BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

« Previous | Main | Next »

Bourne Again

Post categories:

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 11:27 UK time, Tuesday, 24 July 2012

There's a new Bourne movie out on August 13 but Jason Bourne's not in it. Is it OK to have a franchise where the hero or heroine is notable by their absence?

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit Mark's blog to view the video.


Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
Weather Proof

Mark's reviews on 5 live
Watch Mark's latest reviews

Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.



Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Surely the most contemporary example must be of the character "Rachel Dawes" from the Batman trilogy. They got Maggie Gyllenhall to replace "whats her face" :)
    Spiderman - Andrew Garfield in - Toby Maguire out
    The incredible hulk - Mark Ruffalo in - Edward Norton out

  • Comment number 2.

    The rebooting of Star Trek is still a controversial topic among trekkies, especially the older ones who grew up with the original 60s show. I would imagine this kind of thing feeling like being a Beatles fan, and some record execs putting a band together nowadays called 'the Beatles'. It's just not going to work for people who are invested in a certain franchise.

  • Comment number 3.

    The best example I can think of is the Hammer Dracula series with Christopher Lee. Apparently Lee hated working on the sequels to the 1959 Dracula, and he only did so out of pity for the studio, which were losing money at the time if I'm not mistaken. However even when Lee did leave once and for all, Hammer still released some sequels, such as Brides of Dracula and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, which, let's just say, weren't the best films in the series, and that's saying a lot.

  • Comment number 4.

    X Men 3 ... where the hell were Bryan Singer's X Men hiding?

  • Comment number 5.

    Friday the 13th Part 5 – A New Beginning: Instead of Jason Voorhees, the film has a copycat killer pretending to be him. To say it’s a bad film is kind of redundant, as they’re all terrible. Yes, even the first one.

  • Comment number 6.

    An outlandish example of a franchise without the original hero or heroine in it, and I warn you its not the best example, is the Pink Panther franchise. Even after Sellers passed away but Cloussau remained, and was reintroduced, after extensice plastic surgery, in the form of Roger Moore in the Trail of the Pink Panther.

    The whole plastic surgery angle was also going to be used after Sean Connery retired from the 007 role. Thankfully it never was used. However the series' very loose chronological order nearly went into haywire when there was a rumour that Sean Connery was going to make a cameo appearence in Die Another Day.

    In regards to The Bourne Legacy, I pretty much am disowning it. The orignal Bourne trilogy with Matt Damon is one of the best trilogies in cinema history and this film smells of a cash cow. I mean when Weisz's character mentions in the trailer of advanced chromosones used for the assassins'? Please, give me a break.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can I be the one that points out the irony of our good Dr discussing absentee stars and the ethics of this, when Al Murray is standing in for Simon Mayo for this very piece!

  • Comment number 8.

    Not exactly a franchise, but almost certainly an attempt to create one, was 'S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale'. A cinematic abomination to be avoided at all costs. Donnie Darko was a truly unique, original, one-off movie, and those involved in S.Darko should hang their heads in shame.

  • Comment number 9.

    The first that came to my mind was American Psycho 2, in which Patrick Bateman was totally absent, but instead had Mila Kunis as a girl who develops a taste for murder after meeting Patrick Bateman.
    Also the terrible sequel to Donnie Darko, called S. Darko, in which the only recurring character, as far as I remember, was Donnie Darko's sister, Samantha.
    There is also the sequel to 28 Days Later, called 28 weeks later, which didn't have a single recurring character! In spite of that I rather like them both.
    Now, I haven't seen the Saw movies, exept for the first one, but I remember hearing that the character of Jigsaw, in many ways the main character, dies in Saw 3, in spite of the fact that they made seven movies! How they pulled that off, I would like to know. But I don't want to see the movies.

  • Comment number 10.

    In the 2003 movie "Honey", Jessica Alba plays dancer Honey Daniels. In the sequel from 2011 "Honey 2", Jessica Alba has gone on to become a big Hollywood star with A-list salary and therefore the titular character is nowhere to be seen.

  • Comment number 11.

    Smokey and the Bandit 3. I was disgusted.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm glad that you mentioned the James Bond films as an example, Mark, because as you're no doubt aware, 007 wasn't the only character constantly being recast, they had numerous recasts and some they tried to explain.

    Lois Maxwell played the part of Miss Moneypenny for every Bond film until The Living Daylights, when she was replaced by Caroline Bliss before she herself was replaced by Samantha Bond for the Pierce Brosnan films.

    The character of Felix Leiter was played by different actor each time except in Live & Let Die and License to Kill, he was played by David Hedison. And in the Daniel Craig films he was played by Jeffrey Wright.

    M was played by Bernard Lee until he died after Moonraker; M then did not appear in For Your Eyes Only with Moneypenny saying he was "On leave." Then in the next film he was replaced by Robert Brown, who had been in The Spy Who Loved Me as a Naval Admiral and so therefore it was logical to assume this same character became M. Then, of course, from Goldeneye onwards, we have Judi Dench and that same film, Robbie Coltrane's character says to Bond "I here the new M is a lady."

    As for Q, he is played by Peter Burton and is credited as Major Boothroyd. Then in From Russia with Love, we get the iconic version of Q by Desmond Llewelyn until The World is Not Enough where we are told that he is retiring and is being replaced by John Cleese, who played Q in the following film. Whether they'll provide explanation in Skyfall as to the recast of Ben Whishaw, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    However, perhaps the most audacious recast was that of Ernst Stavero Blofeld, in From Russia with Love and Thunderball he is played simply by a man who we don't see and is stroking a cat. And in You Only Live Twice, he is played by Donald Pleasance, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service he is played by Telly Savalas and in Diamonds are Forever he is played by Charles Gray and the reason given for Blofeld's new appearances is that he's had plastic surgery since each of his previous encounters with 007. In fact, the latter two films, this is made a plot point.

