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The Gelfling Rian in 'Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance' (Photo: Netflix / The Jim Henson Company)

Prequels appear to be all the rage, what with this week’s news that 1980s puppet fantasy film The Dark Crystal will get a ten-episode backstory on Netflix next year.

Other prequels in the works include a Willy Wonka origins story; a series going back to the rookie days of 24‘s Jack Bauer, Endeavour-style; a film exploring Cruella de Vil’s back story; the early days of the New Jersey mob from The Sopranos; multiple strands filling in what lead up to Game of Thrones; a small-screen exploration of Middle-earth before the events of Lord of the Rings; and then there’s Rogue One and Solo, and even the original Star Wars “prequels”.

Now seems a good time to pitch ideas, so below are 10 prequels we’d actually love to watch.

1. Friends

We know from frequent flashbacks that Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Monica (Courteney Cox) were childhood friends, with Monica’s nerdy brother Ross (David Schwimmer) lurking in the background, but how about the college years Ross and Chandler (Matthew Perry) spent together? In 2004 episode “The One Where the Stripper Cries” we learn they were in a band called Way/No Way, and both Rachel and Monica used to visit. How about more of that ’80s-tastic throwback? We’re sure Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) could turn up somewhere.

2. Downton Abbey

The upcoming movie is due to fill us in on what’s happened since we left Downton at the end of season six, but how about we dial back time to the 1880s? That’s when a young Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) met Cincinnati heiress Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), and her indomitable mother (Shirley Maclaine), no doubt.

3. Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola‘s grueling and hellish Vietnam War film follows a U.S. Captain (Martin Sheen) who’s tasked with the job of traveling deep into the Cambodian jungle to kill Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), an American fighter who’s gone insane. When he gets there, he finds Kurtz is being treated like a god by the natives. How Kurtz got there would make a great story.

4. Broadchurch

We got more information about why DCI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) moved to Broadchurch in season two of the detective drama, but there always seemed like more to his character. Just what happened in Sandbrook? And why is he always so grumpy?

5. Ab Fab

PR agent Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) met best friend Patsy (Joanna Lumley) in the 1960s, so how about an origins story of one of the most enduring friendships on TV? We’d love to see the pair when Eddy was still sneaking out of her gran’s house and Pats was shacking up with the Rolling Stones. And then there are the years she spent living as a man in Morocco, of course.

6. The Devil Wears Prada

Cruella de Vil has nothing on Miranda Priestly, the tyrannical, larger-than-life editor-in-chief of a major fashion magazine played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). Assistants Andy (Anne Hathaway) and Emily (Emily Blunt) have both been given a sequel in the book series by Lauren Weisberger, but what we’d like to see is Miranda 30 years prior, as she scales the ranks of the fashion world.

7. Four Weddings and a Funeral

There’s the funeral of course, when Matthew (John Hannah) recites “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden about his departed partner Gareth (Simon Callow), but the most devastating scene in Richard Curtis‘s cult classic is this one between Charles (Hugh Grant) and best friend Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas). Can we step back in time to when they met? Add in poor old Duckface (Anna Chancellor) for some love triangle laughs.

8. Peaky Blinders

Pre-ky blinders, if you will. There’s definitely scope for a spin-off show about Tom Hardy‘s character Alfie Solomons, or how about we go back in time to before season one, and see what Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) got up to as a tunneler in the trenches of the First World War?

9. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

“Elliot, he came to me too. I’ve been wishing for this since I was ten years old. I don’t want him to die.” So says Keys, the government agent played by Peter Coyote in Steven Spielberg‘s 1982 masterpiece. True or not, this nugget of information about Keys’s childhood in the 1950s provides context to his desperate attempts to get his hands on E.T., not to mention the tantalizing idea that this is not the first time E.T. has visited Earth — one we’d love to see fleshed out.

10. Sherlock

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) gave us an insight into what a teenage Holmes might have been like, as do a current series of Young Adult (YA) books. But what about Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss‘s modern-day version? In the books, Sherlock is 27 when he meets Watson, which takes place in the series’ first ever episode. That aired in 2010, which would mean Sherlock was born in 1983, and came of age around the millennium. Freaks and Geeks meets the boy detective, anyone?

Which other prequels would you watch in a heart beat?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.