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Actors Who Desperately Want To Return To Their Fan Favorite Roles

In Hollywood, actors can often get inextricably linked to their most iconic roles, whether that's Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker or Michael Richards as Kramer, audiences will always connect them with their on-screen personas. Some are fortunate enough to return to their biggest roles over and over, and some still get lucky decades later when a fan favorite is brought back in a long-awaited sequel or TV revival. Other actors just can't seem to let go and move on, always hoping for one last hurrah, to tell one last story in the life of their fictional counterparts.

For some, it's a case of getting that itch later in their career to step back into the shoes of a character they love. For others, their star might be waning and they want to recapture their glory days. Maybe their character was killed off before their time or their franchise didn't do well enough at the box office to receive a sequel. It could be they just have a passion for the role and want to relive the fun they had playing the character years before. Now, with the era of sequels, reboots, and reimagining in full swing, and with revivals to old movies and shows breathing new life into long-forgotten franchises, there are a number of actors who have made it clear that if given the opportunity, they'd jump at the chance to return. Here then is a list of actors who are desperate to return to their fan-favorite roles.

Tim Allen (Tim Taylor)

Raunchy comedian Tim Allen turned heads in 1991 when he starred in his own family sitcom, about a husband and father of three who also moonlighted as host of a show-within-a-show, "Tool Time." The hit series, "Home Improvement" became one of the biggest television hits of the 90's, running 8 seasons and launching Allen to superstardom. The actor would go on to become the voice of "Toy Story" spaceman Buzz Lightyear, was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was named an official "Disney Legend" in 1999. More recently, he headlined the ABC/Fox sitcom "Last Man Standing," another family sitcom that ran for 9 seasons. While he's come back to voice Buzz Lightyear in three "Toy Story" sequels, there's one role that Allen is still aching to revisit: "Tool Time" host Tim Taylor.

"I always think about it, because I still talk to everybody involved," Allen said in an interview with "TVLine" in 2020. Does the Buzz Lightyear voice actor see "Home Improvement" returning as a network show or a streaming series on Netflix? Not quite; Allen has his own thoughts on how to bring back the iconic sitcom. "I like the idea of doing it as a one-off, like a one-hour movie," he said. "I like the idea of finding out where the boys are now, and where... 'Tool Time' would be in today's world. I just think it's a marvelous idea, and all the actors think it's a great idea." So could we be seeing Tim Taylor back on screens some time soon? With the conclusion of "Last Man Standing" in 2017, Allen has an opening in his schedule, so only time will tell.

Liam Neeson (Qui Gon Jinn)

Liam Neeson was already an award winning Hollywood star when he took the part of Qui Gon Jinn, the wise, sagely Jedi Master in George Lucas' long-awaited "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Unfortunately, Qui Gon would be killed off in the movie's exciting climax, providing a devastating emotional ending, and the impetus to propel legendary hero Obi Wan Kenobi to train the future Darth Vader. As necessary as his character's death might have been for the overall story, it doesn't sound like Neeson was ready to say goodbye to the role, even more than 20 years later.

In 2020, when Disney's "Obi Wan Kenobi" standalone streaming series began filming with Ewan McGregor, rumors began swirling that we could also see Neeson return as Qui Gon Jinn, this time as a "Force Ghost" — the mystical spirit of a dead Jedi that fans have previously seen in the "Star Wars" saga. Asked about a possible return for his character, Neeson denied the rumors, but said with a big smile that he would love to come back. Neeson has reprised the role as a cartoon character, in Disney's "Clone Wars" animated series, but it sounds like Neeson wants to come back in the flesh — or "Force Ghost" as it were. Given Neeson's fading stardom over the last decade, its no surprise that the actor would want to return to his most iconic part — and when an Oscar Winner says they want to be a part of your franchise again in a fan favorite part, you don't say no — so it's probably just a matter of time before he does.

