 for the same reason.
- Not only did Grease 2 fail to get back John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John, but also the original director and screenwriter.
- The Next Karate Kid was not only made without Ralph Maccio, but without the director and screenwriter of the first three films.
- Paul W.S. Anderson had no involvement with Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, as he was busy working on Event Horizon.
- The sequels to RoboCop (1987) were made without Paul Verhoeven or the original screenwriters.
- While John Hughes returned to write Home Alone 3, Chris Columbus did not and neither did John Williams.
- After Douglas Adams died with his The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series finishing on an unsatisfactory note, Eoin Colfer was brought in to write a final book, which was released to mixed reviews. Although Adams said in interviews that he eventually intended to write a sixth book, what few notes he left on the subject are unrelated to Colfer's ...And Another Thing and were instead packaged together with a half-finished Dirk Gently manuscript and various other scraps and musings and posthumously released as The Salmon of Doubt.
- The Millennium Trilogy was originally supposed to be a ten-book series, but Stieg Larsson died after completing only three books. Another writer was hired to continue the series with The Girl in the Spider Web. Although Larsson reportedly left behind partial manuscripts for a fourth and fifth book, they are in the possession of his girlfriend, who does not approve of the continuation of the series by ghostwriters, and these materials are not used in Spider Web.
- Gene Roddenberry, the father of the Star Trek franchise, passed away partway through Star Trek: The Next Generation's seven-year run. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the first Trek Sequel Series to be created without any direct input from Roddenberry, being largely helmed instead by Rick Berman and Michael Piller. Rick Berman, another TNG alum, went on to produce Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. The game was made by Ubisoft Quebec after Ubisoft Montreal took a break following the infamous Assassin's Creed: Unity, making them rethink the future of the series.
- After Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, A-team developer Rocksteady wanted plenty of time to create the last game in the trilogy, Batman: Arkham Knight. To keep the series going, WB Games Montreal was given a turn at the wheel with the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, using modified assets from the previous games. note General consensus is the gameplay is too derivative of Arkham City but the story takes the series in an interesting direction.
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the fourth game in the series, was developed by Sanzaru Games, the company that handled the HD Trilogy re-release, rather than Sucker Punch.
- Dark Souls II falls square into this. Series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki supervised the production of the game, but most of his attention and that the original Dark Souls team was on making Bloodborne, which was in development around the same time. To add to this, the original director, Tomohiro Shibuya, left the project under uncertain circumstances (though it's been alleged that the original version didn't feel very much like a Souls game) and a new director took over from there, around the halfway point in production. This goes some way toward explaining why Dark Souls II is considered the weakest game of the franchise by many.
- When Dizzy creators Philip and Andrew Oliver decided to concentrate on developing games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Codemasters sought another developer to continue the series on home computers. Big Red Software's Magicland Dizzy went over well enough that Codemasters made Big Red their new A-team, and let them develop almost all subsequent Dizzy games aside from the few that the Oliver Twins coded for the NES. Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, however, was assigned to another B-team, Visual Impact.
- Stuntman is an interesting double example in that the sequel had both a different developer and publisher. The original was developed by Reflections and published by Infogrames under the Atari brand name. The sequel, Stuntman: Ignition, was developed by Paradigm Entertainment and published by THQ. Also interesting is that the companies that worked on the first game outlasted the companies that worked on the sequel.
- Lunar: Dragon Song: Primary development duties were outsourced by Game Arts to Japan Art Media, the same company that developed Lunar: Silver Star Story.
- In general, ever since the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series rise to fame, the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series fell to this with most of the recognized and talented names either working on the Persona series or stepped down to let others forward. During the development of Shin Megami Tensei IV, Team Maniax was undergoing a shift in their workforce, and when Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse began development, practically the entire team was now new people.
- After the success of BioShock, creator Ken Levine and developer Irrational's ambitious plans for what eventually became BioShock Infinite made for a six-year wait. In the meantime, publisher 2K tasked B-team 2K Marin with creating BioShock 2, which turned out to be a Contested Sequel. Detractors criticized the recycled setting, derivative premise, slow start, and shoehorned multiplayer; proponents cite the improved gameplay and mechanics and excellent third act, and even the solid-but-forgettable multiplayer found an audience. The Minerva's Den add-on is lauded as one of the best pieces of DLC ever made by those who actually played it, although a late PC release doomed it to relative obscurity.
