Spin-off media is usually the refuge of the hardcore fan, who loves a character or franchise so much they look to expand the experience in any way possible. This can take the form of comics, novels, video games or other mediums, which can explore the world of the franchise in more detail, and fill in the blanks regarding major characters or storylines.
Franchises like Star Trek or Star Wars are more than happy to cater to fans who want to explore their universes in other ways, and these spin-offs can add depth to the mythology of the series. In some cases they can even provide closure for a character, going beyond the ending audiences are familiar with.
These spin-offs can find characters on a continuing adventure, or even detail their final moments. In fact, there have been a number of shocking events and deaths that can only be found in these expanded universe tales, and in this article, we’ll explore 15 Characters Whose Fates Were Only Revealed In Spin-Off Media.
While some expanded media is considered non-canon, the entries listed here are official canon according to the studios behind them.
15. E.T. Gets Lonely And Flies Back To Earth – E.T.: The Book Of The Green Planet
Steven Spielberg ultimately decided against making an E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial sequel, though he did develop a script. This sequel would have been a horror movie for children, where Elliot and friends are kidnapped by nasty aliens searching for E.T. They torture the children to gain information, with E.T. eventually appearing in the final act to rescue them. From that description alone, it’s probably for the best it didn’t happen.
Spielberg did allow a sequel book to be written in 1985, based on a story he conceived. The Book Of The Green Planet finds the little guy back on his home world, but his people are furious with him. He’s demoted and spends his time pining for his friend Elliot. Elliot, on the other hand, is becoming a teenager and has developed a crush on a girl at school. E.T.’s psychic connection picks up on Elliot’s suffering, and in the end, he grows a spaceship out of a turnip and flies back to earth, though the story ends before he gets there.
14. Hicks Is Alive After All – Aliens: Colonial Marines
Fans of the Alien series were so ready for Aliens: Colonial Marines, which had been hyped by developer Gearbox as a canon sequel to James Cameron’s film. The story had a squad of marines landing on LV-426, and encountering more xenomorphs and Weyland-Yutani troops. The pre-release trailers looked fantastic, but the end product was reviled upon release.
The graphics didn’t look half as good as the initial footage promised, the story was a shambles, the combat was bland and the game was littered with bugs. It also tried to pull off a shocking plot twist by revealing that Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks – who was presumed dead at the start of Alien 3 – was actually alive.
Fans had to wait for DLC to get the explanation, which revealed Hicks had another adventure while another unlucky character went to sleep in his cryo-tube. It was fan fiction nonsense of the highest order and combined with Biehn’s unenthused performance, Hicks resurrection was ultimately met with disappointment.
13. Wayne Palmer’s Presidency Came To A Tragic End – 24: Redemption
Wayne Palmer was David Palmer’s brother, acting as his advisor in 24 season three, and then leading the investigation into his murder in season five. The producers decided to make the JFK/RFK parallels even clearer with season six, with Wayne himself becoming president.
Poor Wayne really had a rough day trying to keep his country and government together in the face of sustained attacks, and he’s even the victim of an assassination attempt. He tries to push through despite receiving a bad head injury, but he eventually succumbs and suffers a haemorrhage, leading to his more ruthless vice president Noah Daniels taking over.
That’s the last that was seen or heard of Wayne on the show, but it turns out the TV movie Redemption provided the answer. A newspaper clipping about Daniels last days in office reveals Wayne didn’t wake up from his coma and eventually passed away. It’s a surprisingly bleak ending for the character, but at least it provided fans with some kind of closure.
12. David Tapp Played Another Deadly Game For Jigsaw – Saw: The Game
For a low-budget horror film intended to go straight to video, the original Saw attracted a surprisingly strong cast. Chief among them was Danny Glover as Detective Tapp, who develops an obsession with catching Jigsaw after his partner is killed.
He ends the movie with a bullet in his chest, but his death wasn’t confirmed until Saw V. That’s because the producers felt there was another story to be told, but Glover wasn’t interested in returning. Instead, the video game filled in the blanks, revealing that Jigsaw saved Tapp, nursed him back to health and then forced him through another set of games.
If the player beats the game it reveals that while Tapp escaped the asylum alive, his obsession with Jigsaw and his failure to capture him drove him made. The canon ending has Tapp killing himself, while the “happy” ending has him being sent to an asylum and suffering delusions for the rest of his life.
11. The Leader Is In S.H.I.E.L.D’s Custody – The Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week
Marvel had big plans in store for The Incredible Hulk and intended to make sequels following Ed Norton’s take on the character. It’s well known by now those plans went awry, with the actor and studio clashing over the final edit and eventually parting ways on less than friendly terms.
