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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 
  • 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, meaning Light's father Soichiro is never killed in action. There is a vauge line suggesting he might have died off-screen, but we never see it and nothing is ever confirmed. Additionally, while not a death per se, the mafia's absense also means that Light's sister Sayu is not abducted and traumatized in this version.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Abominable: A deleted scene has CJ and Michelle going into different hiding places which would have given them some protection from the monster. Their movements also take about forty seconds, when the monster kills Michelle about fifteen seconds after the girls split up in the final cut.
  • One of the original story concepts for The Adventures of Robin Hood had Robin Hood die at the end of the film.
  • Ridley Scott's original ending to Alien had the alien killing Ripley by biting her head off and then communicating with Earth in her voice. 20th Century Fox rejected this for being too dark.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Series:
    • The Amazing Spider-Man: Dr. Ratha was decapitated by the Lizard. However, the scene doesn't fit into the final continuity of the film.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a scene cut that featured Harry getting revenge on Menken by taking him up to a great height and dropping him to his death.
  • Sheriff Parsons originally died in a deleted scene from Arachnophobia, where he's bitten by a spider and dies in a car crash. It was cut for pacing reasons.
  • The workprint of Apocalypse Now saw the Photojournalist shot dead by Captain Colby (whose part was mostly cut, even in the Redux version), whom Willard kills via knife to the chest.
  • Armageddon: Demolitions Expert Gruber's death scene is frequently omitted from TV airings of the movie.
  • Batman Film Series:
    • Vicki Vale and Alex Knox were both supposed to be killed off in earlier drafts of Batman (1989). Knox's death was still planned as shooting began, but the crew loved Robert Wuhl's performance enough that they not only spared him, but gave him a Heroic Bystander moment during the climax.
    • In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy originally found Julie Madison at the Gotham Observatory after she had stolen the keys to the Bat-Signal from Commissioner Gordon and Ivy fatally stabbed her to death with a knife. She would later be shown using the same knife in the film during her fight with Batgirl. Julie's death scene was cut out of the film, because it was considered too dark for a film aimed for younger viewers, and because Joel Schumacher was interested in bringing her back in the planned sequel.
  • 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.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes: Multiple script drafts have Taylor, Brent, Nova, and Zaius (or at least some of them) survive, but the final cut goes for a Kill 'Em All ending.
  • Back when Beverly Hills Cop was an action film, Billy Rosewood was originally killed off halfway through.
  • Black Christmas (2006):
    • Melissa survives in the original script, but in the actual movie is Killed by Request.
    • Leigh is still alive in the script and the first filmed ending but gets her neck snapped in a scene added for the final cut.
  • 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. 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.
  • Bones (2001): In deleted scenes, Jimmy only slashes the faces of the Bumbling Henchman Duo, and they report back to a skeptical Eddie. The director decided that due to their part in ruling the neighborhood by selling drugs, it didn't make sense for either Jimmy or the script to leave them alive.
  • One of the deleted sequences from Bride of Frankenstein included the Monster murdering the Burgomaster.
  • The original ending to Brooklyn's Finest, as shown in Sundance, had Eddie committing suicide after his retirement following the climax, which serves as to bookmark the ending from the opening. Antoine Fuqua eventually decided to end the film instead with a freeze frame of Eddie's face with blood and eyes swollen because he pointed out that the face, in metaphor represents America, dazed and confused, but still moving forward. He added, "There's still some hope, we still have a chance. We've taken some hits, but we're still standing. It kind of came out of everything that was happening".
  • Kelly was originally supposed to be killed off earlier in Broken Arrow (1996), but when Fox execs saw the dailies and liked his performance, his role was quickly expanded so he could be in the whole movie.
  • 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.
  • Carrie (2013) filmed a death scene for minor character George - who gets impaled with a lantern while trying to help people escape the prom. It's not in the final cut of the film, and his fate is left open.
  • In the original script to Casino, Lester Diamond was supposed to be shot in the desert by Nicky Santoro as a favor to Sam Rothstein.
