Spoiled By Casting
He can't be dead, his actor signed up for the next movie!

(permanent link) added: 2012-05-10 18:02:47 sponsor: RobotechMaster edited by: Robotech_Master (last reply: 2013-02-16 10:50:28)

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It's a lot harder to keep a secret in Hollywood than it used to be, what with the Internet and gossip 'zines. If it's not announced the moment a particular actor has signed up to appear in a movie, it often leaks soon after.

So what does it say when an actor whose character got killed off in one movie has signed up for the sequel? Maybe that dead character was Only Mostly Dead after all, especially if they Never Found the Body.

Sometimes the casting spoiler is not for a life, but a death. For example, when the BBC casts a new Doctor, it's pretty clear the old one will be dying off at the end of the current season.

Of course, the spoiler doesn't necessarily even have to relate to characters living or dying. It could be a spoiler in some cases to know that a particular actor is even cast at all, since that means the popular character played by that actor will be showing up in the movie.

There are also some actors (e.g. Tim Curry, Brad Dourif) who are so typecast in particular roles and so seldom found playing against type that it is almost pointless to try to cast them for a surprise twist. If Brad Dourif guest stars in your TV series as a kindly old beggar man, he is almost certain to turn out to be a cunning deceiver with evil motives in the endóbecause, after all, he's Brad Dourif.

And sometimes in a TV series, recurring characters may be elevated to regular cast members or regular cast members fall out of the billing. If an actor joins the main cast list for later episodes before the first episode featuring his character even airs, it's pretty clear that he's going to become rather important.

Sometimes this is averted when filmmakers do something unexpected with the actorórather than being resurrected, the deceased character could show up in a flashback, or as a ghost, or the actor might even be playing the deceased character's twin brother (or Identical Grandson).

It can also be averted by ensemble shows that frequently feature Absentee Actors or often-recurring characters. Just because an actor's name appears in the main title credits doesn't necessarily mean his character is actually in the episode--and just because it doesn't doesn't mean he isn't.


  • The actor who plays the deceased Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger reportedly signed a multiple-movie contract.
  • Clark Gregg, the actor who plays the deceased Agent Coulson in The Avengers is reportedly in talks to appear in the next few Marvel movies.
  • The aforementioned Doctor Who example.
  • In the Power Rangers universe, particularly the original MMPR series, if a new student begins showing up regularly, it's a safe bet that a cast member is being replaced. Which one? Easy to tell. Look at the clothes the new student is wearing, and match the color.

  • Chow Yun Fat, whose character died off in A Better Tomorrow, played the deceased character's twin in A Better Tomorrow 2.
  • Similarly, Jack Palance played Curly in City Slickers. The fact that Curly died and was buried didn't stop the actor from coming back in the sequel, as the deceased character's twin brother.
  • During the Fifth Doctor era, when the Doctor Who production team wished to hide the Master's involvement in a story, they credited the character under an anagrammatic alias such as "Neil Toynay" (Tony Ainley) or "James Stoker" (Master's Joke).
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