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Executive Veto

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"I was told, 'No sacrilege because of the Spanish market, no nudes because of the Italian market, no blood because of the French market and no martyrized animals because of the English market.' And I was supposed to be making a horror film!"
Georges Franju on Eyes Without a Face

A downplayed version of Executive Meddling, where the bosses forbid only the use of a specific trope (be it a certain character, scene, Plot Twist or so on) in a work, requiring the writers to find an alternative.

There can be numerous reasons for this. Perhaps the executive considered the trope in question cliché (or breaking their personal Willing Suspension of Disbelief) and wants the writers to go back and re-think it; maybe that character was too popular (or profitable) to be Killed Off for Real. Maybe the foreshadowing was too obvious for audience members; perhaps the prohibited trope was something offensive or controversial that might alienate potential audience members (or cause a firestorm), limiting the potential market for the product; or maybe it's simply a subject that the publisher wants no part of in the first place.

No Origin Stories Allowed may be one result of this.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Chris Claremont wanted to reveal that Mystique was not in fact Nightcrawler's mother, but his father, having impregnated Destiny while shapeshifted into male form. The editors did not approve, but more than one subsequent writer and a decent number of fans have considered Retconning this into being Nightcrawler's actual backstory, especially since Nightcrawler's actual parentage, mainly his father being the Marvel equivalent of Satan, and the story that revealed it, are widely considered to be even worse.
  • Another "who's the father" plotline involves Gwen Stacy's children from the Spider-Man arc "Sins Past." Originally Gwen's two children were intended to be Pete's but the editors vetoed it, feeling it'd age the character. Norman Osborn was eventually the one who they'd decided to make the father of Gwen's children. This story quickly fell into Fanon Discontinuity. As of 2021, this was retconned as part of the "Sinister War", revealing they were actually clones and Mephisto masquerading as an AI of Harry Osborn's personality mocks Norman for believing it.
  • Venom:
    • David Michelinie's original concept for Venom was a young woman whose blamed Spider-Man for her husband being run over by a cabbie being distracted by the wall-crawler web-swinging overhead, and the subsequent miscarriage of her baby. However, Jim Salicrup vetoed the idea saying there was no way a woman could even make for a threatening supervillain, and Michelinie went back to the drawing board and came up with Eddie Brock.
    • Michelinie intended to kill Eddie Brock off after 100 issues, and have the symbiote jump from host to host. To his dismay, Venom's immense popularity as an antihero ensured that Marvel would never approve of this (at least not until the early 2000s). Feeling that Spider-Man had lost one of his more imposing villains through Venom's transition away from being a villain, Michelinie came up with Carnage as a replacement.
  • Sally Acorn was originally intended to die during the events of the "Endgame" arc of the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comic book. The decision not to kill her off wasn't from fan backlash in response to the rumors (the loudest of whom was probably David Gonterman). Editor Justin Gabrie (not Sega) convinced then-writer Ken Penders not to go along with killing Sally as he has clarified on his site. The arc was also intended to be twice as long with a robot Sally taking the place of the real one for awhile. This idea was also scrapped.
  • Jean Grey of the X-Men was not originally intended to die in the classic Dark Phoenix storyline. But editor-in-chief Jim Shooter insisted on a more severe punishment for her destruction of an inhabited world, so the story was rewritten at the last minute.
    • As Shooter himself noted later, the original ending would be comparable to capturing Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II, taking away the German Army, and sending him off to live in some suburb, since he's harmless now.
    • This was also why it had to be an alien to bring Jean back, to absolve her of the crime.
    • When the Animated Series did the story-arc, they specifically changed the solar system she destroyed to being uninhabited to avoid this. In this version, her only victims during the act were a single ship of Shi'ar scientists who tried to stop her. Likewise, in Dark Phoenix, the destruction of the solar system was moved to before the story's events, the aliens from that system had escaped and were the main villains, and Jean's worst crime was killing a reformed Mystique.
  • The rejected plans for Spider-Woman's origin were that she wasn't a human with spider powers, she was a spider evolved to a humanoid form. Going back to the X-Men, there's a persistent rumor (which co-creator Len Wein denies he had any part of) that Wolverine was also to have been an evolved animal, but when the X-writers heard that it was pitched by Spider-Woman's writers and shot down they decided not to try it with Wolvie.
  • Example of an entire work not coming out: the Brazilian distributor of Disney comics translated the Kingdom Hearts manga, but Square Enix has so far prevented it from being released, since the series never had an official release there (and most people played the games through piracy, since the imported games are way expensive).
  • In issue #1 of Red Hood and the Outlaws it was originally planned for Starfire to be in a semi-transparent bikini, but the editorial shot it down. Considering how controversial the book proved to be even without that, it was probably for the best.
