Congratulations! Your latest film was a box office success! Millions of people saw it, critics were ecstatic and you’re drowning in money. Making a sequel should be a sure bet, right?
Except if your main actor and actress aren’t all that interested in reprising their roles. Maybe they demand too much money. Maybe their schedule is already full. Or maybe they just publicly compared you to a notorious German dictator. So what do you do?
One option is to simply write off their characters from the sequel. This in itself can hurt the viewers’ suspension of disbelief, but if the character in question is in any way liked by them, it just might belong in the Screen Rant’s list of 10 Worst Explanations For Missing Movie Characters.
10. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me – Vanessa Kensington
Austin Powers (Mike Myers) is a bumbling secret agent of the 1960s, a broad caricature of James Bond. In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, he awakes after 30 years of cryosleep to once again battle his nemesis Dr. Evil (also played by Myers). To help him adjust to 1990s, Powers is partnered with the lovely agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley). The film then plays with the standard trope of its main couple first bickering before falling in love.
However, at the very beginning of the sequel, it is discovered that Agent Kensington is one of Dr. Evil’s murderous fembots. Powers promptly destroys it and mourns his lost love for all of five seconds before celebrating his re-gained bachelorhood. Although no one really remembers Hurley for her acting, it is somewhat underwhelming to lose her character this early and for no reason. On the other hand, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is somewhat excused because it turns this into a deliberate parody of all the other sequels who half-heartedly wrote off their main characters.
9. Transformers – Mikaela Banes, Sam Witwicky
Michael Bay’s Transformers films were never really about human characters. However, for about a third of its running time, the 2007 Transformers almost plays out like a 1980s teen comedy. Clumsy teenager Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) wants to impress Mikaela (Megan Fox), the hottest girl in his high school, with his new car. Little does he know that the car is actually a disguised Transformer named Bumblebee.
By the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, even these attempts at human characterization are forgotten. Sam and Mikaela have broken up and Megan Fox has been replaced with a new and improved love interest, due to Fox openly criticizing Bay’s behavior on the set, and even comparing him to Hitler. The fourth film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, ditches pretty much all of the human characters from previous films, which comes as no surprise. After all, Transformers films were never really about human characters… or any characters in general.
8. Speed 2: Cruise Control – Jack Traven
Together with 1991 film Point Break, Jan de Bont’s 1994 Speed helped launch Keanu Reeves into the action film stardom. Speed mostly takes place on a bomb-rigged city bus that will explode if it ever slows down below 50 miles per hour. With the help of policeman Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), Annie (Sandra Bullock), the young woman who ends up driving the bus, and the other bus passengers are saved. Naturally, Annie and Jack end up together.
Speed 2: Cruise Control tells the same story, except on a boat and without Jack Travis. Between the two movies, Jack and Annie broke up after he gave her pepper spray as a birthday gift and she thought it was perfume, which sounds like the plot of a bad sitcom episode. During production, there were rumors that portrayed Reeves as a vain eccentric who refused a role in a Hollywood blockbuster just to tour around with his band. Then, when Speed 2: Cruise Control came out and failed abysmally, everybody realized that Reeves probably had valid reasons to stay away from it.
7. xXx: State of the Union – Xander Cage
The action film xXx was conceived as a James Bond film for the MTV generation. Its hero, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), hates authority and loves extreme sports. Hired by the NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), Cage is forced to infiltrate a group of Russian terrorists. Naturally, Cage saves the day and wins over the beautiful Yelena (Asia Argento), thus proving himself a hero.
xXx: State of the Union begins with a well-coordinated attack of terrorists on a secret NSA facility as well as on their best field agents. While Cage’s handler Gibbons manages to escape with his life, Cage himself is killed off-screen by a bomb. And just like that, badass Xander Cage is eighty-sixed like a common movie extra. So it’s up to Lt. Darius Stone (Ice Cube), former Navy SEAL, to take on a new mission. Although Diesel was supposed to appear in this sequel, he had to work on another movie at the time.
6. Supergirl – Superman
Created in 1984 as a spin-off to Superman films starring Christopher Reeve, Supergirl tells an origin story of its titular superheroine. Kara Zor-El (Helen Slater) is one of the last Kryptonians, living in the inter-dimensional Argo City. After she accidentally loses the Omegahedron, a powerful artifact crucial for her city’s survival, Kara embarks on a quest to retrieve it. She ends up on our planet and, as Supergirl, fights the evil witch Selena (Faye Dunaway) for the object.
