From Academic Kids

A prequel is a work that portrays events which are set in the same "universe" as a previously completed narrative, but at an earlier time. The word is a neologism, dating to the early 1970s; it is a portmanteau formed from pre-, meaning before, and sequel, a work which takes place after a previous one. "The term has recently slipped into common usage with its popularization by the advent of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" wrote Chris Deever in Truth in Cinema, May 28, 2001 ( The Star Wars prequel trilogy greatly popularized the term in American culture.

Like sequels, prequels may or may not concern the same plot as the work from which they are derived. Often, they explain the background which led to the events in the original, but sometimes the connections are not as explicit. Prequels often play on the fact that the audience knows what will happen next, using deliberate references to create dramatic irony.

The idea of a prequel is not new. Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold in his Ring Cycle was written as a prequel to his earlier Siegfried. The Silmarillion contains prequels for The Lord of the Rings.

Another example of a prequel in C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, is The Magician's Nephew, a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which was written first.

The term prequel is often misused to describe any work set before a related work. Those who misuse the term do not understand that "sequel" is one of the words used to create "prequel." To use a modern example, The Phantom Menace (1999) is a prequel to Return of the Jedi (1983), but not to Attack of the Clones (2002).


List of prequels


Prequel Original
The Magician's Nephew (1955) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Silmarillion (see Note #1 below) The Lord of the Rings
The Dark Elf Trilogy The Icewind Dale Trilogy
First King of Shannara The Sword of Shannara
New Spring The Wheel of Time


Prequel(s) Original(s)
Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

(see Note #2 below)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1981)Raiders of the Lost Ark (1984)
Red Dragon (2002)

(see Note #3 below)

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (1979) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
My Summer Story (1994) A Christmas Story (1983)
Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) Dumb & Dumber (2004)
Cube Zero (2004)

(see Note #4 below)

The Exorcist (1973)


Prequel Originals
Star Trek: Enterprise


Prequel(s) Original(s)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)

(see Note #5 below)

Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening (2005)
Grand Theft Auto (1997)
Resident Evil Zero (2002)
Perfect Dark Zero (2005) Perfect Dark (2000)

See also


1. Many would argue that the principal plot structures in The Silmarillion were devised long before The Lord Of The Rings, and that the latter was incorporated into an existing structure, meaning the work, although published later, is not a prequel in the strict sense of the word.

2. Since Alien vs. Predator is set before the Alien movie series, but chronologically after the Predator series, this movie is both a sequel and a prequel.

3. Red Dragon is unique in that when it was released, it was a prequel to two previous films (The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal). However, the material it was based on had been filmed as Manhunter several years before Silence. Thus, it was both a prequel and a remake.

4. Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist are separate films that tell essentially the same story. See their respective articles for more information.

5. See Compilation of Final Fantasy VII for more it:Prequel nl:Prequel pt:Prequela


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