Returning to the Original Continuity
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
So, with the apparent end of the Ben 10 reboot show and fans of Ben 10 demanding to take the franchise back to the original continuity via stuff like #BringBackActionBen and #RestoreTheOmniverse and whatnot, I figure that I would like to revisit what I think is the best direction for Ben 10 to go towards. What I think the franchise really needs and how it can be improved. To me at least, I think Ben 10 has been in quite a tight spot since Alien Force and still is after the reboot show. I think a lot needs to be taken into consideration for what’s to come next for Ben 10. So, let’s get started here.
I think there are three major factors to take into consideration for handling the next iteration of Ben 10. Consistency, balance, and Ben 10,000.
Let’s start with consistency first. The franchise overall is so inconsistent and therefore just a mess. There are so many things that are inconsistent from one show to the other. Tone, art style, characters, lore, continuity (christ, those retcons, man), etc. To be a little more specific here and to provide some examples:
- Alien Force and Ultimate Alien were primarily dark, mature, and serious. Omniverse and the reboot show were often too comedic and lighthearted. The Original Series is a mix of both (more on that later).
- In the later shows, Ben was more mature and serious and then became more cocky and impulsive to an annoying and frustrating degree. Kevin went from an absolute psychopath to an unfitting hero character. Kevin also went from being a mutant to being an alien hybrid back to being a mutant. Gwen went from being a fully human sorceress to a half human/half alien hybrid. Hex became a more caring uncle to Charmcaster despite the implication that he was abusive towards her in the Original Series. Zombozo became a zombie. Etc.
- The Plumbers were retconned from an Earth-only organization to an intergalactic police force. Alien Force and Ultimate Alien tried to apply a more scientific explanation to magic. The Omnitrix went from storing DNA samples in the watch itself to a wireless receiver and back to storing samples back in the watch. Azmuth’s reason for creating the Omnitrix changed a couple of times. The origin of the Plumbers’ kids were changed. Etc.
- The franchise so far has a total of four different art styles. The Original Series art style is reminiscent of anime and/or comic books. Alien Force and Ultimate Alien's art style is more reminiscent of DC shows that came out during that era in Cartoon Network's history. Omniverse went for a more cartoonish art style. The reboot show's art style is reminiscent of that post-Adventure Time art style that Cartoon Network has been using for so many of their shows in recent years.
I think a large part of this is due to how the franchise is interpreted and approached by creators after the Original Series. Take Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, for example. Those shows were created by folks such as Dwayne McDuffie and Glen Murakami, who both share a background in making DC shows...and it shows here. At least to me, Alien Force and Ultimate Alien don’t feel like Ben 10 shows. They feel like DC shows, such as Justice League, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, etc. They put their own style and interpretation into Alien Force and Ultimate Alien instead of incorporating the style and direction that the Original Series had and put the franchise on the map in the first place. There’s also a matter of understanding the source material, which is something that I think Dwayne McDuffie and Glen Murakami missed the mark on given the numerous retcons that were introduced in those two shows. And yeah, even the folks that worked on Omniverse didn’t completely nail it either despite their attempt to bring the franchise back to the Original Series. Even the creators of Ben 10 themselves missed the mark with the reboot show despite it reusing the premise of the Original Series and many other elements throughout the entire franchise.
With each show after the next, all sorts of drastic changes were made to Ben 10 with many of those changes not ending up being for the betterment of the franchise. Again, this franchise is just a mess. It’s all over the place and has divided the fanbase significantly because of how inconsistent it has become. In order for the franchise overall to be fixed and improved, it needs to have consistency again.
I mentioned before how the tone of the Original Series was a mix of both Alien Force and Ultimate Alien’s tone and Omniverse and the reboot show’s tone. Many fans want for the series to go back to being dark, mature, and serious while many other fans want for the series to be more fun, comedic, and lighthearted. The Original Series provides a good and proper balance of both sides here. That’s something that the team behind Omniverse seemed to miss when making Omniverse and trying to return back to the tone of the Original Series. Whereas the Original Series was a fun, action-packed, comedic, lighthearted, and entertaining show, it was also dark, mature, and serious. Where you have lighthearted moments like Ben playing pranks on Gwen, Max’s cooking, Ben and Gwen having fun on the hoverboard, Gwen’s magic mishaps, etc., there are also some really messed up moments such as Kevin acting like an absolutely psychotic maniac, Vilgax being the terrifying warlord that he is, Zs’Skayr possessing Gwen and threatening to make her jump off a building to her death, Zombozo stealing people’s positive energy, a giant alien tick trying to suck Earth dry of all its resources, Gwen’s apparent “death” in Secret of the Omnitrix, etc. The Original Series was just as dark as it is lighthearted. It was just as goofy and comedic as it is mature and serious. It does so many things yet it manages to blend together all those elements very well. Like say the porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Alien Force and Ultimate Alien were too dark, mature, and serious and therefore it felt boring and uninteresting, at least to me. Omniverse and the reboot show was often too comedic, ruining many moments where things should’ve been taken more seriously. The Original Series’ tone is just right. A good and proper blend of both sides.
