6 Oldest Film Franchises That Maintained A Consistent Canon

Canon and continuity can be difficult things to deal with when making movies. Used effectively, they can create epic, long-lasting story arcs that reward a dedicated audience. However, they can also be restrictive, placing limitations on movies to avoid conflicting with anything in the same canon, and punishing audience members who haven’t seen all of the movies.

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As a result, many franchises, especially long-standing ones, have undergone at least one reboot in their time, a film that does away with all or part of what came before it and is shaping up to be the new way forward for the franchise. As a result, it’s rare for a movie franchise to last a number of years and entries with a consistent continuity, but some do.

6 Harry Potter lasted most of the 21st century

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Gryffindor class watching a Harry Potter Magical Creature Care Lesson

After the Harry potter books took the literary world by storm and gave the young adult genre a much needed boost, it was inevitable that the films would follow. Four years after the publication of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit theaters in 2001 and rose to commercial and critical success, most notably becoming the second highest grossing film of all time at that time.

The franchise soon followed, with the first eight-film series ending in 2011. In 2016, however, a franchise’s sub-series, Fantastic beasts and where to find them, always started in the same continuity. With ten films in total, spanning twenty years, the franchise is expected to run for at least three more films.

5 Star Wars movies survived a continuity exile

Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker aboard the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope

Released in three trilogies – with a few add-ons – over several decades, it’s been 44 years since the very first Star wars film, with the franchise still going strong. One of the most popular franchises in the world, the saga of a galaxy far distant seems to have found its place on television in recent times, after the controversies of The Rise of Skywalker and The Last Jedi.

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Nonetheless, the films alone cover eleven entries, plus an animated spin-off, a holiday special, and a few direct video entries, spanning 1977 through 2019. With implications of more films going forward, Star wars is in the running as one of the most sustainable franchises of all time. After Disney acquired the franchise, there was a scouring of continuity, but one that ostensibly made not touch the films.

4 Fast & Furious seems unsinkable

The main cast of the Fast and Furious films, including Luke Hobbs and Dominic Toretto

With fewer films to its credit than the other entries on this list, the Fast and furious The franchise has nevertheless been present since 2001, and releases films regularly every two or three years. Despite changing its premise, scope, main characters, and a few wobbly continuity points, the films have remained in one canon.

the Fast and furious The franchise’s long legs are due to its popularity with audiences, as the series has received waning critical feedback for a number of entries now. Nonetheless, with nine full entries and a spin-off – many of which have broken various box office records – the franchise looks to be here for the long haul, though jokes about ridicule continue to pile up.

3 Even X-Men Films’ Retcons are in Canon

The cast of the two timelines of the X-Men films, including Mystique, Xavier, Wolverine and Magneto

The continuity of X Men movie franchise can be hard to reconcile at times, with 2011 X-Men: First Class have all the fingerprints of a reboot, change the cast, time frame, and main focus of the action. However, the years 2014 Days of the future past reconciled it to the previous films even though he changed the timeline, revealing that the last films are a prequel series of the 2000s X Men and its consequences.

Suddenly, the franchise, before its final release in 2020 with The new mutants, shot for twenty years and thirteen films, including the dead Pool spin-offs that vaguely occupied the same continuity. Despite a somewhat ignominious ending, the franchise was nonetheless one of the oldest, and many are curious to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will treat ownership.

2 Rocky Balboa isn’t leaving the ring or the box office

Rocky Balboa refuses to throw in the towel in the Rocky movies

A franchise from modest origins in the case of Rocky, with just one film about a tough but unsuccessful boxer leading to one sequel after another. Sylvester Stallone’s solid performance, coupled with well-choreographed boxing scenes and a great score, saw people flocking in droves to watch the film and its sequels.

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Initially, the sequels showed diminishing returns after Rocky II, with the third, fourth and fifth films seen as increasingly disappointing. After a sixteen-year hiatus, Rocky balboa was significantly more successful, and the series was relaunched by the Creed sub-franchise that is still ongoing, resulting in an almost 45-year-old film series with a continuity.

1 There are 26 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

A group photo of the surviving Avengers before starting Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame

Currently the shortest of the oldest franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is making up for its late debut with a massive volume of films, currently 26 in total, and more are on the way. From 2008 with Iron Man, the franchise has come to dominate pop culture and shows no signs of slowing down.

The series’ continuity within a canon – despite a few earlier breakaways and a few potential breakaways with a multiverse in the universe – is seen as one of its greatest strengths, sparking constant discussion and theorizing from fans. Nonetheless, with so many films, most of which are increasingly interconnected, it has also been suggested that the series be difficult for new audiences to grasp.

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