Reboot (fiction)

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The Godzilla film franchise, which began in 1954, was rebooted four times (in 1984, 1999, 2014 and 2016). Pictured here is a promotional image from Godzilla Raids Again (1955).

In serial fiction, a reboot is a type of sequel. It has been described as a way to "rebrand"[1] or "restart an entertainment universe that has already been established",[2] discarding previous plotlines.[2] Another definition is a remake which is part of an established film series or other media franchise.[3] The term reboot has been criticised for being a vague and "confusing buzzword",[4][5][6] and for being just a neologism for a remake,[7][8] a concept that has been seen as losing popularity in the 2010s.[9][10]


The term is thought to originate from the computing term reboot, meaning to restart a computer system.[11]


Reboots remove any non-essential elements associated with a franchise and start it anew, distilling it down to the core elements that make it popular.[12] For audiences, reboots allow easier entry for newcomers unfamiliar with earlier titles in a series.[12]


With reboots, filmmakers revamp and reinvigorate a film series in order to attract new fans and stimulate revenue.[11] A reboot can renew interest in a series that has grown stale.[citation needed] Reboots act as a safe project for a studio, as a reboot with an established fanbase 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.[13] Reboots also allow directors and producers to cast a new set of younger actors for the familiar roles of a film series in order to attract a younger audience.[citation needed] Unlike a remake, however, a reboot often presupposes a working familiarity on the part of the audience with the original work.[citation needed]


In television, a reboot is different from a revival, in which many of the original cast, storylines, and locales from the original series are retained, whereas a reboot features an entirely new cast and timeline that doesn't take into account anything from the original series.[citation needed] In television, a reboot of a TV show can be a return to production after cancellation and a long hiatus,[14][15] but is also understood to mean a remake of an older series.[16][17]

Video games[edit]

Reboots are common in the video game industry, particularly with franchises that have multiple entries in the series.[12] Reboots in video games are used to refresh the storyline and elements of the game.[12]

Comic books[edit]

In comic books, a long-running title may have its continuity erased in order to start over from the beginning, enabling writers to redefine characters and open up new story opportunities, and allowing the title to bring in new readers.[2][18] Comic books sometimes use an in-universe explanation for a reboot, such as merging parallel worlds and timelines together, or destroying a fictional universe and recreating it from the beginning.[19][20][21]

List of reboots in fiction[edit]

Comic books[edit]

Series Series start year Reboot(s) Reboot year Ref.
DC Universe 1934 Silver Age 1956
Crisis on Infinite Earths 1986 [19]
The New 52 2011 [20]
Legion of Super-Heroes 1958 Legion of Super-Heroes 1994
Legion of Super-Heroes 2004
Saiyuki 1997 Saiyuki Reload 2002
Saiyuki Reload Blast 2010
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 1987 Steel Ball Run 2004
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1984 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012
Valiant Comics 1992 Valiant Comics 2012
Sonic the Hedgehog 1992 Worlds Collide 2013
Sonic the Hedgehog 2018

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alexander, Julia (15 March 2017). "The Matrix reboot isn't a remake: Here's the difference between the two". Polygon. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c Willits, Thomas R. (13 July 2009). "To Reboot Or Not To Reboot: What is the Solution?". Bewildering Stories. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  3. ^ McKittrick, Christopher (6 March 2018). "Film Franchises: The Differences Between Sequels, Reboots and Spinoffs". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  4. ^ "HALLOWEEN Producer Jason Blum Explains Why He Doesn't Consider The Upcoming Entry A "Reboot"". 5 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  5. ^ "Hollywood's 10 Best Reboots". IGN. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  6. ^ Peters, Ian (6 August 2012). "Reboots, Remakes, and Adaptations | In Media Res". In media res. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  7. ^ Child, Ben (24 August 2016). "Don't call it a reboot: how 'remake' became a dirty word in Hollywood". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  8. ^ Patches, Matt (9 August 2012). "The Reboot Glossary: Which Hollywood Buzzword Fits the Bill?". Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  9. ^ Faughnder, Ryan (24 August 2016). "Hollywood's summer problem? Reboots people don't want". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  10. ^ Desta, Yohana (9 October 2014). "Why Hollywood Is Producing So Many Damn Remakes". Mashable. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Parfitt, Orlando (25 August 2009). "Top 12 Forthcoming Franchise Reboots". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Norris, Erik (7 March 2013). "Why Franchise Reboots Can Be A Good Thing". CraveOnline. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  13. ^ Billington, Alex (6 October 2008). "Sunday Discussion: The Mighty Hollywood Reboot Trend". Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Francis, James Jr. (11 June 2018). "Why did the television reboot become all the rage?". The Conversation. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  15. ^ Husser, Amy (27 February 2016). "Reboot overload? Fuller House leading pack of nostalgia-inspired TV revivals | CBC News". Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  16. ^ Swarts, Jessica (12 April 2016). "We've listed a few 'Twilight Zone' Remake Episodes which aren't terrible". Inverse. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  17. ^ Otterson, Joe (6 December 2017). "'Twilight Zone' Reboot From Jordan Peele, Simon Kinberg, Marco Ramirez Greenlit at CBS All Access". Variety. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  18. ^ Lorendiac (16 March 2009). "Lorendiac's Lists: The DC Reboots Since Crisis on Infinite Earths". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 (April 1985 – March 1986)
  20. ^ a b Flashpoint #1-5 (May – September 2011)
  21. ^ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #4-0 (Sept. 1994)