There’s other elements where balance factors in as well, such as Ben and Gwen’s relationship. Many have complained about Ben and Gwen often bickering at and arguing with each other in the Original Series but the thing that they seem to miss is that they have a well-written, well-developed, dynamic relationship. Where there are plenty of moments where they do argue with each other, there are also many moments where they’re shown to have some really good chemistry with each other. In fact, Ben and Gwen balance each other out. They keep each other in check. Their characteristics and personalities don’t actually conflict with each other but instead compliment each other and fulfill what Ben and Gwen need in their lives. Gwen has the focus that Ben needs and Ben has the fun-loving nature that Gwen needs. It’s like Batman and Robin or Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Ben and Gwen work so well together and balance each other out well that they pretty much need each other to work as characters. That Ben doesn’t work as a character without Gwen and vice versa. That’s why I don’t think reducing Gwen’s importance and role as a character in Omniverse and replacing her with Rook Blonko was a good idea. It’s also why I don’t think a Gwen spin-off show is a good idea either.
Even Ben on his own has a good balance and good character development in the Original Series compared to his portrayals in the sequel and reboot shows. Many fans want for Ben to be more mature and serious, like in Alien Force and Ultimate Alien. Many other fans are ok with Ben being a fun-loving, cocky goofball, like in Omniverse and the reboot show. The Original Series provides both sides of that in a well-balanced way. Ben was a fun-loving, cocky, impulsive kid that often got himself into trouble but when the moment was right, he did show a lot of maturity and seriousness and had a good, strong grasp on being responsible. He even had some good, well-written character development. He does learn from his mistakes. He does become better and more responsible and capable as a hero and character. Ben started off in one spot at the beginning of the Original Series and ended up at a different but better spot when the Original Series ended.
Other things to take into consideration are stuff like balancing out science and magic. One of the major issues with Alien Force and Ultimate Alien was how it focused too much on science fiction and not enough on magic. So much so that those shows even tried to use science to explain the magical elements. How is Gwen able to cast magic? Oh because she’s actually half alien and magic actually originates from an alien species. And yet, they couldn’t even stick with that because applying science to magic doesn’t make sense. I mean, it’s magic. That’s not something that you can explain with science. To Omniverse’s credit, they did focus more on magic compared to Alien Force and Ultimate Alien.
Even the Original Series' art style has a good balance here (go figure since that it was made to fit the tone and style of the Original Series). Alien Force and Ultimate Alien had quite a detailed, serious-looking, action-oriented art style (again, reminiscent of DC shows) while Omniverse and the reboot show had a more cartoonish art style to match up with their more comedic tone. The Original Series' art style fits both sides of that coin. It's detailed yet capable of being cartoonish. It fits both action and comedy. It's capable of being quite expressive visually. It's a flexible and well-made art style that fits well with a flexible and well-made show and its tone and style.
Balance is another key factor that needs to be taken into consideration here. Unlike the sequel shows and the reboot show, the Original Series has a lot of variety and does a good job of balancing out all that variety as well. This helped to add a lot of depth to the show because it does so much yet does it so well.
In a more broad sense, there needs to be more of a focus on story and character development and less on monster-of-the-week type of filler episodes. There can still be the occasional filler episode here and there but story and character development should take priority. When it comes to Ben 10, the next story that needs to be told is Ben 10,000. There needs...to be...a focus...on Ben 10,000. Whether the return to the original continuity involves it being a sequel to Omniverse or a new sequel to the Original Series or whatever, it has to be about Ben 10,000. It has to be about Ben’s transition into Ben 10,000. It needs to focus on Ken 10. I say that they need to stop kiting around this. There’s this trope that I found out about a while back called Knight in Sour Armor (link below). This trope fits Ben like a glove and I think that this is the best direction to go for Ben as a character. The Ben 10,000 storyline felt like the next logical and natural step for the franchise after the Original Series, and we have yet to see this storyline get realized in an official Ben 10 show.
Taking all of this into consideration, what do I think would be the best route to take if we were to return back to the original continuity? Those that know me well enough should know what I’m about to say here. Make a new sequel to the Original Series. Ignore the continuity of Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, Omniverse, and the reboot show and make a new continuity. Granted, I don’t mind using elements from the other shows because there are some elements of the other shows that I do like, such as the Highbreed and DNAliens, the Plumbers’ kids, some of the aliens that Ben unlocks, Professor Paradox, etc. This is what I think the franchise really needs. But why?
As I said before, one of the biggest issues with this franchise is how inconsistent it is. It needs to be consistent again, which is pretty much the biggest reason why I don’t think making a sequel to Omniverse is a good idea. At that point, three sequel shows have caused all sorts of drastic changes to the franchise and made the franchise as a whole a mess in many ways. I think what’s needed here is a clean slate. Granted, not a complete clean slate. I don’t think this franchise needed to start from scratch, like what the reboot show tried to do. I think making a new sequel to the Original Series and taking what made the Original Series at its best and using it for this new sequel is a good way to make the franchise consistent again as well as to also give it a more proper clean slate. No need to be concerned about retcons, character inconsistencies, maybe different art styles, etc. And again, elements from the other shows can be used as well just as long as they fit well enough into the new sequel.
And speaking of character inconsistencies, again, all of that would be of no concern in this sequel. Ben isn’t being tugged back and forth between being mature and serious and cocky and impulsive. Gwen isn’t a half alien hybrid anymore and is back to being a fully human sorceress. Kevin is a psychopathic mutant again. Hex is evil again. Dr. Animo is in the state where he was relatively a threat again. Etc.
I think bringing back the Original Series art style would be a good route to go here for consistency as well. Not just bring it back either but also make some improvements to it. Maybe some elements of Japanese anime or something of the likes. Regardless, for the direction that I think the franchise should go towards, at the very least, it needs an art style that fits well with that direction while also allowing for the next iteration of Ben 10 to stand out more compared to the other shows that Cartoon Network made in recent years. Cartoon Network really needs to branch into making more varied and unique art styles. People are getting really sick and tired of seeing that same-y art style (Cal-Arts style or bean-mouth style or whatever people call it as) that has plagued so many cartoon shows on the network.
As I also said before, many fans want for the franchise to be more dark, mature, and serious while many other fans want for the franchise to be more fun, comedic, and entertaining...and the tone and style of the Original Series provides a good and proper balance of both. Incorporating the style and tone of the Original Series is something that I think will work best in a new sequel to the Original Series. Again, consistency. It would help make things feel more natural and fitting and it provides what many fans want out of a Ben 10 show.
Then there’s the Ben 10,000 direction. Like I said before, the Ben 10,000 storyline and Ben’s transition into Ben 10,000 felt like the next clear, logical, and natural step for Ben 10 after the Original Series ended. Therefore, it’ll feel the most logical and natural in a new sequel to the Original Series. There’s so much potential with this route that it really shouldn’t be ignored anymore. Again, focus on Ben’s transition into Ben 10,000. Then, take the setting into the future and focus on Ben 10,000 and Ken 10. This is what I think the franchise needs.
I mentioned how going this sequel route would make Kevin back to how he was in the Original Series. I get that a lot of people like how Kevin was portrayed as in the sequel shows but I find that Kevin is just better off as a villain than a hero. Kevin to Ben in the Original Series was like the Joker to Batman or Venom to Spider Man. Kevin is just a much better and more fitting evil and opposite Ben than Albedo is. I also think that Kevin has better potential as a villain than a hero and would be a fitting factor to leave a significant impact on Ben as a character that would influence his transition into Ben 10,000. That’s not to say that Ben and Kevin can’t work together again though. They have worked together before in the Original Series because they had to in order to survive (the episode, Grudge Match). Ben and Kevin can work together again to combat a greater threat, such as the Highbreed. This could lead to an opportunity where Ben tries again to help Kevin become a better person, but once the Highbreed threat has been taken care of, Kevin goes back to his old ways and becomes Ben’s enemy again, doing something to Ben that proves to be quite traumatic to him and, again, influences his transition into Ben 10,000. I also think that Kevin has the potential to be one of the best and most terrifying villains in the franchise due to how he was set up in the Original Series. There’s also, once again, the matter of consistency considering that the episode, Ken 10, portrayed a future version of Kevin that is still his old, psychotic self. We already have official shows in this franchise portraying Kevin as a hero character. I think that it’s fine to try something different to that this time around. Go all out with Kevin as a villain this time.
