In the age of movie franchises, it’s surprising to hear an actor turn down the chance to reprise their role in a sequel. But some Hollywood stars simply don’t want to return for a second, a third, or, in the case of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, a ninth movie. Fans might be disappointed, along with production, for losing a possible cash cow, but there’s always a reason an actor chooses not to do another movie from the same IP.
Here are seven Hollywood actors who didn’t—and still might not—want to reprise their role in a movie franchise.
Jim Carrey: Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty
Despite middling critic reviews, the 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty was received positively by audiences and became a box office hit. Jim Carrey plays a news reporter who is given the ability to wield God’s powers for a week, which results in a lot of slapstick-heavy scenes. It’s classic Jim Carrey.
It wasn’t clear why he declined to star in a sequel until last year, though. Bruce Almighty screenwriters Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe apparently pitched an idea to give Bruce Satan’s powers instead, with Brucifer as the working title to the sequel. The actor was reportedly on board, but the producers turned it down. They did, however, green-light Evan Almighty, which turned out to be an expensive flop. And by the time the writers floated the idea of Brucifer again, the studio wasn’t interested in continuing the franchise.
It’s also worth noting that the actor has been known to turn down movie sequels in the past, with only a few exceptions. He prefers to explore new creative opportunities and not get stuck playing the same character over and over again. “I’m not a crazy sequel guy,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “They were characters that I really enjoyed doing but I did find myself almost parodying myself.”
Knowing his stance on sequels and the news that he was open to making an exception for Bruce Almighty but was turned down means we might never see an omnipotent Jim Carrey again.
Kim Cattrall: Samantha Jones in Sex and the City
And just like that, Sex and the City is down a main character. Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha Jones in six seasons and two movies, shocked fans of the franchise when she didn’t return to the rebooted series And Just Like That…, which aired in 2021.
The reason was very on brand for the drama-filled show. It was reported that there has been tension between Cattrall and other cast members, particularly Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie Bradshaw, the central character in the franchise. Their very public feud started with things like salary disputes, creative differences, and personal issues. Cattrall stated that Parker “could have been nicer” to her on set, but the latter has always denied that there was any bad blood between them.
However, Kim Cattrall also expressed that she was not interested in doing a third movie. “This isn’t about more money. This is not about more scenes. It’s not about any of those things. This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life to end one chapter and start another. I’m 61. It’s now.”
Whatever the truth behind her decision to leave the franchise, it’s such a Samantha thing to unapologetically leave the franchise on her own terms, and we respect her for it.
Harrison Ford: Han Solo in Star Wars
Harrison Ford’s dislike of his character in the Star Wars mega-franchise is no secret at this point. The 80-year-old actor’s breakout role was Han Solo, a gunslinging, starship-flying smuggler in the 1977 fantasy epic Star Wars: A New Hope. And though it did make him into a household name, Harrison Ford didn’t think the character was any good.
“He’s dumb as a stump,” Ford said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He thought Indiana Jones was a more well-rounded character and thought Han Solo was a “foil between the other more compelling elements of the film.” He clarified that Han Solo was “very good to me at a certain point in my career,” but he was glad to hang up his space boots.
In the end, he did get his wish to permanently leave the franchise with his character’s emotional death scene. No getting trapped in carbonite for Han Solo this time.
John Boyega: Finn in Star Wars
Another Star Wars alum who’s been vocal about not wanting to return to the franchise is John Boyega. He played the stormtrooper-turned-rebel Finn in the latest “requel” trilogy and became Rey’s closest ally.
Unlike Harrison Ford, who was simply tired of playing the same character, John Boyega quit the franchise because of experiences with racism. He was subjected to the toxic Star Wars fandom and received a lot of racist comments. The British actor also shared how Disney never did anything to protect him from the verbal abuse of fans. In fact, he called the studio out to say, “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
John Boyega’s frustration with Disney and the decision to step back from the franchise are totally justified. Remember when they erased the actor from posters that were marketed in China? It sent a very clear message to John Boyega that when it comes to a choice between standing up for their talent and taking advantage of a huge market, money always wins.
Scarlett Johansson: Black Widow in Avengers
Even though Marvel Studios brought back Black Widow in a standalone film after her character tragically died in Avengers: Endgame, it’s not likely that Scarlett Johansson will return to the franchise. She recently joined Gwyneth Paltrow for an episode of the Goop podcast and said she was done playing the character. “Chapter is over. I did all that I had to do. Also, coming back and playing a character again and again, over a decade of time, is such a unique experience.”
The 38-year-old actress first appeared as the badass spy in Iron Man 2 (2010), which established her long-term stint as the beloved Avenger. She reprised the role for eight more movies and was always proud to play the character, saying, “In every way, and certainly as an actor, it’s always better to leave a situation when you’re on top. And to feel good about something. It’s great. And I feel on top of this. I really do.” Fortunately for ScarJo fans, her upcoming movies include Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated Asteroid City.
Dave Bautista as Drax: Guardians of the Galaxy
Despite his bodybuilder frame and heavily tattooed appearance, Drax the Destroyer is one of the biggest softies in the MCU. You could say the same of the wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista who’s been living in Drax’s skin since the MCU’s Phase 2.
The actor revealed that he’s relieved not to reprise the role after the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is coming out on May 5. He said the role was hard, and it “wasn’t all pleasant.” And like many actors who get typecast or stuck in a franchise, he wants to be able to do other characters, too. “And I just don’t know if I want Drax to be my legacy – it’s a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff.” We’re not sure if this means Drax is going to meet his untimely demise in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film—the only clue he’s said is that the character does get a perfect ending.
Sigourney Weaver: Ripley in Alien
Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is the main protagonist in the Alien franchise. As the last surviving crew member of the Nostromo spaceship, Ripley’s resourcefulness, intelligence, and sheer will to survive made her one of the most badass female protagonists ever.
While Sigourney Weaver made the character iconic, she recently stated that the “ship has sailed” for her and Alien. “There are all kinds of younger actors taking this kind of role. And there was an Alien [film] that I really wanted to do with Neill Blomkamp, and we didn’t get to do that, but, you know, that ship has sailed. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing. I put in my time in space!”
The Blomkamp sequel would have been the fifth Alien installment, but it never reached the production stage. And when the studio sent her their new direction for the film, Weaver decided to opt out of it. Blomkamp brought us the amazing sci-fi movie with aliens, District 9, so it would have been interesting to see what could have been.