The Big Picture
- Matthew Vaughn had ideas for a sequel to Stardust, but the original film’s box office performance prevented its development.
- The director envisioned a sequel set in 1960s London with crazy characters fitting into the era’s chaotic atmosphere.
- Paramount Pictures wanted to market Stardust as a Lord of the Rings-like franchise, but Vaughn believed it was more akin to The Princess Bride, which was initially marketed poorly but became a successful DVD release.
Sixteen years after the release of Stardust, Matthew Vaughn is still thinking about the concept he had come up with for the development of a potential sequel. While the original adaptation’s box office performance convinced the studio that working on a second film would be a bad idea, the filmmaker was excited to explore more adventures set in a different time from what was seen on the big screen. During an interview with Collider’s Maggie Lovitt at this year’s edition of New York Comic-Con, the director talked about the ideas he had already set in place for the creation of a sequel to Stardust:
It was such a, you know this concept I’d done. The bottom line of it, you said you’re a big fan, it’s the death of Tristan and the vein and he throws off, he throws the necklace off, the necklace lances in 1960s London. So you have these crazy characters running around 1960s London but fitting in because it was a crazy time.
Vaughn also revealed that he and Paramount Pictures had opposing views regarding how the film should be sold. According to the filmmaker, the studio wanted something similar to the Lord of the Rings franchise: “Listen, Stardust, again was a bittersweet time for me, because when Paramount were releasing it they kept trying to make it look like Lord of the Rings and I’d say “this ain’t Lord of the Rings” and the went “what is it?” and I went “Princess Bride” and they’re like “Princess Bride tanked.” And I was like “yes, it tanked because it was marketed badly and then it became one of the biggest DVDs of all time, so lets just make it lets embrace it.”
Fortunately for Vaughn, Stardust went on to earn $137 million at the worldwide box office, and while it wasn’t a financial success for the studio, the project became the highest grossing movie of the director’s career up until that point: “And they would not listen to me. So then in England, they went do what you want, and we called it the fairytale that won’t behave. And it was my biggest grossing movie at that time. So the economics I have to figure out, there’s now new people at Paramount, but the story was fun.”
Why A ‘Stardust’ Sequel Hasn’t Been Made
The Stardust film adaptation was released during a time when fantasy blockbusters weren’t successful enough to guarantee the production of a sequel. Titles such as Eragon featured elaborate visual effects and elevated budgets, only to receive a disappointing reception at the box office by the time they premiered. And while previous reports had already stated that Vaughn had thought about ways to expand the mythology of Stardust, he had also mentioned that he didn’t want to turn the movie into franchise just for the sake of it. Even if Neil Gaiman is a household name in the present, a new project based on Stardust isn’t currently in the works.