10 Movies…With a Replacement Actor in the Sequel (Like ‘Grown Ups 2’)

The big news surrounding Grown Ups 2, other than the fact that it’s yet another cynically-conceived way for Adam Sandler to hang out with his friends at a waterpark for two months, is that Sandler crony Rob Schneider is not returning from the first film. Replacing Schneider, who reportedly wanted more money, is Sandler crony Nick Swardson, who gets a bigger role than he usually does.

Here are ten other movie sequels that Darrin Stevensed us and replaced an actor with another actor and hoped we wouldn’t notice.

Iron Man 2

Evidently Terrence Howard was the first major actor to sign on for the first Iron Man, before it was a known entity as a franchise, and as such was the highest paid actor. In negotiating for the sequel, his pay was cut, Howard’s agents said no, and Don Cheadle was cast as Rhodey.

The Dark Knight

With her long courtship, marriage, and be-childing with couch-jumping Tom Cruise generating a certain amount of unwelcome tabloid attention happening in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Katie Holmes did not return for the latter, replaced in the role of Rachel Dawes with more serious actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Michael Gambon got to be Dumbledore in most of the Harry Potter movies because the first Dumbledore, Richard Harris, died. Ian McKellen was also offered the role the second time around, but he was already playing a wise, long-white-bearded wizard in the Lord of the Rings movies. So the great Gambon got the part, as he was the only well-known British actor who wasn’t already signed up to be in the Harry Potter films.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

There were humans in the Ninja Turtles movies? Oh, right, April O’Neil, the reporter in the needlessly superutilitarian jumpsuit. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the intrepid reporter was portrayed by Judith Hoag. In the sequel, The Secret of the Ooze, Paige Turco took over the part, a transition made more palatable with the addition of a Vanilla Ice cameo.

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Sure, boats move fast, but we don’t perceive them as moving as fast as, say, a bus, because they’re gigantic lumbering things that do their business in water. A boat displaced the bus in the Speed sequel, and Jason Patric took over for Keanu Reeves, who is best known for Speed and for being perceived to be as slow as a slow-moving boat.

Back to the Future Part II

To return as George McFly, a character who was equal parts charming and unsettling, Crispin Glover wanted more money, more or less what they were paying Michael J. Fox. Everyone said no to that, so Glover was sent off on his way to make his weird and wonderful art projects. Director Robert Zemeckis recast Glover with…Glover, for the most part. He used unused footage from the first movie, along with a new actor (Jeffrey Weissman, obscured with glasses, prosthetics, and shot from behind). Glover hadn’t granted permission to use his likeness again, so he sued the filmmakers. Also recast for the sequel was the role of Marty McFly’s girlfriend, Jennifer. The original Jennifer, Claudia Wells, dropped out before filming to tend to her sick mother (and didn’t return to Hollywood for years). She was replaced with Elisabeth Shue. As the last scene of the first movie explicitly sets up the second movie – and was meant to be played at the beginning of Part II – Zemeckis reshot it, without Wells and with Shue.

Twilight: Eclipse

Red-haired character actress Rachelle Lefevre got the relatively small part of Victoria in the first two Twilight movies after director Catherine Hardwicke’s first choice, red-haired Bryce Dallas Howard, (wisely) said no, because she thought it was too small a part to be worth her time. But then the production company kicked Lefevre off the third movie, Eclipse, when she was too busy finishing up filming the indie movie Barney’s Version. Howard got the part after all.


Anthony Hopkins came back to play Hannibal Lecter in this Silence of the Lambs sequel, but Jodie Foster wasn’t interested in reprising her Oscar-winning turn as Clarice Starling (she didn’t like what the source novels’ author, Thomas Harris, did with her character, but she got to save face by telling producers that she was too busy for the part because she was directing a movie — Flora Plum, which was never actually finished). Julianne Moore took over, and she’s always good.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation

I like that the Vacation movies don’t even bother to cover the fact that the Griswold parents get older each movie while the children not only don’t age, but are played by different actors almost every time. Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron are Rusty and Audrey in Vacation, Justin Lively replaced Hall in European Vacation, Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis got the roles for Christmas Vacation, then Ethan Embry and Marisol Nichols took over in Vegas Vacation.

Batman Forever

Fun fact/personal side note: After Batman came out, everybody told my dad how much he looked like Michael Keaton. As Michael Keaton looks like everybody’s old man, it kind of disappointed my dad, because he thought he resembled the much more ruggedly handsome Val Kilmer. But then, Keaton was recast for Batman Forever with none other than Val Kilmer! So then after Batman Forever came out…a bunch of people told my dad how much he looked like Michael Keaton.

  • Arseni

    Is this a guessing game? How are you posing these things as facts? Because according to agent of Katie Holmes, what you just said about replacing her is completely from your imagination:

    That’s some great “reporting” there. I wonder how much more of this you’ve made up.

  • Steve Geary

    Just a correction for you: Dana Barron was replaced in European Vacation by Dana Hill, so both of the Griswold kids were actually different each time.

  • disqus_zehxD27Pu5

    How can you leave out the replacement of Wesley Snipes by Omar Epps in Major League?

  • guest

    Harvey Dent was also recast in Batman Forever from Billy Dee Williams in the original to Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face

  • LP

    Jason Patric portrayed a different character than Reeves’ in Speed 2.

  • jimmyt1967

    Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but every movie on this list sucked compared to the entry before it.

  • Bamb0o_stick

    Dark Knight is much superior than Batman Begins, but everyone’s got a right to their opinion.

  • jimmyt1967

    Actually you are correct, forgot Dark Knight was listed, but other than that my comment stands.

  • Walter White

    The fact that you did that much research for KATIE HOLMES is really fucking sad.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    The dad story cracked me up, but there are some issues with the article (like the fact that Patric played a different character. There are also more interesting recast parts that could have been referenced (Hayden Christiansen replacing David Prowse at the end of Episode III, Rachel Weiss replaced in Mummy 3, Bruce Banner replaced twice, the infamous Jack Ryan musical chairs, Omar Epps stepping in for Wesley Snipes in Major League 2, etc). Still, the Keaton/Dad thing was funny. Speaking of which, you didn’t include Clooney replacing Kilmer. Oh and the original Audrey returned to the part in the sequel to Christmas Vacation (which came after Vegas Vacation) making her the last and first to play the part. See, isn’t that interesting?

  • Matt Hardwick

    It appears you forgot Azkaban as well…

  • milo

    Some improvements, some a step down. Gambon totally nailed it, wish he would have been Dumbledore from the start. I love Don Cheadle but the switch was distracting. And I thought Holmes was fine in the first Batman, as “serious” as MG is considered, I would have preferred the continuity.

    Also not recastings, but some odd character replacements in the Harry Potter movies. Colin Creevy is introduced but doesn’t return in later movies, his character seems to be replaced by a new one called Nigel. And instead of Crabbe and Goyle through the series, parts of the middle movies are Crabbe and Random Guy (or maybe it’s Goyle). Weird to see, I assume the kids were unavailable for whatever reason.

  • AccursedArachnid

    And Eclipse, although I’m sure you could say any film would be better than New Moon and you’d be right. So Eclipse is better, but only by default(and maybe only by virtue of its superior music score). ;)

  • Matt Hardwick

    All the Twilights except for Breaking Dawn Part 1 are better than New Moon I’d say ;)

  • bilbo

    The one not shown in later movies became entangled with ‘the law’.

  • Christopher

    & information from the agent being paid to talk up the actress is highly reliable after she’s been replaced on a film.