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Actors We Wish Would Reprise Their Most Famous Roles

Actors playing their most famous roles is like a band playing their biggest hit — it just gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Sure, several movie stars have gone to the well for their most famous role a few too many times (how many times has Schwarzenegger played the Terminator?). There's also the fact we live in an IP-hungry, nostalgia-obsessed entertainment environment, where seemingly every movie, no matter how deep it's buried at the bottom of the $5 bin at Walmart, is getting the prequel, direct sequel, vague sequel, or some other "-quel" we haven't heard of yet. 

So why are we asking for even more of these movies? Uh, because seeing these actors play their best characters again would be awesome, duh. Many of these are pretty unlikely, as the original actors have retired, been replaced by new actors, or pretty much made it crystal clear they're 110% not interested in coming back (though getting a check with enough zeroes on it tends to remedy that aversion quite nicely). What are these famous roles, and why do we want to see them again? Let's see if y'all agree. Here are the actors we wish would reprise their most famous roles!

Ace Ventura returns? Alrighty then!

In a career highlighted by playing a Batman villain, arguably Dr. Seuss' most famous character, and even God, the one character Jim Carrey is most associated with is a pompadoured, poorly dressed pet detective with a serious impulse-control problem — Ace Ventura. Alrighty then! Carrey went from a scene-stealing supporting player on In Living Color to an A-list comedy superstar seemingly overnight in the mid-1990s, and it was all thanks to Ace (okay, also The Mask and Dumb & Dumber). The 1990s gave us plenty of options for actors who would'ave done well in the role — Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, maybe even Adam Sandler, but none of them would've fit into the red-striped stretchy pants quite like Carrey. 

Too bad Ace Ventura is probably one of those movies series that's going to stop at two films. The reason is simple. Jim Carrey doesn't like playing the same character twice. Who can blame him? When you're your own special effect, you don't really need to repeat past achievements. Another big issue was Carrey hated working on the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, even getting the first director fired. Carrey was rumored to be in talks for a three-quel in 2019, and we'd be down. Ace Ventura: Harambe's Revenge?

Jack Burton 2? Snake Plissken 3? Heck yeah!

Few movie stars punch above their weight more than Kurt Russell. His biggest hits were in supporting roles (Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Mr. Nobody in Furious 7), while his highest-grossing starring role was the $77 million that Backdraft earned in 1991. So yeah, he's not exactly Will Smith or Tom Cruise when it comes to bankable leading men. But nobody would argue that Russell's not a cinematic icon (at least not around us). 

Compare Russell to say, Orlando Bloom, who starred in the multi-billion dollar The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, and you'll see box office receipts aren't everything. Starring as not one but two of the coolest characters of all time is where legends are made. Harrison Ford has Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Kurt Russell has Snake Plissken and Jack Burton. Unfortunately, Escape From L.A. went up in flames in 1996 ($25 million on a $50 million budget), so we're unlikely to see another Escape From Wherever, at least not with Russell. And while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is reported to be developing a Big Trouble in Little China sequel, Russell said he "probably won't be" in it. Boo! Some people will always have Paris. We'll always have New York as a post-apocalyptic penal colony and the Pork Chop Express. If only we could go back.

We want the best Bond back

Eight actors have played James Bond, but for millions of fans, the best will always be Sir Sean Connery. Connery played 007 seven times, first in 1962's Dr. No and the last in the unofficial Never Say Never Again in 1983. All were big hits, with 1965's Thunderball even becoming one of the biggest blockbusters of all time when adjusted for inflation. Nobody wore the tux quite like Sean Connery. He was neither shaken nor stirred, just as cool and dry as a martini. His successors Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan nailed Bond's suave, ladies' man persona, while Daniel Craig delivers an edgy, tough guy grit. Connery had both. 

Connery's Bond could steal your girl and believably beat you up, which lets be honest, do you think Brosnan would ever win a fight? Here's the kicker. You'd kinda be okay with it. Connery's personification of coolness is really saying something considering his Bond movies got pretty silly. Dodging a razor-sharp flying hat would make a lesser actor look stupid, but Connery played into the absurdity with aplomb, establishing Bond's tongue-in-cheek charm. A compelling theory argues 1996's The Rock was Connery's last James Bond movie, and we dig it, but why not make it official — or officially unofficial, like Never Say Never Again? We doubt Connery would come out of retirement for one last hurrah, but we can still dream. You only live twice, right?

We'd love a 'fresh' Fresh Prince

Will Smith's most famous role is ... Will Smith. We mean that figuratively and literally. Smith harkens back to the old-school movie stars (think Clint Eastwood) who played different variations of their big-screen persona. Sure, Smith has shown range, playing Muhammad Ali for instance , but his greatest success has been playing "Will Smith roles" — wise-cracking, sometimes silly savants who can beat ass if necessary. We mean it literally, too, as he established his big-screen persona on the small screen, playing a variation of himself in the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His character's name? Will Smith. So easy to remember. 