Now I know that there’s going to be a portion of the fanbase that’s going to be against this. Here’s the thing about that. As I said before, with how inconsistent this franchise has become, it has created a divided fanbase. Whatever comes next for Ben 10 and whatever it’s going to be, one thing that I know will happen is that the next iteration is going to get a backlash from a portion of the fanbase. That is because this has always happened with the Ben 10 franchise. Many had complaints about Alien Force. Many had complaints about Ultimate Alien. Many had complaints about Omniverse. Many had complaints about the reboot show. Many that are fans of these shows had complaints about the Original Series. With the direction of a new sequel to the Original Series with a new continuity, I’m sure that many would complain that it would wipe away the sequel shows and reboot show. It won’t. Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, Omniverse, and the reboot show will still exist and will remain unchanged. If people prefer those shows over a new sequel to the Original Series, that’s completely fine. Regardless, there’s going to be a backlash no matter what the next show in the Ben 10 franchise is going to be. Therefore, I say screw it and let’s at least give this direction a chance. Let’s give making a new sequel to the Original Series with a new continuity a try and see how it plays out. Also, one thing that I’m hoping to say to try and make the franchise consistent again is that it would at least significantly reduce that divide within the fanbase. Regardless, I think making a new sequel to the Original Series with a new continuity is at least worth a try.
I think that’s everything that I wanted to cover here but I'll be making some edits here and there over time to help polish this page up more. Therefore, if anyone has any thoughts of their own in regards to this, feel free to comment down below. Either way, Ben 10 is quite a mess right now and I think this is the best way to clean it up. If this franchise does return back to the original continuity, I think this is the best direction to go with that very return.
@Tactical-Ochoa We have our disaggreements here and there, but one thing I totally agree with you here is: yes, we need a Ben 10,000 show now! Either its continuing from OV or the Original show, its Ben 10,000 we really need now. Like you said, I think we need to take the best elements from each show and combine them. Thats the ideal show right now.
Another thing to add here is that I think a more grounded story should be focused on here. Don't focus too much on stuff like time traveling, exploring the universe, the aliens, etc. I say definitely don't focus on the multiverse either. Little to no alternate universe Ben Tennysons and all that stuff. It felt like things went all over the place when the later shows tried to go bigger and introduce stuff like the multiverse.
I think a more simple, grounded, self-contained character-driven story centered on Ben 10,000 and Ben's transition into becoming Ben 10,000 feels like a better route to go here. More preferably in the form of a new sequel to the Original Series with a new continuity because I think that's where taking a more simple and grounded approach would work better at.
Granted, I'm not trying to say that they shouldn't expand on the Ben 10 universe and lore here. I expressed many times how much I like the Little Moments fan series and that series has its own approach to expanding upon the Ben 10 universe and lore. Just try not to go too big here. Bigger is not always better. Also, more often than not, simplicity is best and while it's ok to go more complex as long as it's done well, I think the franchise could use more simplicity.
@Mortie-10 I always loved Ben 10
cause he was sexy
@Tactical-Ochoa Well said. Given that other shows have multiple continuities like TMNT and Transformers, I don’t see why Ben 10 can’t do the same. It would be important to make clear that this new show would be an different continuity and that the other shows don’t fall the wayside per se: they should all still exist and be watchable imo because all of them had their good points and I believe that AF, UA and OV are all good shows in their own right.
But I don’t think they did a great job at being sequels for precisely the reasons that you have outlined. The tone changed, the characters sometimes changed to something that they never should’ve been, the continuity changed too depending on who was writing. If they were to make this sequel then they’d need to keep the heart of the show there even with a different story in place and the characters growing up. UAF sometimes came off as being dark for the sake of it, while Omniverse pushed the goofiness too far sometimes.
One thing that I believe should’ve been focused on in AF was Ben’s non hero life and how he has to balance it out with dealing with the threat of the Highbreed. In the OS they had an excuse since it was just the 3 of Max, Gwen and Ben on a road trip across the States, with all of them knowing about the Omnitrix. There was such a great opportunity in AF to show us Ben’s relationship with his parents, how in fighting evil it can affect his normal life, and how he deals with problems of growing up (same can be said for Gwen). One of my problems upon rewatch of AF is that the main cast didn’t feel like teenagers because we scarcely got to see the other side of their lives. To Ultimate Alien’s credit, for all of its inconsistencies it did a better job of making them flawed but ultimately good hearted teens.
I don’t think that it’s a bad thing if they have the odd intergalactic adventure, as long as it’s not in excess. They went into space so much by the time UA rolled around that it didn’t feel special anymore (remember in “Be afraid of the dark” where it was so cool when they went into space for the first time?). I agree that the storytelling is better if it is generally grounded, but it would be cool to see the more mystic elements of the universe - I thought that Legerdomain was cool so maybe they could expand on that?
