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B-Team Sequel

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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 Died During Production.

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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 would 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 is a major tonal shift. As such, the line between this and a full Continuity Reboot can sometimes get fuzzy.

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This is de rigueur in comic books, where (until much later) 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 is 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.

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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 is 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.

If a new creator only finishes a work that has already been extensively worked on by a tragically deceased predecessor rather than come up with an entirely new sequel, see Posthumous Collaboration.

Compare Changing of the Guard, which is when a sequel focuses on different characters, and with which this sometimes overlaps.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The final season of Attack on Titan is produced by an entirely different team at MAPPA. As such, it has a completely different look and feel compared to the Wit Studio-produced first three seasons.
  • 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).
  • Dragon Ball: 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. However, the case of Super is a Zig-Zagged Trope: for the anime, he provides most character designs and the plot outline to Toei, which they are able to adapt to their liking; for the manga, he's only slightly more involved, providing the same story outline and designs he gave to Toei, occasionally illustrating and writing some pages, but most of the work of illustrations, dialogue and adaptation of the outline it's mainly Toyotaro's work as he has expressed that Toriyama rarely gives him advice, something Toriyama does in an attempt to not make Toyotaro dependant on himself. Notably, Super finally showed GT being Canon Discontinuity to the mainstream not aware of Toriyama never considering the series a canonical sequel of his work. In a subversion, Toriyama is the main writer of the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which is considered canonical to both the anime and manga versions of Super.
  • 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 (Atsuo Ueda) while Hiro Mashima stayed on as a storyboard artist, co-creating Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest while launching a new series, EDENS ZERO.
  • FLCL Progressive & Alternative are spearheaded by new writers, but they stay firmly rooted in the spirit of the original FLCL and take many cues from it.
  • There was also a change in the animation studios and director in Hozuki's Coolheadedness because Wit Studio, who was 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.
  • Ikki Tousen went from JC Staff in the first season to Arms Corporation in the second and third, with TNK co-producing the fourth.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • The Forgotten Darkness, a story that takes place between Season 4 and Season 5 of The Flash Sentry Chronicles, is written by the series’ editor KingJoltik, rather than the series’ writer Banshee531. Later, Dragon’s Awakening, a story that takes place between Legend of Everfree and Season 7, is written by Joeyjambo122.

    Films — Animation 

    Literature 
  • 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's 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's Web.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • The New WKRP in Cincinnati was originally conceived as a set of new first-run episodes to be added to the existing syndication package for the original show, and creator Hugh Wilson and most of the cast initially agreed to take part. Then after it was decided to do a whole separate series, Wilson scaled down his involvement to just writing and directing the pilot, then finally he decided against even doing that. There was still at least some connection to the original show, with writer Bill Dial (he scripted the legendary "Turkeys Away" episode) hired as showrunner. While only three of the original cast members were regulars on the new show, almost everyone else at least put in an appearance.
  • iCarly creator Dan Schneider had no involvement with the 2021 sequel series at all, though he is still credited for creating the original show. The massive controversy surrounding himnote  likely doesn't help.

Alternative Title(s): B Team Prequel

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