So, why doesn’t Superman help Supergirl save his own people? The only explanation is provided early on, when Selena overhears a news report on the radio stating that Superman has left the Earth to gallivant around the galaxy on a peace-seeking mission, leaving Supergirl to her own devices. Christopher Reeve was supposed to appear in Supergirl, but bailed out early on. This tradition continues with the current Supergirl TV series, where Superman is often mentioned but never seen.
5. Jaws: The Revenge – Martin Brody
Based upon a 1974 novel by Peter Benchley, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is considered one of the proto-blockbusters that ushered in the modern Hollywood era. It starts as a horror film and then turns into a thrilling adventure as police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) join grizzled shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) in an attempt to catch the great white shark that’s been killing swimmers around their beach.
Jaws earned almost half a billion dollars worldwide on a mere $9 million budget. Jaws 2 soon followed in 1978 and Jaws 3-D in 1983. By the time the third sequel – Jaws: The Revenge – rolled into production, Roy Scheider was tired of the increasingly convoluted stories about a giant fish stalking his character’s family and refused to appear in what turned out to be, by far, the worst film in the series. The absence of Scheider’s character was explained by him dying from a shark-induced heart attack. Who knew that fish could do that!
4. X-Men: Last Stand – Scott Summers aka Cyclops
It can never be pointed out enough that the modern trend of superhero blockbusters began with Bryan Singer’s 2000 excellent X-Men. This film and its sequel, X2, skillfully managed a whole gallery of superheroes and supervillains while telling a thrilling story and even managing to throw in some compelling character moments – for example, a love triangle between gruff Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), telekinetic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and her boyfriend Cyclops (James Marsden).
X-Men: Last Stand was neither directed nor written by Singer. It focuses on a rebirth of Jean Grey after her sacrifice at the end of the second film. As Dark Phoenix, she unleashes her frightening powers in fear and anger. It would make sense for her fiancée Cyclops to take a center stage in this film. Unfortunately, filmmakers decided to focus the story on a far more popular Wolverine and unceremoniously killed off Cyclops off-screen after the resurrected Dark Phoenix accidentally disintegrates him with a kiss.
3. For Your Eyes Only – Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the Bond villain. Over the years, Agent 007 fought evil schemes of Blofeld’s organisation SPECTRE – Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Blofeld himself was portrayed by several actors, most memorably by Donald Pleasence in 1967 film You Only Live Twice.
In the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, a bald, wheelchair-bound villain who looks an awful lot like Blofeld attempts to kill James Bond (Roger Moore) by using a remote-controlled helicopter. Bond bypasses the controls, lifts the wheelchair with a helicopter skid and drops him into the factory smokestack as if he’s a cartoon character. All this happens in the prologue to a film that otherwise has nothing to do with either Blofeld or SPECTRE. Apparently, film’s producers were irked at Kevin McClorry, who successfully sued Bond’s creator Ian Fleming about copyright over the novel Thunderball, and prevented them from using the character any further.
2. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Sarah Connor
In James Cameron’s 1984 film Terminator, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is a meek waitress hunted by a killer robot sent from the future to prevent the birth of her son who will one day lead mankind in its war against the machines. By Terminator 2, Sarah is an action badass who fights both the authorities and the android assassins. But in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines… Sarah Connor is dead.
As we learn from her son John Connor (Nick Stahl) in Terminator 3, she didn’t go out in a blaze of glory, defending mankind from yet another murderous machine. Instead, she succumbed to leukemia. Linda Hamilton was offered a chance to play Sarah Connor in the third Terminator film but refused, claiming that her character’s arc was complete and her role in this film negligible. This is the way Sarah Connor ended: not with a bang but a whimper.
1. Alien 3 – Newt, Hicks and Bishop
In James Cameron’s 1986 film Aliens, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) faces alien xenomorphs for a second time. During the film, she develops relationships with the level-headed corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn), android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) as well as with Newt (Carrie Henn), a little girl that that survived previous alien attack. Working together, these four barely escape the planet together. However, in David Fincher’s Alien 3 we learn that Hicks and Newt died when their escape pod crash-landed and Bishop is damaged beyond repair. And then Ripley learns that all of these deaths were in vain as they accidentally brought one alien with them to another world.
Alien 3 went through a notoriously difficult production. There were several drafts of screenplay (including one by the celebrated cyberpunk writer William Gibson). Carrie Henn wasn’t interested in acting anymore and Michael Biehn wasn’t even contacted about reprising his role. When Alien 3 finally came out, even John Cameron openly expressed disdain about the film’s treatment of his characters from Aliens. After all, Alien 3 did manage to dispose of three fan-favorites all at once! Talk about efficiency!
So, what were your favorite film characters that got unceremoniously dumped by the movies they appeared in? Share your opinions with the others in the comments section!