    Sorry for the long length of this post, Dr K, if you actually bothered to read it all, thank you very much.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Wild Geese2-none of the original geriatric crew were in it (granted half were dead from the first film's mission or dead in real life) and without Moore's comedy quips and Burton's wheezing alcoholic presence it just wasn't the same. Infact, come to think of it, it had nothing to do with the original film.

  • Comment number 14.

    There are quite a few that spring to mind The Mask got an absolute turd of a sequel without it's 'hero'. Keanununununu Reeves was sensible enough to stay away from the sinking ship (pun intended) of Speed 2.
    But the absolute King of franchise dodgers is the muscles from Brussels, Mr Van Damme. BloodSport, KickBoxer, Cyborg, Universal Soldier, TimeCop, No retreat no Surrender all of which had Straight to video sequels minus (for the most part) their star name.

  • Comment number 15.

    @spaceodds And after "Trail of the Pink Panther" there was "Son of the Pink Panther" with Roberto Benigni.

    In fact there are a lot of "Son of..." movies, and I immediately think of Universal's monster franchises where Lugosi's "Dracula" was followed by "Son of Dracula" and "Daughter of Dracula". The same goes for the Frankenstein films, where the creature remains, but the recognisable name of Dr. Frankenstein is preserved by first "Son of Frankenstein" where we meet Frankenstein's son, and then "Ghost of Frankenstein" which begins with Igor announcing that they need to find Frankenstein's other son.

    It's very obvious but I'd also like to mention "Doctor Who," where a series of regenerations have had the Doctor played by eleven different actors (not including Richard Hurndall or Peter Cushing). It seems so much a part of the show now that it's hard to imagine how strange it must have seemed back in 1966 to have the main character die and then change into different-looking person with different personality yet is somehow still the same man.

    @Aambush After Saw 3, Tobin Bell appears as Jigsaw via flashbacks and a seemingly limitless number of videos he apparently recorded just before he died. Jigsaw's role as trap builder and kidnapper is taken up by several other people working from plans that Jigsaw also made as he was dying.

  • Comment number 16.

    Maybe not a sequel but Katsuhiro Otomo's anime classic AKIRA did not show the young boy Akira.He was only evident through spirit and as a backdrop for the whole scenerio of the film to progress,much in the same vein as Jason Bourne is in this new Bourne film.

    But in the Manga Akira is an extremely prominant character in the whole structure of Otomo's awe-inspiring story.

    Also,another trailer for a blog intro again Kermode?
    tut tut tut.

  • Comment number 17.

    Not a film but the TV series 'Taggart' carried on long after the title character, and the actor who played him, had died.

  • Comment number 18.

    In answer to your question Doc, I give you The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (Fast and Furious 3). The main character of the franchise, Dominic Toretto played by Vin Diesel, only has a cameo at the very end.

  • Comment number 19.

    I was a fan of the 3 original American Pie films, but then came the awful straight to video spin offs which were based on the ever expanding Stiffler extended family. None of the main cast from the films appeared other than the odd cameo from Eugene Levy & Chris Owen, and the films were embarrassingly shoddy lacking the charm & humour that the likes of Jason Biggs & Sean William Scott brought to the series.

    Don't even get me started on the post-Guttenberg Police Academy films...

  • Comment number 20.

    Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. It's actually not that bad a movie, but... erm... Michael Myers, anybody? Anybody seen him? Nope. Ah, never mind.

  • Comment number 21.

    #12. SaTay wrote: "007 eg's"

    To add: Joe Don Baker who plays Brad Whitaker in "The Living Daylights" (one of the main antagonists) then in Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies, as Jack Wade, the stand-in prop for Uncle Sam. ;) I think Bond films are an odd one ie the character habits (martini, fast cars, "cow eyes women", gadgets etc) but even this series is devalued if the latest actor does not create an oeuvre of several films of their own with own themes imo. You could say each 007 is the newly promoted 006 maybe or the surviving ones at least.

    Obviously Dumbledore swapped one brilliant actor for another for valid reasons...

    ...and I think that's what Dr. Kermode is suggesting? These guys are literally *p--ing* over everyone in the justification to get an established BANKABLE film, IP, story milking more money out of audiences and the not absurd enough lengths to achieve this. Something Eddie Murphy said about Donkey in Shrek, quote-unquote: "I'm gonna keep playing this as long as people are stupid enough to continue paying to watch."

    Similar deal to reboot, reimagining, remake, retelling... reselling what people are comfortable with?

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh, and Smokey and The Bandit Part 3. I suppose Smokey was still in it, but without The Bandit, so it only ditched 50% of its stars.

  • Comment number 23.

    Two examples of a studio taking script which has nothing to do with the original film, grafting on a few characters and references and calling it a sequel.

    First up, Curse of the Cat People which is a story about child psychology and whose only connection to original film is that the lovers from Cat People got married, had a kid who is having visions of her fathers first wife.

    The second being Beneath the Planet of the Apes in which Charlton Heston and Nova wander into a cave and find a race of people living underground. It then becomes a completely different film with nothing at all to do with the Planet of the Apes, then five minutes before the end Heston turns up again with a couple of apemen and destorys the world. Needless to say no one bought this, except one guy whose name was.........?