  • Robert Towne originally wrote Chinatown with more of a Bittersweet Ending, in which Evelyn Mulray shoots her father and goes to prison to make it closer in spirit to the classic noir. Roman Polański felt differently, feeling that they had to go Darker and Edgier and take full advantage of the end of censorship. Polanski and Towne kept feuding and Towne walked off the set. The infamous Downer Ending was written by Polanski and Jack Nicholson. Towne later conceded that the film was better that way.
  • The first cut of Clerks ends with Dante getting shot by an armed robber right after closing up, supposedly because Kevin Smith had no idea how to properly wrap up the story. Everyone hated it and agreed that the scene prior of Dante and Randal saying goodbye to one another worked just fine.
  • King Osric's death scene was cut from Conan the Barbarian (1982), where he is attacked by Thulsa Doom's henchmen in his throne room.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Human trafficker Cesar Santos gets arrested by Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice then is put in prison. He gets murdered in prison in the Ultimate Edition, which was deleted from the theatrical cut.
    • Cyborg's father Silas Stone (Joe Morton) gets disintegrated by the lasers he uses on a Mother Box in the Zack Snyder version of Justice League (now known as Zack Snyder's Justice League). In the 2017 theatrical version, he gets a Happy Ending with his son having more serene control of his cybernetic powers.
    • Similarly, the theatrical version of Justice League was a retooling that has Big Bad Steppenwolf being beamed back to Apokolips with his Parademons attacking him and his fate remained uncertain. He gets skewered by Aquaman's trident then decapitated by Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's Justice League.
    • The Amazon Epione (who first appeared in Wonder Woman) appears in Zack Snyder's Justice League (she was cut from the 2017 theatrical version), and dies in Steppenwolf's carnage upon his arrival on Themyscira.
    • Cyborg, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Aquaman get disintegrated by the detonation of the Mother Boxes' Unity in Zack Snyder's Justice League, which is quickly undone by Flash's Time Travel via the Speedforce. It was all cut from the 2017 version of the film.
  • Darkman: Skip's fate remains unknown, though there is a deleted scene where Darkman kills him with his own prosthetic leg.
  • The creators of Deep Blue Sea filmed an ending where Susan survives along with Carter and Preacher, but she is less lucky in the final cut, and the alternate ending has yet to be released.
  • Amongst the deleted material from Demolition Man, Zachary Lamb was originally shot by Simon Phoenix as the latter stole a car and would die in Spartan's arms.
  • One of the most significant cuts to Dune (1984) is the death of Thufir Hawat, a powerful scene in which Paul separates Thufir from the captured Harkonnen and offers him his life, only for Thufir to commit suicide rather than kill Paul. This omission creates something of a Plot Hole in the original cut, as Thufir—one of the film's more important characters—can clearly be seen standing among the prisoners (between the Emperor and Gaius Mohiam) in one shot, and simply vanishes in the next; his disappearance is never explained.
  • The original script for Enter the Dragon had Roper die and Williams survive to the end. The reverse happens in the film, largely thanks to John Saxon's agent.
  • Final Destination:
    • In the original scripted and filmed ending for Final Destination, Alex makes a Heroic Sacrifice while Clear and Carter live. In the final film, Carter dies while Alex survives (at least until the Time Skip between the first two films).
    • The final cut of Final Destination 3 has a Bolivian Army Ending which heavily implies that the remaining survivors die in a train crash. An alternate ending omits that scene and implies that they might have actually cheated Death.
  • Fright Night (2011): In the script, Adam (the boy Jerry attacks in the opening scene) appears as one of the vampires trapped in Jerry's basement and is cured when Jerry dies. In the film, he's never seen after the opening scene (save for in a few old videos he made), indicating he may have been killed outright in the attack.
  • There was originally a scene in Ghostbusters II where Hardemeyer got swallowed by the slime surrounding the museum.
  • In the original cut of Gigli, Larry Gigli shot Det. Jacobellis dead and would bleed to death from a gunshot wound at the end of the film.
  • There was supposed to be a scene in The Godfather where Michael kills Fabrizio by shooting him in a restaurant with a double-barreled shotgun. Stills of the scene exist, but it was abandoned.