But ultimately this is Ben’s story, not the Omnitrix’s. We need to see Ben develop and learn as a person through his experiences while still maintaining his unique character, because the Omnitrix is just a device - Ben is the one who needs to be the hero.
Edit: A whole Ben 10k series after would be cool but it would be quite difficult to write especially with him having Master Control and having more or less completed his hero’s journey. I think that a series with Ben in his 20s would work but by the time that he is Ben 10k I think it would be better to shift the focus to Kenny.
@coreofthesun I do agree that when you do look at Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, and Omniverse as their own shows, they are indeed better shows. They do work better by themselves instead of being sequels. It's just unfortunate that they are sequels and that's how they're set up as.
More of a focus on Ben and Gwen's normal lives and their relationships with their parents and whatnot would've been nice. I know that it can work very well too because Little Moments did that and it was very well-written and really added a lot to the characters. It expanded on the Tennyson family in a really neat, interesting, and compelling way.
And yeah, like I said, it's fine to expand upon more of the Ben 10 universe. It's just a matter that they shouldn't expand upon it too much. At least tone it down. We don't need to cover so much of the universe. Again, I pointed out Little Moments, which did expand upon the Ben 10 universe and did so quite well. Little Moments even greatly expanded upon the mystical elements of Ben 10 as well. The Sorceress and The Knight tackled a really unique and mystical setting that really added a lot to the Ben 10 universe. Little Moments expanded a lot on the Ben 10 universe yet the stories that the series told still felt grounded. I think this goes back to one of my key points, balance. Much like with the many other elements of Ben 10, I think there needs to be a better balance of having a grounded story and having to expand upon the Ben 10 universe.
And yes, it is indeed Ben's story and that's what the franchise should focus on. It's not just about cool aliens and cool watch. What made the Original Series so good was that it had a really good character-driven story where we see Ben become a better and more responsible hero.
You pretty much are right in regards to Ben 10,000. At that point, Ben's journey would either be completed or at least mostly completed. Therefore, one thing that I should've mentioned here is Ken 10. Ben's son, Ken, should be involved as a main character. Once Ben's transition into Ben 10,000 is completed, the next logical step after that should be a focus on the future setting with Ken's rise as a hero and Ben acting as a mentor to him.
During UAF Ben and Gwen said when we were kids when talking about events that happen during the original series and in omniverse Ben calls himself a kid. Despite being 16 both in Ultimate Alien and Omniverse. This is one of the countless examples I can think of from the top of my head. I believe Omniverse is more consistent with UAF than the Original Series.
@Tactical-Ochoa Little Moments does do it quite well, I think that an actual series would have a bit more universe expansion since L.M is mainly focused around Ben and Gwen and how they grow as characters more than an overarching story (which isn't a bad thing at all, but I think it's important to strike a balance between character growth and expanding on the universe of the show)
But ultimately keeping the stories grounded for the most part would be important because Ben 10 is also a coming-of-age story. Sure it is epic to see him go on all sorts of adventures but sometimes takes away his relatability.
Speaking of Little Moments, one thing that it emphasised was the relationship between Ben and Gwen, though obviously L.M takes a more romantic angle at it by having Bwen actually happen. Personally I'm not a Bwen fan, partly because of Tencest but mainly because I've got a little tired of so often seeing the main female and male characters of a story pair up with each other. The relationship between Ben and Gwen for me is one of my favourite platonic and non-romantic relationships in fiction, and I always took it to be more of a bond between close siblings who balance each other out. Though I guess that the reason the ship is so popular is because a) They butchered Ben's love interests, b) Gwevin doesn't really work if you think about it in the context of the OS and c) Ben and Gwen have good chemistry, whether you see it as romantic or not.
Regardless, if this new sequel was to happen they need to make sure that they show just how close Ben and Gwen are to each other, whether that be through small interactions like competing with each other over trivial things, or through deeper character moments in the story.
@coreofthesun Understandable if you prefer a more platonic and non-romantic relationship out of Ben and Gwen. For me, as long as the relationship makes sense and is well-written, I don't really mind whether it's romantic or not, hence why I don't like Ben's relationships throughout the franchise and Gwen and Kevin's relationship. They don't make sense and/or they're not written well.
