It’s no secret that making a film is hard work, and one of the most difficult processes a director must go through is editing. Pouring over months of footage with a final screenplay as a guide, he or she must find a way to tell a comprehensive story that entertains and thrills audiences. Piecing together the final product is the final challenge before a movie is ready to hit theaters, and often times that means a scene or two the filmmaker really loved has to be left on the cutting room floor and never see the light of day.
Whether it’s for pacing, run time, or superfluous nature, there’s usually a good reason for why certain sequences are cut from a final film, and when we do see them in director’s cuts or DVD extras it’s hard to envision how they’d fit into the movie we know. Then there are others that seemingly would have added to the final product and arguably make the film in question even better than the one that went down in cinematic lore. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Deleted Scenes That Should Have Made The Final Cut.
One of the films that drastically changed the Hollywood landscape, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is noteworthy for several reasons. Chief among them is Robert Shaw’s iconic performance as the shark hunter Quint. Eccentric and enigmatic, the character holds the attention of viewers whenever he’s in the room, as moments such as his introduction and the famous U.S.S. Indianapolis speech were just as legendary as the shark itself. Quint is also well known for having a short temper, coming to blows with Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Brody (Roy Scheider) on numerous occasions. It’s a trait that was foreshadowed in an amusing deleted scene.
Going to a local music store to purchase piano wire for his shark killing duties, Quint decides to have a bit of fun with a young kid trying to play “Ode to Joy” on a clarinet. “Trying” is the operative word here, as the aspiring musician struggles with a few of the notes, much to Quint’s chagrin. Quint’s humming along shifts from a tone of happiness to an outburst as he angrily sings the “proper” tune to show the kid how it’s done. Though the scene didn’t exactly advance the plot, it was still a quirky character moment for Quint and showed early on he wasn’t the easiest fellow to get along with. Had it made the final cut, it would have been just another bit for Shaw we fondly remember.
Throughout the first act of George Lucas’ Star Wars, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is yearning to leave his home planet of Tattooine and join his friend Biggs (Garrick Hagon) at the Academy. As fortunes would have it, the two long lost buds are reunited as Rebel Alliance allies, flying out together to take down the Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. However, they don’t have much time to reconnect, as Biggs is shot down and killed during one of the trench runs. It’s a moment of intense sadness for Luke, but his pain doesn’t really hit the audience as much, since we barely saw the two together (and only heard about their many exploits).
But Lucas had in fact dedicated more time to establishing their friendship, reinserting a deleted scene into the “special edition” of the film. The sequence in question takes place right before the Rebel pilots head out, with Luke getting the pleasant surprise of seeing his companion once again and promising to tell him the many stories of his adventure when he got a chance. It’s a brief scene, but it was a nice touch and should have been part of the 1977 cut. It brings back memories we have of seeing old friends for the first time in years, and made Biggs’ death a tad more emotional than it was originally presented. Lucas made a lot of maligned changes to his works, but this one made a lot of sense.
Return of the Jedi
The Empire Strikes Back features one of the most famous twists in movie history, when Darth Vader (David Prowse) reveals to Luke that he is the young Jedi’s father (and didn’t kill him as Luke was told). It’s a revelation that rocks Luke’s world, and he spends many of the following moments questioning why his mentor Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) refused to tell him the truth when he was just a farm boy on Tattooine. In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan covers himself by saying that what he said was factual from “a certain point of view,” but a deleted scene from the threequel indicates that Kenobi’s reasoning wasn’t as flimsy as the final film made it.
Though it wasn’t filmed, the script had a sequence where Yoda (Frank Oz) says he told Obi-Wan to lie about Vader’s true identity to Luke because Yoda was concerned Luke would not be able to defeat the Sith if he was conflicted about his feelings. Obi-Wan and Yoda viewed Luke as the galaxy’s last hope to restore balance to the Force, so they decided keeping that detail a secret was the best course of action. It explains why Yoda felt Vader telling Luke the truth was “unexpected and unfortunate” and redeems Obi-Wan in a sense from his earlier deception. The moral code raised in this cut scene certainly seems below a wise old Jedi, but it would have been an interesting twist for the series and painted an ambiguous picture in terms of character motivations.
