‘Jeopardy!’: Ryan Reynolds Made a ‘Heartbreaking’ Appearance in Alex Trebek’s Final Week

For decades, Alex Trebek served as the host of Jeopardy! And during his run, the game show became arguably more than popular. Following Trebek’s tragic death in 2020, only a few weeks of new Jeopardy! episodes remained unaired. Now in Trebek’s final week on the air, Ryan Reynolds — a fellow famous Canadian — made a surprise appearance on the show.

Alex Trebek on the set of the 'Jeopardy!'
Alex Trebek on the set of the ‘Jeopardy!’ | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek lost a lengthy battle with cancer in 2020

In March 2019, Trebek announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. And for more than a year and a half, he returned to host Jeopardy! between rounds of treatment. Trebek was also incredibly optimistic and open about his condition. On several occasions, he would update fans on his status, providing an injection of hope that he might recover.

Sadly, Trebek succumbed to the disease in November 2020. Following his death, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards came on camera to pay his respects. Trebek’s final 35 episodes — which completed filming less than two weeks prior to his death — have continued to air. Now Jeopardy! is set to air his final Jeopardy! appearance on January 8, 2021.

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Ryan Reynolds appeared in one of the TV icon’s final episodes

Early in Trebek’s final week, Jeopardy! made headlines with a surprise guest star. Via pre-recorded footage, Reynolds presented a clue relating to video game characters. The connection there ties back to the actor’s movie Free Guy. In that sci-fi action comedy, Reynolds plays a video game character who realizes he is trapped in a virtual world.

Following the episode’s airing, the official Jeopardy! Twitter account shared the clip. And Reynolds himself opened up about the “heartbreaking” honor of appearing on the show for the second time. The actor — who proudly hails from Vancouver — has made it a point to collaborate with other notable Canadians, having plucked Rick Moranis from retirement for a 2020 commercial.

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Ryan Reynolds’ ‘Free Guy’ is set for a May 2021 release date

As for Free Guy, fans still haven’t been able to see the movie. Contrary to Reynolds’ Jeopardy! clip, the film did not get released in 2020 as planned. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Disney — which owns Free Guy, following its Fox acquisition — pushed the movie from July 3, 2020 to Dec. 11, 2020 and then finally to May 21, 2021.

The movie is Reynolds’ first lead role in a theatrical release since 2019’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. Free Guy looks to be a fun addition to the actor’s filmography, combining his earlier everyman work with the wild sense of humor of the Deadpool films. Reynolds also starred in the 2020 hit animated sequel, The Croods: A New Age.