Scott Bakula (Sam Beckett)

Scott Bakula recently wrapped a seven season stint as Dwayne Pride on "NCIS: New Orleans" but he probably wouldn't have a career if not for his iconic role as physicist and unwitting time traveler Sam Beckett in the memorable ABC adventure series, "Quantum Leap." As the amnesia-stricken scientist displaced in time, Beckett "leapt" into the life of a different person each week, with Bakula flexing his acting chops by essentially playing a different character every episode. Beckett used his moral imperative to fix the past and put right what once went wrong, battling injustice and saving lives week after week for five seasons, until the show ended its run in May of 1993. The series used the time-hopping hero's journey to tackle serious issues like racism, the war in Vietnam, mental illness, and sexual harassment. It's a series that Bakula thinks is still relevant today, and is eager to return to.

Bakula has been talking about a potential revival for "Quantum Leap" for nearly twenty years. More recently, when he appeared on Bob Saget's podcast "Here For You," he acknowledged talking with show creator Donald P. Bellisario about a return to the role for years. He also seemed to suggest that it may be coming sooner rather than later, telling Saget, "there are very significant conversations about it right now going on. I don't know what it would be. I don't know who would have it. The rights were a mess for years. I don't know if they're even sorted out now. That's always been the biggest complication."

A return of Quantum Leap would be welcome, but with the recent passing of star Dean Stockwell, a revival with the original star is suddenly seeming less likely.

Michael Dorn (Worf)

For seven years Michael Dorn played the stoic Klingon warrior Lieutenant Worf on the "Star Trek" franchise revival, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." From there, Dorn would make the leap to the big screen, appearing in four "Next Generation" feature films. In an attempt to boost ratings, the "Star Trek" spinoff "Deep Space Nine" saw him reprise the role and be back on the small screen for its final four years, making Michael Dorn the actor with the most appearances in "Star Trek" history. You'd think after 272 episodes and 4 movies across two shows would be enough for the actor, especially under all that heavy makeup, but Dorn has been campaigning to return as an older, wiser, Captain Worf since at least 2012.

Only in 2017, when CBS launched "Star Trek: Discovery" and began building an entire universe of "Star Trek" spinoffs for their streaming service did the idea of headlining his own show really become a possibility, and Dorn is excited about what it could mean. In 2021, Dorn sat down with "TrekMovie.com" and said he was even able to meet with Paramount and pitch his proposed series that would see Worf take the captain's chair aboard a Klingon ship. "Basically, the script I wrote was, instead of looking at the Klingon Empire from Starfleet, we look at Starfleet from the Klingon Empire." It sounds like a compelling idea, and the actor is clearly frustrated by Paramount's seeming lack of interest.

"I chuckle because sometimes I think that they are going, 'You know, we need something on this [streaming app] 'We need somebody that's done more "Star Trek" than anybody. God, who do you think?' 'What about Michael Dorn?' 'No, he's not right.'"

Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)

Jon Bernthal came to fame on "The Walking Dead" but it was when he made the jump to the Marvel Universe, debuting on "Daredevil" as Frank Castle, AKA Marvel's "The Punisher" that he was gifted with perhaps his most iconic role. His stint in the second season of the Netflix drama was met with praise from critics, and a spin-off became a no-brainer, which ran for two seasons before contract issues between Netflix and Marvel prompted its conclusion. Could Bernthal's Punisher make the leap to Disney+ or Hulu? Fans are begging for it, and it sounds like Bernthal is too.

 "Honestly, I have no idea. That isn't just the standard [answer]," said Bernthal, about talk that he might join the MCU. "I just don't think the question is about whether they're going to do it, it's going to be about how they do it and whether we can do it in a way the character and the fans deserve ... as far as going on in the future, it's a character that I really feel like that I have in my bones and in my heart." But Bernthal won't just return for the sake of returning, and expressed that the character means much more to him than a paycheck, saying "it's just about if they do do it, are we going to be able to get it right? Is it going to be dark enough? Is it going to be gritty enough? Are we going to give the fans and the folks that the character means so much to — are we going to give them what they deserve? If the answer is 'Yes,' man oh man I would love that."

Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal Lecter)

Mads Mikkelson was already a star and had at least one iconic role under his belt — as the villain in the James Bond blockbuster "Casino Royale" — when he took on the part of Hannibal Lecter in the small screen adaptation of Thomas Harris' long running series. Created by showrunner Bryan Fuller, "Hannibal" was a reimagining of the characters featured in "Red Dragon,"and "Silence Of The Lambs" and set before the stories in the books, fleshing out the relationship between young FBI agent Will Graham and psychologist Hannibal Lecter. The dark and disturbing series received universal acclaim from critics, as much as for its incredible performances as its bold storytelling. For Fuller, Mikkelson, and the cast, the excitement surrounding the series reached fever pitch when it became clear that, in the timeline of the show, they were slowly coming up on adapting the stories in the later books, most notably "The Silence Of The Lambs."

