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Characters That Got Cut From The Sequel For Bizarre Reasons

Whether it's a sci-fi flick, a superhero blockbuster, or a rom-com, it seems like any movie that makes money has a sequel in the works. While one of the obvious appeals of sequels is the return of a favorite character or two, some of the people you expect to see in a follow-up actually don't appear at all. Sure their absences are adequately explained in some cases, (e.g. they're killed off screen), but sometimes no one bothers to even mention the missing. But either way, why didn't they come back for the next installment?

The real-life reason for a character's absence is usually cut and dry. Sometimes — like in the case of Robert Duvall's refusal to appear in 1990's The Godfather: Part III as Tom Hagen — the actor feels they deserve more compensation. Other times, a Hollywood star's busy schedule doesn't allow them to reprise a role, which is why Will Smith didn't return as Deadshot in The Suicide Squad. And occasionally, the actor doesn't have a lot of confidence in the sequel, which is where Keanu Reeves found himself when he passed on Speed 2: Cruise Control

But the reasons for an actor's absence aren't always so simple. From inexplicable creative choices to strange negotiation tactics, the bizarre reasons why some characters got cut from sequels can really make you scratch your head.

Newt and Hicks were lost along the way

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) isn't the only good guy to survive 1986's Aliens. A wounded Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) makes it to the end, and young Newt (Carrie Henn) survives, as well. Unfortunately, fans were in for a nasty shock in 1992's Alien 3, as the movie opens with both Hicks and Newt dying while in cryogenic stasis. 

So what was the underlying reason for their deaths? Well, after a long an torturous pre-production process, Carrie Henn was too old to play a 10-year-old. But more importantly, she'd already decided to not pursue acting as a career. Biehn wasn't very specific about why he was killed, but in 2016, he told Uproxx that, "They cut me out of Fincher's movie ... because he was [a] young [director] and because they didn't have a good script and [the studio] Fox was all over him." The studio's decision outraged fans around the world, and while we can debate the merits of Alien 3, the movie definitely would've been better if these two characters had returned to fight alongside Ripley.

Tank was cut from The Matrix sequels for making bizarre demands

The son of comedian Tommy Chong, Marcus Chong is best known for playing Tank in the first Matrix film. Because he isn't part of the team that enters the Matrix to escort Neo (Keanu Reeves) to the Oracle (Gloria Foster), Tank is one of the few good guys to survive to the end credits. The writer/director team of the Wachowskis reportedly wanted him to return, and Chong was offered $250,000 to reprise the role in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, but that was either not enough or far too much, depending on which version of Marcus Chong you ask. 

Chong apparently wanted $1 million to return as Tank. When the Wachowskis refused, Chong came back with a bizarre negotiation strategy. His lawyer delivered a letter from the actor to the Wachowkis saying he would do the movies either for $500,000 or for free. "I will do it for free," Chong wrote, "because I love our project and want to protect the role and the integrity of the [Wachowskis'] vision." Rather than choosing to either pay him twice as much or letting him work gratis, the Wachowskis cut Tank from the franchise.

In the aftermath Chong was arrested for threatening the filmmakers, and later unsuccessfully sued the Wachowski's production company Eon, Warner Bros., and AOL Time Warner for breach of contract, slander, and fraud.

Spock was unimpressed with a Star Trek sequel

Members of new and old Enterprise crews came together in 1994's Star Trek: Generations, including William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Everyone in the movie believes Kirk was killed on the first mission of the Enterprise-B, but nope, he's still alive in a timeless realm called the Nexus, where he's recruited by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) in his struggle against Soran (Malcolm McDowell). On top of that, Kirk's old friend Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was supposed to be a part of the film, but it wasn't meant to be.

In fact, Bones (Deforest Kelley) was going to be in the film as well, but he had to bow out due to health issues. However, Spock's absence was for a more surprising reason. Nimoy wanted his role in Generations to be more prominent and less generic. He was offered the director's chair if he agreed to reprise the role of Spock, but still he refused. "If you took the dozen or so lines of Spock dialog," Nimoy said, "and simply changed the name of the character, nobody would notice the difference."