  • Comment number 24.

    A request for tech guys on this blog, could you please upload the Dark Knight Rises review so we can post our thoughts on it thank you.

  • Comment number 25.

    you went off on tangets there so Im confused what the point is? are you asking about films in which the lead character is named in the title but doesn't appear in the story (scientifically known as The Taggart effect)? or remakes/sequels in which different actors are cast to play the lead character, because there's so MANY of those it would seem futile to list, and then you went on to Friday 13th which doesn't illustrate either of those points. I'll assume you mean films in which the lead 'character' is used in the title but never appears in the story... hmmm can't think of that many, except Hammer's Bride's of Dracula in which Dracula doesn't appear and Van Helsing battles some other crazy Count instead.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'd go for US Marshals, a sequel to The Fugitive with no Harrison Ford or the three made for TV sequels to Midnight Run (Another Midnight Run, Midnight Runaround and Midnight Run For Your Life) with Christopher McDonald instead of Robert De Niro!

  • Comment number 27.

    I like the idea that Sergio Leone was going to have Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood waiting for Harmonica at the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West so audiences would think it’s a Good the Bad and the Ugly Part 2. And then they all get shot. A shame it never happened because that would have been brill.

    Though, on the subject of loosing the Mark Kermode from Kermode uncut. Do I vaguely remember something about the death of 3D and 2012? Didn’t you say you’ll leave forever if it hadn’t died or something?

  • Comment number 28.

    American Psycho 2 I guess. I didn’t see AP2 but what I’ve heard the main character is a woman.

  • Comment number 29.

    Well, Mr. Kermode - if you were not hosting these blogs, and having, say, Mr. Alan-I love Dario Argento-Jones,(But, let me stress: He Is a lovely man-and i have met him on many occasions- would not work here). You have pretty much laid the foundation for concise film criticism, and i might add: I am shouting out a big hello to the great, Mr Gregory Dark - the "agent provocateur" of B-Movie excellence - along with Zalmon King - that you have mentioned on neumerous occasions because of, Wally Pfister. Well, anyway - me and the mrs, thourougly enjoyed your review of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and then were subjected to your genius tirade of, "TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON", you pretty much made the groundings of an entertaining evening. Even the concept of 3-D scares me - Hate it! No! Keep up the good work Dr. K. I dread to think of your presence with Simon Mayo being, ahem... a George Lazenby of sorts. But, we know that's not going to happen.

  • Comment number 30.

    Blues Brothers 2000 - No John Belushi...not really brothers then is it? Just Elwood Blues and his band. They should reboot the Blues Brothers c'mon they've done everything else wait they shouldn't as some things in life are sacred

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't think anyone has said it yet, and I'm not sure it can count as one already, but here it goes: Kill Bill 3 (I mean, Bill almost wasn't in any of the movies, but I'm sure he won't be in the third act, for obvious reasons).

    A little question for the good Dr - why wasn't Pierce Brosnan named in the Bond lineup?? Afterall, in my modest opinion, Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and him are the best Bonds, in that order.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think there is a sizable pool to draw from, Dr. K, but here are 3 more.

    Phantasm II where Don Coscarelli replaced Michael Baldwin with James LeGros (because of studio pressure, I think). Baldwin would return in subsequent episodes.

    Robocop III replacing Peter Weller with Robert John Burke, although I think I read where Weller just didn't want to continue with it. They had already replaced the quality of the original with something else in Part II.

    The most egregious attempt to replace a star and continue a franchise would have to be in Jaws 3 (in Threed) and 4 (or Jaws:The Revenge). There wasn't a connection to the previous films at all in the third installment (I think they alluded to the happenings of the previous films when explaining about Great White attacks if I remember correctly). And the fourth... Wow. They come back to the wife of the main character of the first two films. Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody gets stalked by a great white that apparently remembers what her deceased husband did to its own relatives. Speaking of memory, in an attempt to get Roy Scheider's face in the movie, Ellen Brody has flashbacks of her deceased husband (who died from a heart attack and Ellen knows that it was SURELY because he was terrified of sharks). She 'remembers' Brody being attacked even if she wasn't there when it occurred. That's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the film's ridiculousness, though, with the shark targeting Ellen's family and Michael Caine playing a guy named 'Hoagie'.

  • Comment number 33.

    Godfather 2...minus Brando.

  • Comment number 34.

    But I just saw the new Bourne film, The Bourne Zoology, where Matt Damon's character forgets he was a superspy and becomes a mopey girlyman who enjoys shovelling poo.

  • Comment number 35.

    Alien 3 (no Hicks or Newt ) ......unforgivable !

  • Comment number 36.

    Let’s talk about the Jaws series. In the first film Robert Shaw dies, and Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss survive. The second film, Dreyfuss is gone leaving only Scheider. By the third film, not even Scheider’s stuck around and we’re left with the wife who was always boring white bread. Sorry, but not even Michael Caine could save the fourth.

  • Comment number 37.

    There's gonna be loads of examples for this, but as Dr K mentioned the Friday the 13th series then i shall point out that both the Friday and Halloween franchises had instalments where both the horror icons were missing. Friday the 13th - The New Beginning had a Jason copycat killer instead, but it flopped and then Part 6 had Jason resurrected again. Halloween 2 killed off Michael Myers but John Carpenter refused to write and produce anymore Halloween films unless Michael Myers wasn't in it, so they came up with the very underrated Halloween 3 - Season of the witch, again it flopped and they went back to Michael Myers again for the 4th film.