  • DC vetoed plans to have Batwoman marry her longtime girlfriend/fiancee, Maggie Sawyer. Their reasoning was no member of the Bat Family should ever be allowed to marry, because the decision to be vigilantes means that their personal lives will always be sacrificed and that they'll never be happy.note  Afterwards, both writers announced they were leaving the book after finishing the current arc, due to this being only the final straw on a list of vetoes. DC then vetoed that, and fired them two issues early.
  • Sega rejected the idea of Metal Sonic and Bass fusing in Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, as well as Mega Man X gaining a Super Mode alongside Sonic and Mega Man at the climax of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite.
  • Chuck Dixon revealed that during his time writing The Punisher, his editor had a desk drawer full of rejected stories with the same premise: Frank Castle would accidentally kill an innocent person, feels guilt over it, and quits. While both the post-Dixon books and The Punisher MAX had stories where the villain made it look like Frank did this to screw with him, the story itself as is would never be be told in the main Marvel continuity. However, it was told in Ultimate Spider-Man's "Death of Spider-Man" event and its tie-in New Ultimates vs. Avengers (where Castle fires at Captain America and Spider-Man ends up Taking the Bullet, which ended up being a factor in Peter's death) and the film Punisher: War Zone (where Frank shoots a "mafioso" coming out of a restroom only to realize afterward the man he'd killed was actually an undercover FBI agent and circumstances made sure his plans to retire didn't stick).

    Comic Strips 
  • Gary Larson's The Far Side was occasionally subject to editorial veto. In The Pre-History of the Far Side: A Tenth Anniversary Book, Larson writes that in the cases of some of the cartoons that were vetoed, his editors probably saved his career by refusing to publish them.
  • Dick Tracy had such a moment when the creator, Chester Gould, put Dick in a truly inescapable Death Trap. Gould was so stumped for a solution that he decided to have Tracy Break the Fourth Wall and address Gould himself who literally extends his hand to lift the Detective out. His publisher, Joseph Patterson, rightly concluded that this was an incredibly lame idea and ordered Gould to redraw the strip into something, anything, else.
  • Dilbert creator Scott Adams wanted to introduce Satan as a character in the strip, but the syndicate wouldn't allow it. He came up with Phil, The Prince of Insufficient Light — a watered-down version of Satan, who carries a pitch-spoon and "darns people to heck" for minor misdeeds. Adams considers the resulting character an improvement over his original idea.
  • According to creator Bill Watterson, the syndicate asked that he refrain from being overtly political with Calvin and Hobbes. He complied by touching on social issues while not taking a heavy-handed approach to them; Calvin is very intelligent for his age and often raises questions about such things, but being a 6-year-old child, he doesn't have all the answers himself. The result was that Watterson created a strip that was thought-provoking without telling the reader what to think, and as such is beloved by audiences all across the ideological spectrum even today.

    Fan Works 
  • The Infinite Loops: Seeing as how the project is spread across multiple fandoms and multiple threads on Spacebattles, some of the threadheads have indeed vetoed a couple of plotlines and Looper or setting activations.
    • Springtrap/The Purple Guy as he is a child murdering psychopath who is a possible MLE.
    • Dimentio as he would be all too happy to Ascend to wreck havoc on both the Nintendo cluster and the rest of Yggdrasil. Hades is in the same boat.
    • Dr. Wily's dangerous enough even without his code being broken.
    • Dr. Eggman for the fact that his desire to beat Sonic would make him more then happy to Ascend.
    • Kirei Kotomine for being an utter psychopath universally hated by everyone and responsible for just about half the bad things that happen in baseline.
    • Both Junko Enoshima and Nagito Komaeda, due to the fact their personal philosophies as well as mental states would make both easy MLEs.
    • The Disney Loops: While Anon e Mouse Jr. is generally easy-going, he has vetoed certain plotlines that were attempted in the Disney thread. These include:
      • Lila Rossi as a Looper, on the grounds that she's a sociopath.
      • Scar as a Looper, on the grounds of his desire for domination regardless of the consequences making him an Ascension risk. The hyena trio, who are technically still villains but are motivated more by hunger, were substituted instead.
      • Boo as a Looper, on the grounds that as a two-year-old, she doesn't have enough characterization to properly Loop.
      • Once Upon a Time actively Looping for now, on the grounds that the repeated arguments over it frustrated him enough and its main writer had gone ahead with some of its arcs (and compiled the whole thing seperately) despite continued objections.

    Films — Animation 
  • One of the ideas in an early draft of the 1986 My Little Pony movie was for the ponies to encounter some characters from G.I. Joe and The Transformers; specifically, a couple of ponies would have passed by Shipwreck, who would then have poured his drink away. Reportedly, the Hasbro representative's response was "Very funny. No."