It's actually kind of surprising that the filmmakers wouldn't agree to Nimoy's requests. For one, Spock has one of the more unique dialog styles in Trek, and you'd think coming up with more distinctive lines wouldn't be that difficult. For another, explaining a Spock/TNG crew team-up would be easy considering Spock is shown to still be alive — because of a longer Vulcan lifespan — in the two part 1991 TNG episode "Unification". No freaky timeless space ribbon explanations would be necessary, but ultimately, poor old Spock didn't live long or prosper in the next film.

Loki confused audiences for Age of Ultron

In late 2014, Idris Elba got in a bit of trouble when he revealed that his character, Heimdall, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) would have brief appearances in the following year's Avengers: Age of Ultron. Unfortunately, the news prepped audiences for an appearance that never materialized.

Elba does appear as Heimdall in Age of Ultron, but Hiddleston is a no-show. When Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) uses her psychic manipulation abilities on Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the thunder god is visited by a nightmare version of Asgard. Creepier still, an imaginary Heimdall appears, announces the death of every Asgardian, and blames it all on Thor. However, the sequence begins and ends with no sign of Thor's adoptive brother.

Speaking to Digital Spy in October 2015, Hiddleston confirmed that he was originally supposed to be part of the scene, and that he was on set for a day of shooting. However, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige later called Hiddleston and explained why his cameo was bound for the cutting room floor. Apparently, even though this was clearly a dream sequence, Loki's appearance confused audiences.

"They thought because I was in it, I was controlling Ultron," Hiddleston said. "It was actually imbalancing people's expectations." Ultimately, it's probably a good idea that Loki wasn't in the film, as Age of Ultron is a bit too unwieldy as it is. Or maybe they could've kept him in and changed the name to Avengers: Age of Ultron (and NOT Loki, We Swear).

Jack Crawford couldn't survive in the sequel without Scott Glenn

Jack Crawford is a pivotal character in the Hannibal Lecter universe, appearing in the books, on the big screen, and in the super bloody TV show. And when the character shows up in Silence of the Lambs as Clarice Starling's recruiter and mentor, he's played by the great Scott Glenn. However, neither Crawford nor Glenn appear in the 2001 sequel, Hannibal. A deleted scene mentions the character dies before the events of the film, but that's about it when it comes to closure. 

One urban legend about Crawford's absence is that Glenn was too traumatized from his experience on Silence of the Lambs to reprise the role. Both Glenn and Foster spent time at the FBI's Quantico training facility learning about serial killers. Evidently, the research was pretty rough, and the actor told People that he was having "unpleasant dreams" thanks to his preparation for the part. In fact, as recently as 2015, Glenn called the experience "emotionally scarring."

But according to Glenn, that harsh emotional toll had nothing to do with his absence in Hannibal. He told The A.V. Club that he and Foster were both approached for Hannibal, and that neither wanted to "ruin a good thing." Regardless, Jack Crawford's complete absence in Hannibal is more than a little weird. If the filmmakers were willing to swap out Foster for Julianne Moore, tapping another actor for a comparatively minor character like Crawford doesn't seem like a big stretch.

Mikaela was cut from the Transformers sequels because of an infamous dictator

Megan Fox starred as the sexy Mikaela Banes in the first two live-action Transformers films, so when she was booted from the third — 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon — there were a lot of questions about why. At first, director Michael Bay said she was fired, while Fox claimed she quit. Meanwhile, co-star Shia LaBeouf publicly theorized Fox left because she was uncomfortable with the way Bay's directing appealed "to a 16-year-old sexuality."

About a week before Dark of the Moon was released in theaters, the truth came out. In June 2011, Bay said Dark of the Moon executive producer Steven Spielberg demanded Fox be fired for mentioning a certain infamous dictator. "You know the Hitler thing?" Bay said. "Steven [Spielberg] said, fire her right now."

