It’s a fascinating phenomenon that when a movie gets a sequel, it usually means the original was a huge hit. But, believe it or not, there are actors who decide not to hop aboard the sequel train, missing out on a steady paycheck and the opportunity to be part of a long-lasting franchise.
There are all sorts of reasons why these actors say “no” to sequels. Some feel that the money offered just doesn’t cut it, while others believe that the script doesn’t live up to their standards. It could even be that they simply don’t like where their character is headed in the new installment. When an actor declines a sequel, movie makers have to get creative in how they handle the situation. Sometimes, they get a little too creative, leading to some serious legal battles, like what happened with Back to the Future II.
So, what exactly went down when Crispin Glover decided not to return for Back to the Future II? What were the consequences for the producers? And why on earth did Marlon Brando turn down Francis Ford Coppola’s offer to appear in The Godfather sequel? Oh, and let’s not forget about Megan Fox and her surprising departure from Transformers: Dark of the Moon. What juicy comment did she make that ultimately got her fired?
If you’re itching to know the answers to these intriguing stories and more, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on the exciting roundup below.
Latest addition: Neve Campbell. Trust us, it’s a wild ride!
1. Neve Campbell Thought The Offer For Her To Return In ‘Scream VI’ ‘Did Not Equate To [Her] Value,’ So Sidney Stayed Out Of New York
Character: Neve Campbell took on the role of Sidney Prescott, the final girl who faced off against Ghostface in five Scream films spanning 26 years.
Why Campbell Isn’t Returning for Scream VI: Campbell made it clear that she wouldn’t be reprising her role in the sixth installment of Scream. She explained that the offer she received didn’t match the value she has brought to the franchise.
Support from Co-Stars: Many of Campbell’s former co-stars publicly expressed their support for her decision. Matthew Lillard, who portrayed Stu in the original Scream, questioned why a woman should be expected to accept less pay. Jamie Kennedy, who played Randy in Scream 1-3, wondered how the series could continue without Sidney Prescott. Courteney Cox, who portrays Gale Weathers, expressed her missed collaboration with Campbell and emphasized her commitment to supporting her friend’s choices.
Addressing Campbell’s Absence: Jenna Ortega, who played Tara in the 2022 Scream film, acknowledged that Scream VI has a lot happening and believes that the audience will be so engrossed in the story that they may not dwell on Campbell’s absence. Ortega assured that Campbell is still remembered and held in high regard within the film.
Handling Campbell’s Character in the Movie: In the film, as Ghostface embarks on a killing spree in New York City, Gale informs Sam and Tara that Sidney, along with her husband Mark, have decided to go into hiding to seek their well-deserved happy ending.
2. Richard Dreyfuss Didn’t Want To Do ‘Jaws 2’ Without Spielberg, So Hooper’s Absence Is Explained Away
In the film Jaws, Richard Dreyfuss portrayed the character of Matt Hooper, an oceanographer with a fascination for sharks. Alongside Brody and Quint, he joins the crew of the Orca to capture the menacing great white shark. Jaws is often credited with kickstarting the concept of the summer blockbuster.
However, when it came to the sequel, Dreyfuss did not make a return. He had previously collaborated with director Steven Spielberg on the sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nevertheless, Spielberg decided not to direct the 1978 Jaws sequel.
Dreyfuss had doubts that the sequel would live up to its predecessor without Spielberg’s involvement. He remarked, “I knew what made Jaws good, and we weren’t talking about Steven [Spielberg] directing it.”
Moreover, Dreyfuss expressed dissatisfaction with his paycheck for Jaws, revealing, “We were not bonused – not at all – and you would be embarrassed at how much they paid us.”
As for how the sequel addressed Dreyfuss’s absence, the character of Hooper remained important but took on a supporting role. Roy Scheider reprised his role as Brody, and a new great white shark terrorized Amity Island. Brody reaches out to Hooper via telephone for assistance, but Hooper is unable to help as he is on a research expedition in Antarctica.
3. Crispin Glover Didn’t Come Back For ‘Back to the Future Part II,’ So The Filmmakers Imitated His Face And Voice – And Got Sued
Crispin Glover, known for his role as George McFly in the 1985 hit movie Back to the Future, portrayed both the young and middle-aged versions of the character. However, he didn’t return for the sequel released in 1989, and here’s why.
Glover declined the opportunity to reprise his role as George due to what he described as “moral” objections. In a later interview on The Opie & Anthony Show, he revealed his concerns about the characters’ portrayal of money and happiness. Glover expressed his disagreement with the idea that money equals happiness, arguing that love should be the true reward.
Director Robert Zemeckis didn’t take kindly to Glover’s objections and became upset during their discussion. Despite Glover’s stance, the filmmakers still needed George’s character for the sequel’s story. They came up with a creative solution by hiring actor Jeffrey Weissman, who wore prosthetics made from molds of Glover’s face. Through a combination of makeup and visual effects, they aimed to make Weissman resemble and sound like Glover.