James Cameron’s Aliens picks up 57 years after Ridley Scott’s original left off, with Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) still floating in stasis after defeating the xenomorph that wrecked havoc aboard the Nostromo. As you might expect, by the time she wakes up, her life has changed in dramatic ways. Yet, we oddly don’t see many (if any) hints of Ripley’s past in the 1986 theatrical version. But Cameron clearly had that aspect of the iconic character in mind when he filmed a scene that was deleted, and then later included in his director’s cut of the movie released on home media.
The sequence in question sees Ripley very concerned about the well-being of her daughter Amanda, and in a heartbreaking moment she learns from Burke (Paul Reiser) that her daughter died at the age of 66. In tears, Ripley says that she had promised to be home for Amy’s 11th birthday, meaning that she essentially missed the entire life of her only offspring. The scene explains her character motivations, as Ripley probably sees the young Newt (Carrie Henn) as a chance for maternal redemption. Weaver’s performance in the original film was nominated for an Oscar; we can only imagine what might have happened if this scene was left in for voters to see.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
One of the reasons why James Cameron’s Terminator 2 is so beloved is the relationship between John Connor (Edward Furlong) and the T-800 sent back to protect him (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Ironically serving as the best foster father figure the young boy ever had, the two form an emotional bond that only grows the longer they stay together. John spends his days teaching the Terminator about human nature, instructing him about the finer points of how to speak and act so he blends in better. But since the Terminator is technically a killing machine programmed for a single purpose, how can he learn?
A deleted scene reveals the answer. The T-800 informs John and Sarah (Linda Hamilton) that his CPU has a “read only” setting that can be switched off (so he can learn more about humanity during his time in the past). The scene provides an explanation for the famous “I now know why you cry” line and illustrates how the Terminator was able to adapt. Also, it’s a nice moment of tension between John and Sarah as they debate about the merits of trusting the T-800 with their lives.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Boromir (Sean Bean) is portrayed as the bad egg of the group, as he becomes instantly corrupted by the One Ring and hungry for its immense power. As presented in the theatrical version, it’s a not-too-subtle metaphor for the dangers of the quest and a parallel for Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) as he begins his journey. While it’s true Boromir dies a noble hero sacrificing himself so his companions can escape, most of Bean’s performance sees the character plotting to obtain the Ring and trying to attack Frodo (Elijah Wood), arguably making him a little one-dimensional. But a deleted scene (later inserted into the Two Towers extended edition) fleshes him out.
Celebrating a minor victory for Gondor, Boromir and his brother Faramir (David Wenham) are informed by their father Denethor (John Noble) of a council in Rivendell where the fate of the One Ring will be discussed. Seeing it as a tremendous opportunity for his people to gain the upper hand against Sauron, Denethor instructs Boromir to go to the meeting and bring back the Ring for Gondor. Despite his reluctance, Boromir has no choice but to fulfill the wishes of his father. This scene not only better explains his motivations in Fellowship, but explores the relationships of Boromir’s family, painting the eldest son as a caring older brother to Faramir, who is seen by Denethor as a disappointment. It’s a scene that compliments the first and third entries in the trilogy extremely well.
J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek was seen by many as a much-needed revitalization of the famed sci-fi property, but that doesn’t mean the film wasn’t without its problems. Though it can be perceived as a nitpick, some viewers have pointed out a plot hole in which Nero (Eric Bana) simply waits 25 years after traveling back in time to begin his mission of revenge instead of attacking the Federation immediately upon his arrival. His activities between the Kelvin incident and the events of Star Trek‘s main plot are somewhat explained in a throwaway line of dialogue where Uhura (Zoe Saldana) says she intercepted a Klingon distress signal following an attack, but a scene cut from the film reveals why Nero took so long.
