Movie sequels usually bring back their predecessors’ main characters for another exciting story, but these 10 sequels actually completely cut their main characters out. Typically, throughout franchises, some characters leave while others join the cast, but the core main characters often stay consistent. However, on rare occasions movie sequels release that actually leave out the main character, which is a big risk for any film.

Movies revolve around characters, with endless amounts of beloved characters throughout cinema making up the fantastic stories that cause their respective films to be so appealing. Cutting a main character inherently makes a movie sequel more interesting, as getting rid of a core element of the movie is a massive gamble for a project successful enough to warrant a sequel. Whether it be for story reasons or behind-the-scenes politics, cutting a major main character is never an easy decision for a big movie sequel. So, here are 10 movie sequels that cut out main characters from the originals for whatever reason.

Related: 10 Movie Sequels That Are Much Less Serious Than The Original


10 Creed III


Creed III is the ninth overall film in the Rocky franchise and the first to leave out one major character: Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. Rocky is the titular boxer that was the focus of six of his own movies and a secondary protagonist in Creed and Creed II. News that he wouldn’t appear in Creed III was shocking, as Stallone and his character basically built the beloved franchise. Apparently, Stallone chose not to return to Creed III due to a heated dispute about who owned the rights to the Rocky franchise. Stallone disagreed with the direction the franchise was going, causing Rocky to be cut from Creed III‘s story.

9 Magic Mike XXL

magic mike dallas the kid last dance

2014’s Magic Mike XXL is the sequel to 2012’s Magic Mike, with the trilogy later concluding with 2023’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Although Magic Mike actor Channing Tatum appears in all three films, Magic Mike XXL actually cut two main characters. The first of these is Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas, with the actor not returning for the sequel due to scheduling conflicts. Actor Alex Pettyfer, who plays Adam in the original film, also didn’t return for Magic Mike XXL. According to various reports, the actor allegedly didn’t return for the sequel due to a dispute and some misunderstandings with star Channing Tatum, causing him to not be cast in the sequel.

8 American Wedding

Oz in American Pie

American Wedding is the third film in the American Pie series, with the film releasing in 2003. However, tons of characters didn’t return for American Wedding, including Chris Klein’s Oz, Tara Reid’s Vicky, Seann William Scott’s Steven Stifler, and several others. Interestingly, Chris Klein has revealed that the decision to cut these characters was “a creative decision made way above my pay grade,” with the actors not having a say in their characters returning for the third film. However, these cast members did return for 2012’s American Reunion, with their American Wedding absence being explained away in the film.

7 Scream 6

Sidney Prescott covered in blood at the end of Scream

2023’s Scream VI is the second entry in the cult slasher franchise since 2022’s Scream revival, featuring the return of the new cast as well as legacy characters like Gale Weathers. However, the sequel is notable due to the fact that Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott wasn’t in it, with the actress having been the main character of every film in the franchise since the original Scream. Neve Campbell’s decision to exit the franchise was an act of protest due to her feeling as though she wasn’t getting paid as much as she deserved, with her being the face of the Scream franchise since the very beginning.

Related: Sidney’s Scream 6 Absence Proves 1 Ghostface Was Completely Wrong

6 Halloween 4

Laurie Strode cowers in the corner in Halloween II 1981

Laurie Strode actress has appeared in tons of Halloween movies, but Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers was the first one without her. While the actress didn’t appear in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, that film was more of a spin-off that told a completely original story without Michael or any of the other old characters. Laurie wasn’t in Halloween 4 simply due to Curtis not wanting to return, with the sloppy script not living up to her newfound fame with movies like Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda. Thus, she was killed offscreen in a car accident, with Halloween 4 later being retconned for the reboot.

5 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

James Franco in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

James Franco’s Will Rodman was the main human character of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with Rodman being on the team of scientists that developed what eventually turned into the Simian Flu. However, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes made some significant story changes, with it being decided that Franco’s character wasn’t needed for the film. The film takes place several years into the pandemic, with much of humanity (including Will Rodman presumably) having been wiped out. While old footage of Franco is used for some flashback scenes, James Franco’s Planet of the Apes story ends with the first film.

4 Independence Day: Resurgence

Steven Hiller smoking a cigar in Independence Day

1996’s Independence Day was a star-studded blockbuster action movie, with Will Smith’s Steven Hiller being at the center. However, when the 2016’s legacy sequel Independence Day: Resurgence came around, Will Smith’s character didn’t end up returning. Although Will Smith was initially in talks to reprise his role, the actor had become a much bigger name since the original in 1996. Because of this, Will Smith demanded a high salary, one that Fox wasn’t willing to pay. Thus, Will Smith’s Steven Hiller didn’t return for Independence Day: Resurgence, with the sequel instead revolving around Liam Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison.

3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom as Will and Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean

Although Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is the most popular character from Pirates of the Caribbean, he’s actually not the main character. Instead, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl centers on Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley respectively. With the two characters becoming increasingly more sidelines throughout the franchise, the story of both characters concluded with the third film. Because of this, Will and Elizabeth didn’t return for the fourth movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which really suffered from their absence.

Related: Will Turner’s Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 Transformation Makes No Sense

2 The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Alan and Ellie watching the dinosaurs in awe in Jurassic Park

Despite the massive success of Jurassic Park, the sequel decided to switch focus, with The Lost World: Jurassic Park putting Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm in the spotlight. However, Jurassic Park main characters Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) didn’t appear in the sequel at all. Alan and Ellie didn’t return for Jurassic Park‘s sequel due to the book’s original author not wanting to continue their story, with the film following suit. However, both actors did return for Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World Dominion.

1 Jaws 2

Brody, Hooper, and Quint on a boat in Jaws

Jaws stars a trio of Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, with Scheider’s character being the only one to return for Jaws 2. Shaw’s Captain Quint dies in the original film, making his absence understandable, but the reason for Richard Dreyfuss’ Matt Hooper not returning is a little more complicated. Hooper had an immense trust of Jaws director Steven Spielberg, who didn’t return to direct the sequel. Since Spielberg wasn’t involved in Jaws 2, Dreyfuss decided not to return either, with Hooper being absence from the fairly disappointing movie sequel.

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