main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Actor Existence Limbo
Acting and voice acting can be a fickle thing, but sometimes what can be simply corrected with The Other Darrin will not be possible; we call that the Actor Existence Limbo.

Actor Existence Limbo is when a Voice Actor worked on a series, but an incident caused the voice actor to be missing in action. Rather than replacing the VA, they make the character role unvoiced. So if the series requires voice acting, that person will go unvoiced or worse, an NPC if it was a game.

One of the reasons why an Actor will be placed in limbo rather than replacing them is due to potential of bad publicity. Affairs can be called out by the press, possible grudges can happen between both sides. Simply put, an AEL can be harmful to those who enjoyed the actor.

When the character is plain killed off due the Actor Existence Limbo becoming too much, it becomes a case of McLeaned. When the network does this, it is a Role Ending Misdemeanor. See also Demoted to Extra.


Anime & Manga
  • In Crayon Shin-chan, Buriburizaemon was reduced to cameo appearances after his voice actor died in 2000.

  • Rowlf of The Muppets was for years unvoiced in movies and TV specials (or only made small grunts or laughters) after Jim Henson's death, since it was thought that he was the character that most resembled Henson.
    • Henson's Dr. Teeth and fellow Muppeteer Richard Hunt's Scooter and Janice were in the same boat for the longest as well.

  • When Earle Graser, who played The Lone Ranger on radio, was killed in a car accident in 1941, Brace Beemer was almost immediately picked by the show's producers to replace him. Since Beemer's voice was quite different to Glaser's, a story was quickly written in which the Lone Ranger spent five episodes recovering from serious gunshot wounds and unable to speak, so that listeners would either not notice the change in voice or put it down to the injuries.

Video Games
  • Murphy Guyer didn't return for Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, and Ammon Jerro suddenly became an unvoiced NPC.
  • Bill from Left 4 Dead got McLeaned in the second game's DLC, since his VA was unavailable for nearly a year.
    • Bill was also not voiced for the Crash Course DLC due to having no time left to record lines for the character since the DLC was so close to release. Zoey, Francis, and Louis all have new lines while Bill just reuses lines that were in the game before the DLC.
  • Cagalli became unvoiced after Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny in Super Robot Wars since Naomi Shindo refused to reprise her role, so any games requiring her role will be a NPC only. The only moment she is playable so far is Super Robot Wars K (because K is on the DS and lacks voices). Dearka's voice actor also was missing in action since Destiny as well.
  • Subverted with Guilty Gear: when Zato-1's voice actor Kaneto Shiozawa passed away, the character remained in the series... technically. Zato-1 was losing control of his body to a sentient parasite named Eddie, who continued to use his body and appear under that name after Zato's death. The character is referred to again as Zato-1 in Guilty Gear Xrd, though the reason is still unknown...
  • Following the death of voice actor Takeshi Aono, Hideo Kojima said that Col. Roy Campbell wouldn't appear in any future Metal Gear Solid games out of respect for Aono.
  • Isamu Tanonaka, the voice of Igor in Persona 3 and Persona 4, died in 2010 due to myocardial infarction. To work around his death, they re-used his previously recorded lines in Persona 4 for The Animation in 2011 and Persona 4 Arena. However, since then Igor has officially been retired and the new Velvet Room boss will be replaced with someone else.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Due to having numerous Celebrity Voice Actors, The Batman reduced many villains to cameo roles after their debut episodes. Poison Ivy, however, was featured prominently in a two-parter without any lines at all.
  • After already being replaced once, Valmont in Jackie Chan Adventures is reduced to a nonspeaking cameo in season five.
  • The Simpsons:
    • After Phil Hartman's death, his characters (Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure) were reduced to cameos in group shots. Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz both continue to appear regularly in the comics, since a voice actor is not necessary.
    • After Doris Grau's death in 1995, Lunchlady Doris also became a mute background character, until 2006 when she returned, voiced by Tress MacNeille.
  • A coincidental example in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Before Mako's sad passing, several episodes were written in the first half of season 3 where Iroh was imprisoned and largely silent, which wound up serendipitously working out. His replacement actor Greg Baldwin briefly voiced a few lines in season 2 to get viewers used to his new voice before the character fully returned later, and Baldwin does a good enough impression of Mako that those not in the know might not even have noticed.
  • Jazz and Cliffjumper stopped appearing in The Transformers when Scatman Crothers died and Casey Kasem quit. What made their disappearances ironic is that they were two of the few characters who survived the infamous movie.
  • The cast of Star Trek: The Original Series minus James Doohan appeared in the Futurama episode “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”, but, since DeForest Kelley had died, he had no lines.

Actor AllusionCharacters and CastingActor-Inspired Element
Actor AllusionTriviaActor-Inspired Element

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy