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You say sidequel, I say sequel, lets call the whole thing off
Harrison Ford, left, and Sean Connery star in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which is a "sequel" to "Raiders of the Lost Ark." - photo by Chris Hicks
Last week, I heard someone refer to an upcoming movie as a sidequel.

I struggled to remember whether Id seen that particular word before. Sidequel. Couldnt think of a time.

So I looked it up.

To no ones surprise, sidequel is not in my desk volume Websters New World Dictionary, which carries a copyright date of 1982. And which Ive had since well, since 1982.

Nor does that dictionary have prequel, midquel or paraquel.

It does have sequel but thats as far as it goes.

Yes, all of those are actual, real, honest-to-goodness words in Hollywoodspeak which I now know because I looked up sidequel on Wikipedia, which took me to sequel, and in the first section of that page it defines each of these terms.

So I thought, hey, if you cant trust Wikipedia.

First, lets take a look at the two words with which you are no doubt most familiar:

According to Wikipedia, a sequel is a work that continues the story of, or expands upon, some earlier work, while a prequel is a sequel that portrays events which precede those of the original work. (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade takes place two years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, so it is a sequel, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a prequel, taking place one year before Raiders.)

And a sidequel is a story which portrays events that occur at the same time as the original work, but focuses on different characters in a different setting. (Such as Ant-Man, which is set in the Avengers time frame.)

So by now you have probably figured out that a midquel is a sequel which takes place during a chronology gap within a single previously completed work. (The straight-to-video Bambi II is set after the death of Bambis mother but before he grows up.)

And finally, a paraquel is a parallel story, similar to a prequel but the focus is not only on the outcome but on the characters and previously unrevealed information. (The first act of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice qualifies, opening with the final scene of Man of Steel but from a new perspective.)

Then theres reboot, the hot Hollywood appellation of the moment, which, of course, means to discard all continuity in an established series in order to re-create its characters, timeline and back story from the beginning. (The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Begins, etc.)

And dont get me started on trilogies and tetralogies and quadrilogies and spin-offs and spiritual successors and cliffhangers and franchises and retcons ouch!

Over the years, I have, of course, written about many sequels, which have been a cinematic staple since the silent-movie era.

And Ive also reviewed a lot of prequels. In fact, I began my career around the time that prequels came into vogue. The 1979 film Butch and Sundance: The Early Years a prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) is credited with popularizing the word prequel, although there were at least a couple that preceded it.

Another Part of the Forest (1948) is a prequel to The Little Foxes (1941), and Disneys Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (1956) is a prequel to Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955).

And in the early 1970s, after Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), the next two films in the series (1971s Escape From Planet of the Apes and 1972s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) continued the story with lead characters from the original films but had them going back in time to begin the origin story. So those were both sequels and prequels.

But sidequels and midquels and paraquels?

Those are really just sequels of another color.