During Super Bowl LVIII, a teaser trailer dropped that baffled a lot of viewers—it wasn’t the Despicable Me 4 one making fun of AI, but an action-packed Twister teaser. The trailer showcased the July 2024 movie starring Normal People’s Daisy Edgar Jones and Top Gun: Maverick’s Glen Powell as storm chasers. It featured scary twisters obliterating houses and sucking up unfortunate people, as tornadoes are wont to do.
But those with knowledge of the iconic ‘90s flick Twister were a bit lost—is Twisters a sequel to that film or a remake? Let me, the foremost Twister expert at Kotaku (and likely beyond), explain.
Twister is the best movie ever
First, an important statement: 1996’s Twister (starring Helen Hunt and late greats Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman) is my favorite movie of all time. I was a young child when I first saw it, and it kicked off a lifelong obsession with tornadoes and storm systems—I have multiple Doppler apps on my phone, and I’m still trying to set up a trip out west to go see the monsters in person. Tornadoes are fascinating not only because of their destructive, awe-inspiring power, but because of how uniquely American they are—they happen elsewhere, sure, but it’s the particular make-up of the United States (the Rocky Mountains, the flat plains of the Midwest, the warm, damp air from the Gulf of Mexico) that make them so commonplace here.
But I wasn’t the only person who loved Twister—it was the second-highest grossing film of 1996 (behind only Independence Day) and received Oscar noms for its visual effects and sound design. Directed by Dutch filmmaker Jan de Bont (Speed), Twister is a quintessentially ‘90s action flick in which a scrappy bunch of storm chasers face off against both the wrath of mother nature and a group of corporate sell-outs, as they race towards a huge scientific discovery (and away from tornadoes, of course). There are flying cows, a tornado ripping through a drive-in movie screen that’s showing The Shining, and huge, practical explosions. Van Halen wrote a song for it, for fuck’s sake.
Twister strikes the perfect balance between realism and ridiculousness that we so rarely see in modern cinema. It shows us the true-to-life destructive power that is a tornado tearing through an open field and tells us that the warnings for those in its path often come too late. But we’re also told that Paxton’s character (a storm chaser turned soon-to-be-weatherman) is preternaturally capable of predicting when a storm system will produce a tornado, or where that tornado will head—and it’s this gift that sets him apart from the corporate sell-outs (led by The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes). It’s absurdly beautiful.
Every single person in my life is required to watch Twister if they want to remain in my life, and I would implore you to do the same.
But Twisters is not a remake
Now, fans of Twister were likely confused because there are a parts of the Twisters trailer that seem directly pulled from the original film: the team seeking shelter underneath a bridge while in the path of a massive tornado, the white-shirt weather people (Jones and company) staring across the parking lot at a maverick storm chaser (Powell), and a device that looks identical to the one seen in the original movie, floating doodads and all. The font is even the same, for the love of Dusty.
Plus, the story centers around Jones and Powell—and I’ve seen at least one publication claiming Jones is the daughter of Hunt and Paxton’s characters, though it’s not confirmed. I can say with confidence that Powell’s character (dubbed “the Tornado Wrangler,” whereas Paxton’s character was nicknamed “the Extreme”) is clearly modeled after real-life extreme storm chasers like Reed Timmer, who rides into storms in his car, the Dominator, which he’s modified to withstand the powerful winds and debris. There’s a scene in the trailer in which Powell’s character deploys drills from the bottom of his truck that bore down in the ground, ostensibly to prevent the tornado from lifting up the car and hucking it hundreds of yards away. Timmer even confirmed to The Oklahoman that he took Twisters writer Mark L. Smith storm-chasing, and helped with the film’s concept.
But according to Entertainment Weekly, Twisters is a standalone sequel (not a remake) that won’t require viewing the original to understand it—though I would urge you to. Director Lee Issac Chung (Minari) loved Twister, though, so expect there to be tons of throwbacks even if Jones’ character isn’t directly related to the previous leads (even the exclusive EW pictures have nods to the original movie).
“What was essential to me was that it always felt like in that first movie, which didn’t necessarily feel like a disaster movie,” Chung told EW. “To me, it felt like an adventure movie, and I always loved how that movie inspired a generation of meteorologists and people who were interested in science and weather just because it made that study feel like it was an adventure. That’s something that I wanted to retain with this one.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to get twisted.