    I've never rated any of the Bourne movies to be honest. The latter 2 were definitely better than the 1st but they did nothing for me.

  • Comment number 38.

    Surly the cleverest way a creative team have gotten round changing actors or continuing a franchise without it's original team without fan outrage is doctor who's regenerations.

  • Comment number 39.

    To add to those Pink Panther mentions above, Alan Arkin played the bumbling french detective in Inspector Clouseau (1968) while Sellers was still alive! (I know, we're straying to recasts from the completely missing characters).

    Speaking of Halloween III Season of the Witch -- a gripe about another of the BBC's flagship film programs: Film 2011/2012, one of whose regular "top 5 ..." guest presenters said of Halloween III Season of the Witch "it was a change of direction for director John Carpenter", this would have been true, had Carpenter directed it. It was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace from a script by Quatermass scribe Nigel Kneale and has more of a Hammer Horror / Amicus feel with a touch of Body Snatcher paranoia. Carpenter, I believe had some involvement with the production and did provide the music. I find it distressing that Film 20yy has such a low calibre of presenter and research (one of the two main presenters said of War Horse, "it's very different from the stage play it's based on" disregarding that, like the play, it was based on a book.) Sorry for the irrelevant rant, but I'd rather the Beeb'd offered the show to Dr K or someone of similar quality, knowledge, experience and understanding.

    It's very brave of Mark to admit to an awareness of direct to video Emmanuel sequels, even if the excuse is to tangentially ponder the chequered career of Mr Lazenby (I won't be the guy who feels at pains to point out earlier Bond portrayals on radio and TV, nor mention that other Casino Royale). Perhaps, however, his admission is a cry for help, and he really needs attention from the Direct To Video Addicts Anonymous. Surely many of the answers to this particular thread's challenge come from this much maligned and misunderstood demi-monde. They need support, often when their old Betamax and Laserdisc players stop working they become bereft, many stop eating, some so weak they can no longer hold the remote, and the neuralgia they develop in the right forefinger leaves them unable to press pause. Others such as Mark may be able to lead productive lives through care from family, and regain full use of hands through music therapy. Surprisingly many Skiffle bands are formed by D2V Addicts, and aren't we all the wealthier for it.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think one of the coolist is Doctor Who. I know, I know not a film but it was once with Peter Cushing and a TV movie with Paul McGann. I think this is the oddsit way around a problem. but came from the fact that the 1st Dr but he was at the end of the day dieing. So the idea came to chagne the actor and the hater he was playing. in others words to chage everthing charter therefore the show. Not even James Bond or Batman did that. Each Bond is differnt More is not Datlon. but there are soft the same chater but not at the same time.

    I think its good thing to do if you get it right. Bond got it right Dr Who got it right. My chaging the format of the show or the charter. Mores Bond is soft of comic and Dalton's Bond is the sotry of a hit man for the Sate. I have a question for you Doctor K. Whats the best verson of Bond and Whos the best Bond. I think Dalton.

  • Comment number 41.

    None of the titular characters from either Lucchino Visconti's The Damned (1969), nor Joseph Losey's The Damned (1963) appear in The Damned United (2009), which title promises both.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's not a hero or heroine, but Troll 2 famously doesn't feature any trolls. They instead keep referring to the little creatures in the movie as goblins, because the studio changed the title in the hopes that fans of Troll, from 1986, would snatch it up at their local video store.

    Slightly different, but what about Pan's Labyrinth? Guillermo Del Toro has himself said that the central creature in the movie is NOT Pan, but the english translators didn't seem to care. Hence, every english-title copy of the film will forever misrepresent it.

  • Comment number 43.

    #35. Paul Hewett wrote:

    Alien 3 (no Hicks or Newt ) ......unforgivable !
    Ugh! I must have been wiping the spittle from my mouth instead of mentioning this! Poor old Hicks and Newt: Dropped A Bridge On Him!
  • Comment number 44.

    Waiting For Godot

  • Comment number 45.

    The Usual Suspects. Was Keyser Soze in it? I haven't worked it out yet.

  • Comment number 46.

    Keeping with the Bond theme, my favourite bait-and-switch is the little-remembered 1967 Italian spy spoof, OK Connery (AKA Operation Kid Brother and Operation Double 007) starring Sean Connery's brother Neil and seeded with a variety of former bond villains and regular players like Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell. Neil looks eerily like his brother and arguable does a better job in the pseudo-Bond role than any of the pretenders in the other bait-and-switch spoof of that year, Casino Royale.

  • Comment number 47.


    The next instalment, not directed by Nolan, (The Dark Knight Resurrected?) might have a certain someone else in the lead.

  • Comment number 48.

    I for one was thoroughly disappointed not to see any fire theft in Prometheus.

  • Comment number 49.

    Another sequel to have pulled an identical title trick to the Bourne film was the belated Tron followup Tron: Legacy or, Tron: Not Actually Featuring Tron.

  • Comment number 50.

    Smokey And The Bandit 3 is a guilty pleasure of mine. I know its utter rubbish but it has that sort of car crash quality to it and I don't mean the expected fender benders. According to 'Hollywood Legend' Burt Reynolds was replaced by Jackie Gleason in a dual role of The Bandit and Sheriff Buford T Justice. The film was at this point called Smokey Is The Bandit!
    Apparently Universal shot the film this way and tested it with audiences who were baffled by Jackie Gleason and giving it a big thumbs down so the studio quickly re-shot The Bandit's scenes with Jerry Reed in the role.
    As a fan of these films I would love to see footage of Jackie Gleason in the role but I guess its probably been destroyed or never existed at all.
    Anyone got more info on this?