The final episode of Fresh Prince premiered on May 20, 1996, just a few months before Independence Day, so while the real Will Smith was about to take over the world, the fictional Will Smith was staying in California to complete his Bachelor's degree. So what happened to him? Smith said there'd be a reboot to Fresh Prince "when Hell freezes over" in 2016 (via Vanity Fair), but he never said anything about a spin-off, which his production company is currently developing (via The Hollywood Reporter). Does this mean the Fresh Prince will return to retake his throne? We can only hope. Did Will become a lawyer and judge like his Uncle Phil? Or did art imitate life and Will become a movie star? We need answers!

Yes, we're talkin' about about Travis Bickle

Controversial choice here. Taxi Driver is one of the greatest movies ever thanks to Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle. There'd never been an actor who could convey such disturbing, deep-seated, psychotic rage, as well as pathetic, tenderhearted loneliness in the same scene! If only that actor knew he'd be playing Dirty Grandpa 40 years later. Ugh. Anyway, not every movie needs a sequel, and Martin Scorsese's 1976 masterpiece would certainly fall in that category. But still, we can't help but wonder, what if?

What happened to Travis Bickle at the end of the horrifying shootout during the film's climax? The movie itself leaves it open-ended. Sure, it seems like everything is hunky dory, and Travis is praised as a hero ... but it could also be that Travis died in the shootout, and this is his heavenly vision after he descended into the bowels of New York's Hell. Honestly, it's best to leave it alone and not answer Taxi Driver's most tantalizing question with a sequel. But Travis is a man for our times, sadly (2019's Joker is a borderline remake), and a part of us would love to know what a 70-something Travis would be up to. Couldn't be any worse than Righteous Kill, right?

A Scissorhands sequel would be a cut above Depp's recent work

Johnny Depp seemed poised for perpetual pretty boy-ness in the early 1990s, but then he met Tim Burton. The two were kindred spirits and their quirky creative chemistry probably saved Depp's career, as he likely would've faded into obscurity like so many other early '90s heartthrobs who once graced the cover of BB magazine, only to be replaced by newer, prettier models. Depp and Burton have made eight movies together, but their quintessential pic was their first, Edward Scissorhands. 

The freaky fable about an artificial man with, wait for it, scissors for hands, who learns how phony "real" people are in suburban America, was a surprise hit in 1990, earning $56 million domestically and $86 million worldwide. The movie ends (spoiler alert for a 30-year old movie) with Edward murdering the school bully, a story recollected many years later by the elderly woman whose life he saved. She believes Edward is still alive as he was artificial and thus can never die. So what has Edward been up to? Edward coming out after decades in self-imposed captivity to a much more tolerant age like today could serve as an empowering metaphor for those still struggling for acceptance. At least we'd rather see that than Pirates of the Caribbean 25 or whatever.

Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft

"Born to play this part" is tossed around a lot, but it was 110% true when Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft. Getting the Academy Award-winning actress in a video game movie was a major coup, and she delivered. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider opened to $47 million in 2001, on its way to $131 million domestic and $273 million worldwide on a $94 million budget. However, the movie was bad, and audiences weren't going to be fooled twice. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider — The Cradle of Life bombed just two years later, opening to $21 million, and earning $65 million domestically and $157 million worldwide on a $90 million budget, down 51% domestically and 43% worldwide. So yeah, no Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 3

The studio brought the franchise back 15 years later with Alicia Vikander donning the boots, and history kinda repeated itself. Like its predecessor, 2018's Tomb Raider earned $273 worldwide on a $90 million budget, only this time the domestic haul was a considerably lower $58 million. Still, numbers like that mean sequels, and Vikander is set to return. All due respect to Alicia, but we'd rather see Angelina in the part, this time as an older, wiser, more seasoned adventurer. Though definitely not something like Lara Croft and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Renée Zellweger should come back as Bridget

An American actor convincingly playing a Brit is tougher than it looks. It's not just the accent. There's something subtle about Brits that 93.4% of American actors miss by a mile, er, kilometer. Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Don Cheadle, Anne Hathaway, the list goes on. The results make us shudder. One actor who doesn't belong on that list? Renée Zellweger. She's an American (from Texas, no less) who absolutely nailed playing a Brit in Bridget Jones's Diary. So much so she received one of her four Oscar noms (she's won two) for doing so. Not bad. The Bridget Jones series is a profit-generating machine, too, snagging $135 million domestically and $751 million worldwide. 

Yes, its domestic earnings have trended downwards, but after delivering average worldwide numbers of $250 million on super-economical average budgets of $35 million, we're surprised there have only been three Bridget Jones movies, one less than the book series on which it's based. That's a rare bit of self-restraint Hollywood isn't known for. Bridget Jones's Baby from 2016 ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, teasing the potential return of Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver. How about Bridget Jones's Dilemma? Maybe Zellweger could snag her third shiny gold man.