In the hit TV series, the latter half of the third season had already translated "Red Dragon" in its entirety, and everyone was gearing up for a potential fourth season that would feature Hannibal helping Graham hunt down a new serial killer named Buffalo Bill, when the series was abruptly canceled. There has long been talk of a revival to finish that part of the story, and Mikkelson has said he's ready, willing, and waiting, telling Vulture, "I would love to go back. Everybody wants to go back, and if there's only one season and we're sure about that, [Bryan Fuller] can finish it in a proper, surprising, stunning way." Our fingers are crossed he gets his wish.

Karl Urban (Judge Dredd)

Actor Karl Urban is fortunate enough to have inhabited several major roles in his career, from Eomer in the two "Lord of The Rings" sequels to Billy Butcher in the Amazon Studios superhero series "The Boys." And while Trekkies may be waiting for him to return to play Dr. McCoy in another "Star Trek" film, it's his lone appearance in 2012's "Dredd" that has him itching to return to a different fan-favorite role — that of violent future peacekeeper Judge Dredd. Though the film didn't soar at the box office, it has become a cult classic, and attempts to make a sequel have been stop-and-go for the netter part of a decade, with Urban himself campaigning for more. In April of 2020, he talked to "Screen Geek" about bringing Dredd back.

"I've gone on the record before saying that I would love to come back and be a part of that world and tell more Dredd stories. There is just a plethora of great, great stories within the Judge Dredd universe. I think that Jason [Kingsley, CEO of Dredd rights holder Rebellion] and his team –- I think that the legacy of Judge Dredd is in great hands. And if I get the opportunity to work with those guys, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be there –- because I think that it would be just a real rich and rewarding experience for, not only for us to collaborate, but for the fans."

Stephen Amell (Green Arrow)

Stephen Amell has never quite gotten over the death of Oliver Queen, better known as the DC superhero Green Arrow in the long-running CW comic book-inspired franchise starter, "Arrow." The popular series kicked off the so-called "Arrowverse" of DC superhero shows in 2012 that included "The Flash," "Supergirl," "The Legends Of Tomorrow" and "Superman & Lois." But Amell doesn't seem content to leave the role for good after the end of the series in 2020, even after the series killed off his character. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic just months after the series finale, when it looked like studios for shows like "The Flash" might be shutting down due to travel restrictions, Amell was eager to help, and made an appeal to producer Greg Berlanti, telling Michael Rosenbaum on his podcast, "I called Greg up and ... I said, 'Look, I hope this doesn't happen, but if everything goes to sh*t and you guys can't get actors up here because of issues about mostly American actors crossing into Canada, and if things can't be figured out, here's the deal man. I'm here and if I have to stay here, I want to work. If I'm going to work, let's just figure out a way to bring Oliver back from the dead.'" And that wouldn't be the last time he'd mention returning as Oliver Queen, returning on Rosenbaum's podcast in 2021, saying "If the opportunity ever came up to like, do 6 to 8 episodes of Arrow as, like, a limited series on Netflix or HBO Max — or something like that, or on The CW, as the case may be — I think that would be amazing."

Dean Cain (Superman)

In 1993 Warner Bros. created "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," making star Dean Cain a household name. Also starring Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane, the series ran for four years and nearly 90 episodes, but it's probably more important to television history for its unique mix of family drama, comic book action, and soap opera tone that set a new standard for the genre. The success of shows like "Superman & Lois," "The Flash" and "Batwoman" likely owe a debt to "Lois & Clark" and Dean Cain. After the show's end, Cain's stardom would dim a bit, making guest appearances on prime time dramas and starring in a string of direct-to-video movies before landing a recurring role on CW's "Supergirl" as Kara's human foster father. So it's no surprise that Cain is eager to suit up as Superman again.