  • A deleted scene for The Godfather Part II saw Michael finally extract revenge on Fabrizio via car bomb. Another saw Vito extract revenge on Ciccio's henchmen, stabbing one and beating another with an oar.
  • Gremlins:
    • In the original script, Billy's mother was decapitated by the gremlins, with her head rolling down the stairs.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Futterman were killed in the original script following their encounter with the gremlins. The filmmakers thought that their deaths were too cruel and removed any references to it, and they even returned for the sequel.
    • Gizmo was originally going to die and turn into a butterfly.
  • The Grudge: In the original ending of the second movie, the ghosts don't take Allison away onscreen (although she's last seen in a precarious situation) and Mrs. Davis (Karen and Aubrey's mother) is killed by the curse. In the final cut, Allison is dragged away by the ghosts onscreen and Mrs. Davis is never cursed.
  • Halloween II (1981) has a TV Recut that does this to a couple of characters. Jill is definitely killed in the theatrical cut, but her stabbing is softened in the TV version - with a few groans dubbed over the shot where she falls to the floor (implying she survives). The girl Alice that Michael kills in the opening is seemingly spared by re-editing the scene where Mrs Elrod discovers the bloody knife in her kitchen (implying she dies instead of Alice). Janet's death is removed, and replaced with a scene where she says she's leaving the hospital. Jimmy's fate is left open in the theatrical version - he passes out from a concussion in the parking lot - but the TV cut confirms he survives.
  • The TV cut of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later removed Jimmy and Tony's deaths, but also inverted this by excising the scene where Ronnie is revealed to have survived accidentally being shot by Will.
  • Halloween (2007):
    • The seedy new guard who Ismael is showing the ropes to dies during Michael's escape in the extended cut, but is absent in the original version.
    • The alternate ending has Michael gunned down by a crowd of cops, seemingly ending his rampage. In the final cut, he survives being shot once by a struggling Laurie and returns to kill again in the sequel.
  • Halloween II (2009): Laurie is institutionalized after her Sanity Slippage in the theatrical version, while in the alternate cut, she is shot.
  • Halloween Kills: An interesting multi-film example appears. Cameron is killed by Michael, while in a Deleted Scene for the previous film (for which Halloween Kills is an Immediate Sequel), he's arrested for mouthing off to the cops enforcing the curfew, and being in jail would have kept him safe.
  • Hard Boiled originally ended with Tony dying from his self-inflicted Shoot the Hostage gambit, but during filming the cast and crew begged Woo not to end the film on such a bitter and tragic note, and convinced John Woo to rewrite the ending.
  • Wormtail's death scene was filmed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 but was deemed too gruesome for the PG-13 rating and therefore got cut.
  • Heat:
  • Hell in the Pacific: The film's sole two characters are killed in an artillery strike at the end, but in an alternate ending, they survive and merely go their separate ways.
  • 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.
  • In a deleted scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Pat Roach's agent boards the second biplane on the Zeppelin with a World War I flying ace (played by Frederick Jaeger), only for the pair to fall to their deaths after the flying ace makes an error.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, Mister Potter was originally supposed to die of a heart attack while counting his ill-gotten money, but Frank Capra decided it was too mean-spirited. The scene is sadly lost.
  • James Bond:
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond was originally going to kill Jaws by dropping him into an inferno. Albert R. Broccoli realised the character's appeal and had him survive.
    • In Tomorrow Never Dies, the henchman that Elliott Carver catches sleeping on the job was originally beaten to death by Stamper.
    • In The World Is Not Enough, there was reportedly a plan for Elektra King to survive and for Bond to visit her in the hospital where she was being treated for Stockholm Syndrome, but this was considered too downbeat.
    • In Skyfall, M's assistant Vanessa originally had a more prominent role. She was to be on duty at MI6 HQ while M went to see Mallory. Telling Tanner about the MI6 computer attack, she was also to be the person discovering M's computer hacked by Silva's images before being killed in the explosion.
  • 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.
  • Jaws 2: Marge and the helicopter pilot manage to escape from the shark in multiple script drafts, but both appear to die in the filmed version. The penultimate version of the script also has Bob get eaten by the shark, while he survives the final version.
  • In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Maisie's nanny Iris was killed by the Indoraptor in a deleted scene. Since this didn't make it into the theatrical cut, the last we see of her is when Eli fires her prior to the dinosaur auction, suggesting she left the mansion before the chaos begins.
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride was originally supposed to kill Elle Driver by slicing her throat. It was decided to leave her fate ambiguous.
  • The King of Comedy: Jerry Lewis suggested that Jerry Lawford be killed by Rupert Pupkin at the end of the film but Martin Scorsese rejected his idea.
  • Living Dead Series:
    • Dawn of the Dead (1978) originally ended with all the characters dying, with Peter and Francine both committing suicide - Peter by shooting himself in the head and Francine by getting her head sliced off by the helicopter propeller
    • Land of the Dead: Sutherland, Kaufman's more reasonable co-leader, is betrayed and shot by Kaufman in the film. In the original script, he survives to lead an evacuation of Fiddler's Green while leaving the avaricious Kaufman behind to die.
  • In the unrated director's cut of The Lawnmower Man, Jobe kills Dr. Angelo's wife Caroline by taking control of her and forcing her to shoot at Shop agents who then shoot back at her and kill her. In the original theatrical cut however, the scene where Caroline leaves to hang out with friends was instead her leaving Lawrence for good, and so she disappears from the rest of the movie and thus (presumably) survives in this version.
  • An alternate ending of Lethal Weapon 2 had Riggs still with Rika, who is killed in the theatrical cut.
  • 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.
  • One deleted scene from Mad Max was said to have the Toecutter's gang return to Main Force Patrol headquarters and kill the remaining MFP officers. That may explain the absence of Max's comrades when he goes hunting for the bikers.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers (2012): NYPD Officer Saunders appears in one scene of the theatrical cut (which he survives), but the last of the several deleted scenes where he provides additional aid in the final battle has him get shot and apparently killed.
    • 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.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Hawkeye was originally going to be the one to sacrifice himself on Vormir, until the female crewmembers protested.
    • Razor Fist was originally supposed to sacrifice himself to save Katy near the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but his death scene was left out of the final cut.
  • 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.
  • Ardeth Bey was originally scripted to die at the end of The Mummy (1999), but Stephen Sommers changed his mind and spared him because he thought the character was too heroic to be killed off.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: Joey and Kincaid die in the first script draft (leaving Kristen as the Final Girl of the mental patients), but they survive alongside Kristen in the filmed version.
  • Natural Born Killers:
    • Oliver Stone's original ending had Mickey and Mallory end up murdered by the prisoner who helped them escape.
    • The opening scene features a newspaper with a headline about Mickey and Mallory massacring six teenagers who were having a slumber party, with the paper containing a picture of the girl they spared, Grace Mulberry. A deleted scene has Mickey stab Grace while she's testifying at his trial. In the final cut, however, Mickey and Mallory are temporarily disenchanted with killing at that point. As a result, Grace lives (albeit in a Demoted to Extra capacity that borders on being a Deleted Role).
  • 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.
  • The Postman
    • In the script, the captured California postal carrier who gets the film's Wham Line is simply taken back to his cell after a shaken Bethlehem stops the execution. In the final film, Bethlehem shoots him in a rage.
    • In the script, one of the main letter carriers is one of the Benning gatekeepers, who survived the attack on the town. In the filmed version, his character is from Pineview, and it's never confirmed if anyone survived the sack of Benning.
  • Red River's original ending had had Tess and Matt escort a mortally wounded Dunson across the Red River, where they stand him up long enough to have him die on Texas soil. Writer Borden Chase vigorously objected to Howard Hawks' change but to no avail.
  • Ride the High Country's original ending had Gil Westrum dying and Steve Judd surviving. Sam Peckinpah felt it more poignant that Westrum is redeemed by promising the dying Judd that he will deliver the gold, so the characters' outcome were reversed.