  • Comment number 51.

    How about 'The Lord of the Rings'? I know Sauron could hardly be called the hero, but he is the titular character, and his presence hangs over all three films without him ever making an appearance (except fleetingly at the start of the 1st film, and then only in flashback). It is certainly daring for a series of films, and indeed novels, to have an antagonist who is only ever encountered through his proxies...

    Also, I'd add 'Triumphs of a Man Called Horse', the second sequel to 'A Man Called Horse'; Richard Harris' eponymous hero is killed off and his son takes on his mantle.

  • Comment number 52.

    The Superman series without Christopher Reeve and yes I'am including Supreman 4 Quest for peace not because of the film(which is one of the worst ever made) but because of Reeve himself when you hear the theme tune or mention Superman you can't help but think of him and what went through in the latter half of his life this is going to sound corny but he was Superman.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jaws, of course! I remember a shark, but no Jaws (who actually appeared in two Bond movies).
    Jokes aside, how about these:
    Lost Boys, without Keifer, Jason Patric and Corey Haim
    Speed 2, no Keanu... in fact no speed at all.
    Saw 5 and 6...
    Home Alone 3... no Macaulay Culkin!!! (I know.. crazy!)
    Psycho... no Anthony Perkins (bad idea!)
    Hannibal Rising, no ANthony Perkins... (and anyway, still a bad idea!)
    All of the Friday the 13th basically where it stopped by Friday anyway!
    Sex and the City 2... since there is no New York!
    the Final Destination franchise: the title stopped making sense after the first one

  • Comment number 54.

    "Force 10 From Navarone." Not a bad little war movie. Robert Shaw and Harrison Ford are okay, I guess, but they don't quite have the same chemistry as Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn in the vastly superior "The Guns of Navarone." And the sequel being made a couple of DECADES after the original makes it look like an attempt to cash in on the legacy, which it probably was.

  • Comment number 55.

    The most famous example has to be "Waiting for Godot," a play where the title character (SPOILER ALERT) doesn't even show up in the end!

    But you have me thinking now, Mark, Godot doesn't show up because he's really a secret agent. And that does happen, you know.

  • Comment number 56.

    I don't think the Bonds or the Fridays count - the recurring characters are presumably supposed to be the same characters, and FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5, in which Jason doesn't actually appear, is a bit like an episode of The West Wing in which Martin Sheen doesn't actually appear that week and the character is written out as on holiday or something. (Regarding the FRIDAYs, I have a soft spot for FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5 as it was my first FRIDAY movie and I saw it completely alone in a 1500 seat cinema.) Recasting a role also surely doesn't count: in the Batmans, Maggie Gyllenhaal is playing the same character as Katie Holmes did, just as Michael Gambon is playing the same role as Richard Harris.

    There is a fan theory somewhere out there that "James Bond 007" is simply a standard identity to be assigned to different agents over the years, and every change of actor is actually a completely different person with the same codename, the same as "M". (John Cleese was playing "R", not "Q".)

    Do any characters recur in George Romero's early zombie movies? I know there's a link between DIARY and SURVIVAL - the main cast of the latter are first shown as one-scene characters in the former - but is DAY OF THE DEAD really a sequel to DAWN, or DAWN to NIGHT? I'm not sure if anyone reappears within Dario Argento's Three Mothers trilogy as it's a few years since I've seen them.

  • Comment number 57.

    It’s not a franchise but the most audacious film to not include it’s main character that I can think of is Citizen Kane. The real Charles Kane only appears in the film long enough to say Rosebud. The rest of the film we don’t see the real Kane we see Kane as people remember him. Many of the men who remember him were old recounting events that happened decades ago and in the case of Dorothy Comingore’s character she drank heavily after her divorce from Kane. This means that the story we see is not Kane’s, its Kane’s story as told by other people whose memories of the man may not be as accurate as shown in the film.

  • Comment number 58.

    How about this one ( Alien 2: on Earth

    The worse rip-off in the history of cinema released in Italy a year after Ridley Scott's original!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    I have to agree with my fellow Brian (from the New Forest), Film 2012 (or The Film Programme) is embarrassing to watch nowadays and has been on a steep decline since Bazza's days. Winkleman doesn't have a clue and the good doctor should be appointed to present asap.

    One more thing, I've noticed that Halloween 3 was mentioned a couple of times. That film really is a bit of a lost classic and partly because it DOESN'T have Michael Meyers in it! A great script,as usual, from Nigel Kneale. Very Hammer in feel.

  • Comment number 60.

    XXX 2: The Next Level (or State of the Union), terrible sequel to a very mediocre film, replacing Vin Diesel with Ice Cube, and now the announcement of XXX 3: The Return of Xander Cage, even when his absence from no. 2 was handled by killing him off in a throw-away line of dialogue. Not really a worthwhile example, but vaguely interesting I guess.

  • Comment number 61.

    #19 Have to agree about Police Academy post-Guttenberg.

    Some other oddball films who lost there stars but went on are:

    Transformers 3 without Megan Fox ( She was the best thing in the first 2)
    The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor without Rachel Wesz
    Spidrman 3 without a story

    What is it about the third movie that makes stars leave ?

    Only Bond has seems to get it right, the only films that get away with changing the actor without doing a reboot for for 30 years.

  • Comment number 62.

    For me, Predator 2 is none the worse for lacking Arnie's character Dutch, nor is Alien 3 for lacking Hicks & Newt; how refreshing to actually do away with popular characters for a change!

  • Comment number 63.