  • G.I. Joe:
    • Rumor has it that Duke was to be killed off in G.I. Joe: The Movie. The Transformers crew liked this idea and decided to do the same for Optimus Prime in their movie, which was released first. However, after the massive kids' outcry from Optimus dying, they decided to soften it just before release by putting in dialogue that confirmed Duke was in a coma, not dead (and the Joes learn that he recovers shortly after they save the day). This article seems to confirm the rumor, as does Buzz Dixon's commentary on the Blu-Ray, where he in no uncertain terms (and using the dead parrot sketch to boot!) states Duke was supposed to die.
    • And according to Warren Ellis, writer of G.I. Joe: Resolute, the Hasbro executives told him that he couldn't have Cobra Commander wipe out Beijing; however, they were fine with him wiping out Moscow (Hasbro toys are manufactured in China).
  • Michael Jackson wanted to produce and perform pop versions of "Out There", "God Help the Outcasts", and/or "Someday" for The Hunchback of Notre Dame's soundtrack after a meeting with Alan Menken, but Disney higher-ups vetoed this due to Jackson's stained reputation. Instead, All-4-One handled "Someday" and Bette Midler "God Help the Outcasts".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Heathers:
    • The original ending had Veronica take J.D.'s bomb and blow up herself and everyone in school, followed by a surreal sequence where everyone who died is shown in the afterlife at a prom, where everyone — regardless of what clique they were in when they were living, if they were in a clique at all — gets along. This was regarded as "too dark" by executives and it was changed to one where Veronica rejects J.D.'s ideals and J.D. kills himself with the bomb..
    • Executives also changed Heather's posthumous underlined copy of The Catcher in the Rye to Moby-Dick, due to the notorious real-life killers associated with Catcher (and due to Salinger's refusal to relinquish the rights). The word "Eskimo" does not appear in Moby Dick for Heather to have underlined (though "Esqimaux" appearsnote ), whereas Catcher has the following section about the Natural History Museum:
      The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole, with their pretty antlers and their pretty, skinny legs, and that squaw with the naked bosom would still be weaving that same blanket. Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.
    • The "Snappy Snack Shack" was supposed to be a 7-11 but the execs at the chain didn't want to be associated with the film.
  • In the DVD Commentary for the film Bulletproof Monk, the writers discuss how the original story had Seann William Scott's character being killed by the villain and Jaime King's character becoming the Monk's successor. The studio wouldn't allow it, so the writers had to fudge the ending, allowing both characters to live and share the Monk's power.
  • Perhaps the most extreme form of executive veto comes from Gene Roddenberry's proposed script for a sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture — one in which the Enterprise crew has to go back to November 22, 1963 and ensure that John F. Kennedy is assassinated to keep history flowing in the right direction. Apart from it being a Recycled Script (remember when Kirk had to make sure a social worker died to keep the universe Nazi-free?), it was also glaringly too soon (this being not yet 20 years after the event even)note , and the script idea was so firmly vetoed by the execs that Roddenberry was removed from his post as producer, setting up for the much better Star Trek II.
    • This actually happened several times, as Roddenberry kept pitching the idea for the next movie(s), and the studio kept vetoing it.
      • This plot was finally used by Red Dwarf decades later with the twist that Lister talks the Kennedy that survived the assassination (and subsequently got his reputation ruined by getting impeached) into assassinating himself.
      • And an episode of Quantum Leap had Sam as Oswald, though he did get to leap into a Secret Service agent to save Mrs. Kennedy.
      • And "Profile in Silver", an episode of The Twilight Zone (1985), where a historian named Joseph Fitzgerald, a distant relative of JFK, uses a time machine to prevent the assassination, and eventually brings the President (played by Andrew Robinson) to the 22nd century...while dying in JFK's place to prevent his own alteration of the timestream from triggering World War III.
  • The film Layer Cake has an example where an executive veto made a scene stronger: in the novel of the same name, the protagonist and his hired Cold Sniper shoot an American tourist, mistaking him for The Dragon. The film was originally going to play the scene out in the same way, but Sony Pictures felt uncomfortable with killing the American and asked for the scene to be changed. It was: the Dragon snipes the sniper before he takes his shot at the tourist, which the director's commentary states makes for a better scene.
  • Alien³ was originally not going to feature Ellen Ripley. Fox vetoed, saying she was the core of the franchise (and as other pages show, things only got worse from there on). Early on, the only veto was against using the aliens' home planet as the setting because it would be too expensive. The demand to feature Ripley came in 1989, when Joe Roth became chairman of FOX, and the Executive Meddling only became worse after that.
  • Rocky was originally supposed to die in the street at the end of Rocky V, symbolizing his total ruination. The producer and director reportedly called Sylvester Stallone and said "By the way, Rocky doesn't die."