As it turns out, after coming through the black hole, Nero and his crew were captured by the Klingons and held captive in their prison for more than 20 years. Nero led an escape when his notes about future events were discovered, saying to one of his associates that “the wait is over.” Not only did this scene pay homage to longtime Trekkies by showing the iconic Klingons again, it also gave audiences more time with Nero, who was one of the more underdeveloped characters. What he’s subjected to in Klingon prison better explains his unstable nature and sets him up as a ruthless force that is tough to handle. It’s an effective scene that’s short enough to not disrupt the pacing and should have been left in the theatrical cut.
His competition isn’t exactly stellar, but Thor villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is seen by many moviegoers as the greatest adversary in the MCU. Part of that is because at his core, Loki is simply someone who wants the love and admiration of his family, as his primary motivator is gaining his adoptive father Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) approval. Loki wants to show that he is worthy of Asgard’s throne. It becomes his obsession in life, and a crucial deleted scene showed that Loki’s desires were fueled by more than selfish reasons.
With Thor (Chris Hemsworth) banished on Earth and Odin in his “Odin sleep,” Asgard is left without a ruler. As it is presented in the final film, Loki just assumes the throne, but a cut sequence illustrates that power was actually willingly given to him by his mother Frigga (Rene Russo). Concerned about the wellbeing of his family members, Loki shows no apparent interest in becoming Asgard’s new king until Frigga informs him he is next in line. The scene would have been a valuable addition to the theatrical release, as it made Loki a more well-rounded and even sympathetic character, further explaining his actions in his later appearances. All he wanted was what was rightfully his.
Combining the leads of four blockbuster franchises, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers had a lot on its plate to unpack. His original cut of the film was three hours, and he was forced to trim 30 minutes off the film so it flowed better. For the most part, the director did an excellent job balancing out the substance and style, somehow finding enough time for quiet character moments and thrilling action scenes in the running time. However, there is one sequence most people (including Whedon himself) wish there was time for; one involving Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) getting acclimated to modern American society.
Whedon squeezes a lot of powerful stuff into this scene, and the material in the deleted bits strengthen Cap’s character arc as a man out of time trying to find his rightful place. It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment as Rogers learns all of his friends (except Peggy) are all dead and he’s seemingly alone in the world. Though that’s its strongest aspect, the sequence isn’t full-on drama. Whedon injected some light-heartedness to it with a comedic Stan Lee cameo and some flirtatious dialogue between Cap and a waitress (who would later be featured in the climactic New York battle). Tentpoles like this are better with the quiet moments, and this one would have been extremely effective.
The X-Men franchise is seen by many as ground zero for the modern superhero film, as director Bryan Singer showed they could be done in a respectable and serious way. That being said, the series has also never been one to completely embrace all the elements of the source material, in particular the costumes. For the most part, the suits the X-Men wear in battle are just tactical black leather, perhaps an attempt to ground the films in some kind of reality following the camp of Batman & Robin. Even Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) iconic yellow get-up is relegated to a punch line when he comments about the absurdity of the movie costumes.
However, director James Mangold illustrated he appreciated the character’s history with the 2013 film The Wolverine. He shot an alternate ending which involved Logan receiving the classic suit from the comics as a gift for his exploits in Japan. Had it been used in the final film, it would have been one of the coolest moments in a superhero film, but as the official film canon stands, Wolverine still has no knowledge of the suit’s existence. Fans have expressed a strong desire to see Wolverine don his famous suit at some point in the films, and with Wolverine 3 looking like Jackman’s last rodeo, now’s a better time than ever to make good on a false promise.
As we said at the top, it’s easy to see why most deleted scenes ended up that way, as more often than not they’ll come off as superfluous. However, there are plenty of instances where a cut sequence could add to the film and make it a better experience overall, leaving us to wonder what was going through the director’s head when he removed it. That’s not to say these decisions ruined their respective movies in any way, but it would have been nice to see them included.
As always, our list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so be sure to share some of your favorite deleted scenes in the comments section below!