Definition of prequel in US English:



  • A story or movie containing events that precede those of an existing work.

    ‘the film is a prequel to the cult TV series’
    • ‘And while he may have done irreparable damage to his legacy with the disappointing prequels and constant tinkering with the originals, perhaps the sixth and last will ultimately vindicate him.’
    • ‘Which is more difficult: making a sequel or making a prequel?’
    • ‘Colleagues in the fields of literature and film will likewise draw our attention to the vogue for sequels and prequels based on works written by others long after the involvement of the original author.’
    • ‘This, the original, was an enormous hit in its native Hong Kong and has already spawned a prequel, with a sequel on the way.’
    • ‘In this age of sequels, prequels, and trilogies, uniqueness is, well, unique, and I believe we ought to celebrate it, even when it doesn't completely succeed.’
    • ‘But if the prequels are anything like this one, I just might be interested.’
    • ‘Although this film is being subtly sold as a prequel, it is actually the beginning of an all-new series of these films.’
    • ‘In this age of tie-ins, remakes, sequels and prequels, someone was eventually going to tackle this film.’
    • ‘James Bond has to be recast every decade or so, new Starship crews must be recruited, or prequels devised to allow for fresh faces.’
    • ‘It sets up the sequel really well and does a great job as a prequel to the game itself.’
    • ‘As for the film, it acquits itself adequately, just like its prequel.’
    • ‘There were nine films, the originals, prequels, and sequels.’
    • ‘The movie will not be a prequel or sequel, but a new retelling of the story in a feature format.’
    • ‘But with the frenzy of sequels, prequels, remakes and biopics being shovelled out by Hollywood, it comes as no surprise that relying on an existing popular story is the path of least resistance.’
    • ‘Authors sometimes revisit familiar territory through sequels and prequels, but generally they seek new inspiration and fresh ideas.’
    • ‘The movie was so successful, and perhaps controversial, that the studio decided to create both a sequel and a prequel to be released in the coming year.’


1970s: from pre- ‘before’ + sequel.