  • Fight Club: Marla originally tells Tyler, "I want to have your abortion." The studio vetoed the line and told the writer to come up with anything else. The line ultimately became, "I haven't been fucked like that since grade school." Most people considered the replacement line much worse, including the actress who delivered it, Helena Bonham Carter. Because she's English, she didn't know that "grade school" is the American equivalent of "primary school" and was quite shocked about the line afterwards.
  • The 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might have featured Jim Carrey as Willy Wonka and been directed by Tom Shadyac (the Ace Ventura films, Liar Liar), but this was vetoed by Roald Dahl's widow Felicity.
  • Saul Bass's first poster design for One, Two, Three depicted a stylized Coca-Cola bottle with an American flag sticking out of it. The Coca-Cola Company vetoed this.
  • Terry Pratchett was approached by an American studio wanting to make a movie out of his novel Reaper Man. Things went well until a studio exec said "Americans are gonna have a problem with the character of Death. Lose him, willya?" Pratchett pointedly withdrew from negotiation after that.
  • During the production of the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey, the original book's author, Erika Mitchell (E.L. James) was given an unusually high amount of creative control and veto power on what was allowed to be changed from the source material, from individual lines of dialogue to the structure of the story, which clashed greatly with director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel's more pragmatic visions. In one particularly nasty incident, Taylor-Johnson suggested a change to the belt-whipping climaxExplanation , which reportedly Mitchell/James exploded at, getting into an hour-long shouting match on set in front of cast and crew until she ultimately got her way. The tampering was so bad that neither Taylor-Johnson nor Marcel returned for the two sequels, with the former explicitly calling the mess an Old Shame.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020):
    • Sonic was originally going to say the line "We're total badasses", but the writers were informed by the studio that they couldn't use the word "badass" and still keep a PG rating. So the line was changed to "We're a couple of loose cannons" in the final film.
    • When Tyson Hesse came on-board for the Sonic’s redesign after the backlash to the initial trailer, one rule he gave the animators was that they were not allowed to show Sonic's bare feet.
  • DC Extended Universe:

  • The Fighting Fantasy book Slaves of the Abyss was originally intended to end with the player character making a Heroic Sacrifice, staying in the Abyss to allow everyone else to escape. Steve Jackson felt that the player should get a massive reward for winning, and so the ending was changed to one where they get godlike powers instead.

  • Editors forced Robert A. Heinlein to change the ending of Podkayne of Mars so that the title character doesn't die at the end. Modern copies have both endings.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In early planning phases for the New Jedi Order and subsequent books, Anakin Solo was planned as becoming a major character, taking up Luke's mantle as leader of the Jedi, and maybe even falling to The Dark Side, while his older brother Jacen was going to be killed in the Yuuzhan Vong War. When Del Rey Books (or George Lucas himself, things are uncertain) thought that it was too similar to the journey of Anakin's namesake, the boys' roles were swapped; they killed Anakin and had Jacen fall.
    • Amongst known vetoes in Star Wars fiction are: the name of Yoda's species, his planet of origin and, until recently, killing off the Big Three (Han, Luke and Leia). They managed a workaround with that last one by setting some of the stories over a century in the future, long past their natural lifespans, and all three of them would in fact die in the Disney-produced sequel trilogy that replaced the old Expanded Universe.
    • The 1994 Star Wars Style guide imposed several restrictions on writers. Changing the power structure of the galaxy or introducing new technology was a no go. One of the biggest rules imposed in it (before the prequels came about and negated them) was "Do not talk about the past". Specifically, writers were barred from depicting anything that took place before A New Hope (i.e. the Clone Wars, specifics of the Old Republic, how the Emperor came to power, how the rebellion stole the X-Wing prototype, the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Knights, the history of the Emperor and Vader, the history of the Mandalorians, and anything about the history of the Jedi Knights).
    • For a time, George Lucas forbid the creation of Wookiee Jedi, but later reversed the decision and even had a Wookiee youngling introduced on The Clone Wars series.
    • When Timothy Zahn wrote a Han Solo heist story heavily inspired by Ocean's Eleven, he wanted to make the connection explicit by titling it Solo's Eleven. LucasBooks decided that was less "homage" and more "potential copyright infringement," and the book was published under the title Scoundrels.
  • In the original version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo was a Polish noble fighting his personal vendetta against the Russian Empire after his family has been murdered by Russian troops during the ill-fated January Uprising. Pierre-Jules Hetzel however asked Verne to change the Captain's nationality as France was allied with Russia at the time and a sympathetic anti-Russian protagonist could stir political trouble. An Indian noble fighting the British — enemies of both the French and the Russians — was fair game, though.
