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14 Great Movie Characters Done Dirty By Sequels

November 23, 2020 6.1k votes 1.2k voters 146.6k views14 items

List RulesVote up the best characters who got the worst treatment in sequels.

One of the worst feelings you can have as an audience member is sitting down in the theater to watch a sequel to a movie you love, only to find that a beloved character has been severely deprived of their happy ending - or worse, killed off in between movies. Characters wronged by sequels appear in just about every type of film, but this disappointing trope is especially prevalent in genre films.

Characters done dirty in the sequels are kicked out of - or otherwise mistreated by - their movies for a number of reasons. In some instances, actors either aren't asked back or they just don't want to appear in a sequel, but in other cases, these beloved characters are knocked down a peg in service of the story.

Each of these characters are great in their own right, but they were absolutely done dirty by the sequels. But which one of them was done the dirtiest? Remember to voice your displeasure with your votes!

  • Photo: Raiders of the Lost Ark / Paramount Pictures

    Marion Ravenwood is done so dirty by the Indiana Jones franchise that she's essentially wiped out of existence for the two sequels that follow her introduction; the next time we see her, she's been left by Indy to raise their son, Mutt. Throughout Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marion shows she is not only capable of holding her own against Nazis and morally dubious archaeologists, but can also trade barbs with her former flame.

    She understandably doesn't appear in Temple of Doom because it's a prequel, but she's noticeably absent from Last Crusade, a film in which she could have been a great foil for Indy. Instead, she doesn't appear again until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, during which it's explained that Dr. Jones ditched her before their wedding because he didn't want to hurt her. Ugh.

    The real drag here is that Karen Allen makes for such a good double act with Harrison Ford that it would have been really fun to see her onscreen with both Ford and Sean Connery in Last Crusade. It doesn't really make sense why the character was jettisoned - aside from pulling focus back to Indy.

    Great character done dirty?
  • Photo: Aliens / 20th Century Fox

    Aliens introduced audiences to two of the franchise's most beloved characters, Hicks and Newt. Hicks is the one space marine who understands that Ripley knows what she's talking about, and he follows her orders to the T. Newt is a young girl who has survived on a planet infested with Xenomorphs using only wits beyond her age.

    So how are they rewarded in Alien 3? Well, when Ripley wakes up from hypersleep, she discovers that they were both slain in their sleep. It's not just disappointing to see two characters who are presented as survivors go out like that - it's a slap in the face to their fans and to the actors who played them.

    Carrie Henn, who played Newt, didn't really care because she had given up acting, but Michael Biehn (Hicks) would have liked to send off his tough-as-nails, emotionally grounded space marine with a little more style than an offscreen death. It's this kind of meaningless character demise that puts a bad taste in the mouths of fans, and it's one of the biggest reasons people are so wary of sequels.

    A silver lining in the Alien 3 debacle is that Biehn made some money for his picture to be used briefly in the film - apparently, more than he was paid to actually act in Aliens. He explained:

    I called my agent up and he called up Fox and said, 'You can’t use Michael’s image.' They said, 'Okay, we’ll get back to you.' I got a call from David Fincher saying, 'Please, can we just... We'd really like to use your character.' And first of all I was like 'F**k you for not putting me in the movie...' Jim [Cameron] wasn't happy about that either, so they dropped that idea and then they came back and they said, 'We want to use your picture,' and I said, 'Okay, you can use my picture. It's going to cost you and it's going to cost you a lot.'

    Great character done dirty?
  • There are characters who are done dirty, and then there are characters who are done diiiiirty. Irene Adler from Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes belongs in the latter camp. Throughout 2009's Sherlock Holmes, she proves to be one of the few people who can match wits with the genius of Baker Street, and she even helps him defeat Lord Henry Blackwood, a serial killer who claims to have occult powers.

    At the end of the film, Adler reveals that she works for Professor Moriarty, Holmes's greatest rival. So how is Adler treated in the film's sequel? She's poisoned by Moriarty in the opening of A Game of Shadows. Her body is never seen, so it's not clear if she's officially done for, but to take her out so quickly and never resolve her actual fate is a huge disservice to a character who was set up to be Holmes's intellectual equal.

    Great character done dirty?
  • 4

    Will Rodman, 'Planet of the Apes' Franchise

    Photo: Rise of the Planet of the Apes / 20th Century Fox

    In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Will Rodman sets into motion a dark future for humanity, albeit with good intentions. While working to cure Alzheimer's, Will creates sentience in a baby chimpanzee that he names Caesar. Raising Caesar as his own, Will instills virtues and morals into the chimp, who later comes into his own as a leader of a group of primates who live in the redwood forest. 

    And that's pretty much it for Will Rodman. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, his demise is announced via a USA Today article that lists him as deceased from the simian flu. There's no other information about Will, no evidence that he's gone, and no one mourns for him. It's a strange way to bid goodbye to such an important character.

    Great character done dirty?