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The Godzilla film franchise, which began in 1954, was rebooted with the films The Return of Godzilla (1984), Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla (2014) and Shin Godzilla (2016). Pictured here is a promotional image from Godzilla Raids Again (1955).

In serial fiction, to reboot means to discard all continuity in an established fictional universe, work, or series in order to recreate its characters, timeline and backstory from the beginning.[1][2] The term is used with respect to various different forms of fictional media such as comic books, television shows, video games, and films among others.[1]



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


Reboots remove any non-essential elements associated with a franchise and start it anew, distilling it down to the core elements that make it popular.[3] For audiences, reboots allow easier entry for newcomers unfamiliar with earlier titles in a series.[3]


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, and can be met with positive, mixed, or negative results by both consumers and film critics.[citation needed] Reboots act as a safe project for a studio, as a reboot with an established fan base 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.[4] 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 is different from a revival, in which many of the original cast, storylines, and locales from the original series are retained, whereas a reboot features an entirely new cast and timeline that doesn't take into account anything from the original series.[citation needed]

Video gamesEdit

Reboots are common in the video game industry, particularly with franchises that have multiple entries in the series.[3] Reboots in video games are used to refresh the storyline and elements of the game.[3]

Comic booksEdit

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][5] 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.[6][7][8]

List of reboots in fictionEdit

Comic booksEdit

Series Series start year Reboot(s) Reboot year Ref.
DC Universe 1934 Silver Age 1956
Crisis on Infinite Earths 1986 [6]
The New 52 2011 [7]
Legion of Super-Heroes 1958 Legion of Super-Heroes 1994
Legion of Super-Heroes 2004
Saiyuki 1997 Saiyuki Reload 2002
Saiyuki Reload Blast 2010
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 1987 Steel Ball Run 2004
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1984 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012
Valiant Comics 1992 Valiant Comics 2012
Sonic the Hedgehog 1992 Worlds Collide 2013
Sonic the Hedgehog 2018

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c d Norris, Erik (7 March 2013). "Why Franchise Reboots Can Be A Good Thing". CraveOnline. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  4. ^ Billington, Alex (6 October 2008). "Sunday Discussion: The Mighty Hollywood Reboot Trend". Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Lorendiac (16 March 2009). "Lorendiac's Lists: The DC Reboots Since Crisis on Infinite Earths". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 (April 1985 – March 1986)
  7. ^ a b Flashpoint #1-5 (May – September 2011)
  8. ^ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #4-0 (Sept. 1994)