In my screenplay, there is a the so-called "receptionist scene" where the (female) receptionist warns the heroine that the company she just joined at a high level isn't very woman friendly. The receptionist leaves, while the heroine stays and makes it to the top against all odds.

I was thinking of creating a sequel in which the heroine turns "Andover Corporation" into "Amazon Corporation" and hires back the former receptionist. Would it be possible/allowed to reprise the critical scene in the first paragraph in the sequel for those who hadn't seen the first play or movie?

And if the "sequel" refers the to the follow-up work, is there a word for the original, or what I call the "prequel"?

  • I'm not sure I understand. You want a sort of tv episode "what went before" at the beginning of your cinematic movie? That would be uncommon. Movie goers are usually familiar with the basic plot of the first movie, and even sequels are highly stand alone. – user5645 May 26 '15 at 5:54

If you have to ask then its probably not okay. It rarely happens in movies because there are better ways to handle it. (The obvious exception would be time-travel movies, like Back to the Future, where scene reprises from different POVs are used to expand the plot.)

Pretty much any sequel movie these days is written so that it appears to a newcomer to be a completely standalone film. What happened in the previous movie is handled as you would normally handle any backstory. Your challenge is to introduce the receptionist character in a way that reveals the backstory to newcomers, but doesn't bore those who already know how she got there. That shouldn't actually be as difficult as it sounds because you should already be writing backstory in a way which is fresh, entertaining, and sneaks in the exposition as painlessly as possible.

In your example, you could show the former receptionist has an unusual job. At some point she has to explain why she's doing that job, either to a colleague or the heroine. You need to make that logic interesting for viewers already up to speed, but in the process one or two phrases would catch everyone else up.


  • 'I tried other receptionist work after leaving but...'
  • 'Beats working the bottom rung of the worlds biggest corporation.'
  • 'I got out just at the wrong time.'


Bear in mind also, that some of your audience will view the films out of order. If this scene was so critical to the first, you may not want to wreck it by just replaying it out of context in the sequel. Let the original film become an interesting prequel for these viewers. Leave a little mystery about how or why the receptionist ended up out of the company.

  • Mine is something of a "time travel" movie. So maybe it is ok in this context. – Tom Au May 26 '15 at 13:34

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