Another Django would be as cool as it gets

Jamie Foxx is cooler than you. Okay, so we don't actually know you personally, but let's be honest, it's Jamie Foxx! And what's cooler than Jamie Foxx in a Quentin Tarantino movie? Yeah, we're drawing a blank, too. Foxx was never cooler than he was as the pistol-packin', vengeance-seeking, bounty-hunting, former slave turned gunslinger Django (the "D" is silent). Moviegoers appear to agree. With $162 million domestic and $449 million worldwide in 2012, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino's biggest hit by a 30% margin, topping Inglourious Basterds by more than $130 million. It's also one of Foxx's biggest live-action hits, too, topped only by the $708 million worldwide earned by The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which c'mon, it's Spider-Man!)

So we guarantee moviegoers would love more adventurers with Django. Sure, Django Unchained ended with Django and his wife Broomhilda living happily ever after, but this is the Old South and the Wild West we're talking about here. Maybe a Civil War-set Western, a la The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Or just a traditional Western. We'd be down. Fans almost got their wish, as The Hateful Eight was originally a Django sequel, until Tarantino wisely decided against it. Instead, Tarantino appears to be working on a Django/Zorro movie. If that actually goes down, the finished film may be too cool to even watch. We still will, though.

Another Dirty Harry or Man with No Name would make our day

When you're Clint Eastwood, pretty much every one of your characters is iconic. But we'd argue his two most famous are the Man with No Name and Dirty Harry. One is a stern-faced, stone-cold, anti-hero from the Old West and the other ... is a stern-faced, stone-cold, anti-hero from San Francisco. Hey, when you're a movie star the magnitude of Clint Eastwood, each one just feels special. 

The last "Man with No Name" movie was the spaghetti Western masterpiece The Good, the Bad & the Ugly way back in 1967. Eastwood starred in plenty of Westerns since, but he hung up his boots and stirrups for the last time in 1992's Academy Award-winning Unforgiven, a movie which critics argue closed the door on not only Eastwood's movie Westerns but the genre in general. Still, could William Munny have been the Man with No Name or the Outlaw, Josey Wales? It's fun to speculate, but an official Man With No Name finale would be even better. 

Meanwhile, Eastwood played Dirty Harry five times, the last time in 1988's The Dead Pool. If Eastwood wanted to play Harry Callahan again, he's had numerous opportunities and could've easily reworked 2002's Blood Work or 2008's Gran Torino to suit the aging San Francisco detective. Are these going to happen? No. Would it "make our day?" Heck yeah. So we just have to ask ourselves one thing ... do we feel lucky?

The Harry Potter kids returning would be box office magic

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint were box office magic as the "Harry Potter kids" — Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. The trio's eight Harry Potter films summoned more than $2 billion dollars domestically and more than $8 billion worldwide, making the franchise one of the most successful ever. Do ya' think Warner Brothers would wave a magic wand and dump a cauldron full of cash on their respective doorsteps for a sequel? Uh, yeah, we'd say it's likely. Especially after the diminishing returns of the two Fantastic Beasts prequels, which didn't feature the three actors. 

The material is already there. J.K. Rowling supplied the story as the two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has been a smash hit on the West End and Broadway ever since it premiered in 2016. Even though Rowling has denied it, rumors have swirled around that Warner Brothers was prepping a film version with the original actors reprising their roles. It seems like that should be a "no brainer," and we're hoping it will happen one day. Given Harry, Hermione, and Ron are much older in Cursed Child, casting the original actors will take a lot of age-changing CGI, a pricey process that cost Netflix at least $160 million on The Irishman. Of course, $160 million-plus is a small investment for (two or more) movies guaranteed to bank at least $1 billion a piece.

The Dude should abide again

Jeff Bridges has been nominated for seven Academy Awards since 1972 and won one in 2010 for Crazy Heart. So he's basically one of the most well-regarded actors of his generation. Or any generation for that matter. But the one role he wasn't nominated for is the one that will define his legacy for all time. The Dude abides. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski is a burned-out, middle-aged stoner who loves bowling, White Russians, and nice rugs, and the Coen Brothers based him on the real-life film producer Jeff Dowd. All due respect to Mr. Dowd, but the Dude is Jeff Bridges, full stop. 

Hard to believe, but The Big Lebowski bombed when it opened in 1998, earning just $18 million domestically and $46 million worldwide (or less than Mr. Lebowski's tax write-off for the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers program). Lots of folks didn't like it at the time, but you just can't keep a deadbeat stoner down ... well, at least not this one. The Big Lebowski's legacy continues to shine. While John Turturro returned for a pseudo-sequel/spin-off with The Jesus Rolls, the closest we've gotten to a Dude sequel is a 2019 Stella Artois Super Bowl commercial. The Dude demands better. Sure, some people may not want a Big Lebowski sequel. All we can say is, "That's just, like, your opinion, man."