Hollywood Stars Who Have Been Replaced in Movie Sequels

A movie sequel isn’t an automatic guarantee that you’ll see the same actors you saw in the first film. Money issues, scheduling conflicts, and other commitments are all factors that contribute to whether a star returns to the franchise. Curious about what happens when an actor doesn’t return the second time around? They’re simply replaced — some for the best, some not. Here’s a look at 10 Hollywood stars who were replaced in a movie sequel.

1. Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards

Terrence Howard played Lieutenant Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the 2008 film Iron Man. However, when Iron Man 2 came along in 2010, it wasn’t Howard playing Rhodey, instead, viewers saw Don Cheadle filling the rebooted role. Months after Howard heard the news that he’d been replaced, he was still fuming.

“It was the surprise of a lifetime. There was no explanation. The contract just . . . up and vanished,” the Los Angeles Times reported Howard saying. In 2013, Howard blamed Robert Downey Jr., saying the actor pushed him out. “It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out,” according to The Huffington Post.

2. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin | David Buchan/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin played Jack Ryan in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, which was based on a Tom Clancy novel. But it wasn’t scheduling conflicts or money that kept Baldwin from returning for Patriot Games in 1992.

“But the truth is the studio cut my throat. Or, more specifically, an executive at the studio named David Kirkpatrick who was, as studio executives are on their way both up and down the ladder, eager to prove he had that special quality that studio executives are eager to display. That quality is an utter lack of sentimentality while transacting deals around a business built on sentimentality,” Baldwin wrote in a blog posting on The Huffington Post.

Baldwin had been replaced by a more well-known actor — Harrison Ford. After Baldwin posted his blog, Kirkpatrick responded to his comments by writing: “Fundamentally, the reason that Alec Baldwin and I ended our relationship over the character of the Jack Ryan franchise was an issue of trust. We did not trust one another to continue in the enterprise,” according to Collider.

3. Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider | Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Rob Schneider was the only one of the five central characters starring in the 2010 film Grown Ups to not return for the 2013 sequel. He played Rob Hilliard in the original, but was replaced by Nick Swardson in Grown Ups 2. According to Splitsider, Swardson played Hilliard’s brother, Nick, an alcoholic school bus driver.

At the time, money issues and scheduling conflicts were cited as Schneider’s reasons for not returning, but in an interview with the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, he said it was something entirely different. “My wife got pregnant and I wasn’t gonna miss this for anything, even my buddy’s movie, so I stayed home and it’s been great. I don’t regret it at all. I hope they do well, but this baby’s been, honestly, the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Schneider said.

4. Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company

Holmes played Rachel Dawes in 2005’s Batman Begins. But in 2008, it was Maggie Gyllenhaal who was playing Dawes in The Dark Knight. Holmes didn’t want to return for the sequel, citing other projects as her reason for not coming back. Despite the movie’s success, Holmes said in a 2008 interview with MTV that she had no regrets. “I had a great experience working with Chris Nolan [and] I’m sure it’s going to be a great movie. [But] I chose to do this movie [Mad Money], and I’m really proud of it,” she said.

There was initial speculation that replacing Holmes’ character would receive an unfavorable verdict from audiences. But an ABC News article stated that secondary roles, such as Dawes, are quite easy to replace and are typically forgivable. Audiences certainly did seem to get over the swap. Batman Begins grossed $374 million worldwide, while its sequel, The Dark Knight, grossed a staggering $1 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

5. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed | 20th Century Fox

In 1994, Keanu Reeves starred alongside Sandra Bullock as Jack Traven in Speed. The sequel, Speed 2, came out in 1997, but Reeves was no longer by Bullock’s side. Reeves had been replaced by Jason Patric, who played Alex Shaw. According to Den of Geek, Reeves turned down the role, citing various reasons for foregoing it, including not needing the money and not loving the script.

Unfortunately, the sequel starring Patric didn’t do nearly as well as the original. The original grossed $350.5 million worldwide, while the sequel grossed $164.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

6. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Foster played Clarice Starling in the 1991 film, The Silence of the Lambs, and even won an Oscar for best actress in a leading role. Many were surprised when Foster said she wouldn’t be returning as Starling in the 2001 movie Hannibal. Instead, Julianne Moore would be the movie’s leading lady.

Why didn’t Foster return the second time around? According to Hollywood.com, she passed on the role because she was unhappy with the way her character was going to be portrayed in the sequel. Producers even attempted to rewrite the script in hopes of getting Foster to agree, but she still wasn’t willing to return. “It’s hard to come up with a character that would be Clarice 10 years later… The book was clear about who she had become, but I’m not sure I agreed with it. It’s certainly Thomas Harris’ invention, but oh, I shouldn’t go into this,” Mania reports Foster saying in an interview with Premiere.

7. Edward Norton

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk | Universal Pictures

The actor played the Hulk, a superhero who turns into a green monster once he gets angry. The movie wasn’t well-received by critics or fans. It was criticized for how its visuals and was even described as boring. Still, chances are we would see the actor play the character in another Marvel movie.

However, Edward Norton flat out didn’t want to return and was replaced by Mark Ruffalo. So why didn’t Norton stay? He said in an interview that he basically doesn’t want to be stuck in one role, “There were just a lot of things—I wanted more diversity. I sort of chose to continue on my path of having a diversity of experiences. Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way degrade my effectiveness as an actor, in characters.”

8. Clive Revill

The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm

Clive Revill originally voiced Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: The Emperor Strikes Back, but he was later replaced with Ian McDiarmid in the film’s special edition. This is one of the few changes that Star Wars fans tend to get behind.

9. Claudia Wells

Back to the Future

Claudia Wells in Back to the Future | Universal Pictures

The actress played Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend in the first sci-fi movie, Back to the Future. She was supposed to come back for the sequel, but she had a scheduling conflict. “I had to back out of the movie,” she said according to Yahoo. “They cast Melora [Hardin], which is interesting because we were quote unquote friendly competitors acting-wise.”

10. Wesley Snipes

Major League

Major League | Mirage Enterprises

Major League follows the new owner of the Cleveland Indians as he puts together a terrible team in hopes to move them. The film starred Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes, and others. They decided to make a sequel years later and replaced Snipes with Omar Epps, after the former reportedly refused to come back. The sequel didn’t go over well and there were many complaints about Epps being Snipes’ replacement.

Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.

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