The first three movies featured a great cast, especially Devon Bostick (The 100) as Rodrick, so why did Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul recast the Heffley family? Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is based on the book series by Jeff Kinney, which are journals written by main character Greg Heffley. The books aren't afraid to show Greg as kind of unlikable, lazy and selfish, and the series charts the strained relationships between Greg, his family and best friend.
The first Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movie arrived in 2010, with a cast that included Zachary Gordon as Greg, Steve Zahn (War For The Planet Of The Apes) as his father Frank and Devon Bostick as evil older brother Rodrick. The film proved to be a hit and two sequels quickly followed; Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules in 2011 and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days in 2012. By the time Dog Days arrived it was becoming clear the young cast was beginning to age out of their roles, and it appeared the third film would mark the end of the franchise.
It was later confirmed in 2016 a new movie was being made titled Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which would be mainly based on the ninth book. The film would also act as a soft reboot by introducing a new cast as the Heffley family. This news proved upsetting to some fans, who had grown attached to the cast of the first three entries, but it was also inevitable. The original cast had outgrown their characters, so new actors were needed. That said, Devon Bostick's Rodrick had also become something of a fan favorite, so the new actors - including Batman & Robin's Alicia Silverstone as Heffley matriarch Susan - had a tough road to overcome fan skepticism.
Unfortunately, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul proved to a huge letdown, relying on lazy gags that rarely landed. The new cast couldn't do much to improve the lame material either, and the reaction to the new Rodrick, played by Charlie Wright (Ingrid Goes West) was decidedly mixed. The fourth movie also underperformed when compared to the original movies, and while there are plenty of other books in the series to adapt, another sequel may not happen.
Maybe a fifth movie will act as another soft reboot and introduce another new cast, but given the response to Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the franchise will probably rest for a little while. While the new Rodrick and Heffley performers always faced an uphill struggle to win the acceptance of the fanbase, the issues with the movie mostly come down to a weak script.