And yeah, one of the best parts of the franchise was Ben and Gwen relationship. Those two just work so well together. So much so that I don't think they don't work as characters without having each other together. They fit together like a couple of puzzle pieces or whatever analogy works here. That's why I don't think it was a good idea to replace Gwen with Rook in Omniverse. Many fans have discussed wanting a Gwen spin-off show but taking into consideration of this, I don't think that would work. If Ben isn't a main character, Gwen doesn't feel like she's Gwen. If Ben is a main character, then it's pretty much not a Gwen spin-off show anymore.
In the beta version of Ben 10, Gwen was originally going to not be related to Ben and was instead a friend and classmate of his. Plenty of times, I heard rumors of how if the creators stuck with that route, Ben and Gwen would've ended up in a relationship together. I also heard that there was a bit of a rush to change it so that Gwen was Ben's cousin instead. Therefore, all the romantic subtext in the Original Series were leaked over from the version of the show with the beta version of Gwen. I think they're just rumors at the moment but I think it does explain a lot about the portrayal of their relationship in the Original Series.
@Tactical-Ochoa I mean I still think they did a good job at removing most of the romantic subtext if they changed Gwen to Ben's cousin, the only thing which I found which kinda stood out was the dance scene in "Big Fat Alien Wedding". I wonder what would've happened if they did stick with Gwen being Ben's classmate and justify her travelling with the others on the road trip.
I don't think that this series' forte has ever been romance, but I think that in a new series any of Ben's love interests would need to be engaging as characters in themselves and not just be reliant on "being Ben's girlfriend". Julie felt too much like a satellite love interest rather than an actual person, so if there was to be a new sequel I'd give her a defining personality, maybe making her individualistic with a lack of confidence to trust in others (linked to why she plays single's tennis) and/or ultra-competitive. Then over time she'd learn to work with others and trust in others, especially Ben who always brings out the best in others. Bringing back Kai could work if one wants to go down the childhood crush route and OV did get her personality and interests right, making her quite adventurous and able to keep up with Ben. But they never showed her caring for him over his aliens. I actually think that Elena Validus had quite a lot of potential as Ben's love interest and her being the nanochip queen could lead to some interesting storylines where she struggles to control them, and Ben's son possibly being part nanochip would open up so many possibilities in a future Ken 10 series. But unfortunately UA made her insane and obsessed with Ben with no redeeming qualities, and it felt like she was just there for the writers to try and show just how good a girlfriend Julie was or something like that.
I always liked Ben & Gwen
I always liked them
@Tactical-Ochoa , out of interest are there any series which not only ignore their attempted complete continuity reboot, but also exist in order to revamp the sequels in the original continuity ? It's just that I'm unsure as to whether anything like this new OS sequel idea has ever actually been done before successfully (although of course there have been rumours that the Star Wars sequel trilogy may be retconned and rebooted so...).
I'm sure that there are franchises which have had one attempt at a reboot before returning to their original continuities, but I was wondering whether revamping sequel shows/films has ever been done before successfully.
@coreofthesun There are plenty of examples of sequel reboots that have been made with varying levels of success depending on their executions.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is certainly one of those examples, more specifically The Force Awakens. Despite the issues that The Force Awakens had, it was a massive financial success and did open up potential for what's to follow for the rest of the sequel trilogy...until Disney screwed it all up.
Halloween is another example here. 2018's Halloween is a sequel reboot that followed up after the events of the first film and ignored the rest of the series continuity. Laurie Strode was no longer Michael Myer's sister and Michael was back to being a human serial killer instead of a supernatural, invincible entity. $10-15 million budget and the film made over $255 million and seemed to garner a positive reception. There's also a sequel in production as well.
Terminator: Dark Fate is another sequel reboot, following after the events of Terminator 2 and ignoring the other Terminator films. From what I recall, that film was considered a financial failure after not meeting box office expectations and is widely disliked by the Terminator fan base. One major reason behind that was it disrespected the Terminator 1 and 2 source material by killing off John Connor right at the start of the film. He was replaced by a new character who doesn't even hold a candle compared to John as a character and many felt was introduced just to push a feminist agenda instead of just being a good, well-written character. Didn't help either that the director of the film insulted and tried to disrespect the fans for not liking the route that they were going with. The film also had many other issues that the other post-T2 films had, such as trying to copy and one-up Terminator 2 with bland execution. Terminator is in a rough spot movie-wise. Not so much video game-wise though. Terminator: Resistance is an ok FPS but a great Terminator game with a lot of respect to the source material. That game felt like it was made by Terminator fans for Terminator fans. The Alien: Isolation of Terminator is one comparison that I've heard of in regards to Terminator: Resistance.
So yeah, this has been done multiple times before with varying levels of success or failure based on their execution.