- After "finishing the fight" with Halo 3 and performing a few victory laps with Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, A-team Bungie officially handed the Halo franchise over to B-team 343 Industries starting with Halo 4. 343 was spun off from Microsoft Studios specifically to shepherd the franchise after Bungie's departure from Microsoft in 2007.
- Metroid Prime Trilogy:
- Nintendo's decision to entrust the then-unknown American developer, Retro Studios, with the task of creating a successor to the immensely acclaimed Super Metroid was quite controversial when first announced. The revelation that they were going to bring the series into 3D via means of First-Person Shooter elements didn't help matters. Of course, this reaction was totally flipped around when the game, Metroid Prime, actually came out, with it receiving high praise from both fans and critics, and producing two direct sequels. If this didn't cement Retro Studios' status as the Metroid series' Real Daddy, then the critical and commercial power bombing of series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto's own 3D entry into the series, Metroid: Other M, certainly did.
- Metroid Prime 4 is not being developed by Retro Studios, but by a new, currently unknown development team.
- The Call of Duty series was created by developer Infinity Ward. However, after the success of the second game, Activision tasked developer Treyarch and later developer Sledgehammer Games to make their own installments so that a Call of Duty game could be released every year. After Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired from Infinity Ward in 2010, which studio is the A-Team became a lot more arguable.
- After A-team Harmonix was purchased by Viacom and left to develop Rock Band, the Guitar Hero franchise was purchased by Activision and given to B-team Neversoft starting with Guitar Hero III.
- A-team Neversoft handed the keys to the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series over to B-team Robomodo in 2007. The series was already the poster child for Sequelitis, but Robomodo managed to make it even worse by tying their debut effort, Tony Hawk Ride, to a barely-functional skateboard peripheral, resulting in record lows for the series in both review scores and sales. Ironically, Neversoft left its signature franchise to itself become a B-team, first for Guitar Hero and then briefly for Call of Duty before being absorbed into Infinity Ward.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- The aborted Sega Saturn game Sonic X-Treme, which was intended as the Sonic series' major leap into the third dimension, was developed by the western based Sega Technical Institute and was made with no involvement by Sonic Team at all, who were burned out on the series after making a quadrology of games for it, and were wrapped up working on the games Ristar, NiGHTS into Dreams... and Burning Rangers anyway. After X-Treme went through a disastrous production that ended with both its cancellation and the dissolution of the Sega Technical Institute, Sega used NiGHTS and an upgraded port of the Traveller's Tales spin-off game Sonic 3D Blast to fill in as the Killer App for the Saturn while Sonic Team were forced to take the reigns back on the series, beginning work on a prototype 3D engine (later used for the Sonic World hub of Sonic Jam) that would end up becoming the basis for Sonic's real 3D debut, Sonic Adventure.
- Starting in 1999, Sega started commissioning a series of handheld 2D Sonic platformers developed by Dimps. They got their start as the B-team of Sonic with Sonic Advance for the GBA, leading to a string of successful 2D Sonic games from 2001 to 2007 (quite notable in that the main Sonic Team-developed games were going through a notorious Dork Age towards the end of this period). However, this string ended with the underperformance of Sonic Rush Adventure on the DS, and Sega relegated Dimps to making adaptations of Sonic Team's games for handhelds. Dimps was also tasked with creating Sonic the Hedgehog 4, which sadly turned out to be one of the most divisive 2D games in the series.
- Sonic Mania was created by PagodaWest Games and Headcannon, including experienced Sonic fangame creators and with a soundtrack by Tee Lopes, well known for his Sonic remixes. The result is one of the most well-received Sonic games in recent history.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns: After finishing their work on Metroid Prime, Retro Studios were tasked with reviving yet another Nintendo series, Donkey Kong Country, which again did with high approval for the final product. This was also a case of the original creator being permanently unavailable, as Rare, the developer of the SNES DKC games and Donkey Kong 64 had been left Nintendo and now works under Microsoft.
