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Stars Who Refused To Return For The Sequels

For many actors, the possibility that a movie they've done might be popular and interesting enough to warrant a sequel (or, better yet, a franchise) is basically a dream come true. But for others, the idea of returning to a one-and-done role can be pretty undesirable for one reason or another. Whether it's because they're generally sequel averse or just had no interest in a second round of suiting up as their characters, these actors said a big "no thanks" to a follow-up film, and it either never happened or went forth with a new star in their place.

Katie Holmes

The real reason Katie Holmes declined the chance to return for the sequel to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins is something only she truly knows, but there's plenty of speculation to go around. The public line on why she gave a hard pass to the movie (and the substantial paycheck involved) was that a reprisal of her role as Rachel Dawes would conflict with her shooting schedule on Mad Money, an all-female buddy crime comedy (that virtually nobody saw or liked). But some have suggested that her marriage to Tom Cruise might've had an impact on her decision, especially since she took a three-year hiatus between Batman Begins and Mad Money.

No matter the cause, Holmes has made it clear that the decision to ditch the franchise was hers and that she had no regrets about leaving Gotham City. Fellow brunette with dimples Maggie Gyllenhaal came in to replace her for the role in 2008's The Dark Knight.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey's not exactly allergic to sequels because, hey, if he could star in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, it's hard to claim any real sense of limit. However, he has shied away from more than his fair share of follow-up flicks. He's said to have turned down a hefty payday for the sequel to The Mask, which meant the original project was never made; instead, the studio commissioned 2005's Son of the Mask, featuring another character acquiring the titular transformation device. It wasn't the only of Carrey's would-be franchises to proceed without him: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd recast its eponymous leads for a ridiculous origin story and Evan Almighty introduced a new man on a mission from God in lieu of Carrey's almighty Bruce.

In 2011, Carrey revealed a change of heart about sequels, telling Extra TV that he was finally ready to revisit some of the characters he'd left behind, including his Dumb and Dumber persona. "I think I should be a part of one of my sequels, finally," he told the tabloid. "I am in the mood to revisit a couple of things that I did." Indeed, he did reprise his role as Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber To. At this pace, we'll see the next Carrey sequel in roughly two decades.

Bill Murray

Like many on this list, Bill Murray isn't exactly known for his friendliness towards follow-ups, but his résumé isn't totally exempt from them—case in point: Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. He did fail to return as Bosley in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle after a reported feud with co-star Lucy Liu and director McG (and was replaced by Bernie Mac, who portrayed Bosley's brother). But it's his history with Ghostbusters that's drawn the most public interest.

Murray, who appeared in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, famously refused to have anything to do with Ghostbusters III because he wasn't impressed with the idea (much to Dan Aykroyd's chagrin). Murray did, however, agree to make a cameo in Paul Feig's all-female reboot in 2016 as a sign of solidarity for the new generation of ladies battling ectoplasmic goo.

Keanu Reeves

Speed was a breakthrough success for Keanu Reeves, helping make him recognizable for more than just his doofus "whoa" antics from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Point Break, and it certified him as a bona fide action star years before The Matrix. But Reeves wanted nothing to do with a Speed sequel.

He later explained that it was the script that turned him off of reuniting with co-star Sandra Bullock and director Jan de Bont. He told Jimmy Kimmel, "I got the script and I read [it] and was like 'ugh.' It was about a cruise ship and I was thinking a bus, a cruise ship, Speed, bus, but then the cruise ship is even slower ... I just can't do it." Speed 2: Cruise Control still went ahead with a new leading man in place (played by Jason Patric, with a few character adjustments) but was a massive box office flop which critics hated. Reeves jokingly expressed an interest in starring in a Speed 3 in a 2014 interview, pitching it as "Speed 3: Redemption. Jack Travern kind of dusting it off."

Crispin Glover

Crispin Glover's turn as George McFly in Back to the Future was the kind of heartwarming hero story audiences savor more than their popcorn, but even though his character was penciled to return to Back to the Future Part II, he ducked out of all the time-hopping fun. According to Glover, he stepped back due to salary and creative disagreements with producers, but instead of recasting the role, the filmmakers instead just used his likeness by molding his old man mask from the first movie into something usable for the second. Understandably annoyed, Glover sued the studio for using his likeness without his permission—and won.

Alan Cumming

Charming though he was as Kurt "Nightcrawler" Wagner in X-Men 2, Alan Cumming decided not to return for X-Men: The Last Stand, despite some fanfare surrounding his portrayal of the teleporting mutant. The actor notoriously hated the intense makeup process involved with creating the character, though he'd later admit to being a bit nostalgic about the film around the time the X-Men: First Class reboot series rolled around. Nightcrawler was later portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee in a much younger variation for X-Men: Apocalypse.

Geena Davis

One good way to ensure your leading lady won't bother to come back for a second film is to kill her off in the first scene of the script. Such was the case with Geena Davis, who declined an opportunity to appear in what would've basically been a cameo role in 1989's The Fly II. Leftover footage of her character Veronica Quaife from The Fly, along with sub work by actress Saffron Henderson, made up for her absence during the brief portions her character appeared in the sequel.

Kristen Wiig

Bridesmaids was a sassy, no-holds-barred, and unapologetically brazen comedy that left audiences craving more from its breakthrough ensemble. Star and co-writer Kristen Wiig, however, wanted nothing to do with a second round. She told Harper's Bazaar (via Entertainment Weekly) that she'd never planned to make a sequel in the first place, and director Paul Feig said it was pretty much up to Wiig alone as to whether a sequel ever happened. We still haven't seen a Bridesmaids 2, so there was his (and everyone's) answer: thanks, but no thanks.

Will Ferrell

As "come what may" as his characters tend to be, you might not expect Will Ferrell to be a choosy guy when it comes to film roles, but apparently he decided not to don those winter green leotards and pledge his allegiance to Santa again in a sequel to his huge 2003 hit Elf. The holiday comedy was certainly on the "nice list" when it came to box office receipts, but when the studio raised the idea of reprising the character, Ferrell was "absolutely" not interested. As a result, a follow-up to the holiday box office smash still hasn't happened.

Tom Hanks

Forrest Gump was one of many career-defining performances for Tom Hanks, but the role was special in that it earned him his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Actor—along with endless jokes about his box-o-chocolates mantra and undying his love for his peas and carrots pal "Jenn-aye." And even though there was a source material sequel (Winston Groom's Gump & Co.) all printed and ready for adaptation, Hanks held out on returning to the role, despite multiple reported attempts by the studio to get Gump (pardon the pun) up and running again.