@Tactical-Ochoa Ah ok, I haven't actually watched any of the Halloween sequels and have only seen the original 1978 film once (I'm not really a horror film person lol) but I see what you mean in that the 2018 sequel went back to the roots of what made the 1978 film so good rather than diverging so much like the original sequels to the film did. You could make a direct comparison with how UAF and Omniverse went in different directions compared to the original series which made them not-so-great sequels despite being good as their own thing.
@coreofthesun Yeah, Halloween pretty much went bonkers when they introduced the supernatural stuff. Halloween 2018 proved that going back to your roots without starting the continuity from scratch does work and is a valid option. Just have to make sure the execution is solid though.
And yeah, the Ben 10 sequel shows are fine on their own. They just don't really work well as sequels and diverted so much away from what made the Original Series such a great show. I get that a lot of people want a follow up to Omniverse but I think the better route to go for is to make a new sequel to the Original Series To do what Halloween 2018 did.
I've come up with a few rough ideas as to what they could do in a new sequel. There would be similarities with Alien Force but also some differences:
Firstly, I think that they could really up the ante and the stakes with the whole "secret invasion" thing (which I thought had so much untapped potential when it was introduced in Alien Force). Ben and Gwen have most likely been noticing odd things happening around Bellwood prior to this for the past few months, they've noticed people either going missing for long periods of time or else behaving weirdly (DNAliens in disguise) but haven't thought too much of it because of them being occupied with normal life - at least until they find Max's message. At this point both would realise that their suspicions and misgivings were spot on. I think that while Alien Force did make a point of how they could never have normal lives again after Ben chooses to don the Omnitrix, I think that you could build on that further and show that while Ben and Gwen do like normality to a degree, their Tennyson blood almost makes them both born for adventure and dealing with things out of the ordinary. By choosing to step back into the world of aliens, magic, mutants etc. they're stepping right back into their element.
I also think that an atmosphere of mystery should be maintained for the first phase of the story. The operations of the mysterious invaders are unknown and asides from a few DNAlien run-ins, the Tennyson's really don't know what to do because all of a sudden their familiar home town has become hostile. Max's message to start assembling a team because they are stronger in numbers is what they hold onto,because initially they are so unsure on what to do without him standing like a rock beside them and guiding them. I would involve the Plumber's kids a lot more: the likes of Cooper and Alan would join the cause earlier on; Manny, Pierce and Helen introduced later. As for the stories involving them I'm not sure but I think that they could all have their own character development. One of the themes of Alien Force was meant to be Ben becoming a leader but he never really had a team in the first place in the actual show - here he can.
I also think that bringing back Hope/Charmcaster would be a better idea than Kevin (I'll get to him), and we could still see a redemption story except it would be far more believable. I also think that having her as a part of the main cast would allow the alien and sci-fi stuff in the story to be balanced out by the more mystic elements of the universe. We could see Charmcaster and Gwen have a dislike of each other at the start (which would lead to some pretty amusing moments where Ben has to be the peacemaker), but over time have that grow into a trust in each other and somewhat akin to a mentor-student relationship as Charmcaster (at first grudgingly) teaches Gwen more about magic and they bond over it. The idea of Legerdomain is dope - and we could see Charmcaster have a few mini-arcs of her own, but ultimately revolving around Hex whom she has been running away from for the past few years out of fear of what he might do to her. I think that Ben's personality and positive nature could also have a good influence on her and help her move past her troubled past.
However there would also be a focus on Ben and Gwen's non-hero life - seeing how they deal with the regular problems of growing up in addition to all the non-normal stuff they do. You could almost introduce a Spider-Man spin to the story showing both sides of their lives as it would show how Ben and Gwen's commitment to stopping the Highbreed invasion affects their regular life both for the better or the worse. For example, despite Gwen being a prodigy, I imagine that her family are the kind who would've pushed their daughter to participate and succeed in everything even if she didn't want to. Maybe we could see her thoughts diverting from what she studies in class to how best to handle the next mission that she goes on. This could lead to tension with her parents, meaning that her time spent with Ben kicking alien backside is ironically the only time she can relax. The focus on the main cast's growth as characters was something that was lacking in the Prime continuity and something I believe could really work, since it would actually make them feel like teenagers.
The Forever Knights could also be implemented into this story , but despite them selling tech to the Highbreed and participating in illegal trade deals for their own gain, their motives seem to be unknown. Maybe they could have a great fear of magic and possibly some tension with Charmcaster from past encounters which gives them a reason to antagonise the team. Personally I've thought of a really good plot twist involving the Forever Knights which I won't reveal now just in case I try making a fancomic/fanfiction for fun based on this idea in my spare time.