- While Keiji Inafune and his team at Capcom created the story and characters for Mega Man X3, most of the actual game development was palmed off to Minakuchi Engineering — who had previously handled the line of Mega Man (Classic) games on the Game Boy — as Capcom were in the process of transitioning their development systems from 16-bit to 32-bit. The end result was generally considered to be fairly mediocre, though still better than the later, Capcom-developed Mega Man X6 and X7.
- The Game Boy Mega Man (Classic) games (otherwise known as the Rockman/Mega Man World series) qualifies on its own, with I and III through V being developed by the aforementioned Minakuchi Engineering. While these games turned out to be respectable in their own right, since the director assigned to them was a fan of the series and wanted to do it justice, the second game was developed by a B-team of the B-team—Biox (then Japan System House), whose programmers were used to working on the Game Gear and were relatively unaccustomed to the Game Boy's hardware, and on top of that knew very little about what makes the Mega Man series fun to play. The results show badly, and Mega Man II is generally viewed as the weakest of the Game Boy titles by far.
- Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins were both helmed during development by the mentor of Shigeru Miyamoto, Gunpei Yokoi, instead of Miyamoto himself. New Super Mario Bros. 2 was developed by a younger team, as the veterans were working on New Super Mario Bros. U at the time. While the former two games were very well-received, the latter one garnered mixed reactions (though all of them have been commercial successes).
- Switch Blade was developed over several years as almost a solo project for Simon Phipps. Having left Gremlin Graphics for Core Design before the game was released, Phipps had no involvement with the sequel, which Gremlin assigned to the team previously responsible for the Platform Game Venus the Flytrap.
- Just Cause 3 was developed by a new American branch of Avalanche Studios, as the Swedish studio responsible for the previous game was busy with a Mad Max game adaptation.
- Homeworld received a very literal Mission-Pack Sequel in the form of Homeworld: Cataclysm; it was allegedly supposed to be an expansion pack but the new visual effects and game mechanics that B-team developers Barking Dog wanted to add required some major modifications to the game engine. Gameplay-wise it was quite well-received but the Genre Shift into Cosmic Horror was not universally popular with the fans, to put it mildly.
- A-team Epic Games handed the Gears Of War franchise over to B-team People Can Fly for the fourth installment, Gears Of War: Judgment. PCF's previous effort, Bulletstorm, could almost be seen as an elaborate application for the job.
- Played With regarding Postal III: while it was supposedly co-developed by franchise creator Running With Scissors and Russian developer Akella, RWS later distanced themselves from it.
- Zig-zagged by the Fallout series. It's a little difficult to tell who exactly is the A-team and who's the B-team. Fallout and Fallout 2 were created by Black Isle Studios, which had dissolved by the time Bethesda bought the rights and released Fallout 3, which is almost more of a reboot than a sequel. The follow-up, the Obsidian-made Fallout: New Vegas, would be a straight example, filling a blank spot on the release schedule until Bethesda could get done with Skyrim and move onto the long-rumored Fallout 4... except that Obsidian hired several ex–Black Isle creators to make it, and they reused several concepts from Black Isle's cancelled version, codenamed Van Buren. Whether Only the Creator Does It Right or My Real Daddy is just as good or better, or even who the "creator" and "my new daddy" ARE at this point, are points of debate among the fandom.
- Obsidian Entertainment started off by making sequels to two BioWare games: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords to Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights 2 to Neverwinter Nights. They later picked up the Dungeon Siege series from Gas Powered Games and created its third installment.
- Gothic: due to some misunderstandings between the creators (Piranha Bytes) and the publisher (JoWood Productions), the latter ended up taking away the rights to the series from the creators and gave them to two different studios: Spellbound Studios was to make the actual fourth installment of the series, whereas Trine Games was to quickly whip up an expansion pack to the third game. While it's a point of debate whether Arcania (the fourth installment by Spellbound) is good or not, the results of Trine Games working under unrealistic time constraints were... not pretty.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda was developed by BioWare Montreal, a team that only previously developed multiplayer components and DLC content.