  • The Shadow: The Shadow pulps after the first few years were the subject of a long-standing blanket veto by long-time editor John Nanovic, who, in an effort to try to broaden the readership base of the magazine, demanded Walter B. Gibson stop use of the Asian Speekee Engrish trope, radically (at least by 1930s standards) tone down racial stereotyping and generally stop using "ethnic" villains altogether, though a few memorable baddies, such as Sihwan Khan and Rodil Mocquino would slip through because they were just too good to go to waste.

    Live-Action TV 
  • FOX stopped the producers of 24 from actually killing President Keeler in the fourth season. They had to make do with putting him in a coma instead.
  • ABC prevented the creators of Lost from killing Jack in the first episode. The plane's pilot was created and killed instead.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): In the first post-miniseries episode Apollo is ordered to shoot down the Olympic Carrier which is heading for the rest of the fleet and somehow carrying nuclear weapons, indicating it's been captured by the Cylons. Originally the writers wanted it to be clear that the 1,300 humans on board were still alive when Apollo fired on the ship. The Sci-Fi Network objected to this and insisted that they make it ambiguous as to whether anyone was still on board. The writers complied and adjusted the dialogue but every subsequent episode that refers back to the incident was written and filmed from the perspective that there were living passengers when the ship was destroyed.
  • Because of its investment in him as the new Doctor, The BBC vetoed nude scenes for Matt Smith in the made-for-TV film Christopher And His Kind. This despite the fact that Smith had already appeared nude on film (and nude selfies had leaked to the Internet).
  • Doctor Who:
    • The BBC ordered the removal of all shots of Captain Jack's naked backside from the episode "Bad Wolf".
    • Midge's unexplained death in "Survival" is because BBC executives considered the original scripted fate for him (after he loses the motorbike-chicken game with the Doctor, the Master has the other cheetah-infected boys tear him apart for showing weakness) unacceptably gruesome.
    • Various eras of the show saw BBC executives shoot down any suggestion of a Doctor Who story set in Nazi Germany on taste grounds, although several Expanded Universe media got away with it. This was finally broken with "Let's Kill Hitler".
  • Nurses (2020) was not allowed to go as Darker and Edgier as they wanted (very dark topics), due to Global Television Network executives fearing it would turn off potential viewers, so had to tone it down somewhat.
  • In Stargate SG-1, Richard Dean Anderson wanted to leave the show and retire as early as season 6 but the Sci-Fi Channel wouldn't let him. It wasn't until after season 8 and the success of Stargate Atlantis that Jack O'Neill finally got Put on a Bus.
    • Happens in-universe, in a more literal sense. A news reporter who has a scoop on the Stargate program is told that her boss was ordered by the President of the US to kill the story.
  • According to Dexter executive producer John Goldwyn, Showtime would not allow Dexter to be killed off in the series finale, resulting in the show's now infamous "lumberjack ending".
  • The producers estimated that they needed to build at least nine ships for the second season of Game of Thrones, which was based on a book that features Fantasy!Vikings invading the North, a massive naval battle on Blackwater Bay and Daenerys being attacked by an assassin on the docks of Qarth and leaving this city by ship in the end. HBO replied that they had money for one ship and no more. So all ships were the same one multiplied by CGI (with different CGI sails for variety), the Fantasy!Viking landing proper took place offscreen, the Battle of Blackwater (which was considered to take place entirely offscreen as well) was fought on land after most of the enemy fleet was destroyed in a CGI explosion, and the scene with Daenerys was pushed to the third season.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Writers originally intended for Tommy to be killed off like his Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger counterpart during the "Green Candle" multiparter. Saban nixed that, instead having him be Brought Down to Normal and written out temporarily. This was a brilliant decision, as Tommy was the most popular character, and keeping him alive kept viewers interested.
  • M*A*S*H had a planned episode in the first season where Hawkeye impregnated two nurses and tries to avoid marrying either one. FOX shot down this idea.
  • A second season episode of Seinfeld, called "The Bet", was scripted, but never filmed. In the script, Jerry and Elaine make a bet about the ease of buying a gun, and a subplot about George finding out whether Kramer slept with an airline stewardess. Julia Louis-Dreyfus felt it to be too dark and disturbing. In particular, Jason Alexander mentions when she read a scene in which she holds the gun to her head reading "where do you want it Jerry? The Kennedy? [holds the gun to her stomach] The McKinley?", she turned to him and said "I'm not doing this". The script was thrown out and "The Phone Message" was written in two days to take its place.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty" was actually written completely different: the crime that Wesley was accused of was much more heinous and if Wesley confessed, it would have been an act of moral cowardice, trying to save his career instead of sticking with his friends. It was asked to be rewritten so that the crime wasn't so overt and that Wesley's confession was the much more moral choice than the other way around.
