The History of ‘The Goonies’ Sequel

Let’s delve into the story behind the long-rumored sequel.
By  · Published on April 29th, 2020

Every movie deserves a chance to prove itself on its own terms, but some ideas seem bad from the get-go. Take, for example, a potential sequel to The Goonies, which is both unnecessary and entirely possible.

Talk of a follow-up to the iconic ‘80s adventure movie, which centers around a group of kids who embark on a dangerous expedition to find One-Eyed Willy’s hidden treasure, has been rumored for over 30 years. But the subject came up again during a virtual reunion event, and Steven Spielberg revealed that there have been some recent conversations about making one.

However, Spielberg, who produced the Richard Donner-helmed 1985 original, also said that no idea that’s been proposed so far has been good enough to justify another movie, so it could be a while before a follow-up comes to fruition. The good news is that the filmmakers don’t want to sour the legacy of the beloved first film with a bad cash-grab sequel.

Rumors of a Goonies sequel can be traced back to 1987, the same year that a video game titled The Goonies II was released. Unlike its predecessor (a video game based on the movie that only retailed in Japan), the globally-distributed Goonies II cartridge featured an original story centered around the gang being kidnapped by the Fratellis. Naturally, this fuelled speculation that another movie was on the way, but in the end, the game proved to be its own thing.

Efforts to make an actual sequel became more apparent in the mid-2000s. As documented by Ain’t It Cool News, Spielberg reportedly had an idea in 2004 that Jeff Cohen described as “funny.” Director Richard Donner and most of the cast were interested in returning as well, but the required budget to bring the movie to life proved to be an issue. Cohen, who played “Chunk,” also said that other studios were interested in inheriting the project, but Warner Bros. wasn’t willing to hand over the rights to another party.

Following years of cast and crew members both confirming and denying that a sequel was in the works, some new Goonies projects were announced in 2007. They just weren’t planned as movies. Donner announced that he was working on a comic book miniseries called Goonies: The Search for Sloth, which would take place several years after the events of the movie and follow the gang as they set out to save Sloth, who’d disappeared under suspicious circumstances. The series never materialized.

That same year, there was also some talk of a sequel animated series for Cartoon Network. Little is known about the project, but apparently the original cast wanted too much money for their likenesses to be used, and the series fell through. However, it wasn’t the first time that an animated series had been considered. A sequel cartoon called The Goonies: The Animated Series was supposedly pitched back in 1996 but was shelved due to story problems and a general lack of development. As noted by Fandom, the only trace of the series is its logo, from an archived version of the original announcement.

One of the main reasons why the sequel hasn’t gained any serious traction is because everyone is loyal to Donner, and he is in his twilight years. While it’s possible that another filmmaker could take the reins, the original players don’t want to make it without the original director. But he isn’t getting any younger, and that’s why Corey Feldman doesn’t think a sequel is possible.

“He’s the driving force behind it. He says it’s still alive. But as we all know…When you get to that age, things slow down quite a bit. There is a big possibility that he might not want to keep driving it. So, I think without him, it doesn’t happen. And every day that passes, that he doesn’t do it, there is less and less chance that it is ever going to happen at all.”

Still, never say never. Adam Goldberg — the mastermind behind The Goldbergs, the ultimate ’80s nostalgia sitcom — recently claimed that he’s been working on a sequel for years, and he even had a meeting about it with Donner before the COVID-19 pandemic ruined their plans. “THE GOONIES 2 WILL happen when life resumes,” he tweeted. “Promise!!!”

The Goonies sequel hasn’t gained enough steam throughout the years to suggest that there’s any serious interest in making it. Sure, it’s clear that the filmmakers have had conversations about it — and there appears to be a willingness to make the movie if the right idea comes along — but they’ve had over three decades to figure out a story, and none of their ideas have been good enough, it seems.

Maybe the sequel will never happen, but Fox is producing a television series that will please fans of the movie without making a potentially lesser-quality sequel. Earlier this year, Variety reported that the as-yet-untitled show will follow a substitute teacher who helps a group of young students make a shot-for-shot remake of the ‘80s classic. An affectionate tribute show seems like a better idea than a sequel.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.