The "Hitler thing" comes from Fox's 2009 interview with British magazine Wonderland, when Fox made disparaging remarks about Bay. She compared the director to Napoleon, said he was "hopelessly awkward," and had "no social skills at all." The final straw was when she said Bay "wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is."

What makes the firing so sadly strange is that very little had to happen in order to reverse it. In October 2017, Fox confessed to People she was in the wrong. "All I had to do was apologize — and I refused," Fox admitted. She went on to say, "I was so self-righteous at 23 ... I really thought I was Joan of Arc."

Why Saruman didn't return for Lord of the Rings

Christopher Lee was a huge J.R.R. Tolkien expert. He met the man in real life and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every single year. So when Peter Jackson decided to adapt the books, Lee signed up to play Saruman.

And with that much love for Tolkien, it probably hurt all the more when Lee learned he was cut from The Return of the King. Saruman's last moments were originally scheduled for the end of The Two Towers, but Peter Jackson said Two Towers "couldn't sustain a seven-minute 'wrap,' after Helm's Deep" so he planned to show Saruman's demise at the beginning of the next film instead. But when it came time to edit Return of the King, Jackson said the scene felt like it was "wrapping last year's movie, instead of starting the new one," and he cut Lee out of the third film. Thankfully, the cut scene is included on the Return of the King's extended edition.

What's baffling is that while both Saruman and his toadie Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) are left in limbo, the heroes still go to his tower and discuss his fate. We just never see what happens to the bad guy. Honestly though, it wouldn't seem much more burdensome to include Saruman. Plus, without seeing their deaths, it's a complete mystery how the palantír — the cloudy orb that Pippin (Billy Boyd) obsesses over — found its way into the water.

Bill Murray and Lucy Liu weren't exactly besties

While he plays John Bosley in 2000's Charlie's Angels, both Bill Murray and his character were replaced by the late Bernie Mac as Jimmy Bosley in the follow-up, 2003's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. So what's up with the replacement? Well, the prevailing story behind Murray's declining to return for the sequel is a feud with co-star Lucy Liu that lead to a strange and violent confrontation. 

Different things happen in different versions of the story, but they all agree that at some point — in the middle of filming a scene — Murray trashed Liu's acting ability. Murray allegedly said to co-star Drew Barrymore, "I get why you're here." He pointed to Cameron Diaz and said, "And you've got talent." Finally, turning to Liu, Murray reportedly quipped, "But what in the hell are you doing here? You can't act." It was then that Liu reportedly attacked Murray and needed to be physically pulled off of him. And honestly, we don't really blame Liu, as the word around town is that Bill Murray is supposedly kind of hard to get along with.

The Kid got cut from a magical sequel

When the sequel to Magic Mike — the comedy-drama loosely based on Channing Tatum's experiences as a young male stripper — was released in 2015, most of the cast returned with the exception of one noteworthy absence. Adam, a.k.a. The Kid (Alex Pettyfer), doesn't appear anywhere in Magic Mike XXL, and according to Pettyfer, that's mostly his fault. 

In a 2015 episode of Bret Easton Ellis' B.E.E. podcast, Pettyfer said he wasn't in the sequel because Tatum didn't want him in it. "Channing Tatum does not like me," Pettyfer said, "and for many reasons — many being my own fault." He explained that he got the part in the original Magic Mike in spite of Tatum's objections, saying Tatum thought he was "a big risk" and didn't like what he heard about Pettyfer being difficult on the sets of other films. 

That reputation made Pettyfer nervous on the set. He told Ellis he was "afraid to speak" most of the time, and ironically, this gave the unintended impression that he thought he was better than his co-stars. The final nail in the Kid's coffin had nothing to do with Magic Mike. Pettyfer said he and his fiancee moved into an apartment owned by a friend of Tatum's, and that when they moved out, Pettyfer forgot to pay the rent for the last month. This supposedly lead to a nasty email from Tatum who, Pettyfer claimed, "was looking for an excuse to not like me."