20 puzzling movie sequel recastings explained

Vegas Vacation chevy chase‘Vegas Vacation’The National Lampoon ‘Vacation’ franchise featured new kids every few years.

When it comes to building franchises, Hollywood tries desperately to stay consistent. If the first movie is a hit, studios will try their hardest to keep the same directors and actors on board as long as possible.

But there are instances when a change must be made. Sometimes for the betterment of a movie, but sometimes the change leaves viewers scratching their heads.

From “Batman” to The National Lampoon “Vacation” franchise, check out the most notable re-castings in movie history.

In 1980's 'The Empire Strikes Back' we see The Emperor for the first time as he speaks to Darth Vader via holograph. The Emperor was actually played by Elaine Baker, then-wife of special make-up effects legend Rick Baker. The voice was done by New Zealand actor Clive Revill.

For the next film in the saga, 'Return of the Jedi,' George Lucas recast the role with Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid. McDiarmid not only went on to play The Emperor in the prequels but was placed into the 'Empire' scene when Lucas updated the films in the early 2000s.

Though Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his performance as Hannibal Lecter in 'The Silence of the Lambs' (and would play the part two more times), he wasn't the first to star as the good doctor...

Brian Cox played the role in Michael Mann's 1986 film 'Manhunter.' The character name was spelled 'Lecktor' and only appeared in one brief scene, but Cox's portrayal is equally chilling.

Jodie Foster also won an Oscar for her work in 'The Silence of the Lambs.' But when asked to reprise the role of FBI agent Clarice Starling for the long-delayed sequel, 'Hannibal,' she declined because she reportedly didn't like how Starling is portrayed in the book.

The very capable Julianne Moore was recast in the role, but nothing helped this sequel, which was ripped apart by critics. It currently has a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wesley Snipes was another actor to turn down a sequel after playing speedster Willie Mays Hayes in the hit comedy 'Major League.'

Five years later, when the sequel finally came along, Snipes was on to bigger things so Omar Epps entered the role of Hayes.

The National Lampoon 'Vacation' movies used recasting of the Griswold kids as a running joke (The dad, played by Chevy Chase, could never recognise his children). In the first film, 'National Lampoon's Vacation,' Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron play siblings Rusty and Audrey Griswold.

Then in 1985's 'European Vacation,' Jason Lively and Dana Hill replaced the roles.

Followed by Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis in 1989's 'Chirstmas Vacation.'

In 1997's 'Vegas Vacation,' Ethan Embry and Marisol Nichols took on the roles.

The tradition will continue in July in the 'Vacation' reboot, in which Ed Helms will play an adult Rusty taking his kids to Walley World.

Sometimes recasting is caused because of a sudden death. As with legendary actor Richard Harris, who originally played Dumbledore in the first two 'Harry Potter' films.

Following Harris' death in 2002, Irish character actor Michael Gambon took over as Dumbledore.

Similarly, Gloria Foster played The Oracle in the first two 'Matrix' films.

But when Foster passed away in 2001, before her scenes for the final film 'The Matrix: Revolutions' were shot, actress Mary Alice was hired. Aware the audience would see the difference, 'Matrix' directors the Wachowski brothers made reference to The Oracle's physical transformation.

But most often, filmmakers make changes without reference and hope the audience will go along for the ride. Like 'Jennifer,' played by Claudia Wells, in the 'Back to the Future' films.

In the sequel she was replaced by Elizabeth Shue, hot off being the arm candy of Tom Cruise in 'Cocktail.' Wells backed out of the franchise reportedly to care for her sick mother.

Crispin Glover's exit from the 'Back to the Future' franchise was a little more dramatic. Playing the crucial role of George McFly in the original, Glover reportedly demanded a larger salary and script approval for the sequels.

Instead, director Robert Zemeckis cleverly used another actor, Jeffrey Weissman, to double as Glover. Filming him in wide shots, shooting the back of his head, and even turning him upside down to play the George McFly role.

Money also played a part in why Terrence Howard never returned to the role of James 'Rhodey' Rhodes after the first 'Iron Man' movie. According to reports, Howard tried to get more money for the sequels, though he says he was offered less than what was originally agreed upon for the sequel.

Don Cheadle took on the role for the rest of the 'Iron Man' films and into 'The Avengers' franchise.

'The Avengers' franchise also had its share of drama. Many assumed Edward Norton, who played the Hulk in 2008's 'The Incredible Hulk,' would join the team.

But leading up to production on 'The Avengers,' Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said he wanted an actor 'who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members' to play Bruce Banner. Cue Mark Ruffalo.

Following the second movie in the 'Twilight' saga, the film studio announced that actress Rachelle Lefevre, who played Victoria, would no longer be in the franchise due to previous scheduling commitments.

She was quickly replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard. However, Lefevre didn't go away quietly, stating that there was no scheduling conflict on her end that she was 'fully committed' to continue.

Alec Baldwin became a movie star after playing Jack Ryan in 'The Hunt For Red October.' And he wanted to play Ryan again.

But according to Baldwin years later, he was pushed out when the director and the studio learned they could get a very big actor for the sequels. Harrison Ford would go on to play Jack Ryan in the sequels 'Patriot Games' and 'Clear and Present Danger.'

There are the rare times when recasting is done in a civil manner. Robert Rodriguez launched his career by making the ultra low budget movie 'El Mariachi,' starring unknown Mexican actor Carlos Gallardo in the lead.

When Rodriguez had the opportunity to make a bigger-budgeted sequel, 'Desperado,' Gallardo stepped aside to give the role to Antonio Banderas. Gallardo got a small role in the film.

Things were also cordial during the recasting of the Rachel Dawes character after 'Batman Begins,' originally played by Katie Holmes.

With the studio interested in Maggie Gyllenhaal to play the role in 'The Dark Knight,' Holmes obliged so she could instead star in comedy 'Mad Money' alongside Diane Keaton. Gyllenhaal reportedly did reach out to get Holmes' blessing before accepting the role.

But perhaps the most damaging sequel recasting in recent memory was what happened to the 'Batman' franchise during the Tim Burton era. For the third film, 'Batman Forever,' Burton took a producer role and passed the directing reigns to Joel Schumacher. With a more lighter feel planned for the movie, Michael Keaton declined to return as The Dark Knight.

Val Kilmer put on the tights and so began the franchise's downward spiral as the movies became more hokey and completely alienated the core Batman fan base.

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