The prequel is a narrative, which appears as a continuation of a work, but does not carry the action, but rather tells a part of the prehistory. Thus, such a prequel is not a continuation in the actual sense, since the known is not carried away, but the content of the action is pre-emphazised. The prequel is found in all artistic genres, such as in literature, film, television, but also in music and more often in computer games. The counterpart of the prequel is the sequel, which actually means the continuation of a work.

The term is a neologism of the twentieth century and is made up of the prefix Pre for before and the noun Sequel for continuation or even succession. Thus, a prequel is a kind of precedence. Consequently, the prequel is a work that plays before the previous works of a series and thus is settled before the time of the already described action (see Mehrteiler).

The prequels mostly show a logical prehistory which begins before the “main action” and explains many details from this and often also ends with it. In some cases, however, there are also examples which are only loosely connected with the known action and which are mainly played by the receiver (the viewer, the reader) knows how the action is ultimately continued.

The prequel with the example of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”
The above example illustrates the principle described by the example of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, filmed by the director Peter Jackson. The first part of the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings appeared in 2001 and the following two years each came a continuation. About ten years later, the film adaptation of the hobbits, which tells a story that precedes the happenings so far. The Hobbit is thus a prequel of The Lord of the Rings.

It is important, however, that this only applies to the filming of the film series. These appeared in the order described, which makes the Hobbit a prequel. Actually, however, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Hobbit before the HdR trilogy, which appeared in 1937 and the subsequent HdR works from 1954. With regard to the novels, The Hobbit is therefore not a prequel!

Further examples
Numerous examples from the fields of literature, film, television, video games, manga and anime as well as theatricals were compiled. Should you have any further examples, we are looking forward to a message with a reference to the respective series. The following navigation leads to the overview of the individual areas.

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