The world of cinema has completely changed. We are living in that generation where recognizable faces instead of movie stars rule at the box office. In this situation, it is difficult for actors to survive in Hollywood without portraying a role in sequels.
There are some popular names in this business like Dwayne Johnson, Tom Cruise, and Scarlett Johansson. They have enjoyed standalone success in their time. But surely franchises like Fast & Furious, Mission Impossible, and Marvel Cinematic Universe helped them to rise at the top. A few of the very well-known and talented actors in the industry have been at the top without returning for a sequel to any of their movies. But there are a few who have never been in a sequel.
It doesn’t matter if it’s selective project choices or bad luck coming in the way, a few of these actors have achieved the best levels of stardom and also keeping sequels and franchises as less as possible. This follow-up fever can kick one day but for now, they are doing well without it.
1. Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal was seen in The Dark Knight released in 2008. It was one of the most beloved sequels at that time. But she never reprised any of her roles. She was seen in some movies that could have given her roles in the sequels. But the disappointing box office results and the death of her characters became the major hurdles. Along with some big blockbusters throughout her career, she loves to play dramatic roles. Normally they don’t lead to sequels. This is why; the lack of sequels on her filmography makes some sense.
2. Ryan Gosling
The career of Ryan Gosling has gone through a series of hits and flops. But if you look at the numbers, this is not the case. He recently appeared in Blade Runner 2049, The Nice Guys and Only God Forgives that underperformed at the box office. Considering his financial results, it is not surprising that his movies never lead to sequels.
In the last few years, he had a few chances to reprise his roles, with sequels to Drive, The Nice Guys, and Blade Runner 2049 being discussed by the makers. But Ryan has himself denied the possibility of a Drive sequel. The Nice Guys and Blade Runner 2049 had disappointing results. So, sequels to these two are also very unlikely to happen. He met with Marvel to discuss the role of Doctor Strange. So it looks like he is open to the concept of donning a cape and be a part of some comic-book movies.
3. Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm has been seen in some popular franchises like Shrek, Minions, Sucker Punch, Bridesmaids, and The A-Team. But he never returned for a sequel to one of his own movies. But let me tell you that this is not his fault. Shrek Forever After was a conclusion of the series. Sucker Punch and The A-Team underperformed at the box office. The possibility of Bridesmaids 2 is not being considered till now.
A sequel for Baby Driver is in the works. But the character of Jon Hamm died in the first film. So for sure, he will not be seen in the sequel. Jon will be playing a role in the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick. If the movie becomes a box office success, it will turn into a franchise and we would get to see Jon Hamm in its sequels.
4. Richard Gere
Richard Gere has been a part of the Hollywood industry since the mid-1970s. Well, he never returned to reprise any role throughout his career. From the 1980s to the 2000s, he was well-known for appearing in movies like An Officer And A Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and Chicago. But none of these led to a sequel. In the last 18 years, Richard has stayed away from mainstream Hollywood and appeared in much smaller films.
He said that it is because of Hollywood’s relationship with China. China is one of the most important box-office markets in terms of big-budget movies. This is an issue for Richard, who protested against China’s occupation of Tibet, This banned him for life in China. Richard said that :
“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him’… I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese.”
But Richard Gere has not completely avoided follow-ups. He appeared in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. But he was not there in the first film.
5. Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain has been seen in movie sequels but they are not the sequels of her own films. She has played major roles in Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and It: Chapter Two. But she was not reprising her character in any of these films.
Most of her blockbusters have never lead to a sequel. Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian, and Interstellar were self-contained stories. Winter’s War flopped at the box office. Dark Phoenix was the final installment of the X-Men franchise. Madagascar 4 has been in development hell since 2010. She has a lot of potential for sequels throughout her career but none of them worked out. She is 44 now. But she will get a chance to reprise a role at some point in time. There are no sequels at present on the horizon. So, this would take a few years.
6. Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon has appeared in franchises like Friday the 13th, Tremors and X-Men. But he never returned to reprise any of his roles. He was offered a chance to appear in Tremors 2 but he declined the offer himself. His filmography is full of dramatic fare that hardly leads to any sequel. But he might have appeared in a sort of cinematic universe. He himself endorsed the fan theory that Tremors and Footloose are of the same universe, naming it “ultimate mashup”.
7. Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman has appeared in movies that could have led her to reprise her role. But this never happened for some reason. She appeared in Batman Forever in 1995. Her character survived in the film but she was not seen in Batman & Robin. She did a voice role in Happy Feet in 2006. But her character was an uncredited cameo in Happy Feet Two.
The Golden Compass was made with an intention of turning it into a franchise. But when the film didn’t perform as per expectations, the sequels were canceled. Aquaman 2 is currently in development. Nicole was seen in the first movie as Queen Atlanna. But the way she appeared in the movie clearly says that her role was very little.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most talented actors of today’s generation. Despite being an Oscar winner and getting constant hits at the box office, he has never appeared in any sequel. In the last three decades, Leonardo has done only standalone films. There have been some potential franchises. But he wishes to portray different characters in every film. This means it would take a few more years for him to appear in a sequel. He is also very selective when it comes to choosing a project. As we all know, there was a five-year gap between 2015’s The Revenant and 2019’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. So, it is hard to imagine DiCaprio knocking out a comic book movie every year.
9. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster was praised for her role in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs. She also won the Oscar for best actress. A sequel titles Hannibal was produced later. But she refused to return in the sequel. Her character was then played by Julianne Moore. A few of her films could have led to a sequel. But Hotel Artemis flopped at the box office. A sequel to the 2013 sci-fi film Elysium is being discussed. But it is unlikely that she would return since her character died in the first film. Her acting work has taken a backseat because of her directing work in the last few years. With this, her movie roles are becoming more irregular. So, there are fewer chances that we would get to see her in any sequel.
10. Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis was going to win the Best Actor Oscar when a movie was released. But things didn’t go like that, he took three of those coveted prizes throughout his illustrious career, for My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, and Lincoln. Just like DiCaprio, the choices of Daniel never led to sequels. He prefers to appear in serious dramas. This category rarely leads to any follow-ups. He has an extremely seductive nature. This might be the reason why he was never seen in a sequel. Moreover, he has been retired in the last four years. So it looks like he will never be seen in a sequel.