    "Buying it" probably isn't the sole attribute for the target audience of the Emanuelle franchise.

  • Comment number 64.

    This isn't exactly answering your question, but I'd like to mention the work of Charlie Kaufman. Nicolas Cage has made a ton of bad movies, but his dual performance in Spike Jonze's Adaptation. is fantastic. Kaufman made up a twin brother for the film and twists the audience around again by having the character of Charlie Kaufman in the film write his brother Donald out of the screenplay he's writing in the film. For those of you who haven't seen the film, I know this sounds confusing. Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, is my favorite film of the last decade. It deals with actors playing other people, and plays within plays. The director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) ends up being an actor in his own play and an actress takes over directing. I know you had problems with the movie, Mark, but it's a film that means a lot to me. My father died a few months before I saw the film and the first time I saw it, it really moved me. I've seen it four other times. I suggest giving the film another viewing...or at least hire an actor to watch it for you.

  • Comment number 65.

    It's not a hero or heroine but the 2003 remake of The Italian Job for the most part focuses on a job that takes place in Los Angeles.

  • Comment number 66.

    Hello All,

    This selection here will depend on the position you hold regarding Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse, but despite "Jay and Silent Bob strike back" clearly focus on Jay and Silent Bob, it truly didn't fill the void that was the exciting dynamic duo of Dante and Randall. As a fan of "Clerks", I'm sure Dr. K would understand. While they are reduced to brief cameos in this picture, Dante and Randall truly define the universe Smith created. Why you ask? Simply because they are the most well-rounded characters in that universe. Jay and Silent Bob are great, fun supporting characters, but they don't necessarily strike one as ideal candidates for an 104 minute film. Just imagine Warner Bros. releasing a couple of films which feature their classic Looney Tunes characters as the lead characters in a full length theatrical film....imagine....

    Jay and Slient Bob are good characters but unless you give them any real reason to want every one of the fans of your universe to enjoy the film (and I did but not up to the same caliber of "Clerks" or "Chasing Amy"), you will need to give these kids an extra dimension to truly shake things up. And no, Shannon Elizabeth and her kitty kat/sleepover club pals do not fill that particular kind of void.

    I really do think that once you have particular lead hero/heroine, you either have to flesh them out properly in the film, or take someone who is already fleshed out and use them. Otherwise, make sure you take them on their own personal journey to which they go places they never experience before. With Christopher Nolan giving the green light to let Anne Hathaway star in her own "Catwoman" spin-off, you truly have the ability to give the supporting character her own story, as this time, you would really be able add some more depth to her personality and history, without worrying about the appearance of the Caped Crusader (I believe many fanboys refer to him as Catwoman's "Better half"). Many people will also remember the "Supergirl" film that came out in the 80s (I only bring this up because I was unfortunately given the opportunity to watch it on VHS in the 90s); that film did not feature Superman, and how did it go about fleshing out her character? Answer: It didn't, which would also explain why no one cares to see a "Supergirl" film anywhere.

    Regarding the "Bourne Legacy", honestly, we'll just have to see if Jeremy Renner's character truly distinguishes himself as a worthy addition to this universe. If he truly manages to come off as an interesting character, maybe people will welcome him as a substitute for Jason Bourne in future sequels (if any).

    Thank you for your attention (For those who truly read the entirety of this post at least).

  • Comment number 67.

    Agree with Force 10 from Navarone but on the same lines and more egregious were the Maganificent Seven sequels, the first of which was titled "Return of the Seven". Only 3 characters from the first film reappeared and of those the Steve McQueen character was replaced by another actor (you don't replace Steve McQueen, ever).

    Also the Dirty Dozen sequels.

    *** Ok 70 year old Maltese Falcon Spoiler Alert *** :-)

    um, The Maltese Falcon

    *** End of Spoiler *** (Sorry)

    And who is Pierce Brosnan, hmm? Chopped Liver?

  • Comment number 68.

    The Wizard of Oz? (if ever a wiz there was or wasn't). Blimey, they even remade this now. Is nothing sacred?

  • Comment number 69.

    The TV series Taggart managed to continue for years after the actor playing Taggart died; from memory they didn't bother recruiting another actor to play Taggart either.

    How many actors have played Frankenstein - both the Baron and his creation.

    The TV & movie industry flogging cash cows into glue - should we be surprised?

  • Comment number 70.

    Grease 2 without Travolta or Olivia Newton John.

  • Comment number 71.

    Return of the Living Dead 3. Since parts one and two had the same cast reprising their exact same roles in a different but same story..?.. Yuzna's film was a completely bonkers outing in the franchise which oddly would have been better titled under his Re- Animator series of films as it was more in keeping.

    Zombie 3, worst sequel/ film ever made. Fulci what on earth were you thinking? Even the zombies had nothing to do with ZFE/ Zombie 2.

  • Comment number 72.

    Now that you mentioned them, please stop using Zoe Ball and that Pub Landlord as your subs. Thanks

  • Comment number 73.

    I think Mark K is very funny. He makes me laugh a lot. Seriously. It's the sardonic air I think. Although I bet he thinks he's not a cynic. But he is.

    ANYWAYS. Nononononono, Bourne without Matt Damon is not Bourne.

  • Comment number 74.

    @spaceodds - the Pink Panther series is interesting because the actual Pink Panther was the jewel, so that's not been present in all but two.

  • Comment number 75.

    Kermode & Mayo's Film Review... one of the protagonists goes on holiday and is replaced by Zoe Ball

  • Comment number 76.

