Franchises Replaced Actors For Major Characters:
Movie franchises help us feel connected to the characters after watching them for years. Be it, Harry Potter, or Marvel, we get strongly involved with the story and grow closer to the characters on an emotional and personal level. So, it takes a while to process when a recurring face stops appearing and we are compelled to normalize with the new actor. Even though the character remains the same, it’s hard to get to use to unknown face. Some talented actors made the shift so easy by fitting in the role perfectly. But some replacements were disastrous that took the whole franchise down. Let us go through the 10 times when movie franchises replaced actors for major characters.
1. The Incredible Hulk
The infamous tale of the Hulk led to one of the biggest controversies in the history of MCU. Edward Norton was a gem to be cast by the studio for the Hulk. But his skills couldn’t save him in the heated discord with the Marvel Studios and the director. Their creativity differences resulted in huge fallout. His place was taken by Mark Ruffalo which luckily turned out to be an excellent choice for the studios. He started with The Avengers and became a recurring and critical part of the franchise. Mark did justice to Bruce Banner and immediately captivated the fans. Thanks to Mark that Hulk has become one of the fan-favorite characters.
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in the Batman Begins but didn’t reprise the role in the subsequent installments. Christopher Nolan is a dedicated director who wasn’t okay with replacing a face in the continuity but had no other option in Katie’s busy schedule. She was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal who did an excellent job in breathing life into Rachel and Bruce Wayne’s friendship. Even though Holmes was good as Rachel, the closeness and bond between her and her childhood friend Bruce felt bland.
3. The Mummy
Rachel Weisz rose to stardom from The Mummy franchise as the brave and powerful Evie. She was the face of the movie series until the place was taken by Maria Bello in the third installment The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon. Some reports suggest that she refused to place the mother of a 21-year old son and also didn’t approve of the script.
4. Harry Potter
One of the most difficult characters to be played in the Harry Potter franchise was Professor Dumbledore. Warner Bros. needed a face that displayed calmness, wisdom, intelligence, power and earned respect. Richard Harris was a perfect fit as the old and wise wizard with a crooked nose who looked right through you from his glasses perched on his nose. Sadly, the actor passed away after the Chamber of Secrets. It was hard to replace him just like it was hard to replace Dumbledore. Actor Michael Gambon carried the mantle and humbly said that he only copied the late Richard. Playing the greatest wizard of his time needed a talent who could subtly express the world with his eyes.
5. Iron Man
Mentioning Terrance Howard in a replacement list is inevitable. His fallout with the MCU happens to be the most famous and controversial. The terrific actor was cast as Col. James Rhodes in the Iron Man. But the unexpected success of Robert Downey Jr. in the first part prompted the studio to raise his paycheck at the cost of Howard’s salary. The significant drop in his pay stirred a huge row and caused him to walk out of the project. The role was then taken up by Don Cheadle. Interestingly, Cheadle even threw a joke at the courthouse in Iron Man that reflected his real-life affair with Rhodes. He said “Look, it’s me. I’m here. Deal with it. Let’s move on.” But fans really couldn’t move on easily from his replacement.
6. Charlie’s Angels
Bill Murray played John Bosley in Charlie’s Angels of 2003 starring Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore. But he was compelled not to return for a sequel after his constant feuds with Lucy Liu on the sets. Reportedly, there was a lot of swearing and fist fighting on the sets. The entire character oh John was replaced by his brother Jimmy Bosley who was played by Bernie Mac.
You very well know that we are talking about the famous replacement of Rebecca Romjin as Mystique. Rebecca was the first actress to play Mystique in the X-Men and had even won the fans over. Her place was later taken by Jennifer Lawrence to play the younger version of the beloved X-Men. Even though enjoyed watching Lawrence, they kept wondering why Rebecca didn’t return like the older versions of Charles and Magneto.
8. Twilight Saga
Imagine giving your heart and soul to a character only to be replaced unceremoniously for a minor issue. Victoria was one of the recurring villains in the Twilight Saga who was played by Rachelle Lefevre. The actress appeared in the first 2 movies and was prepared to continue her work in Eclipse but her commitment to another project at the same time got her kicked out of the Twilight project. Rachelle shared that she was dedicated to Twilight and never imagine that a 10-day overlap would lose her the project. Victoria was reprised by Bryce Dallas Howard in the 3rd installment.
Twice Oscar winner Jodie Foster was the ultimate FBI agent Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Her powerful performance left a strong impression on the screen and earned her an Academy Award. However, she refused to return in the continued saga of the spine-chilling cannibal in Hannibal. So, the studio went to Julianne Moore to play Starling.
10. Back To The Future
Claudia Wells appeared in the first installment of Back To The Future as Jennifer. But she chose to step down from the franchise due to her mother’s illness. Her role was then taken up by Elisabeth Shue.