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 new start in an established fictional universe, work, or series that discards all continuity in order to recreate its characters, plotlines and backstory from the beginning.[1][2] It has been described as a way to "rebrand"[3] or "restart an entertainment universe that has already been established".[1] Another definition is a remake which is part of an established film series or other media franchise.[4] The term has been criticised for being a vague and "confusing"[5] "buzzword",[6] and a neologism for remake,[7][8] a concept which has been losing popularity in the 2010s.[9][10]


The term is thought to originate from the computing term reboot, meaning to restart a computer system.[1][2]


Reboots cut out non-essential elements associated with a pre-established franchise and start it anew, distilling it down to the core elements that made the source material popular.[11] For audiences, reboots allow easier entry for newcomers unfamiliar with earlier titles in a series.[11]

Comic books

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.[1][12] 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.[13][14][15]


With reboots, filmmakers revamp and reinvigorate a film series in order to attract new fans and stimulate revenue.[2] 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.[16] 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 of a TV show can be a return to production after cancellation and a long hiatus,[17][18] but is also understood to mean a remake of an older series.[19][20]

Video games

Reboots are common in the video game industry, particularly with franchises that have multiple entries in the series.[11] Reboots in video games are used to refresh the storyline and elements of the game.[11]

List of reboots in fiction

Comic books

Series Series start year Reboot(s) Reboot year Ref.
DC Universe 1934 Silver Age 1956 [citation needed]
Crisis on Infinite Earths 1986 [13]
The New 52 2011 [14]
Legion of Super-Heroes 1958 Legion of Super-Heroes 1994
Legion of Super-Heroes 2004
Saiyuki 1997 Saiyuki Reload 2002 [citation needed]
Saiyuki Reload Blast 2010 [citation needed]
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 1987 Steel Ball Run 2004 [citation needed]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1984 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012
Valiant Comics 1992 Valiant Comics 2012
Sonic the Hedgehog 1992 Worlds Collide 2013 [citation needed]
Sonic the Hedgehog 2018

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Willits, Thomas R. (13 July 2009). "To Reboot Or Not To Reboot: What is the Solution?". Bewildering Stories. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Parfitt, Orlando (25 August 2009). "Top 12 Forthcoming Franchise Reboots". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  3. ^ Alexander, Julia (15 March 2017). "The Matrix reboot isn't a remake: Here's the difference between the two". Polygon. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  4. ^ McKittrick, Christopher (6 March 2018). "Film Franchises: The Differences Between Sequels, Reboots and Spinoffs". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Hollywood's 10 Best Reboots". IGN. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  6. ^ Peters, Ian; et al. (6 August 2012). "Reboots, Remakes, and Adaptations". 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 c d Norris, Erik (7 March 2013). "Why Franchise Reboots Can Be A Good Thing". Mandatory. CraveOnline. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  12. ^ Lorendiac (16 March 2009). "Lorendiac's Lists: The DC Reboots Since Crisis on Infinite Earths". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 (April 1985 – March 1986)
  14. ^ a b Flashpoint #1-5 (May – September 2011)
  15. ^ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #4-0 (Sept. 1994)
  16. ^ Billington, Alex (6 October 2008). "Sunday Discussion: The Mighty Hollywood Reboot Trend". Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  17. ^ Francis, James Jr. (11 June 2018). "Why did the television reboot become all the rage?". The Conversation. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  18. ^ Husser, Amy (27 February 2016). "Reboot overload? Fuller House leading pack of nostalgia-inspired TV revivals". CBC News. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  19. ^ Swarts, Jessica (12 April 2016). "We've listed a few 'Twilight Zone' Remake Episodes which aren't terrible". Inverse. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  20. ^ 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.
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