    A lot of people seem to be kind of missing the point here. It doesn't matter if different actors appear in Friday the 13th, there are no CHARACTERS named after it. Same for Saw (and I will point out that it actually has pretty consistent continuity for characters and actors), and George Romero's zombie flicks never carry across characters (until the most recent ones), so it's not the same as carrying on a franchise without its star but using their character.

    I will second the calls of Robert John Burke replacing Peter Weller in RoboCop3. You realise just how much you miss Weller when you see Burke in these not-too-great-but-oh-so-enjoyable films.

  • Comment number 77.

    Not going to lie, as much as I love this blog and only come here for your views...a Mark Cousins cameo every now and then would be quite divine.

  • Comment number 78.

    Replacing Yul Bynner character 'Chris' with Lee Van Cleef in The Magnificent seven Ride!

  • Comment number 79.

    Bourne Legacy = Rosencrantz and Guildernstern! Does he really believe what he's saying. If you ask me it's a 'yeah but no but yeah...' excuse. Not that I care Bourne= Yawn as far as I'm concerned. I like watching films with some new ideas in and with actors I've not seen before.
    In answer to the question though: Jaws-( the original ) in my top 5 faves but oh deary me what did they do, by the time Michael Caine shows up in a sequel you know you're in trouble.

  • Comment number 80.

    A popular comedy site once came up with a great explanation for the ever-changing faces of Bond, in that 'James Bond 007' was a codename used by many different agents, rather than just '007'. Makes sense.

  • Comment number 81.

    The Italian (Spaghetti) Western genre is a classic example of this, particular when it came to the German release of the films, where following the success of Sergio Corbucci's Django, many of the films where renamed to include Django in the title, while never featuring any character of that name. The names Sartana and Sabata were used similarly, but never as prolifically as Django.

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm sorry did you just mention all the Bonds and miss out Pierce Brosnan?

    And no Mark I would prefer to have you on the blog. But inevitably I'll have to warm to someone else once you stop.

    Don't stop.

  • Comment number 83.

    The Sting 2 has Jackie Gleeson as Paul Newman, & Mac Davis replacing Robert Redford . Or are they? Paul Newman's character was called Henry Gondorff & Redford's character was called Johnny Hooker. In this 'sequel' the heroes are Fargo Gondorff & Jake Hooker?!?

  • Comment number 84.

    2010: The Year We Make Contact I guess you could say having the same problem with a director instead of a star.

    Robocop 3 be up there with Robert John Burke stepping into Peter Weller's shoes and fun fact they were so cheap they just reused the suit from the last two films which was too small for Burke, poor guy was crippled.

  • Comment number 85.

    The worst case of this has to be Dirty Dancing and the TWO (yes two!!!) follow ups, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and Dirty Dancing 3: Capoeira Nights. Which as far as I know don't include anyone from the original cast. I mean what were they thinking! Lucky I haven't seen DDHN or DD3CN but I can only imagine how terrible they are. Patrick Swayze will be turning in his grave!

  • Comment number 86.

    At risk of sounding like a terrible geek but in Blake's 7, Blake (played by Gareth Thomas) was around for seasons 1 and 2 and he was in a couple of episodes in season 3 and 4. Blake is finally killed in the very last episode (entitled Blake) by Avon.

    Going off topic, when are the BBC going to stop bu**ering around and give Blake's 7 a proper, big budget, Doctor Who-style reboot?

  • Comment number 87.

    Couple of other people mentioned American Psycho 2 and I wanted to point out that the movie had nothing to do with original book. They even missed the whole point of the first movie. The book and movie are highly ambiguous about whether Bateman actually killed anyone. Then the second movie takes the angle that Kunis was a survivor of Bateman's murder's and just disregards the ambiguity of Bateman's murders for a cheap (and horrible) thriller flick.

    That shows an example of abandoning a character, as well as the entire point of the movie.

  • Comment number 88.

    The Bruce Lee-alikes, where after Bruce Lee's death, HongKong producers renamed actors Bruce Le, Bruce Li, Bruce Lai, Dragon Lee, etc, and put them in films that were either biopics like Dragon Story or Enter the Dragon copies like Challenge of the Tiger. Some like Dragon Lives Again and Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave have Bruce coming back as a zombie, teaming up with Chinese Father Merrin, and Chinese James Bond and Popeye. EXIT THE dRAGON, eNTER THE tIGER has Lee's ghost appointing Bruce Li as his successor, the Tiger.

  • Comment number 89.

    Halloween III: Season Of The Witch; the oft, unfairly, maligned non-cannon sequel with not even a whiff of Myers anywhere...

    Troll 2; No trolls but plenty of goblins. Funnier still, in the documentary Best Worst Movie when the director, Claudio Fragasso, is questioned as to the lack of trolls in the film his reaction is one of bewilderment and his wife has to explain how they were goblins and not trolls.

    The Prophecy: Uprising; No Walken... and for that reason I haven't braved watching it.

    American Ninja 3: Bloodhunt; No Michael Dudikoff and they even had to append 'The American Ninja' to new star David Bradley's character's name... Then they went back to Dudikoff.

    Phantasm III; A. Michael Baldwin replaced James LeGros... Now hear me out, when I was young the first Phantasm I saw was the second one followed by the third so I was utterly confused...

    Phantasm II; James LeGros replaced A. Michael Baldwin. So, I eventually saw Phantasm...

    House III: The Horror Show; Completely unrelated to any of the other House films whatsoever, but marketed as House III outside the US forcing the owners of the House franchise to title their next film House IV, thus cementing The Horror Show's place in the House franchise.

