After watching the thirteen films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I've been wondering if there is a longer running series of films that maps out a continuous storyline.
I've found this article on Wikipedia, but I am unsure if any of these film series have reboots, or even if they follow a continuous plotline/timeline.
The James Bond series of films features a reboot, but even before Casino Royale there didn't seem to be much of a continual plotline across the entire series of films (despite the recurring characters, organisations and themes).
To explain what I mean by continuous plotline, I am going by the following criteria:
- Films set in the same "universe" or setting
- A continuous timeline of events depicted by the films (although not necessarily in sequence)
- Each film should intentionally reference at least one of the other films that preceded it
- Preferably at least one of the characters should be shared across more than one of the films in the series
- Reboots or remakes break the continuous plotline, so these cannot be included (but they can be ignored if subsequent films continue the original plotline)
The important part here is the continuous timeline of events. If a film can be placed somewhere in the timeline of a series without causing issues (eg. characters being revived without explanation, previously destroyed places suddenly restored without explanation, massive jumps in time for the setting and yet the characters don't age without explanation), then it is part of the continuous timeline. Otherwise that film breaks the timeline and cannot be included.
I am more than happy to accept parts of a film series. For example if twenty of the thirty or more Godzilla films all follow these criteria, then I would accept those twenty films as a continuous plotline.
I can think of several film series that fit these criteria, the Star Wars and Harry Potter film series are two examples. But I am looking for the longest series of films that fits my criteria of a continuous plotline or timeline of events.
Films don't have to be direct sequels/prequels to fit into my criteria - films in the same setting but chronologically spread out, and therefore with different characters would fit the bill so long as they kept to a continuous timeline of events. Also, I would accept foreign language films and films that are TV movies or straight to DVD films.