However, Glover was dissatisfied with the replacement. He believed that if he had played the part, he would have approached it differently. He expressed frustration that people still confuse the actor who portrayed George in the sequel with himself, stating, “It still gets to me that there’s that confusion.”
Consequently, Glover filed a lawsuit against Universal City Studios, Amblin Entertainment, and U-Drive Productions, seeking $1 million in damages for violating his right of publicity. The parties eventually reached a settlement for a reported $760,000. This lawsuit set a precedent that prevented film studios from using an actor’s likeness and voice in a similar manner in the future.
4. Sean Connery Stayed Retired For ‘Indiana Jones 4’ And His Character Was Written As Deceased – Though He Does Appear In A Photo Cameo
Character: In 1989’s action-adventure Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery portrayed Henry Walton Jones Sr., Indiana’s father. Jones is a professor of medieval literature and has an unrelenting obsession with finding the Holy Grail. The Last Crusade is the third installment in the Indiana Jones series.
Why Connery Didn’t Return for the Fourth Film: After the troubled production of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003, the original 007 decided to retire from acting. Director Steven Spielberg made an attempt to entice the Scottish actor out of retirement for 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, the role offered was not substantial enough to convince Connery to come back. During a 2007 interview, he stated:
“I spoke with Spielberg, but it didn’t work out. It was not that generous a part, worth getting back into the harness and go for. And they had taken the story in a different line anyway, so the father of Indy was kind of really not that important. I had suggested they kill him in the movie, it would have taken care of it better.”
How the Movie Addressed It: Spielberg embraced Connery’s suggestion. Indy Sr. passes away before the events of the fourth film. His death is only mentioned, not depicted on screen.
Connery remained committed to his original retirement plans, making The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen his final film. The renowned actor, who won an Oscar, passed away in 2020 at the age of 90.
5. When Keanu Reeves Turned Down ‘Speed 2,’ They Wrote An Off-Screen Breakup And Introduced A New Love Interest
In the 1994 action thriller, Speed, Keanu Reeves portrayed Jack Traven, a daring Los Angeles police officer who also served on the city’s SWAT team. Traven’s mission was to prevent a city bus from dropping below 50 mph, otherwise it would explode.
Following the massive success of Speed, which earned over $350 million worldwide, discussions naturally arose about a sequel. Director Jan de Bont and Reeves’s co-star Sandra Bullock both agreed to be a part of Speed 2: Cruise Control. However, despite being a young actor at the time, Reeves declined a $12 million paycheck.
Reeves made this decision because he was not fond of the sequel’s script, as he candidly shared during a 2018 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! He expressed, “I loved working with Jan de Bont and Sandra, of course. It was just a situation in life where I got the script, and I read the script and I was like ‘agh.’ It was about a cruise ship, and I was like… bus not so fast, then a cruise ship is even slower than a bus. And I was just like, ‘I love you guys, but I just can’t do it.'”
To carry on the franchise without Reeves, Jason Patric, known for his role in Lost Boys, assumed the male lead as Alex Shaw in Speed 2: Cruise Control, released in 1997. Traven’s absence was briefly acknowledged by mentioning his breakup with Bullock’s character, Annie. Shaw took on the task of rescuing the cruise liner from destruction while also pursuing a romantic relationship with Annie.
Although the casting change was not Patric’s fault, Speed 2 turned out to be a major box-office disappointment and received harsh criticism from critics.
6. There Were Two Scripts For The ‘Independence Day’ Sequel – One Starring Will Smith’s Character, And One With His Character Dead
Will Smith played Captain Steven Hiller in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. Hiller was a US Marine pilot and became a war hero after destroying the alien mothership and saving the world.
Smith did not return for the 2016 sequel Independence Day: Resurgence due to scheduling conflicts. In his own words, he had other films lined up like Concussion and Suicide Squad, and had to make a decision on timing between Independence Day and Suicide Squad.
The question of whether or not Smith would reprise his role as Hiller was a constantly changing situation. At times, he seemed to be returning, while at others, he seemed to be out. Director Roland Emmerich decided to move forward with the sequel regardless of Smith’s involvement. To protect the project, Emmerich and his team of screenwriters developed two scripts – one with Hiller and one without.
Ultimately, after Smith confirmed he would not be returning, the writers chose to kill off his character off-screen. It is explained in the movie that Hiller died while testing a new experimental alien hybrid fighter.
7. Jamie Lee Curtis Wasn’t Interested In ‘Halloween 4,’ So Laurie Was Killed Off In An Off-Screen Car Accident And The Movie Focused On Her Daughter Instead
Character: Jamie Lee Curtis, known as the original scream queen, portrayed the tormented Laurie Strode in the 1978 original Halloween and its 1981 sequel, Halloween II. Strode miraculously survives the wrath of Michael Myers.