    Trancers 6; What the hell happened to Tim Thomerson...

    Game Of Death I & II; Archive footage of Bruce Lee tacked together with shots of Lee impersonators (notably not Bruce Li as he thought it was disrespectful), cardboard cut outs and photo stills of Lee and even footage of his own funeral thrown in for good measure... Would you call that a Bruce Lee film...? I wouldn't!

  • Comment number 90.

    Life of Brian.

    A film supposedly about some guy named Brian that I was very much looking forward to finding out a bit about, when in actual fact it was a poorly disguised Christian propaganda piece about the Messiah. Shameless.

  • Comment number 91.


    Bad Boys II

    Despite it being brilliantly funny the disappointment I felt when I found out that they'd replaced Martin Lawrence with some big, fat, bloater took a long time to process, and still pains me. By rights the film should have been titled "Bad Boy and Tubby's Ridiculously Over-The-Top But Highly Amusing Escapades", or some such succinct effort.

  • Comment number 92.

    I know you're a fan, Dr. K, and I don't intend to bash the series, but Planet of the Apes - every film seems to go off on a wild tangent from the last, with the previous main characters being dead or not really bothered about making another appearance. Good old Roddy McDowell was the only one reliable enough to stick around as one ape or another.

  • Comment number 93.

    I'd say the fair answer to the question posed is - it depends.

    I mean, take a TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were a few episodes she was notable by her absence, but the general concept meant that mostly everything revolved around her and her abilities, so even when she wasn't there - it felt like she was, and she would be back the following week. You can get away with the occasional deviation in a TV series. If the title character was the initial focus and has moved on - hmm, debatable.

    Movies, however, are different. The Mask, as has been noted, has had some turgid sequels but generally we are aware the star of the show is "The Mask". An inanimate object endowed with the spirit of some chaos god. The movies therefore don't need the same character to continue - because this mask can do the rounds and make life hell for multiple people (and those of us who sat down with younger relatives to watch Son of The Mask - please, I would like to forget that).

    When it comes to Bourne Legacy - that's a different kettle of fish. The expectation of most (I know my sister well enough to say this) is they want to see Matt Damon. That's the draw for some fans - Bourne himself. Having a Bourne movie without Bourne is... well... it will definitely put some people off, and some will argue why put his name there at all - it looks like a deliberate means to pull in past viewers just for this movie, as if it can't stand on its own.

    I suspect however the film CAN stand on its own. I've seen games branded with franchise titles that punch WAAAAAY above their weight - Silent Hill: The Room and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. These were never originally designed to take the franchise moniker, but were shoehorned into these franchises to perhaps sell more copies.

    And I can't help but feel that does them a disservice in many regards. The Room is a competent and enjoyable ghost story, and Lords of Shadow is a perfectly serviceable (if a bit average) action game. But immediately the branding they are given raises expectations, gives the illusion of something that can't be delivered upon and these perfectly good pieces of work are condemned for all time because someone didn't want to let them stand alone. They are ruined because of what? The name? We as consumers, watchers and fans are very judgmental and protective of the things we love. So much so that sometimes we can't judge based on what is there, we judge it based on what has come before - and when you attach something to an already successful franchise, you immediately sow something that is very hard to escape from.

    I suspect Bourne Legacy will be able to stand on its own - but I suspect it is because of that branding, because of the success of previous Bourne movies, that it will also receive a critical pummeling. I can't help but wonder if perhaps there is sometimes a sense that something has to keep going, or something needs the extra heft from a known name.

    If it can't stand on its own, then it's never going to fly when you attach it to a known commodity. And even decent stuff can fall on this. Why they do it? My guess - creative brick walling. Anything to keep something known and successful going.

    Even when it's obvious that it might do more harm than good.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hamlet 2.

  • Comment number 95.

    I think you should consider the alien franchise ripley has by far been the most used character in the lead roles but when the two Avp(which i nickname tweetle dee and tweetle dum) movies came out they both had a carbon copy of ripley nothing against feminist all I'm saying is the alien franchise has repeated the same formula with lead roles and of course the bourne series

  • Comment number 96.

    Halloween 3. I love the film, never understood why people hated it.

  • Comment number 97.

    There is a lot of comments about the same character but being played by another actor....I think Mark is actually talking about the character not appearing at all in a film with his characters name in it.

  • Comment number 98.

    I suppose how long you can keep a star involved in a franchise has a lot to do with the relationship between the quality of the actor and the quality of the franchise. Matt Damon is a very good actor and probably would feel uncomfortable with doing another Bourne, regardless of the quality of the previous films. Shia Leboeuf will be doing Transformers until Michael Bay can't wring any more cash out of it - probably Transformers 10: Attack of the Lawnmowers.
    I think it is pathetic to attempt to generate interest and money in a franchise, long after the star or stars have moved on. The most pathetic example of this is the American Pie franchise, which, for the first couple of sequels had dwindling numbers of the original cast. Eventually, there was only Eugene Levy remaining from the original cast - that is if you don't count the endless number of obnoxious Stiffler relatives that crop up in the later sequels. God, I'm embarassed I know this... I want it to be known that I have also seen and appreciated good films!

  • Comment number 99.

    Spartacus. There were loads of Spartacus's in it by the end. Ruined it for me. On a more serious point given the love for David Lynch whose actors often can't remain in the same character or narrative within the same film, who cares as long as the film is good? Ta.

  • Comment number 100.

    For ages, Directors were trying to get Sweeney Todd 2 on its feet, even though *SPOILER ALERT* he dies.


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.