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A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected and can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. They are commonly found in
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
,
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are gen ...

film
, and
video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to generate visual f ...
s, and are less common in other art forms. Three-part works that are considered components of a larger work also exist, such as the
triptych Image:Gallen Kallela The Aino Triptych.jpg, 320px, The ''Aino (mythology), Aino Myth'', the ''Kalevala'' based triptych painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1891. Ateneum, Helsinki A triptych ( ; from the Greek language, Greek adjective ''τρίπ ...

triptych
or the three-movement
sonata Sonata (; Italian: , pl. ''sonate''; from Latin and Italian: ''sonare'' rchaic Italian; replaced in the modern language by ''suonare'' "to sound"), in music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, ha ...

sonata
, but they are not commonly referred to with the term "trilogy". Most trilogies are works of
fiction Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculp ...

fiction
involving the same characters or setting, such as ''
The Deptford Trilogy ''The Deptford Trilogy'' (published 1970 to 1975) is a series of inter-related novels by Canadians, Canadian novelist Robertson Davies. Overview The trilogy consists of ''Fifth Business'' (1970 in literature, 1970), ''The Manticore'' (1972 in lit ...
'' of novels by
Robertson Davies William Robertson Davies (28 August 1913 – 2 December 1995) was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best known and most popular authors and one of its most distinguished "Intellectual#Man ...
and ''
The Apu Trilogy ''The Apu Trilogy'' comprises three Indian Bengali language films directed by Satyajit Ray: '' Pather Panchali'' (1955), '' Aparajito'' (1956) and '' The World of Apu'' (1959). They are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time an ...
'' of films by
Satyajit Ray Satyajit Ray (; 2 May 1921 – 23 April 1992) was an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter for short), scriptwriter or scenarist, is a writer A writer is a person who uses written word ...

Satyajit Ray
. Other fiction trilogies are connected only by theme: for example, each film of
Krzysztof Kieślowski
Krzysztof Kieślowski
's
Three Colours trilogy The ''Three Colours'' trilogy (french: Trois couleurs, pl, Trzy kolory) is the collective title of three films directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski: ''Three Colours: Blue'' (1993), ''Three Colours: White'' (1994), and ''Three Colours: Red'' (1994). T ...
explores one of the political ideals of the
French Republic France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of severa ...
( liberty, equality, fraternity). Trilogies can also be connected in less obvious ways, such as ''
The Nova Trilogy ''The Nova Trilogy'' or ''The Cut-up Trilogy'' is a name commonly given by critics to a series of three experimental novels by William S. Burroughs. Volumes * The Soft Machine * The Ticket That Exploded * Nova Express Trilogy The trilogy of exp ...
'' of novels by
William S. Burroughs William Seward Burroughs II (; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American writer and visual artist, credited as a primary figure of the Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group ...
, each written using
cut-up technique The cut-up technique (or ''découpé'' in French) is an aleatory literary technique in which a written text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text. The concept can be traced to at least the Dadaists of the 1920s, but was popularized in the ...
. The term is less often applied to music, such as the ''
Berlin Trilogy The Berlin Trilogy consists of three consecutively released studio album packaged in book form, like a photograph album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, vinyl, aud ...
'' of
David Bowie David Robert Jones (8 January 194710 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie ( ), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of th ...

David Bowie
which is linked together by musical sound and lyrical themes, all having been recorded at least partly in Berlin, Germany. The term is seldom applied outside art. One example is the " Marshall Trilogy", a common term for three rulings written by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
from 1823 to 1832 concerning the legal status of Native Americans under U.S. law. Trilogies—and series in general—are common in speculative fiction.


History

Trilogies ( grc-gre, τριλογία ''trilogia'') date back to ancient times. In the
Dionysia The Dionysia () (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
festivals of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, for example, trilogies of
plays Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital content service * Play Framework, a Java framework * Play ...
were performed followed by a fourth
satyr play The satyr play is a form of Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space unde ...
. ''
The Oresteia The ''Oresteia'' ( grc, Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected and can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. They are commonly found in literature, film, and video games ...
'' is the only surviving trilogy of these ancient Greek plays, originally performed at the festival in
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
in 458 BC. The
three Theban plays Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three classical Greece, ancient Greek tragedy, tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than, or contemporary ...
, or
Oedipus Oedipus (, ; grc-gre, wikt:Οἰδίπους, Οἰδίπους "swollen foot") was a mythical Greek king of Ancient Thebes (Boeotia), Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus accidentally fulfilled a prophecy that he would end up kil ...

Oedipus
cycle, by
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , ...

Sophocles
, originating in 5th century BC, is not a true example of a trilogy because the plays were written at separate times and with different themes/purposes. Modern fiction trilogies were popularized by the publication of ''
The Lord of the Rings ''The Lord of the Rings'' is an Epic (genre), epic high-fantasy novel by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in Middle-earth, intended to be Earth at some distant time in the past, the story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 ...
'' in three volumes for economic reasons (although it was written as a single novel). In addition, technical changes in printing and film in the mid-to-late 20th century made the creation of trilogies more feasible, while the development of mass media and modern global distribution networks has made them more likely to be lucrative.


Adding works to an existing trilogy

Creators of trilogies may later add more works. In such a case, the original three works may or may not keep the title "trilogy". The first three novels in ''
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' (sometimes referred to as ''HG2G'', ''HHGTTG'', ''H2G2'', or ''tHGttG'') is a comedy science fiction franchise created by Douglas Adams. Originally a 1978 radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 ...

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
'' series were dubbed a trilogy, and even after he extended the series, author
Douglas Adams Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams was author of ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'', which originated in 1978 as The Hitchhiker's Guide ...
continued to use the term for humorous effect - for example, calling ''
Mostly Harmless ''Mostly Harmless'' is a 1992 novel by Douglas Adams and the fifth book in the '' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' series. It is described on the cover of the first editions as "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhike ...
'' "the fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy."
Kevin Smith Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is an American filmmaker, actor, comedian, comic book writer, author, and podcaster. He came to prominence with the low-budget A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with litt ...

Kevin Smith
's films ''
Clerks A clerk A clerk ( or ) is a white-collar worker A white-collar worker is a person who performs professional, desk, managerial, or administrative work. White-collar work may be performed in an office or other administrative setting. White-colla ...
'', ''
Mallrats ''Mallrats'' is a 1995 American buddy comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Ben Affleck, Jason Mewes, Joey Lauren Adams, Michael Rooker, and Smith himself. ...
'' and ''
Chasing Amy ''Chasing Amy'' is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in par ...
'' were often marketed as "The New Jersey Trilogy" because they had overlapping characters, events and locations. After the release of a fourth film, ''Dogma'', the series is referred to as "the
View Askewniverse The View Askewniverse is a fictional universe Fiction generally is a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Trave ...
". The ''Star Wars'' trilogy of three films released between 1977 and 1983 has since been expanded into a trilogy of trilogies, including the original trilogy, the
prequel trilogy The ''Star Wars'' prequel trilogy, colloquially referred to as the prequels, is a series of Epic film, epic space-opera films written and directed by George Lucas. It was produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The trilo ...

prequel trilogy
released between 1999 and 2005 and the sequel trilogy released between 2015 and 2019.


See also

* List of feature film series with three entries *
Trifecta Trifecta A trifecta is a parimutuel bet placed on a horse race Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockey A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplech ...

Trifecta
*
Tritheism Tritheism (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...


References

{{works series Narrative forms Literary series Film series