Why Curtis Didn’t Come Back For The Fourth Film: When Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers was released in 1988, Curtis had already achieved success in other prominent projects such as Trading Places, Perfect, and A Fish Called Wanda. Consequently, Curtis decided to part ways with the franchise, leaving Michael Myers to make his return without her.
(If you’re curious about Halloween III, it has no connection to the original Halloween storyline. It doesn’t feature Michael Myers as the antagonist and instead focuses on witchcraft.)
How The Movie Handled It: In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, the film explains that Strode had tragically died in a car accident prior to the events of the movie. Her daughter, Jamie Lloyd (played by Danielle Harris), becomes the target of Myers in her mother’s place.
As it turns out, Curtis wasn’t quite finished battling Myers. Her character’s demise was eventually disregarded not once, but twice, allowing Strode to live on. The actress returned for three additional installments: Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection, and the 2018 retconned direct sequel, Halloween.
8. Robert Duvall Wanted A Higher Salary For ‘The Godfather Part III,’ So Instead The Script Killed Off Tom Hagen
Robert Duvall portrayed the character of Tom Hagen in the 1972 film The Godfather and its sequel, The Godfather Part II. Hagen served as the consigliere and lawyer for the Corleone family. He was informally adopted by Vito and Carmela Corleone, as his birth parents had passed away.
In the third installment of the Godfather saga, titled The Godfather Part III, Duvall did not reprise his role as Hagen. Director Francis Ford Coppola took several years to complete the trilogy, with the final film being released in 1990. Duvall disclosed in a 2004 interview that his absence from Part III was due to financial reasons, stating, “If they paid Pacino twice what they paid me, that’s fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did.”
To address the absence of Hagen in the storyline, the movie reveals that Hagen had passed away prior to the events of The Godfather Part III, which is set in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The exact circumstances and timing of Hagen’s death are never explicitly disclosed. Instead, two new characters, B.J. Harrison and Dominic Abbandando, assume the legal responsibilities for the Corleone family.
9. Natalie Portman Left The MCU For A While, And Thor Jokes About Jane Foster’s Absence In ‘Age of Ultron’
Character: Natalie Portman played Jane Foster in the first two standalone Thor movies – Thor and Thor: The Dark World. Foster is an American astrophysicist who finds Thor after he is exiled to Earth, and the two eventually become romantic.
Why Portman Didn’t Come Back For The Sequel: Portman was initially excited to work with director Patty Jenkins for Thor: The Dark World. However, the production decided to hire Alan Taylor instead due to creative differences. This directing switch reportedly upset Portman, and she did not return to set for reshoots after wrapping on The Dark World.
How The Movie Handled It: Portman’s character was written out of subsequent MCU sequels. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, released two years after The Dark World, Thor and Tony Stark mention her name in a lightly meta fashion during the famous party scene, discussing why their significant others are nowhere to be found. In Thor: Ragnarok, an official explanation for Jane’s absence is revealed: Thor and Jane broke up. While Thor and his brother Loki search for their father in New York City, fans approach Thor and inform him that Jane dumped him, but he corrects them by saying that he dumped her.
However, Portman didn’t stay away from the MCU for long. She returns in a bigger role as the female God of Thunder in Thor: Love and Thunder, where she will get to swing her own hammer.
10. Linda Hamilton Didn’t Like The ‘Terminator 3’ Script, So It Was Rewritten To Have Sarah Connor Succumb To Leukemia
Linda Hamilton played the brave protagonist, Sarah Connor, in the original 1984 film The Terminator and its 1991 sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. While Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character often steals the spotlight, it is Connor who saves the day and drives the story.
So why didn’t Hamilton return for the third film? Initially, the plan for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was to bring back the key players from the first two films. However, director James Cameron left the project and Jonathan Mostow took over. Hamilton and Cameron had already been married and divorced by then. Hamilton believed that the film wouldn’t be a success without its visionary creator and she wasn’t fond of the script either. She felt that the first two movies did justice to her character and considered T3 to be unnecessary for Sarah Connor’s story. The plot of the third film focused more on her son, John Connor, with Sarah becoming a secondary character.
In 2019, Hamilton criticized all the Terminator sequels after T2 for their lack of character development. She expressed her opinion, saying, “You had so much action and taking everything and making it that much bigger, but there were no characters that you really cared about. And that obviously has to be the real thread that links my three movies together; you’ve got to have characters you care about or it’s all just a wash.”
In the original script, Sarah Connor was supposed to die halfway through the movie. However, after Hamilton dropped out, the writers changed her fate. They decided that she had passed away before the events of T3 after a three-year battle with leukemia. In T3, her son John (now played by Nick Stahl) and Schwarzenegger’s T-800 mention some details about her death, including the fact that she lived long enough to witness “Judgment Day” (August 29, 1997) without a nuclear holocaust.
Hamilton returned to reprise her role as Sarah Connor in the franchise’s 2019 film, Terminator: Dark Fate. This movie served as a direct sequel to Terminator 2 and completely disregarded the three Terminator movies that came in between.