Do Film Franchises Have To Be Trilogies?

Why Are Trilogies The Standard?

Most film series are made to simply have three entries, but why is that number so common.

Why Are Trilogies The Standard?

Earlier this summer "Toy Story 4" premiered to rave reviews and financial success. It disproved the naysayers (myself included) that thought it was going to be bad or pointless because it felt like an unnecessary sequel after the third film felt so "final". This lead me to question why most film series restrict themselves to only three entries.

This statement isn't completely true. Some film series like Marvel, Star Wars, and Harry Potter obviously have more that three entries. However trilogies are still present even within these franchises. Marvel has a trilogy of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor (for now) films. Star Wars' "Skywalker Saga" is even made up of a trilogy of trilogies (the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the sequel trilogy). So why are three films in a series standard.

This standard mostly has it's roots in the standard of narrative writing itself. Most stories typically have a beginning, middle, and end. Most film series are viewed through the lens of one massive story line (The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to mind), so it makes sense that they follow that narrative structure. The first film often acts as the introduction, setting up characters and the main plot.

The second film acts as the middle of a story where characters are examined more closely and the driving plot thickens with plot twists or deeper meaning added to it. The third film acts as a finally to the story, wrapping everything up in a nice little bow and concluding our characters' arcs. Trilogies are often used if you want to make a film franchise, but still want to tell a complete story from beginning to end.

This is where you often see a difference in the amount of films made for a series. Many film series that go over three entries don't have an overarching plot and are more serialized, self-contained films, such as the James Bond films, the Mad Max films, the Alien films, or the Transformer films. On rare occasion, you have a series with an overarching narrative that needs more than three entries to tell it (the John Wick films immediately come to mind).

The number of films in a given franchise is often limited to how many the creator feels are needed to tell a full story, which is often why three is the magic number. Many franchises that go beyond three entries tend to be viewed as desperate for money or an unnecessary film milking a franchise to death (which is what many thought "Toy Story 4" was before it came out). However, I feel stories should not be restricted to a set number of films to tell a story. If a film makers feels like they can tell a story in 2 films or 12 they should do it. After all the Marvel Cinematic Universe just wrapped up a compelling story line in "Avengers: Endgame" and they told that story over 22 various films in a little over a decade's worth of time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments