How to Write a Script for a Sequel

Writing a movie sequel can be both easier than an original story, because the characters have already been established, and harder, due to the constraints placed on the characters by the original story. The studios commission most sequels, but a script sequel can be used as a calling card of your talent for screenwriting.

Watch the original movie several times to get a feel of the story and its characters. If the movie is part of a franchise (several sequels already done) be sure and watch every movie in the series. If the movie is based on a book or novel, be sure to read it also.

Read the original movie script. Look for drafts of the script as the shooting script contains camera angels and other directorial instructions. Pay attention to the style of writing and compare what was written to the actual movie. Look for the scenes that were deleted from the final version and attempt to understand why. Did they not move the story or were they cut in order to fix a specific time limitation.

Pay close attention to each of the characters in the movie. Know who lives and who dies and understand each character's personality traits. The hero in the first film cannot become the bad guy antagonist in later stories.

Find a logical progression of the story line. Plot out what happens next after the close of the original movie. This is the best way to write a sequel because by continuing the story line, the audience will naturally want to know what happens next.

Write your script using proper industry format. Download CeltX, a free screenwriting program, or do a search for scriptwriting templates for Word. Writing in the proper format shows you are serious about becoming a scriptwriter.

Make sure your screenplay fits the allotted time. Determine how long the original movie was and trim your script to fit the same approximate time limits. Sequels are generally given the same amount of screen time as the original movie.

Have friends and family read your script when it is complete. Ask them to be brutal with their feedback of what works and doesn’t work. Rewrite using their suggestions.


Remember the standard rule of screenwriting: One page equals one minute of screen time.


Be sure and work on original screenplays also. Once you show your talent for the art of screenwriting, executives in the movie business are going to want to know you have creativity also.

As mentioned above, script sequels cannot be marketed by the writer unless the author has an agreement with the studio who owns the rights to the original film. The best use of writing film sequels is as a fan who needs practice for the art of screenwriting or to use as a writing sample showing their talent when meeting with agents, producers or production companies.

Things You'll Need

  • Scriptwriting software or template