The term is thought to originate from the computer term for restarting a computer system. Reboots remove any non-essential elements associated with a franchise by starting the franchise's continuity over and trimming it down to the core elements and concepts. For consumers, reboots allow easier entry for newcomers unfamiliar with earlier titles in a series.
With reboots, filmmakers revamp and reinvigorate a film series in order to attract new fans and stimulate revenue. A reboot can renew interest in a series that has grown stale, and can be met with positive, mixed, or negative results by both the consumers and film critics. Reboots also act as a safe project for a studio, as a reboot with an established fan base is less risky (in terms of expected profit) than an entirely original work, while at the same time allowing the studio to explore new demographics.
Reboots are common in the video game industry, particularly with franchises that have multiple entries in the series. Reboots in video games are used to refresh the storyline and elements of the game.
The term also applies to comic books, where a comic's continuity is completely erased in order to provide a clean slate and allow it to start over from the beginning while retaining its essential concepts, renewing interest in a comic and opening up new story opportunities at the same time. Comic books that reboot a continuity either use an in-universe explanation for the changes – either merging parallel worlds and timelines together or destroying and recreating its fictional universe from the beginning – or avoid an explanation altogether.
Examples in serial fiction
|Series||Series start year||Reboot(s)||Reboot year(s)|
|DC Universe||1934||Silver Age of Comic Books
Crisis on Infinite Earths
|Legion of Super-Heroes||1958||Legion of Super-Heroes (1994)
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004)
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||1984||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||2011|
|Valiant Comics||1992||Valiant Comics||2012|
- Artistic license
- Canon (fiction)
- List of modernized retellings of old stories
- Reset button technique
- Retroactive continuity
- Thomas R. Willits. "To Reboot Or Not To Reboot: What is the Solution?". Bewilderingstories.com. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Orlando Parfitt. "Forthcoming Franchise Reboots". IGN. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Keith Swenson (2011-06-10). "Movie Franchise Reboots, And The Fans That Love Them". Tonight At The Movies. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Erik Norris (2013-03-07). "Why Franchise Reboots Can Be A Good Thing". CraveOnline. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "Twenty Film Franchises in Need of a Reboot - VideoHound Blogs - VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever". Movieretriever.com. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "Sunday Discussion: The Mighty Hollywood Reboot Trend". FirstShowing.net. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "Lorendiac’s Lists: The DC Reboots Since Crisis on Infinite Earths | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources". Goodcomics.comicbookresources.com. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 (April 1985 – March 1986)
- Flashpoint #1-5 (May – September 2011)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #4-0 (Sept. 1994)
- "Interview: Lexi Alexander - IGN". Movies.ign.com. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- Day, Aubrey (2009-12-16). "Decade's Best: Casino Royale". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Kevin Melrose (2011-04-07). "Fox’s Planet Of The Apes Prequel Gets Renamed … Again – Spinoff Online – TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily". Spinoff.comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Fleming, Mike (1970-01-01). "Horror Movie 'The Grudge' Remake Coming From Ghost House Pictures & Good Universe". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-03-21.