The movie left plenty of dangling threads for a sequel including the end teaser with Tony Stark and Thunderbolt Ross, and Sam Sterns mutating after being splashed with the Hulk’s blood. This was to set up the character becoming the villainous Leader in a future movie sequel, but Sterns has yet to reappear on film.
The explanation for his disappearance was left to a comic called The Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week, which set up the 2012 film. The comic reveals that shortly after his mutation Black Widow comes across Sterns, whose powers are already starting to grow. She shoots him in the leg before he can escape, and S.H.I.E.L.D takes him into custody to study under the codename Project Mr Blue.
10. Jason X’s Rampage Continued On Earth II – The Jason X Novels
While Jason X is hardly the most beloved entry in the series, there’s a tongue in cheek awareness to the movie that makes it hard to hate. The tenth entry sent Jason to outer space – because why not? – where he hacked his way through various dumb teenagers and soldiers. He also got an upgrade in the third act, becoming the cyborg Uber Jason. He ends the movie being burned up in the atmosphere of Earth II, with the ending hinting at his continued survival.
Since every niche must be catered to, Uber-Jason got no less than four spin-off novels continuing his hack and slash adventures. These delightfully trashy paperbacks had titles like Death Moon, To The Third Power and Planet Of The Beast, which was set on Planet 666.
The books had settings as diverse as futuristic schools and prisons, and while they didn’t expand the mythology in any meaningful way, they provided Friday The 13th fans with plenty of the series trademark gore.
9. Max Was Finally Brought To Justice – 24: The Game
The nature of 24’s real-time formula meant that sometimes it had to abandon certain characters or plotlines, and leave the majority of them unresolved. An early victim of this was the cliffhanger ending of season two, which left President Palmer fighting for life after an assassination attempt, and the evil mastermind behind the events of the day – Max – was still at large.
The next season picked up three years later, with Palmer fully recovered and almost no mention made of the people behind the plot. Fans were outraged, but the story of this phantom season was eventually told in 24: The Game. It turns out Max was an arms dealer with a major grudge against America, holding them responsible for the deaths of his children, and helped organize some terrorist plots as revenge.
8. Leon, Ada And Jill Had A Bad Day – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Novelization
The Resident Evil films had a bad habit of dropping major supporting characters between installments, often without bothering to explain where they went. Fans thought The Final Chapter would at least provide definitive answers, especially considering the previous movie set up an epic battle involving most of the key players.
Instead, the movie opens with Milla Jovovich’s Alice in the battle’s aftermath with no mention of any other characters. Fans had to turn to the official novelization for answers, which actually included the White House battle glimpsed in the previous movie. It didn’t turn out well, as series villain Wesker used the battle as a trap to wipe out his remaining enemies.
A tidal wave of zombies and monsters eventually morph into a gigantic, tentacled blob that eats everything in its path. Leon and Ada are quickly overwhelmed and absorbed by it, and Jill is stabbed in the brain by Wesker trying to save Alice. It was a bad night, basically, which might explain why Alice wasn’t keen to talk about it.
7. Rosemary’s Baby Had A Rough Childhood – Look What’s Happened To Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary’s Baby ends on a perfect note, where Rosemary discovers that yes, her baby actually is the spawn of Satan, but she seems to accept it. A sequel wasn’t wanted nor required, but that’s never stopped a sequel being made before.
Look What’s Happened To Rosemary’s Baby was a TV movie follow-up that came along in 1976, with almost all of the original cast and crew skipping out on it, including Mia Farrow. The movie is split into three acts, and the first has Rosemary trying to escape the cult with her now eight-year-old son Adrian, only for her to get driven away in a driverless bus and never seen again.
The next two chapters follow the grown-up Adrian as he comes to realise his destiny, and he even ends up fathering a child of his own. While there’s a seed of an interesting idea in the TV movie, it’s all rather boring. It lacks any of the tension or chills of the original, and Adrian’s plight isn’t terribly interesting.
6. Royce Is Still Stranded On The Predator’s Homeworld – Predators: Preserve The Game
Predators ends very much on a sequel baiting note, with survivors Royce and Isabelle still stranded on the Predator game planet. They look up and see more victims being parachuted in, and vow to find a way to escape.
A direct sequel didn’t happen, but their story was continued in a comic dubbed Preserve The Game. The story picks up weeks after the film, with Royce having split from Isabelle because he prefers to be alone. Eventually, he gets wounded and they team up again, but the Predators are so impressed by Royce’s ability to survive they give him special armor, and sent a huge four-armed Predator after him.
