Why Isn’t Taylor Lautner Playing Sharkboy in Netflix’s ‘We Can Be Heroes’?

Netflix‘s latest original film, We Can Be Heroes, debuted on the streaming service recently. From director Robert Rodriguez, the film is sort of like a follow up to his 2005 film, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, as it features the titular characters as adults. However, Taylor Lautner does not appear as Sharkboy and JJ Dashnow appears instead.

Taylor Lautne
Taylor Lautner | Getty Images/Getty Images for The Pink Agenda

Taylor Lautner has seen a career stall in recent years

Though Lautner biggest teen/young adult stars of the 2010s, Lautner hasn’t done much in Hollywood in recent years. Playing Jacob Black in Twilight made him an overnight superstar. This also caused his profile as a sex symbol to rise. But as the years after the film came and went, Lautner. has failed to reach the status of his Twilight co-stars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Both of them have seen much success on the indie film circuit as well as in big blockbuster movies.

Lautner was set as the star for several action films after, Twilight, but none of them took off. Most of the films received negative reviews from critics and didn’t have great box office performances. Still, he has appeared in some roles. Around 2018, Lautner appeared in Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens and the UK series, Cuckoo. Still, has not had a substantial film or television project (in which he has a major role) since 2016.

Director Robert Rodriguez explains that the film was not meant to be a true sequel

Many people have had questions about why Lautner does not appear in We Can Be Heroes. Rodriguez gave some clarity in an interview with Decider.

“I mean, it was never meant as a sequel to that movie,” Rodriguez said. “This was always an original film for Netflix. So I asked Taylor Dooley if she could be a lead. It wasn’t about them, so there wasn’t a lot of dialogue. There’s a little bit with her and her connection with the daughter, and she was up for coming back, coloring her hair.”

Dashnow does not have any linees in the. film and it seems like Rodriguez thoughht it would be. a disservce to have such a popular actor like Lautner to be in the role for this film.

Here’s what Taylor Lautner was told about the film

Rodriguez did inform Lautner that this film was going to be made but noted to him that his character would not have a major presence in the film. “But I did call Taylor [Lautner] to let him know, There’s no dialogue. It’s not about the parents. It’s not really a sequel — you’d have your face covered the whole time,'” the director explained.

“I wanted him to kind of look like Batman,” he continued. There wasn’t a big enough role for him to do. It wasn’t about those characters. It was fine if he couldn’t be in it, because it would draw more attention to it. He became such a big star after Twilight that he would have an expectation. Could you imagine if he was in it, and then they see it and they’re like, “Wait! His face is covered the whole time! Hey, he didn’t have any dialogue!” It’d certainly look like a demerit against him, and I wouldn’t want that. It wasn’t about him, it was just to use the characters more than the actors.’

One thing Rodriguez does not do is rule out Lautner still reprising his role as the character sometime down the line. “Maybe if this is really successful and there’s a bigger play later, it’d be more worth his time,” he added. “But the way it was, it was not a big role at all. As you can see.”

We Can Be Heroes is streaming now on Netflix.