  • FOX executives wouldn't let the production crew of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles film an expensive fight scene where the T-850 model Cromartie takes on an entire SWAT team. Instead, series creator Josh Friedman opted for an alternate fight scene that didn't show most of the violence. The end result, a SWAT raid that goes awry and is only seen from beneath the water in a hotel pool as Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" plays, is considered by many to be a much more effective way of showing the carnage.
  • Tina Fey wrote the role of Jenna in 30 Rock for her friend Rachel Dratch, but NBC wouldn't let her do it. Fey got back at them by writing all kinds of bizarre one-shot characters who are all played by Dratch.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Joss Whedon has said that he intended for Willow be bisexual, and that her romances with Oz and Xander to be just as meaningful as her relationship with Tara. The Fox executives would not allow this, believing there to be No Bisexuals, and had Willow simply be gay, and that she always had been.

  • Pat Benatar wanted the central character of the music video for "Love is a Battlefield" to become a prostitute after she runs away from home. The executives at her label, Chrysalis Records, rejected it; thus the character gets a job as a dime-a-dance girl in a strip club (a la Tina Turner's "Private Dancer").
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • Al got a veto from Michael Jackson against recording a parody of "Black or White", stating that he didn't want anything to dilute the song's message. Other than that, he has free reign with Jackson's discography.
    • He also got a veto from the vegetarian Paul McCartney against recording "Chicken Pot Pie" (Live and Let Die) because the song was about eating meat.
    • Prince never agreed to parodies of his songs, though Yankovic once said he checked with him every few years just to see if he lightened up. (He never did.)
    • Jimmy Page refused permission to record a polka medley of Led Zeppelin songs, although he did allow for a sample of "Black Dog" to be used in "Trapped in at the Drive-Thru".
    • Daniel Powter refused permission to do a parody of "Bad Day", called "You Had a Bad Date". Powter changed his mind, however, and ultimately gave permission the day before the recording of "Straight Outta Lynwood" was to begin. But by that time, as Yankovic stated, "the train had left the station."
    • Though it's important to note that, under U.S. law, none of those vetoes were really enforceable because of fair use laws (as Yankovic's work falls squarely into the parody category). It's simply his policy to ask for permission out of respect. However, he often does play refused parodies live.note 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon exercises full creative control over the WWE and often uses the executive veto. On the good side, he was effective enough at filtering Vince Russo's ideas that Russo was regarded as a creative genius before he left WWE. On the negative side, he's done such things as veto Paul Burchill's Jack Sparrow-inspired pirate gimmick because he hadn't seen the Pirates of the Caribbean series (despite the fact that it was a cultural phenomenon) and thought the character was all wrong, as he thought that Burchill's character should have been more like an Errol Flynn-style swashbuckler, and nixed the character despite Burchill being over with the fans.
  • One of the things that contributed to WCW's death was that Hulk Hogan had "complete creative control" written into his contract, which meant he could literally rewrite the cards to put himself over at the expense of everyone and everything else. He did this frequently.
  • Eric Bischoff wanted to an invasion angle with WCW after seeing shoot style Universal Wrestling Federation invade strong style New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He vetoed Ole Anderson's choice of SMW though, as well as WCW and Smoky Mountain's talent exchange. Both of these still happened a year later after Smoky Mountain closed and Ole Anderson was fired, just with the nWo (invaders) and Heartland Wrestling Association (talent developmental) in its place.
  • CM Punk credits Paul Heyman for preventing WWE from changing his ring name and repackaging Punk with a different gimmick. The story Punk doesn't tell is that he was in line to have a cheerleader gimmick alongside Alexis Laree (because WWE apparently didn't remember how that didn't work for Chris Candido and Tammy Lynn Sytch). That gimmick ended up going to the Spirit Squad, who didn't even have the benefit of a cheerleader to accompany them... though Punk's was to be a baby face, the Squad were not.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • BioShock was originally planned to have a single, ambiguous ending, and expected the player to infer what happened based on their actions. However, higher-ups didn't like this and pushed for the developers to include a good and a bad ending. Many would argue this as a positive example of the veto.
  • According to legend, when Hideaki Anno was told that Studio Gainax had rejected the offer for Neon Genesis Evangelion to be in Super Robot Wars, he said, essentially, "There's no way you're keeping my EVAs from fighting beside the likes of Getter and Mazinger!"
  • Super Mario Galaxy is noted for having a relatively complex plot for a Mario game, but Shigeru Miyamoto kept the team from going further in that direction for the sequel, reflecting his belief that Mario games shouldn't really have deep plots.
