15 Disappointing Deaths Of Movie And TV Characters, Power Ranked
Sometimes, a character’s death is deeply disappointing because it simply doesn’t make sense, leaving all of us feeling like the writer/director must’ve been out to troll us. Or, you know, we’re just witnessing bad storytelling. Other times, a death leaves us feeling rotten because, well, we just weren’t ready to see a good and probably underused character get cut. This list contains both these disappointments. This list is drenched in the sweat of our utmost disappointment. Boo, Hollywood, boo.
Jonathan Kent, Man Of Steel
In a move that was clearly done to emotionally manipulate the audience and drive Papa Kent’s paranoid message home about keeping Clark’s powers hidden from the world, we watched as Superman watched his dad get swept up by one massive tornado.
It’s not only that Zack Snyder wants us to believe Clark would just stand there and watch his dad get eaten by the wind. It’s that we’re supposed to believe the teenager — who was all defiant toward Papa Kent in the car just a second ago — would suddenly just do what his dad tells him to and obey his every command … and then watch him die. It feels so wildly out of character for Supes, and it's so opposite to his dad dying of a heart attack in the comics, where the whole point is that even the mighty Superman can’t stop heart attacks. But, you know, tornadoes are big or whatever.
Power rank: None, apparently, so we’ll just say Superman’s sweaty jockstrap.
Chad, Burn After Reading
It was a most excellent, unexpected, classic Coen Brothers-style death scene — only disappointing in that it signaled the end of us getting to watch Brad Pitt play big doofus Chad. What a delight.
Power rank: Ten minutes of non-stop fist-pump dancing.
Darwin, X-Men: First Class
This here is another “Wait whaaaa?” death scene that requires some mental gymnastics to reason out. Darwin, a character with literally the superpower to adapt — which, you know, is the opposite of dying — dies when Sebastian Shaw puts pure energy into Darwin’s mouth. The whole thing felt like such a troll move. It’d be like introducing a brand new character who can catch rocks the size of boulders, only to off a brand new character immediately by dropping a small mountain on him.
Power rank: One Darwin Award.
Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey
This shocker of a TV death happened during the end of season three when Crawley (played by a doughy-looking Dan Stevens) was rushing home to tell his family that he had just become a father. Storytellers can be cruel sometimes. This was most definitely one of those times.
Power rank: A dozen baskets of sad English muffins.
Dennis, Thirteen Ghosts
We get the self-sacrifice trope. We don’t get why you’d want to kill off your movie’s most likable character by far.
Power rank: An army of Matthew Lillard's fighting evil ghosts all day.
Randy, Scream 2
Did Randy get cocky? Sure. Would Randy have been so triggered by a guy in a dumb ghost mask telling him he’ll never be the leading man? Okay, maybe.
Still, killing off the guy who keeps reminding everyone of the rules and who knows the most about the genre is as bold as it is hilarious that he only lasted a movie and a half.
Power rank: One liver in a mailbox.
The Wicked Witch Of The West, The Wizard of Oz
A bucket of water? Really?
Apparently, Oz is entirely humidity-free.
Power rank: A thousand Darwin Awards.
Mystique, X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The X-Men movies might be ranked right up there with the MCU when it comes to disappointing, what-were-they-thinking character deaths, with Mystique making the list for dying so unceremoniously at the hands of a friend having a mental breakdown. It’s quite something that a character's death can be so silly and disappointing … even though everyone saw it coming way in advance in the movie trailer. What makes it extra stupid is the fact that killing off Raven doesn't have any real impact on the plot whatsoever. For shame.
God, that was bad.
Power rank: See the previous sentence.
The Mother, How I Met Your Mother
Like, just, really?
Power rank: How We Imploded Our Sitcom.
Shireen Baratheon, Game of Thrones
Of all the many deaths (and many disappointing deaths) in HBO’s original dragon show, killing Stannis’ daughter was just that one too many, and one too far. We don’t care whether it was George R. R. Martin or the showrunners’ idea — it sucked, we could’ve gotten the point some other way, and no one wants to see a bunch of murdering cult folk burn a little girl alive.
Power rank: The power of having an ending hated more than Lost.
Barb, Stranger Things
It wasn’t just the why; it was the how, too. While her best friend Nancy was screwing her boyfriend’s brains out, our beloved Barb — who we only had for six episodes — was screaming from inside the Upside Down in the hopes that her friend would hear and help her. So sad. It was a swift and shocking end to a character that was refreshingly relatable in a real retro kind of way.
Power rank: A thousand “normcore” fans wearing Justice4Barb T-shirts.
Fred Weasley, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II
Who kills off a twin? J.K. Rowling, that’s who. At least the lovable Fred had an impactful death in the book. In the movie, it happened somewhere offscreen during the Battle of Hogwarts. Fred’s death was treated so poorly that the movie didn’t seem to be sure whether it was him or if the offscreen killing actually happened to George. It was also way too swiftly dealt with for such a significant character.
Power rank: One of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes’ magical potions to erase the vileness that is Fred Weasley’s movie death.
Black Widow, Avengers: Endgame
The whole “No, I’ll die,” No, I’ll die!” between Hawkeye and Black Widow was as silly as it was one of the most disappointing ways we could think of ending a character who never really felt like she got enough appreciation anyway.
Power rank: Another snap, to erase this entire scene.
Captain Kirk, Star Trek Generations
Somehow, Kirk’s death in Star Trek Generations was originally even worse. Writer Brannon Braga said that initial test screenings had fans extremely unhappy with what they cooked up for Kirk’s final hours.
“Kirk’s death was originally somewhat unceremonious. We tested the movie, and the audience didn’t respond to the ending at all. They hated it. It felt anticlimactic once we saw it cut together, but it really wasn’t until we showed it to an audience that we got confirmation that we needed to rewrite and reshoot an ending that was much more spectacular. I can’t remember how many days it took to reshoot or how much it cost, but it was quite substantial. I’ll say this: Shatner’s character was getting a sendoff, and if he wasn’t happy with it, we would have known about it.”
Sure, it was good and sad, but to see them kill off such a huge character just didn’t sit right with fans ever since.
Power rank: Millions of Trekkies shaking their heads, muttering, "Oh, my.”
David Dunn, Glass
Absolutely no one except M. Night Shyamalan liked this ending, with most fans and critics still struggling to understand why the heck the great David Dunn had to die drowning in a puddle on the side of the road. Sure, we get the whole “gotcha” element of having such a strong man have such a simple weakness, but the trilogy was never set in a tone that was out to satirize or be clever about its subject matter, let alone troll its audience like that.
It seems there are no YouTube clips showing Dunn’s final, pathetic moments — probably because Shyamalan tried to keep the twist off the internet as much as he could — but there is, however, a gazillion videos trying their best to explain the ending of a trilogy that showed much promise, but ended up dunking itself.
At least Bruce Willis didn’t melt in that pool of water like the Wicked Witch of the West. God.
Power rank: A dozen Shyamalan twists that’ll never be as good as his first.
Thumbnail: Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures