5 Big Characters Who Got Written Out Of Movies And Shows

If it weren't for characters, movies and TV shows would all take place in empty rooms full of immobile objects (who are not all-wise supercomputers). But sometimes, even some pretty important characters are mysteriously absent either due to rights issues, time constraints, or just plain old screwing up. We've noticed a few glaring fictional absences, such as how ...

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5
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Cast Mary Jane, Didn't Put Her In The Movie

Despite the fact that it stars a slew of Oscar winners and nominees (plus Dennis Leary for some reason), the Amazing Spider-Man movies are basically the Luke to Marvel movies' Hemsworths -- most of the time we tend to forget they exist at all. The franchise fizzled out after just two disappointing movies, and the bloated sequel is now mainly remembered as the film that gave us the most baffling DVD packaging in cinema history.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was basically a Russian nesting doll of nonsense; crammed full of unnecessary storylines like the revelation that Peter Parker's parents were murdered, and the introduction of multiple villains including Electro, The Green Goblin, and Rhino, played by Paul "I graduated from the Yale School of Drama, why am I in a mechanical rhinoceros suit" Giamatti. And in a twist that shocked no one who had never picked up a comic book in their life, the movie ends with the death of Spidey's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.

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Amazingly, this movie was also supposed to introduce Peter's future love interest Mary Jane Watson. They even cast Divergent star Shailene Woodley in the role, and shot multiple scenes with her.

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MJ was ultimately cut from the finished film, according to reports it was to "keep eyes on Emma Stone" -- which is kind of a crappy way of saying that the filmmakers came to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that haphazardly shoehorning a new love interest into the movie in which Spider-Man's current girlfriend ends up violently murdered by a green-skinned maniac is somewhat crass. While Gwen and Mary Jane were friends in the comics for years before her death, clearly her inclusion in the sequel would have been a transparent attempt to tee-up a future storyline. Of course, it's also possible that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 would have found Gwen Stacy inexplicably returning from the grave

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4
Clarice Can't Appear in Hannibal’s Show and Vice Versa

The Hannibal Lecter franchise has been a real roller coaster -- after two acclaimed film adaptations of Thomas Harris' series of novels, Manhunter and the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs, we got the brain-eating malarkey of 2001's Hannibal, followed by the abject indignity of a Brett Ratner movie. Even worse was the prequel Hannibal Rising, which was basically a remake of Batman Begins but with Hannibal Lecter killing Nazis with a samurai sword (we assure you, it's not as fun as that description might sound).

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Then came the NBC television series Hannibal, which somehow elevated the franchise to the realm of high art; remixing familiar elements from the various books in a hauntingly beautiful, unrelentingly gruesome, examination of human nature. 

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But while showrunner Bryan Fuller was able to use most of the characters from the Hannibal-verse, Clarice Starling still belongs to rival company MGM, who owns the rights to The Silence of the Lambs. And things are now extra-confusing thanks to the new series Clarice, which follows the rookie FBI agent in a story that takes place just after The Silence of the Lambs.

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Because of this precarious legal balancing act, the show isn't allowed to feature any characters who appeared in the Hannibal TV show. So while episodes of Clarice reference an unnamed cannibal psychiatrist, the show is banned from using the words "Hannibal Lecter." At least this means we won't get any cringey make-out scenes in the future.

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3
Tom Bombadil Is Always Cut From Lord of the Rings Adaptations

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's book series The Lord of the Rings are all familiar with Tom Bombadil, a kind of wacky forest god who chills out with Frodo and the other Hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring. While Tom does little to advance Frodo's quest to destroy a disembodied eye's magical jewelry, he is an intriguing character nonetheless. Most curiously, The One Ring has no power over him for reasons that are never fully explained. Bombadil represents some kind of mystical zen-like existence who, according to Tolkien has "no desire of possession or domination at all."

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But poor Tom keeps getting cut out of every movie adaptation; first in 1978's animated The Lord of the Rings because, according to director Ralph Bakshi, "he didn't move the story along." Similarly, Peter Jackson cut Tom because he has "little relevance to the overall plot." (Although the character does show up in the film's tie-in trading card game.) And while Peter Jackson couldn't find the narrative space for Tom, somehow he is included in the creepy Finnish Lord of the Rings miniseries from 1993. 

2
Captain Marvel Couldn't Feature Rogue For Obvious Reasons

By the end of Captain Marvel, we find out that the real villain is not the army of green alien shapeshifters, but rather Jude Law. But the truth is, Carol Danvers's most famous nemesis is Rogue from the X-Men. Of course, Captain Marvel was made before Disney purchased Fox and with it all of the X-characters. Which is a shame, because Danvers and Rogue have a pretty intense history that involves Rogue stealing Danvers's powers and wiping her mind completely clean.

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Carol later went "Binary" (becoming a "being who could tap into the unprecedented power of a White Hole") and returned to punch the crap out of Rogue, who had subsequently become part of the X-Men.

Rogue and Danvers go on to battle one another several times more -- including in a fight between Rogue and a "shadow" Danvers created by her own fragmented mind (hey, it made sense at the time). This long-standing animosity between the two Marvel heroines has prompted some fans to wonder whether Rogue could end up being the villain in a Captain Marvel sequel now that Disney is basically playing Supermarket Sweep with intellectual properties.

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1
Game of Thrones Didn't Bring Back Catelyn Stark as a Zombie Assassin

Condensing the A Song of Ice and Fire books into seven seasons of TV (and one season of a wacky fever dream we all collectively endured) understandably a lot of material had to be pruned. While the cutting room was littered with plotlines like Tormund getting it on with a literal bear and Joffrey clawing his own throat out, one of the biggest omissions was the character of Lady Stoneheart, a.k.a. zombie Catelyn Stark. In the show, Cat Stark famously dies at the Red Wedding, the worst marital gathering in history not to involve someone getting hitched to Alec Baldwin. 

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In the book series, Catelyn similarly gets bumped off -- but later she is brought back to life as Lady Stoneheart ... sort of. Cat's corpse goes on a Weekend at Bernie's-like adventure and ends up in the possession of The Brotherhood Without Banners, where she is resurrected by Beric Dondarrion. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) she comes back as a silent vengeance zombie with a badass new name. 

Recently, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed their reasons for scrapping the fan-favorite character. Apparently, there "was never really much debate" on the issue because they were worried that "too many resurrections [would] start to diminish the impact of characters dying." Of course this hasn't stopped HBO from trying to cast a resurrection spell on their dead franchise.  

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Sony