Not too long ago in 2018, Cain spoke to " Entertainment Tonight" about the possibility of a return as Clark Kent and the Man of Steel, saying of a possible revival of the series, "I would love to see that happen because I think we ended on the weirdest note ever and so we've talked about it and I would love to see what they are doing 25 years later, and I'd love to see that situation. I've already started writing little bits and pieces down, so we'll see if I can convince someone to make six, 10, 12 episodes."

With the upcoming big-screen "Flash" movie schedule to include both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck returning as their respective Batmans, it's not crazy to think that we could see Cain put on the cape one more time. 

William Sharner (Captain Kirk)

There was a time in the career of William Shatner that he may not have fully embraced his fame as James T. Kirk. The infamous "Saturday Night Live" sketch in 1986, in which he jokingly mocked "Star Trek" fans, telling them to "get a life" caused a stir in the fandom at the time. So when the producers of "Star Trek: Generations" wished to bring Kirk back one last time and kill off Captain Kirk in the process, Shatner seemingly had no qualms, probably ready to say goodbye to the character.

But he almost instantly regretted the decision to allow his character to die, because in 1995 he co-wrote the first in a series of novels that brought Kirk back from the dead, and has, for the better part of the last two decades, campaigned for a return to the franchise that made him famous. In 2004, Shatner himself suggested an idea to producers of "Star Trek: Enterprise" that would have seen him return as an alternate reality version of Kirk, and in 2008 he expressed dissatisfaction with J.J. Abrams for bringing back Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, but not himself as Kirk. In 2017, with the new series "Star Trek: Discovery" debuting, Shatner said all it would take to get him to return would be "a great deal of money," and while that may not seem like a great deal of enthusiasm, he recently remarked that he'd love to come back as Kirk for the upcoming movie scheduled for 2023.

The good news is, with at least three live-action "Star Trek" series' currently in production, and more on the way, there's any number of opportunities to make Shatner's dream a reality.

Tom Felton (any Malfoy)

The "Harry Potter" film series catapulted a number of young actors to super stardom, from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, to Robert Pattinson, the next Batman. But actor Tom Felton found in the series a career-making role that if nothing else will forever cement him with a permanent place in pop culture as the slimy Draco Malfoy. His appearances in all seven "Harry Potter" movies built a solid foundation for the young thespian to build a career, and he has since been seen in "Rise of The Planet Of The Apes" and CW's "The Flash." But if there's one role that Felton wants to play again, it's definitely the young wizard we last saw in "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part II" in 2011. Well, any Malfoy. In June of 2021, Felton spoke to "People Magazine" about his legacy as the famous Slytherin, and his response to a query about potential interest in playing the role again was met with nothing less than unbridled enthusiasm.

"If you're asking me will I dye my hair blonde again to be Draco, abso-bloody-lutely. Either [as Draco or Lucius]. I'll play Draco's kid if you really want!" Felton said exuberantly, "any chance to be a Malfoy again would be greatly accepted." And when it comes to potentially passing the torch, Felton said he's not ready to see anyone else inhabiting the role, telling "People," "I do feel if someone else played [Draco Malfoy], I'd be slightly possessive, going, 'Hang on,' " Felton says. Though there's no opportunity on the horizon for the further adventures of Draco, anything is possible when a franchise as successful as "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" wants to keep expanding.

Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille)

Patton Oswalt has a long career that encompasses everything from sitcoms to big budget feature films, and many years of stand-up comedy. Perhaps what makes him unique among many of his peers is that he is a fan in addition to being an actor. After years working in Hollywood, Oswalt now has enough of a career that he can pick and choose his roles, with a tendency to select projects he's already a fan of. This is evident when looking at his recent work, where he has appeared in not one but three Marvel projects: "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," "M.O.D.O.K." and "The Eternals," as three distinctly different characters; all the way down to the independent no-budget feature "Space Cop" from RedLetterMedia, with appearances in multiple episodes of their Youtube movie review shows. So it goes without saying that when Oswalt expresses excitement for a role it comes from a sincere place, especially when it's one he's already done before. The part he seems most keen to revisit is Pixar's "Ratatouille," the animated epic about a rodent chef in Paris.

 In an interview with "Deadline," Oswalt was asked if he would ever have interest in a Ratatouille series or a movie sequel. "Oh absolutely," he told the outlet, "any sequel to 'Ratatouille' hinges on Brad Bird coming up with an idea that he likes and would want to pursue. I love that Pixar goes with the pace of the creators. They wait until something amazing happens. So, if he drew up something, that would mean that a truly big inspiration had hit him and he wants to do it. I would absolutely run and do that."

Henry Cavill (Superman)

Henry Cavill's debut as Superman in the 2012 film "Man Of Steel" was nearly a decade in the making. Previously, Cavill had famously auditioned for Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" way back in 2004, a movie that would eventually cast Brandon Routh in the title role. But fate was kind to the young actor, for the rejection made his casting in Zack Snyder's DC film possible, and it proved to be fortuitous, as Cavill was an older, more mature and better fit for the role of the Last Son of Krypton, and many have praised him as the best incarnation of the character since Christopher Reeve. He'd return to the role in "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Justice League," but a new "Superman" film was recently announced, to be centered around a new, African American Man of Steel.

In a recent interview however, Cavill commented on the potential of coming back to the role. "There is still a lot of storytelling for me to do as a Superman, and I would absolutely love the opportunity," Cavill told "The Hollywood Reporter," waxing poetic about the emotional ending that saw him execute the only other living man from his home planet Krypton, General Zod. "There's an opportunity for growth after that, to explore the psyche of Superman as a deep, seemingly invulnerable god-like being but with real feeling on the inside. As I always say, the cape is still in the closet." According to "The Hollywood Reporter," Cavill went on at length about the story of Kal-El, making it clear the role and story are close to his heart. 

Mayim Bialik (Blossom)

Mayim Bialik may be better known today as Dr. Amy Fowler, neuroscientist and geeky love interest for Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory," but long before her stint on the show that brought geekiness to the mainstream, Bialik was better known as Blossom, the smart, sassy, eccentric teen with a unique fashion sense. Far from the awkward Amy, Blossom was a cool and funky, emotionally self-aware teen who dished out wisdom and advice each week. Possibly more famous for featuring one-time Hollywood hunk Joey Lawrence as her cooler, dimmer older brother, "Blossom" was a slow starter in the ratings but eventually became a hit, running five years on NBC, where it got good reviews for its touching family stories about the life of a 90s teenager. Save for a handful of voice acting roles, Bialik left acting after "Blossom" ended its run to pursue her education, eventually earning her PhD in 2007.

Now starring in the Fox sitcom "Call Me Kat," Bialik clearly still holds a special place in her heart for "Blossom," as the actress has been pursuing a return to the screen as the once teenaged character. Working with original series creator Don Reo, Bialik has been developing a new "Blossom" series, but has struggled to find an interested home for the project. As Bialik told Entertainment Weekly, "Don Reo and I do have a limited reboot that we would like to do," but adding that "We've had a lot of trouble getting our network on board." What would we find Blossom up to 30 years later? Bialik says she'd probably be "a civil rights attorney or someone working with children who were removed from their homes. She'd be doing something humanitarian." 

Seth Green (Scott Evil)

In the 1997 James Bond spoof "Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery" a then 23 year old Seth Green had a memorable role as the more ordinary son of the hero's super villain nemesis, Dr. Evil. Appearing in both sequels, the character of Scott Evil at first resents — and even mocks– his father's choice to try to get rich or take over the world through hair-brained schemes. In turn, Dr. Evil struggles to understand his wayward son. Over the course of the trilogy, the father and son eventually find common ground, and the young mastermind eventually comes to embrace his destiny and become a super villain himself in the final film of the series. In the final moments of "Goldmember," Scott Evil takes his father's place as the enemy of Austin Powers and implies a continued threat to the British super spy. Audiences assumed this was a hint at a fourth film, but a third sequel never materialized, and nearly 20 years after the last film released in 2004, fans are still waiting.

And apparently, so is Green, who was asked about a possible sequel by "The Observer" in 2021, responding "my position is the same: I love those movies and it's one of the most special and awesome things I've ever gotten to be a part of," Green said. "But the creation of new stuff rests solely on Mike Myers' interest or willingness to make something and I don't know that that's something he wants to do. With that said, if there was an idea, I would go back for it. It was so much fun just to hang out with that gang. I think any of us would do it."