10 Sci-fi and Fantasy Remakes that Will Rock Your World

Author Thumbnail BY Caitlin Donovan - July 07, 2016
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Remakes and reboots are big in the modern age. We’ve got the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, A Magic School Bus reboot and so on. There’s a lot of anime remakes too, some of which I discussed in my 5 Anime Reboots and Whether You Should Watch article. We all know that remakes can go horribly wrong. But sometimes they can be just plain awesome, breathing new life into old characters and updating a story for the modern era.

Note that when talking about remakes, I’m referring to a complete continuity reboot. Everything is started over from scratch. So this doesn’t include sequels or stuff set in the same universe as the original canon. Obviously the definition of reboot can be pretty vague when it comes to characters who exist in multiple forms of media like superheroes, but I’ll just call new series featuring those character reboots anyway, because I can.

With that said, let’s look at some of the best sci-fi and fantasy remakes out there. Which one is your favorite? Also feel free to mention any reboots you like that didn’t make the list!

#1- The Dark Knight Trilogy

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The Batman movie franchise that began with Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film came to an infamous end with the Batman and Robin movie. The camp and nonsense was just too much and the movie franchise was dead for almost a decade as a result. But then Christopher Nolan came along with his new trilogy of Batman films and to say they were successful and well-loved is an understatement. Nolan’s movies were complex and dark in a way that enchanted audiences and also included an all-star cast, some of which gave unforgettable performances, like Heath Ledger’s Joker and Michael Caine’s Alfred.

These movies are speculated to have popularized the term “reboot” for film, since the creators had to stress many times in promotion that this was a fresh start rather than anything related to previous Batman movies.

#2- Voltron: Legendary Defender

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When I reviewed the feature film that headed off the new Voltron reboot, I noted that it was quite good but felt it had more potential than it was showing with its predictable start. I’m incredibly pleased to say that the rest of the season that followed the movie proved me right about the potential the show had and really lived up to it for the most part. It explored its characters and proved them to be more complex than they initially seemed and the show turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable experience.

The show features excellent animation and character designs and also managed to do a lot of great character work and plot building in the scant 13 episodes it had. There were several great developing arcs running throughout the show- Shiro struggling with his PTSD, Pidge’s quest to find missing family, Allura grappling with the death of her father, Hunk’s interactions with aliens and growing realization of the importance of the mission- and in the finale, the villain hinted at having a lot more to him than he initially seemed to. A lot of my initial concerns, like characters seeming to fit in strict boxes and Allura being the only girl, were addressed too. The action was great too.

In a lot of ways, I see Voltron as an example of what great reboots should do.  It respects the old story, but also updates it in a way so it still feels relevant to the modern audiences and it brings things to the table the original was lacking. The original Voltron was a Japanese anime that, like a lot of anime of the era, was given a dub that hid the series’ Japanese roots and presented everyone as white while also editing the plot heavily. The Voltron reboot pays homage to the original show but adds more diversity and makes the characters more distinct in personality as well.  What I really like is that it pays homage to the anime the original show was based on too, giving the leader character his original Japanese name- Takashi Shirogane (Shiro)- thus making him explicitly Japanese once more. This reboot also tells a pretty distinct story that’s not a retread of the original.

I’m excited for more seasons!

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Caitlin Donovan is a long-time nerd with a passion for superheroes and epic fantasy. She lives in North Carolina with her cat and wrestles with writing novels and doing editorial work when she's not ranting about pop culture online. She runs a blog at ladyloveandjustice.tumblr.com
@Caitlin Donovan | caitlin@epicstream.com