Alien: Overexplaining the origins of the Xenomorph alien species in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant robbed the franchise of its original horrifying mystery. Terminator: Complicated timelines and retcons made the franchise hard to follow, damaging its reputation. Star Wars: The prequel trilogy’s explanation of midi-chlorians diluted the mysterious nature of the Force, betraying the original trilogy’s appeal.

Sci-fi movies are known for their high concepts and elaborate worldbuilding, but sometimes a sci-fi franchise can seriously hurt itself by overexplaining things, as is the case with these 10 movie series. While some explanation is always required to set up the world of a new sci-fi franchise, some things are better left mysterious. However, these sci-fi franchises couldn’t help but provide too much explanation, hurting the series in the process. Whether it’s a film that got too bogged down in the lore or a sequel that ruined the mystery of the original, these 10 sci-fi franchises hurt themselves by explaining too much.

Sci-fi is one of the oldest movie genres, with it allowing filmmakers to explore hypotheticals about the world of tomorrow. Sci-fi stories come in all sorts of different forms, with some stories exploring a completely average world with the exception of one fantastical element, and others exploring worlds that are anything but average. Due to sci-fi’s tendency to require elaborate worldbuilding, franchises often have to set up specific rules that the universe of each movie operates under. However, some sci-fi projects go far past what is necessary, leading to these 10 sci-fi franchises seriously harming themselves by falling into this trap.

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10 Alien

Explaining The Xenomorph’s Origins

The horror of Ridley Scott’s original Alien movie lies in the unknown, with the Xenomorph lurking in the shadows as it hunts down its prey. What it wants, how it works, and where it comes from are all complete mysteries in the first film, which is why Alien is so scary. However, future Alien movies seemed to want nothing more than to water down this mystery by explaining the Xenomorph’s origins, a sin that is especially present in Prometheus. Prometheus and Alien: Covenant both attempted to explain the origins of the Xenomorph alien species, something that was completely unnecessary.

9 Terminator

Making The Timelines Too Complicated

The Terminator movies are some of the quintessential time travel stories, with them following various killer robots as they go back in time and attempt to kill or protect a future resistance leader. However, as with any great time travel story, things quickly got confusing. The Terminator sequels created a confusing web of contradictory timelines that made the franchise really hard to follow. Terminator movies then began to retcon important elements, with John Connor changing in nearly every movie. This made the franchise really hard to follow, ruining its reputation.

Terminator: Dark Fate retcons every movie except the first two.

8 Star Wars

Explaining How The Force Works

Star Wars is arguably the most popular sci-fi franchise of all time, but due to how expansive the series has gotten, it has managed to overexplain several times. However, the most famous example of Star Wars overexplaining comes in the prequel trilogy. The original trilogy used the Force as a completely mysterious power that could be harnessed by seemingly anyone if they had the willpower to do so. The prequel trilogy, however, explained that the Force was caused by microscopic organisms called midi-chlorians that could harness the Force, completely ripping the mystery out of it.

7 The Matrix

Bringing Back Neo & Trinity

The Matrix possibly has one of the most complicated worlds in sci-fi, with so many key events in The Matrix timeline being fleshed out but only touched on in the original movies. In order to fully understand The Matrix saga, tons of knowledge about characters that are never even seen in the movie is required, not to mention how each type of character in the franchise works. Despite this, the original movie is still great. The same can’t be said for The Matrix Resurrections, however, which, in an attempt to explain how Neo and Trinity are still alive, created only more questions while hurting the story of the original.

6 Ant-Man

Too Much Focus On The Quantum Realm

On its surface, the Ant-Man series is actually one of the simplest in the MCU. However, the franchise has managed to turn it into easily one of the most complicated ones. The loads of expositional dialogue in the first Ant-Man movie already dragged the film down enough, with the movie seriously ignoring the storytelling adage of “show, don’t tell.” However, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania made things even worse by spending almost its entire runtime explaining the rules, lore, and characters in the Quantum Realm, ignoring the reasons people actually care about Ant-Man movies.

5 Glass

Introducing The Clover Organization

Unbreakable and Split are both meant to be superhero movies in a completely grounded world, with Unbreakable revealing that Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass actually discovered the secret that Bruce Willis’ character is a superhero. This led to a small plot hole, with some viewers wondering how other people didn’t realize that superhero movies existed. Glass, which was the culmination of the trilogy, sadly felt the need to use its twist to explain this, using its twist to introduce a secret society known as the Clover Organization that never paid off despite all of its setup.

4 The Thing

The Story Of The Thing (2011)

1982’s The Thing is considered one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies of all time, and much of its praise is due to how ambiguous it is. The film starts with the main characters exploring another base that had been previously wrecked by the Thing, showing off some of the horrific kills that are later seen in the film. The Thing 2011 is a prequel to the 1982 classic, and it for some reason decided to be a beat-for-beat retelling of what happened at that other base, ruining every mystery while not adding any new surprises.

3 X-Men

Too Many Timelines

Fox’s X-Men series is one of the first big cinematic universes, with it exploring many aspects of Marvel’s beloved X-Men characters. However, due to a massive reboot and several big retcons, the X-Men timeline got so complicated that Deadpool even referenced how incomprehensible it is. Several movies have attempted to rectify the various contradictions in the franchise, but they have only made things more confusing, with the series ending before it ever got fixed.

Related: 10 Most Horrifying Deats In Sci-Fi Movies

2 Cloverfield

Explaining The Origins Of The Cloverfield Monster

The Cloverfield movies are another sci-fi horror series based on fear of the unknown, with the origins of the Cloverfield monster being only hinted at in supplementary materials. The franchise was so mysterious that it even seemed to be an anthology series after 10 Cloverfield Lane, but all that went out the window in The Cloverfield Paradox. The poorly-received Cloverfield prequel attempted to explain the origins of the franchise’s aliens, but it only led to a movie bogged down in exposition and worldbuilding.

1 Valerian & The City Of A Thousand Planets

Too Much Worldbuilding

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was one of the most ambitious sci-fi movies of all time, which is why its a shame that it failed. Much of this is due to how big the world of Valerian is, with the film feeling the need to explain how each and every little thing works. This leads to the movie having multiple instances where the story screeches to a halt so that it can introduce more elements that don’t pay off, with this amount of overexplaining completely ruining the sci-fi movie.

 These sci-fi movies didn’t need explanation.  Read More