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The term Reboot, in media dealing with serial fiction, means to discard much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh ideas.[1] Effectively, all established fictive history is declared by the writer(s) to be null and void, or at least irrelevant to the new storyline, and the series starts over as if brand-new.[1]

Through reboots, film franchises are revamped and reinvigorated to attract new fans and stimulate economic revenue.[1] Therefore, reboots can be seen as attempts to rescue franchises which have grown "stale".[2]



The term originates from its use in computer science.[1] After a computer is rebooted, nothing (except non-volatile storage, such as on a disk drive) of the computer's previous operating session has any bearing on its new session.

Comparison to remakes and prequels

A reboot differs from a remake and a prequel, in that the latter two are generally consistent with the canon (previously-established continuity) of the series. With a reboot, the older continuity is largely discarded and replaced with a new canon.[1]

Additionally, prequels are often developed by the same creator as the original series they leads up to, while a remake is often produced by a different author from that of the original series, and can be seen as re-telling of the same story and essentially maintaining the same canon. The term "remake" often applies to films or film adaptations of TV programs, such as 1993's The Fugitive, whereas the term reboot is ascribed to franchises such as Police Story (rebooted in the 2004 film New Police Story), Batman (2005's Batman Begins), James Bond (2006's Casino Royale), The Pink Panther (the 2006 Pink Panther film), Star Trek (the 2009 Star Trek film), and The Incredible Hulk (2008's The Incredible Hulk).[2]


This term is often applied to comic books, where the prevailing continuity can be very important to the progress of future installments, acting (depending on circumstances and one's point of view) either as a rich foundation from which to develop characters and storylines, a box limiting the story options available to tell, or even an irreconcilable mess of contradictory history. Such large continuities also become a barrier to introducing newcomers to the fandom, as the complex histories are difficult to learn, and make understanding the story very difficult. A reboot gives the chance for new fans to experience the core story by reintroducing it in smaller and easier-to-understand installments and/or by refocusing the story on its most important elements and abandoning many subplots and an overgrowth of minor details. Reboots may also serve changing audience expectations as to storytelling style, genre evolution, and sophistication of material.

Reboots in films/television

Franchise Year of first release Reboot Year of reboot
Batman 1989 Batman Begins 2005
James Bond 1962 Casino Royale 2006
The Pink Panther 1963 The Pink Panther 2006
Hulk 2003 The Incredible Hulk 2008
Halloween 1978 Halloween 2007
Friday the 13th 1980 Friday the 13th 2009
Star Trek 1966 Star Trek 2009
A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
Predator 2 1990 Predators 2010


Franchise Year of first release Status
Superman 1978 Announced
Highlander 1986 In development
RoboCop 1987 Shelved
Spider-Man 2002 Announced
Fantastic Four 2005 Rumored
Daredevil 2003 Announced
Futurama 1999 Announced
Mortal Kombat 1995 in development
Alien vs Predator 2004 Rumored

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Willits, Thomas R. (2009). "To Reboot or Not to Reboot: What is the Solution?". Retrieved December 9 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Tallerico, Brian (27 April 2009). "Twenty Film Franchises in Need of a Reboot". Retrieved December 9, 2009. 

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