He and Isabelle eventually kill the beast and romance blossoms between them. They end the comic in much the same situation as the film, stranded on the planet and looking for a way off. Preserve The Game doesn’t really further the story, but it at least gives fans who liked the film an epilogue.
5. Morse Wrote A Book About His Experience – Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report
Alien 3 is a movie that’s hardly short of flaws, but one of the biggest is how interchangeable the supporting characters become. There’s an endless parade of bald, British dudes yelling and being chased around, and they start to blur together pretty quick.
Given how relentlessly downbeat the movie is it’s a surprise anybody makes it out alive, let alone one of the prisoners. Morse is the last man standing after the alien battle, and despite being wounded he helps Ripley commit suicide to prevent the evil company taking the alien embryo inside her.
A spin-off book titled The Weyland-Yutani Report details that Morse was then taken into custody, and eventually sent to another prison. He suffered horrible nightmares about the creature, and due to losing all his friends he lost his faith in God. He eventually wrote a book about what happened dubbed Space Beast, which was quickly banned but became a hot item on the black market.
4. Chase Had One Last Adventure With Jack – 24: Deadline
Chase Edmunds was introduced as Jack’s partner at the beginning of 24 season three, which is complicated by the fact he’s having a secret relationship with Jack’s daughter, Kim. Chase still proves his worth throughout the day, but in an unlucky turn of events finds himself chained to a bomb. Jack has to hack his hand off to save his life, and he ends the day getting surgery to reattach it.
Chase didn’t appear in later seasons, breaking up with Kim off-screen and retiring from government work. 24 ended with the eighth season in 2010, where Jack had to go on the run from the U.S. and Russia (long story), and spin-off novel Deadline reveals how he got out of the country.
He calls Chase for help seeing Kim one last time, but during their travels they come across trouble with a biker gang. Hostages are taken, and Chase is shot dead during a standoff with the gang’s leader. An understandably upset Jack goes medieval, wiping out the gang single-handed.
3. Darth Maul’s Death Was Only Temporary – Star Wars: The Clone War
A character getting sliced in half and falling down a large vent is usually enough to guarantee death, which is how Darth Maul seemingly met his end in The Phantom Menace. Even George Lucas felt it was a pity such an instantly iconic figure died so quickly, so be gave his blessing for the character to return in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
It turns out the heat from Obi-Wan’s lightsaber cauterized Maul’s wound when he was bisected, allowing his top half to survive. He grabs a vent during his fall, and eventually finds his way to a planet where he builds himself cybernetic legs. He plans his revenge from there, later teaming up with his brother Savage Opress and having various misadventures clashing with the Jedi.
Both The Clone Wars and Rebels greatly expanded on the backstory of Maul, making him a more rounded villain. In the end, his burning hatred of Obi-Wan was his downfall, where the two face off one last time on Tatooine and Ben lands a killing blow on his old foe.
2. Morpheus Was Assassinated After The Ceasefire – The Matrix Online
The Matrix sequels continue to be a source of disappointment for fans, where it feels like The Wachowskis had cool ideas for setpieces but no story to hold it all together. It’s still a fascinating universe and one that felt ripe for exploration in video game form.
Sadly it hasn’t had much luck in that medium either; both Enter The Matrix and Path Of Neo were mediocre action titles, and The Matrix Online was a failed experiment with turning the universe into an online RPG. The game was a canon continuation of the movies and featured an ongoing storyline.
An early plot had Morpheus demanding the return of Neo’s body, which the machines refuse for some reason. Morpheus – still voiced by Laurence Fishburne – plants code bombs around The Matrix to disrupt it, but is shockingly murdered by an assassin for unknown reasons. The investigation into his death takes up a big part of the story, and while there was a hint his demise may not have been permanent, the game was shut down before the story was concluded.
Any future Matrix movies are likely to ignore this plotline though.
1. Jar Jar Became A Poor Street Performer – Star Wars: Aftermath
George Lucas was determined to break new ground with Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, by introducing a major character who was completely computer generated. It’s doubtful he could have foreseen the epic backlash that awaited the character, who was – to put it extremely mildly – annoying. Jar Jar’s role was drastically reduced in the sequels, and he’s since become one of the most hated characters in all of cinema.
While there are numerous tongue in cheek fan theories about the character reappearing in the new movies, it feels unlikely the character will show up again. He was given an ending of sorts with Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End, the third book in a canon series covering the events between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens.
The book reveals Jar Jar is now a poor street performer in Naboo, who performs tricks and performances for children. It also reveals he’s essentially been outcast by society for the role he played in the rise of the Empire, and while he seems happy performing for children, it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for him.
Just a tiny bit.