Who decides a fictional character's fate? Usually, it's the writers, but every so often, an actor plays a part in their end. Scheduling conflicts, typecasting, a terrible script, or a new story arc can all play a part in this decision. Sometimes, the actor and the writers don't get along. Other times, the actor just wants to do something else.
Each of the actors on this list had their reasons for wanting out, so filmmakers were tasked with making that happen and keeping audiences happy at the same time. In most instances, they succeeded. In others, not so much.
Granted, this is Hollywood we're talking about, and some characters can be resurrected if the script or the money is right.
- Photo: Star Wars: The Force Awakens / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
It isn't until 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Han Solo meets his end, but actor Harrison Ford had lobbied for the smuggler to bite it more than 30 years ago, in Return of the Jedi.
While promoting The Force Awakens on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ford said Solo's demise would be good for the character arcs of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). As he explained to Kimmel:
I asked [George Lucas] to ask the writers to [off me] because I thought that it would be good that the character who appeared to have not so much of a complex interweaving with the theme of the force and all that good stuff... No, I thought it would be good if he sacrificed himself in some noble way.
- Photo: Alien 3/20th Century Fox
Sigourney Weaver had played the alien-slaying Ellen Ripley for over a decade when she decided to call it quits with Alien 3. The actress asked for her character to be finished off in this film, and she went out in a literal blaze of glory. The reason? She couldn't bear the thought of where 20th Century Fox was taking the franchise.
"I heard that Fox was gonna do Alien vs. Predator," she said. "Which really depressed me because I was very proud of the movies."
Rumor has it, AVP was also the reason director Ridley Scott skipped out, as well.
- Photo: Deep Blue Sea / Warner Bros.
In Renny Harlin's 1999 action horror film Deep Blue Sea, Samuel L. Jackson preferred to let a shark eat him mid-monologue because he couldn't stand the script's ham-handed writing.
In the film, Jackson is chomped midway through delivering what is supposed to be an inspirational speech to the surviving cast. According to visual effects supervisor Jeff Okun, Jackson's original speech was seven pages long and contained "the worst dialogue you’ve ever heard in your life."
While on set, the actor tried but just couldn't get through the scene. He reportedly told Okun, "Yeah, I'm not happy. Just kill me. The sooner you [end] me, the happier I'll be."
An editor pieced the scene together from what Jackson did say, combined it with someone else doing his voice, and Jackson was set free.
- Photo: 21 Jump Street / Columbia Pictures/MGM
Johnny Depp was willing to make a cameo in the 2013 reboot of 21 Jump Street under one condition: His character, Tom Hanson, must be done away with. According to screenwriter Michael Bacall, Depp wanted to have "closure" on the character that made him a star.
Bacall said it was a "huge credit" to Depp for coming up with the idea. "We just immediately took that ball and ran with it, and wanted to take it as far as we could."