Film sequels and remakes can take years and the main reason is unavailabitiy of talent
From wanting too much cash, being ill, too old, falling out of favour with execs or a scandal to simply becoming high demand, there are many reasons why stars do not return to movie roles.
Stars like Will Ferrell rejected Elf 2 despite a $29M offer as he did not like the script. Let’s face it; most actors are unbelievably busy nowadays. They jump from one project to the next, often not taking a break in between. While this is undoubtedly a good thing as it results in more content than ever before, it often means characters are unable to reprise some of their most popular roles due to scheduling conflicts.
Enola Holmes 2, the well-reviewed sequel to Millie Bobby Brown’s Victorian adventure film, is the most recent example of this, with Sam Claflin absent from the movie. There are many more examples of this phenomenon, however, with a startling number of key characters missing from hit movie sequels.
Mycroft Holmes – ‘Enola Holmes 2’ (2022)
Fans of Enola Holmes were disappointed when it was announced that Enola’s grumpy, often disapproving older brother Mycroft, played by Sam Clafin, would not be returning for the sequel. Director Harry Bradbeer recently revealed that Mycroft’s exclusion was simply a result of Clafin’s schedule not allowing the actor to reprise his role, although he made it clear that he would like Mycroft to return for any potential sequels.
Though it is a great shame that Mycroft couldn’t return, the sequel does benefit from focusing more on the relationship between Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill) and his younger sister.
Carol Marcus – ‘Star Trek Beyond’ (2016)
This is one of the more baffling examples of a character not returning for the sequel, as it actually causes a major plot hole in the movie. Carol Marcus, played by Alice Eve, was on board the U.S.S. Enterprise for its journey into unchartered space at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness but was bafflingly absent when we rejoined the crew in Star Trek Beyond.
While her absence isn’t explained in the movie, co-writer and franchise star Simon Pegg explained his decision to omit Carol from the story, stating that they simply didn’t have a big enough role for her and didn’t want to underserve the character. He did leave the door open for Carol to return to the franchise, something many fans would love to see.
Deadshot – ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021)
Fans were shocked when it was announced that Will Smith would not be reprising the role of Deadshot in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. It was claimed that a scheduling conflict prevented Smith from reprising the role, but a little digging into Smith’s schedule suggested this likely wasn’t the case. Initially, it was reported that Idris Elba would be taking over the role before Deadshot’s role was given to Bloodsport. Elba recently claimed taking over the role of Deadshot was never actually discussed.
Deadshot’s absence wasn’t a huge loss for the superhero flick, as Bloodsport shared many characteristics with the character. Both villains are weapon experts, and both are motivated by their daughter. This prompted some fans to think maybe the rewrite wasn’t as big as suggested.
Mikaela Barnes – ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ (2011)
Though she played a key role in the first two Transformers movies, Mikaela Barnes (Megan Fox) did not make an appearance in the third entry, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The film explains her absence away in just a single line, stating that Mikaela hadn’t treated Sam (Shia LaBeouf) well, and the two had broken up as a result. Off-screen, however, the reason Fox didn’t return to the franchise was crystal clear.
Prior to shooting the third film, Fox compared franchise director Michael Bay to Hitler, which rather unsurprisingly resulted in her being swiftly fired. Fox and Bay did later make amends, with the acclaimed filmmaker hiring her to work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film he was producing.
William Brandt – ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ (2018)
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has worked with many, many agents during his time with the Impossible Mission Force, but few made as big an impact on audiences as Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt. After playing vital roles in both Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Brandt was not part of the IMF team in the incredible Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
It was his commitment to The Avengers movies that prevented Renner from reprising his role, although director Christopher McQuarrie recently revealed Renner was offered a cameo in the film that would have seen his character killed. Unfortunately, Renner declined the offer, but this means Brandt is still alive and hopefully able to return in the future.
Jack Traven – ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’ (1997)
Keanu Reeves‘ high-energy performance as Jack Travers in the action-packed movie Speed helped cement the young actor as an action star to watch, which made it very surprising that he opted not to reprise the role for the sequel. His absence is explained in the very first scene in which Julia Roberts‘ Annie explains why her relationship with Jack didn’t work out.
Though he enjoyed his experience working on the first movie, Reeves decided not to return for the sequel after being unimpressed with the script and the idea of setting the film on a cruise ship, which is significantly slower than a bus.
Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann – ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011)
The first three films in the Pirates of the Caribbean films were a swashbuckling success not only because of the whimsical Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) but also because of the intriguing love story shared by Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Though many expected the pair to reprise their roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Captain Jack had recruited new friends for his next adventure.
The pair did return in small roles in the fifth installment in the franchise and would likely have played larger roles in the now-scrapped sixth film, as teased in a post-credit scene. Sadly, it seems we’ve seen the last of the star-crossed lovers.
Marlon Wayans – ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ (2013)
It’s fair to say the first big screen outing of G.I. Joe was not a success. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra underwhelmed critics and audiences alike and failed at the box office. As a result, the franchise underwent a soft reboot, introducing several new characters and focusing on an entirely new team. Only Channing Tatum’s Duke returned for the sequel, only to be killed off in the opening scene.
Marlon Wayans joked that he didn’t return as Ripcord because the character had been shot in the face by friendly fire off-screen, but it’s more likely he wasn’t asked to reprise the role as a result of the first movie’s poor performance.
Dr. Ian Malcolm – ‘Jurassic Park 3’ (2001)
After tussling with dinosaurs on two separate occasions, fans were devastated that the coolest man to ever grace Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), would not be returning for the trilogy-capping third installment. There is a reference to the fan-favorite character, however, with his newest book being called ‘preachy’. It’s never been made clear why Goldblum didn’t return, and contradicting rumors have circled ever since.
Some claim that Goldblum was not invited to reprise his role in Jurassic Park 3 as new director Joe Johnston wanted to shift the focus of the franchise. Another report, however, claims that Goldblum was set to return in a small role but injured his leg prior to filming, which ruled him out of making an appearance. Thankfully, the character returned to the mammoth hit Jurassic World: Dominion.
Raleigh Becket – ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ (2018)
Despite his utterly ridiculous name, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) turned out to be quite the hero. He saved the world by fighting off the Kaiju threat and seemed certain to return in the Pacific Rim sequel. Unfortunately, our old enemy – schedule conflicts – chose this moment to rear its ugly head, forcing Hunnam to step away from the project. Sequel star John Boyega seemingly confirmed that Raleigh was dead, but director Steven S. DeKnight changed that.
DeKnight claimed that Raleigh’s fate was confirmed in one cut of the movie, but he removed it in the hope that Hunnam could return for a potential third installment in the series. However, Pacific Rim: Uprising’s poor performance at the box office seems to have sealed this franchise’s fate, resigning Raleigh Becket to nothing more than the memory of a ridiculously named action hero.
Freelance showbiz writer
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