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Actors Who Were Actually Happy To Be Killed Off

Most actors toil away in bit roles, commercials, and coffee shops steaming lattes, waiting for a chance to prove their mettle and chip their way into the limelight. Not every big break, though, is as satisfying or as varied a role as it seems. Sometimes, a star wearies of their role, gets fed up with being typecast, or simply sees an upwards arrow pointing them to (hopefully) bigger and better things. Still, that doesn't mean they have to murder down their own character, does it? For these actors, it did.

Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) on Game of Thrones

As a member of the powerful Stark clan, Sansa grew from a misty-eyed tween into a resilient young heiress right before our eyes as the costs of war and power ravaged her family and (controversially) her character as well. Much like Sansa, Sophie Turner's career continues to grow and evolve. With just two seasons remaining, she may see greener pastures beyond HBO's wintry fantasy series—or she might just want an epic death.

Now tagged as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse and future mutant outings, as well as branching off into other film roles, the actress has expressed her desire for the eldest Stark daughter to receive a fitting final bow. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, she quipped: "If you're on Game of Thrones and you don't have a cool death scene, then what's the point?" Fortunately for her, the HBO juggernaut is about to bow out. At the same time, writer George R.R. Martin's final book has yet to arrive, so no official word on the fate of Ms. Stark has arrived—presuming the series stays remotely close the books from here on out, anyway.

Harrison Ford (Han Solo) in Star Wars

Throughout his storied career, Harrison Ford has played a lot of characters, but few roles are more synonymous with the rugged actor than his turn as Han Solo in four Star Wars features. At the same time, the scruffy-looking nerf herder's iconic black vest apparently lingered as constant drag coefficient on Ford's budding thespian dreams (despite launching his career). Due to his distaste for the role, Solo fans almost lost their chance to see him in Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens.

As the story goes, Ford initially wanted George Lucas to kill the smuggler-turned-general off during Return of the Jedi. According to Ford, Lucas was reluctant to put a dent in Han Solo action figure sales, so he kept Solo alive, giving the rogue a chance to build a family and essentially set up the next trilogy. The Force Awakens finally relieved Ford of his swashbuckling burden, though, and he told Entertainment Weekly that the character's sacrifice lent "gravitas and emotional weight" to the story. (While milking gallons of tears from audiences everywhere.)

Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley) in Alien 3

Ellen Ripley is, without a doubt, the galaxy's premiere xenomorph butt-kicker. Long before Rey ignited a lightsaber or Katniss Everdeen competed in those nasty little post-apocalyptic Hunger Games, Ripley was slingin' salvage across then known galaxy aboard the Nostromo. Of course, as Alien and its aptly titled sequel Aliens grew into something much bigger, the career-minded actress started to get cold feet. Wary of portraying Ripley ad infinutum, and fearing the franchise would circle the drain, Weaver decided to end her attachment to the role after David Fincher's troublesome trilogy-wrapper Alien 3.

Speaking to throngs of xeno-heads at the London Film and Comic Con in 2015, she explained her desire to disassociate with the character: with rumors of a forthcoming Aliens vs. Predator movie, she decided Fox's cash-grab could cheapen the impact of the series, which she said "depressed me because I was very proud of the movies." AvP may not have set the world ablaze, but it could have been much, much worse. As it happened, she didn't stay away from her legendary role for long, returning for the so-so 1998 sequel Alien: Resurrection.

Samuel L. Jackson (Russell Franklin) in Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea is one of those flicks that came together at the right time in the right place. Were it not for the spate of giant monster schlock fests tearing up Syfy (back when it was spelled Sci-Fi), director Renny Harlin's goofy monster romp probably wouldn't have made it onto the big screen. Fortunately, the genetically modified super-sharks—we have to wonder about any research organization that would willingly fund super-sharks, Alzheimer's cure or otherwise—saw cinematic daylight, along with a fun cast, including LL Cool J, Stellan Skarsgard, Saffron Burrows, and everyone's favorite bad mother...well, you know the rest, Samuel L. Jackson.

When initially contacted by Harlin, Jackson was offered the LL Cool J role of Sherman "Preacher" Dudley. Nonplussed by the part, the Pulp Fiction star declined. But Harlin was insistent and created "Russell Franklin" specifically for him—leaving Jackson stoked to find that his character now got an amazing death scene. According to the DVD commentary, Jackson relished the opportunity to die in dramatic horror movie fashion, saying: "I've done a lot of different things in movies, or had a lot of things happen to me in the movies, but nothing like what happens to me in this one." His death truly is one of the most memorable in recent cinematic history, as well as a meta-jab at blowhard heroic speeches.