    • Similarly, the developers of New Super Mario Bros. Wii were said to have wanted a more dramatic kidnapping scene than Miyamoto would allow.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures got a similar treatment. It was originally going to have a plot with strong continuity ties to the rest of the series (cut dialogue suggests it was originally planned to be about the Imprisoning War from the backstory of A Link to the Past), but when Miyamoto saw it he complained that the plot should not be something that confused the player — at least not with this particular game — and "upended the teatable" on the project. What's left is a game with strong hints of both A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time but without clear continuity, even retelling Ganondorf's backstory. In the end, the official timeline dictates that Four Swords Adventures and A Link to the Past are in different timeline branches split off from Ocarina of Time. Even so it still raises continuity issues as it clearly wasn't written with continuity in mind.
  • The second Knights of the Old Republic originally had an "Everyone Dies" Ending, and may not have had a Light Side path at all. One of the few bits of good executive meddling from Lucasarts was to tell Obsidian to dummy those out. It's also important to remember that the rest of Lucasarts's Executive Meddling resulted in the game being rushed out and losing about 1/4 of its planned content. Unfortunately as a result, the game had no real ending at all.
  • Madden NFL: John Madden outright refused to put his name on the six man football prototype EA first showed him, forcing the project to be shelved until consoles came around that could handle full teams.
  • Seymour Goes to Hollywood would have been a Dizzy game, except that Codemasters forbade placing Dizzy in the modern world.
  • Donkey Kong Country was originally planned to use Donkey Kong Jr. as the Player 2 character. Nintendo's veto of this idea led to the creation of Diddy Kong.
  • LEGO forbade the creators of the Mata Nui Online Game from focusing on the Toa, as they wanted to tell their story through a video game, but they received a lot of freedom about handling the islanders. This is seen as one reason why the BIONICLE line became so popular, since the game allowed for kids to imagine themselves into the Player Character's shoes, discover the lore through talking to the Ensemble Dark Horse villagers, and by only seeing glimpses of the heroes, they seemed much more mysterious. After the video game got canceled, and it was too late to conclude the Toa's story in the comics, the MNOG was free to use the Toa for the epic ending.
  • The developers of The Simpsons Hit & Run were explicitly forbidden to reference the C.H.U.D.s, as explained by lead programmer Cary Brisebois on his guest appearance of Boundary Break while explaining a leftover Dummied Out cube beneath the level:
    Cary: That cube underground is interesting. If I recall I think what we were trying to do was put a bunch of those around this level and start making references to two things. One was the three-eyed fish to show you there's strange things in the water going on. We also wanted to do references to C.H.U.D.s, so the C.H.U.D.s were related to an episode where Homer was talking about having gone to New York city and was upset about pimps and C.H.U.D.s. so we wanted to put C.H.U.D.s in but I think we were not allowed to by Fox for various reasons.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the disappearance of the Dwemer is the franchise's longest running Riddle for the Ages. To date, only hints and theories have been presented as to why they vanished. When the development team of The Elder Scrolls Online wanted to explore the disappearance of the Dwemer, the idea was "nixed" by Bethesda Executive Director Todd Howard, who stated "this [is] something we will never do, we will never come out and spoil the mystery and the secrets of the Dwemer".

    Western Animation 
  • The executives of She-Ra: Princess of Power were once presented with the character of Stinkor to be included as a villain in the show. They hated the idea, thinking the character ridiculous enough to not be taken seriously by the fanbase. As a result, they resolved to never use him in She-Ra or any other Masters of the Universe-based media. The character was eventually allowed to be used in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002). Phelous gave them some flak for this when he brought up a similarly scent-based good-guy character named "Perfuma," who was in the show, and the obvious rivalry therein.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Executives objected to showing the Graysons' deaths. The producers opted to use a Sound-Only Death instead, deciding it was more powerful this way.
    • It was actually a common policy for the show: the writers would write scenes, the executives would veto the scene, so the writers would write a worse scene that somehow got through. Possibly the best overall example (as opposed to individual scenes throughout the series) is the Joker Venom: it originally killed its victims, but since you can't have a mass murderer actually kill people on a kids' show, they instead had them have a permanent grin on their face and laugh uncontrollably, which made for much creepier scenes. The show also wasn't shy about how the venom would eventually be fatal if not treated, which made the venom much more terrifying as it effectively tortured its victims to death.
    • In that same vein, Alan Burnett revealed that he once wrote an episode in Batman Beyond where Terry and Dana break up for a final time and Terry hooks up with his best friend Max. Bruce Timm vetoed it, because when he proposed the episode, he'd intended that Terry/Dana finally have their important date at the end.
  • The crew of Rocko's Modern Life averted this by pestering the higher-ups endlessly over marrying off Filbert and Hutch. In spite of the rules at the time stating that no Nicktoon could have any continuity, the execs caved and let the show go through with the wedding. They skipped the process and just gave the okay when the guys asked for permission to give Filbert and Hutch kids.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • According to Word of God, this is the reason that Princess Celestia is a Princess and not a Queen, because apparently, Hasbro claimed that Disney made it so that little girls affiliated queens with evil and princesses with good.
