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Spared by the Cut

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As we all know, some film adaptations will alter things so a character survives where they died in the source material, while others will do the inverse. But sometimes, differences between the script and what ends up getting filmed - sometimes caused by Creative Differences and/or Executive Meddling - will have a character die in one cut but survive another.

Sometimes results from a Compilation Movie made from episodes where a character dies, but their death doesn't make it to the film itself.

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Also, despite the name, it has nothing to do with getting an actual physical cut - rather, a different cut of a film.

As this is a Death Trope, expect spoilers.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • While not a death aversion per se, the Death Note Relight 2 special, essentially a Compilation Movie of the series' second half (and occasionally advertised as a Director's Cut), has the subplot involving the mafia excised, so Light's sister is not abducted.
  • The 43 episode anime series Mobile Suit Gundam was edited down into three theatrical-length movies, with some additional new footage. Shortening the series means that several characters' death scenes were cut:
    • Captain Paolo (the planned captain of the White Base) is carted off for care in both the anime and the film. However, the later scene revealing he died of his wounds was cut from the movie.
    • The episodes featuring the deaths of antagonists Icelina and M'Quve were cut from the films as well. As such, they're presumed to have lived, with quasi-canon sources following on the movie continuity having one of them present at the series' climactic final battle.

    Film 
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, one cut of the movie has Quicksilver survive, but in the theatrical cut, he is killed. Joss Whedon filmed both endings and left it up to the studio to decide which would be used.
  • Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse has two different cuts of the dialogue-free ending scene, one of which implies that the heroine Marion dies from the gunshot wound that she received towards the end of the story and one of which implies that she survives. Typically, the French market got the sad ending and the US market the happy one.
  • A downplayed example in Blade Runner: The original version of the film ended with Deckard knowing that Rachel, as a replicant, presumably only has four years to live. As a replicant himself, this may apply to him as well. The theatrical release added a narration to the end, offhandedly mentioning that Deckard was told that she was special and didn't have the standard replicant expiration date.
  • In The Butterfly Effect, Evan comes to the conclusion that somebody suffers through his actions no matter what he does to avert it (he's able to go back to certain times in his life and remember what effects his actions had in previous runs), so in the director's cut he strangles himself in the womb. His mother had several miscarriages, implying this happened to all her stillborn children.
  • In Highlander: Endgame, Duncan's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Kate/Faith dies in the theatrical cut, but survives in the extended DVD edition.
  • The theatrical cut for I Am Legend sees Neville die in a blaze of glory taking out the zombies so that the other human survivors can live. The original cut of the film had him not die, but instead find out that the zombies aren't the mindless beasts that he thought they were, and instead realize that he might be the true monster. This change meant a boatload of foreshadowing ultimately went nowhere.
  • Jaws: When filming in Australia, the crew managed to capture a too-awesome-not-to-use shot of a shark rolling on top of Hooper's shark cage. However, the cage was empty at the time because the stuntman had already swam for his life. Thus, to avoid creating a continuity error, the film was rewritten so Hooper escapes his encounter with the shark instead of being torn to pieces as in the original novel.
  • Little Shop of Horrors was originally filmed to match the ending of its inspiration with Audrey and Seymour getting eaten. Focus groups hated it and was replaced with the happy ending. A re-release of the DVD shows the original ending in Black-and-White and than later in a color adaptation.
  • The theatrical cut of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King leaves out Saruman and Gríma's appearance, leaving them effectively imprisoned in Orthanc. The extended edition restores the scene, in which Gríma kills Saruman before being killed by Legolas. Gothmog's death during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is also omitted from the theatrical cut; he's last seen backing away from the Rohirrim charge.
  • In The Mask, journalist Peggy Brandt ends up selling out Stanley to Dorian (foolishly believing he wouldn't hurt Stanley despite knowing full well he's a mobster). In the theatrical cut she just disappears from the movie entirely after Dorian captures Stanley. In the original cut, however, Dorian kills her by throwing her into a printing press where her blood forms the ink for the text and, for some reason, a photo of her face shows up on the newspaper as well.
  • In a deleted scene from Office Space, Peter and Lawrence discuss Lumbergh's death in the office fire set by Milton. This scene was left out of the final theatrical version, so Lumbbergh presumably lives.
  • In prior cuts of Revenge of the Sith, Shaak Ti was killed in the beginning by General Grievous. This scene was cut, and Ti's death was moved to a scene during Order 66. However, that second scene was also cut, removing Shaak Ti's death from the film continuity entirely. Ti then returned in The Force Unleashed, where she was fought and killed by Starkiller. This remained her canonical death until Star Wars was acquired by Disney, putting nearly all the Expanded Universe material into the non-canonical Legends continuity. Shaak Ti's canonical death was then established to be during Order 66 just like in Revenge's second deleted scene.
  • In the script, storyboards and novelization of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Enrique Salceda and his entire family were killed by the T-1000 after it came to their ranch looking for the Connors. This scene was cut from the final version of the film.
  • The final cut for 28 Days Later uses a Focus Group Ending where Jim recovers from his fight with the soldiers, but the director has said that the "true ending" is an alternate cut where he succumbs to his injuries. The latter is included as a DVD extra and is a point of contention among fans.
  • In Star Trek (2009), a death scene was filmed for the crewman known as "Cupcake" but the scene was cut, so he survived to return in Star Trek Into Darkness. He also had a death scene that was filmed for Into Darkness and cut, so he survived to return in Star Trek Beyond, where the same thing happened again.
  • In a deleted scene from Back to the Future Part III, Marshall Strickland was murdered by Buford, which is why he's arrested by Strickland's deputy at the end. The scene was cut because the filmmakers were afraid that it would make the audience root for Marty to kill Buford. The line "you're under arrest for the murder of Marshall Strickland" was redubbed to "you're under arrest for robbing the Pine City stage." The camera cuts away from the deputy in the middle of this line, presumably to hide the fact that his lips don't match it.

    Live Action TV 
  • David Hasselhoff's character in Baywatch was meant to be killed off with an explosion in season 9, and the scene was shot with the intention of having the cast mourn his death, but the show had difficulty finding financial backing without him and scraped the death.
  • Facing cancellation, the final two scenes of FRINGE from season 3 were filmed as the death of Peter Bishop when he bridges the two worlds. The scene was hastily modified to the evaporation of Peter Bishop once the show was picked up the week it aired.
  • In a leaked workprint of the Doctor Who episode "Into The Dalek", Dalek Rusty self-destructed when he returned to the Dalek spaceship, destroying the spaceship and its Dalek crew. This was removed from the final episode, and Dalek Rusty made a subsequent appearance in "Twice Upon a Time".
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