With the impending release of Grown Ups 2, cinema goers can rejoice because Rob Schneider is no longer in the film — the only glimmer of light in this sad world where there actually is a Grown Ups 2. However, the interesting part is that leaving out crucial members of the cast for film sequels is an old Hollywood trend, and even some incredibly memorable franchises have lost actors over time.
1. Marlon Brando— ‘The Godfather Part II’
While you can’t argue that this sequel is one of the most highly regarded (read: overrated) films in American cinema, you still have to ask why Brando’s role was so minuscule that he was offered one pithy flashback scene, something that he understandably turned down? While the film itself is a classic, adding Brando would have taken it to supernatural levels of legend.
2. Edward Norton— ‘The Avengers’
Before casting Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Banner, Marvel had already tried to launch the green man; once as Eric Bana in one of his “mopier” roles, and then as Edward Norton, in a reboot that came just five years later. Unfortunately, both failed to make an impression and Norton’s role was forgotten. Never mind that Robert Downey Jr. had a cameo at the end of the film, where he explicitly stated that he was “building a team;” Marvel evidently felt it was better to ignore that and just go with a new actor.
3. Jim Varney— ‘Toy Story 3’
The slightly older kids on the block might remember Varney from those disgusting Ernest movies, but younger cinephiles would have only heard the man as the voice behind Slinky the Dog, Woody’s loyal friend from the first two Toy Story films. However, following Varney’s death, the studio ultimately decided to go with sound-alike Blake Clarke. And yes, Pixar, it was quite insensitive to replace a dead guy for like two lines of dialogue, and the fact that Clarke was a friend of Varney’s does not change that.
4. Linda Hamilton— ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’
Beyond Schwarzenegger’s characteristic lack of emotion and James Cameron’s pretension (“Ooh, I’m making a movie about liquid robots from the future but it’s Oscar-worthy!”), the person that brought humanity and grit to this unbearable drudge through Arnold’s pectorals was Linda Hamilton. The second she left the franchise, because evidently women aren’t allowed to age in Hollywood, the series was effectively terminated and there was nothing the Maid-Impregnator … er, Governator, could do about it.
5. Vin Diesel— ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’
Fast and Furious is a stupid series to begin with; with all its focus on engines and poorly crafted street races, it is nothing more than pornography for the car crowd. However, even then, removing Vin Diesel from the film took away the only meaningful thing it had. And, no, Vinny Boy does not count as meaningful at all, but without him, the film even lost the joke of a guy named Diesel in a movie about cars. And then there’s Ludacris in there. What the #%@$?
6. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels— ‘Dumber and Dumberer’
Granted, this is a prequel and the much-awaited, much-troubled sequel simply isn’t coming in. Even then, however, there simply isn’t any sense in leaving out the only two actors that can actually make audiences sit through what is quite literally a urine-fest. This Carrey-Daniels-less movie has nothing going for it and, to top it off, it’s obscenely insulting to special-ed students. I don’t even care if you make a true sequel, New Line Cinema; at this point, you will never totally redeem yourself!
7. Brandon Lee— ‘The Crow: City of Angels’
A Hollywood bigwig realizes that his comic-based film acquired cult status because the star — son of prematurely deceased legend Bruce Lee — turned in the performance of his career but was also killed on the set of his last film. The bigwig — realizing that it is his absolute duty to defile this classic — hires an actor that is neither as charismatic nor as well known and tells him to ruin the franchise. The Crow came back from the dead to avenge an atrocity; where the hell was he when this was happening?
8. Katie Holmes— ‘The Dark Knight’
This is one of those instances when someone not coming back for a role is perfectly okay because Maggie Gyllenhall did a great job replacing Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Had Maggie not brought her skills and affability to The Dark Knight, fans would have spent half the film cheering that Batman did not try to save her. The Joker asked Batman to choose but, when it comes to these two performances, there simply isn’t a choice.
9. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley— ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’
Nobody knows how to milk a franchise better than Disney and nobody knows how to waste acting talent for money quite like Johnny Depp. After stretching a movie about an amusement park ride into a franchised behemoth, Disney could not prevent Bloom and Knightley from finally moving on and hopefully being recognized as actors. Depp, on the other hand, is a few hundred million dollars richer with every installment and I get the feeling he really doesn’t care if you still haven’t seen The Tourist.
10. Martin Sheen— ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’
Forget about the fact that this sequel existed solely to exploit the already shrinking wallets of those calling for the fall of Wall Street. Forget about the fact that Charlie Sheen’s cameo was unnervingly awkward, like he couldn’t even put down the needle for one day. Forget about the fact that this movie had Shia LaBouf. But the thing that can neither be forgiven nor forgotten is that Martin Sheen was not a part of this film. As the only man in the original that didn’t come off as a pretentious snob and was the voice of the common man, not having Sheen in the film made it a lot easier to root for Bane’s army.
11. Jamie Waylett— ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’
Waylett is one those faces you would only distinctly recognize; he was Vincent Crabbe in the ridiculously overrated drivel that was the Harry Potter film series. However, Jamie was not a part of the final installment of the franchise and his duties were overtaken by an equally unimportant character and Harry was still out to destroy something called the Horcruxes. Suddenly, Daniel Radcliffe getting nasty with a horse doesn’t sound too bad.