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

Few characters are more widely recognized than Leonard Nimoy's half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock. Beginning his storied space career on Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock led a storied career, appearing on The Next Generation as well as numerous entries in the long-running feature saga, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture all the way to the Kelvin Timeline-based Star Trek Into Darkness. With his perpetually inquisitive eyebrows, tragically hip hairdo, and pointy ears, Spock personified the operatic sci-fi franchise as much as William Shatner's James T. Kirk or Ricardo Montalban's Khaaaaaaan (ahem. Sorry). However, the popular Starfleet officer nearly ended his run before his cinematic journey truly started in earnest.

For years, rumors abounded that classic Trek actors were displeased with their roles, as well as their typecasting from the show. After the first film, Nimoy decided to set aside the role indefinitely, if not permanently. To convince Nimoy to sign on for Wrath of Khan, Paramount producer Harve Bennett and screenwriter Jack Sowards offered the actor a juicy death sequence, eventually pushing his final moment until the film's final act. Reportedly, Nimoy enjoyed his last hurrah as Spock so much, he decided to come back for further installments and even direct Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (the whale one).

Isaac Hayes (Chef) on South Park

No one can deny the power of Chef. For nine seasons, Isaac Hayes' rich baritone made the lusty school lunch-prepper into one of the show's breakout characters. His classic ditties like "Stinky Britches" and "Love Gravy" displayed the singer's dulcet tones, while also showcasing writer/creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker's unique brand of satire—something they may have taken a little too far for Hayes' taste in 2005. The actor and musician, a Scientologist, was reportedly offended by their critique of the controversial religious sect in the episode "Trapped in the Closet"—which mocked both some of the religion's biggest names such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, as well as the group's unusual views.

Lampooning his faith was apparently the straw that broke Hayes' back, because the musician told the Stone and Parker he wanted out of his contract due to South Park's "growing insensitivity towards personal spiritual beliefs." The character met a fittingly over-the-top end on the show, as Chef was killed after being struck by lightning, impaled on a branch, and attacked by a mountain lion and a bear. It was a disappointing end to a classic character—and one that received an added poignant postscript years later, when Hayes' son claimed Scientologists in his father's inner circle "quit South Park for him" after a stroke robbed him of the ability to speak.

Bill Murray (Bill Murray) in Zombieland

As z-word films seemed to be nearing their nadir in the late 2000s, along came Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland. Starring Woodie Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Jessie Eisenberg, the zom-com managed to put yet another fun spin the subgenre's severed head. It also became a feather in Harrelson's mid-career resurgence, as well as catapulting Eisenberg and Stone into the spotlight. But the movie's undisputed coup de grace was a last-minute celebrity appearance by classic Ghostbusters star Bill Murray.

Now doubly infamous for bringing Deadpool to big-screen life, Zombieland co-writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese explained that Patrick Swayze was their first choice on a list of possible cameos that stretched into the double digits. At one point, they'd nearly secured Matthew McConaughey for the spot, but he fell out with only a few days until production. Fortunately, Harrelson contacted his pal Bill Murray at the last minute. Originally cast as a living-impaired character, Murray wasn't thrilled with his role and asked if there was he coulud "have more to do," also suggesting a few tweaks to the part. As a result, the screenwriting duo revamped the script to include both spoken and groaned dialogue, and they got to turn Mr. Badger into a zombie.

Dean Norris (as Hank Schrader) on Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad broke new ground, both for New Mexico as a meth-peddler's paradise and for actor Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White. Aside from its intriguing premise and tightly coiled suspense, it was the host of offbeat characters, played by a cadre of talented actors, which gave the morally gray dramedy a rabid fanbase. Of those, Dean Norris' Hank Schrader rapidly became a fan favorite and critical darling.

As the series progressed to its fifth and final season, though, Norris' thespian cred grew and acting gigs abounded—including a chance to star in his own sitcom. In order to potentially start the next phase of his career, the actor asked the producers if they could take out his character halfway through the last season, to which they replied: "we kind of need you for the last eight [episodes]. We've been building that up for the last five years.'" In light of the taut series' shocking conclusion, Norris was "glad" they convinced him to stay. So are we.

Sean Bean (Boromir) Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring reintroduced J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy series to the general public in a major way. Peter Jackson's scope and vision gave the film—and the trilogy in general—an epic feel, creating an instant classic. Sean Bean, best known for his roles as Bond double-crosser 006 in Golden Eye and now for playing Ned Stark on Game of Thrones, is also the subject of a running gag about his extensive personal onscreen body count. If there were any death that Bean especially welcomed, it was the end of his character Boromir in Fellowship.

It's as though he didn't care for the heroic warrior. In reality, Bean nabbed the role without realizing Jackson's intent to shoot extensively on numerous rocky locales around New Zealand. Apparently, the actor is afraid of flying, especially in helicopters, which were the primary mode of on-set transit while filming in the remote mountains. While making LotR, for one particularly isolated part of the shoot, he opted to catch a ski lift up the mountain and walk the rest of the way in full costume. Even as audiences lamented Boromir's well-delivered death scene, Bean was more than happy for an end to his lofty role.