The ending of part 1 of the story could involve the reforming of the Plumbers as Max's old colleagues hear of Ben's activities and organise themselves to help. I have some good ideas for how Ben's team would interact and work with them but I need to develop them a bit more. Though generally the second phase of the story would involve a more organised attempt at taking the Highbreed down, and how the protagonists adapt to essentially being Plumbers.
Kevin. I think that this version of the story would work better with him being a vigilante or a villain rather than a hero. I think that his return would need to have a really heavy personal impact on Ben because Kevin is essentially his dark mirror image. I think that initially they would have to briefly work together because of the common goal of stopping the eradication of humanity by the Highbreed, but there would always be that underlying tension between them and never a sense of cooperation or total trust, and their temporary alliance would be broken by the end of the invasion. The threat of Kevin is always personal, he's not really definitively good or evil but has gone off the deep end to the point where while he now seems sane from the outside , he's obsessed with revenge and manipulation of Ben even for the most petty reasons. Kevin's story is tragic because he could've definitely taken a turn for the better had it not been for his upbringing (which is the one area which contrasts rather than compliments Ben ) and eventually Ben would have to reluctantly accept that not everyone can be saved. Alternatively he could remain an anti-hero and change a bit for the better, but would never become close to the Tennysons because they can never forget what he did in the past, and would remain only a distant ally in the times of greatest need, leading a life by himself.
As for Ben's love life, I wouldn't delve too much into it since he is only 15/16 in the story. I had another idea which involves introducing Elena Validus into the plot (given that she's a Plumber's kid as well) in a more cohesive way than what was done in UAF but that idea isn't fully fleshed out yet. If any love interests are introduced for Ben, they would need to be engaging as characters by themselves without being too reliant on their relationship with Ben (like Julie in UAF). Ditto for Gwen.
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With regards to powers, I think that a team of Ben, Gwen, Hope, Alan and Cooper (and later Helen, Manny and Pierce) all a diverse range of abilities (which aren't too overpowered) which would be good for a range of storytelling.
Ben obviously has the Omnitrix. I think that recalibrating and shuffling his playlist does work, but I'd still keep the basic functionality of the device the same as it was in the original series. (so no voice commands, or deus ex machina abilities like reviving Ben as Diamondhead). I think that it would be a good idea to include some of Ben's less used original aliens (eg. the monster trio) to give them some more love as well as introducing newer and unique ones. I think that a good roster would be:
- Big Chill
- Spidermonkey (though I'd give him a redesign)
- Humoungasaur (would also get a slight redesign, differentiate his powerset a bit and not make him overused)
- Lodestar (except I wouldn't make him too powerful like he was in UAF)
(**in the case of Jetray, ONLY if he's severely nerfed by removing his ability to fly, break the lightspeed barrier while doing so, and his ability to survive in space. He'd primarily be a water based alien who is faster underwater than Ripjaws but not as strong, even though he can shock his enemies. He would be able to glide in the air though, just not fly at hyperspeed.)
I think that would be quite a balanced roster for Ben and the idea would be that he would have to adapt to using aliens beyond the original 10 which would probably be his favourites, and could lead to some humorous scenarios if done right.
With Gwen, I'd make her a fully human sorceress again. I personally didn't like the Anodite retcon at all - why not just explain Gwen's proficiency as her being a prodigy at pretty much everything that she does? Not like that isn't true, and it keeps the universe broad and exciting. She'd still be using actual spells rather than being totally limited to Green Lantern constructs.
Charmcaster would be similar to Gwen except she's more proficient due to having more experience, and understands how the mystic arts work more than anyone else on the team. To differentiate her from Gwen though I'd have her fighting style be distinct: maybe Charmcaster could utilise more magical artifacts and tricks in contrast to Gwen who takes more of a bare hands approach. I'm thinking that maybe some more lore could be added to how magic works in general...but that's still work in progress.
Given that Ben won't have Heatblast initially Alan's Pyronite powers are therefore unique to the team. Perhaps he will struggle initially with how he shifts from human to Pyronite but over time learns how to control it and make it less spontaneous.
Cooper also has a unique set of powers with his technopathy which allows him to control technology and use that to his advantage. Obviously he would get drawbacks from using his mutant powers too much but he is still distinct from the others and I think that there could be some really cool storylines involving his powers.
There has been a few instances where I've been responding to a few posts by people without actually reading it carefully. Which was wrong of me to do so as I don't know what I'm talking about or agreeing to. Yeah it's a huge wall of text but I'll read everything from now onwards no matter how huge the paragraphs are.