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I recently saw Universal Soldier (1992) and got interested in the other parts of the franchise. As far as I can see the franchise contains the following movies:

However, Brothers in Arms and Unfinished Business are DTV (Direct To Video) movies and The Return, Regeneration and Day of Reckoning are theatrical films. Right now I have only the theatrical ones in possession so in short I want to know if I can watch those movies without the DTV ones or should I wait untill I can get my hands on the other two?

Since I haven't seen any of the sequels and don't want to receive spoilers, I would appreciate it if answers could place any possible deeper story discussion into spoiler blocks.

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Note: This answer is spoiler free. The links have been included for reference, but opening them likely will lead to spoilers.

From the Universal Soldier wiki:

After Universal Soldier was released, Carolco, the production company that backed the film, went bankrupt. In 1995, Carolco sold the rights of the series to Skyvision Entertainment in Toronto.

Two TV films, Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business, were released direct-to-video...They were produced for Showtime / The Movie Channel as a miniseries meant as a backdoor pilot for a series. Having almost no input whatsoever from the original filmmakers, their canonical status is questionable.

...Universal Soldier: The Return...has since been removed from the series canon. An overwhelming critical and financial failure, The Return contradicted several elements of the previous film's plot...

The subsequent film in the series, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, disregards the events of The Return entirely.

If I go to the Universal Soldier: The Return page, it says:

Subsequent films in the series ignore the events of The Return and contradict it in some places throughout the series; today it is no longer considered part of the series' canon.

Similarly, if I go directly to the Universal Soldier: Regeneration wiki page, it says:

The film is direct sequel to the original Universal Soldier from 1992, unrelated to the two Universal Soldier television sequels that were produced in 1998 and completely ignores the events from the 1999 theatrical sequel Universal Soldier: The Return.

Finally, the Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning page says:

It is a semi-sequel to Universal Soldier: Regeneration.

So putting all of that together, it appears that the first film was released. Then two more direct to TV films were released. Then a fourth theatrical film was released, and has been removed from canon. A fifth film was then released, which served as a sequel to the first film, and a sixth film was released that serves as a semi-sequel to the fiffth film.

So, without the direct-to-tv films, I'd suggest this order:

  1. Universal Soldier
  2. Universal Soldier: Regeneration
  3. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

You can then watch the two direct to TV films, and Universal Soldier: The Return, if desired.

  • Detailed and yet without spoilers, I like! It's a weird franchise though. Half of the movies are ignored in one way or the other – Noosrep Feb 11 '16 at 11:27
  • @TimothyPersoon: Yes. I've never seen the series, but it seems quite strange! – Andrew Martin Feb 11 '16 at 11:29

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