    • Applejack, one of the main characters, harvests apples by kicking the apple trees. She was originally to headbutt the trees, before Hasbro reminded the studio their primary audience is girls 6-10 years old.
    • One specific note the crew was given about the Goku-esque battle between Twilight Sparkle and Lord Tirek was "You cannot show Twilight punching Tirek in the face".
    • According to Jim Miller the crew had always wanted to end a season on a cliffhanger to be resolved next season, but this was specifically vetoed by Hasbro who wanted each season to have a conclusive ending.
    • During M.A. Larson's explanation of why he despises the now infamous "Fame and Misfortune", one of his major complaints was how the higher-ups demanded that they, to use his own words, wrote all the characters to be assholes despite he wanting to use much more nuance and do a much more positive episode.
    • Apparently, the writers wanted to do more episodes with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon following their Heel–Face Turns in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", but the higher-ups felt that their stories were "over" and rejected any episode ideas that focused on the two. This is why Diamond and Silver ended up being Demoted to Extra in subsequent seasons.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Jet dies during the Ba Sing Se arc, but it isn't very clear on what happens and the most confirmation we get is Toph using her Living Lie Detector ability to figure out that he's lying about being okay. Confusing? Extremely, to the point where fans jumped on He's Just Hiding theories and the creators actually Lampshaded it in the episode "The Ember Island Players" (in which the eponymous actors bungle the death scene, resulting in the actor portraying Jet having to crawl underneath the boulder that's supposed to have crushed him, leaving the real Team Avatar confused over his fate). Turns out that Bryke planned for him to die on-screen, but the executives shot that idea down and refused to let them confirm it outright. (Well, until the commentary for the above-mentioned episode.)
  • Inverted with the classic Looney Tunes, with producer Eddie Selzer repeatedly pre-emptively vetoing ideas, and Chuck Jones making the cartoon he was told not to do. For example, he was once told not to make a cartoon about bullfighting, the resulting short was "Bully for Bugs".
    • Part of the reason for this was that Selzer's pre-emptive vetos were more non-sequitor declarations than actual discussion of plot (i.e. in the Bully for Bugs example, Selzer randomly walked into the break room and without so much as a provocation, declared bull fighting as not funny and shouldn't be in their cartoons). The random nature of these outbursts were too funny to Jones, who would lampoon every aspect of the suddenly taboo topic until he had to make a cartoon.
  • Comedy Central forbad Trey Parker and Matt Stone from having South Park character Butters being beaten by his parents after viewing the notorious ending to "Jared Has Aides".
  • Executives demanded that the ending of the "Tree Trunks" episode of Adventure Time be rewritten to clearly demonstrate that Tree Trunks hadn't died. Probably a good thing given the fan enthusiasm for many of the later episodes centering on her.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Act Your Age," the subplot is about Doofenshmirtz giving himself a Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis. One of the stereotypical things that he was going to do was "get a tattoo that he'll quickly regret." The creators got a note back basically saying "no Disney character will ever be shown in the act of getting a tattoo."
  • Reboot: The writers originally wanted Enzo to age up into a teenager as the series progressed so they could keep Enzo's original voice actor, as they enjoyed his performance but he was becoming unable to voice Enzo due to his voice changing. ABC's executives vetoed this and Enzo was recast. However, once the show switched networks in season 3 one of the first things done is Enzo aging into an adult as the result of the Year Inside, Hour Outside nature of games.
  • During pre-production of Runaway Brain, Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested to the director a scene with Mickey Mouse playing a video game. The director's idea of making a first-person shooter based on Bambi was quickly shot down by the higher-ups (in the short, it's instead a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs beat 'em up).
  • Transformers: Animated: Rodimus Prime was originally going to be Optimus' Jerkass rival, but Hasbro didn't want Rodimus portrayed in that way. As a result, the lesser-known at the time Sentinel Prime was chosen.
  • Velma: According to showrunner Charlie Grandy, Warner Bros. Animation executives forbid them from directly including Scooby-Doo in the series' cast due to worries that his presence would make the target demographic unclear. Coincidentally, by the time the execs had come to this decision, the crew was already considering against using Scooby anyway, since they couldn't figure out how to use him without ruining the show's tone.
  • What If…? (2021): One idea was Jane taking up the mantle of Thor, but that was vetoed since a similar plot point was already planned for Thor: Love and Thunder. And another was seemingly cancelled because the writer accidentally hit the plot of the yet to be filmed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man wasn't allowed to have characters die. Thus, when the writers wanted to have Green Goblin be killed and Sandman's Heroic Sacrifice / Redemption Equals Death, they had to add He's Just Hiding scenes that showed they inexplicably had survived and had resolved to leave and never return.