  • In the original script for RoboCop 2 (written by Frank Miller and later adapted as Frank Miller's RoboCop), before it was split into the final version of 2 and RoboCop 3, the Rehabs would've started their campaign to discredit Murphy by killing Sgt. Reed and then killed Estevez (played by a Latina in the film, but depicted as a white man in the comic), with Lewis being among the survivors. Estevez survived the final version of 2 and didn't appear in 3; when the Rehabs were brought back for 3, it was Lewis who was killed; and Reed survived both movies.
  • Scream:
    • For Scream (1996), Wes Craven wasn't sure if he was going to kill Dewey off - so he shot it both ways (including a scene of him being loaded into an ambulance as a precaution). He chose to spare him thanks to test audiences responding well to his character. If you look closely at the scene where Gail falls unconscious next to him, he's not breathing.
    • A discarded script draft of Scream 2 has a Downer Ending where, instead of helping save Sidney and Gale, Cotton tries to kill them out of bitterness over his original imprisonment. He and Sidney mortally wound each other. Both survive in the filmed scene.
    • Inverted with Kirby in Scream 4. A deleted scene had a "we got a heartbeat" from a paramedic examining her, but she appears to die in the finished film.
  • One of the re-written endings to Se7en involved John Doe kidnapping Mills. Somerset discovers that Doe was raised by an abusive priest in a church orphanage. He finally traces Doe to a decrepit church decorated with artwork depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, where Doe is intent on making Somerset murder him out of vengeance. As Somerset arrives, Doe has cut a cross in Mills' chest, has suspended him above an altar and shoots him. Mills finally dies in Somerset's arms as the church is set on fire. Doe and Somerset subsequently engage in a shootout, with Somerset wounding Doe and letting him die in the flames. The script ends with Mills' funeral.
  • Grachhus in Spartacus was supposed to commit suicide by slitting his wrists in the bath. This scene was cut and as a result, he reappears at the end to carry off Maximus.
  • The Alan Ruck character in Speed (Stephens) was originally written as an abrasive lawyer, who gets his comeuppance in an unexpected death scene. Joss Whedon re-wrote him as the sympathetic, dull-witted tourist of the final version, but kept the death scene, intending to give it more emotional impact. His character changes were kept, but the death was written out. For the record, the scene in question is when the hostages are leaving the bus via a platform, and when the bus hits a bump, Stephens slips and is nearly run over.
  • This happened to both of Sylvester Stallone's most iconic characters:
    • First Blood originally had the book's ending where Col. Trautman kills Rambo. Test audiences found it too depressing, so it was changed.
    • The original script and filmmakers of Rocky V had intended the final fight with Gunn to actually end with Rocky dying due to the effort after beating Tommy Gunn. United Artists decided otherwise, and Stallone (who compared to killing off Superman) happily agreed to rewrite the ending.
  • Star Trek:
    • Chekov would have been Killed Off for Real in Film Star Trek The Motion Picture by an exploding console during V'Ger's attack on the Enterprise. It was later changed so that he was just injured, and Lieutenant Ilia uses her telepathic/empathic ability to stop the pain in his burned hand.
    • There was some debate as to who would get killed off in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Saavik or David Marcus. Ultimately they chose to have David make a Heroic Sacrifice to atone for the damage he had done with the Genesis Project and also to balance out the return of Spock.
    • 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.
  • Star Wars:
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, General Veers was originally supposed to die when a damaged snowspeeder crashes head-on into his Walker. This was kept in the novelization. Also, Lobot was supposed to be captured by stormtroopers and taken away to be killed.
    • 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.
    • The character who originally occupied the role of Poe Dameron was originally supposed to die early in The Force Awakens, possibly in the TIE Fighter crash (he was even nicknamed "John Doe" in the first drafts). This made Oscar Isaac hesitant to accept the role, because he had played a character who suffered a similar fate in The Bourne Legacy. However, J. J. Abrams decided to spare Poe after finding a way to temporarily write him out of the story without killing him.
  • Street Fighter: Vega was supposed to die after being impaled on his own claws. The scene was heavily re-edited after the MPAA threatened the movie with an R-rating, which is why in the finished film, Vega is knocked to the ground by Ryu in an awkward cut and then just lays there, as well as why he's never seen again after that.
  • In some versions of Superman II, a boy riding a horse in the first town Zod conquers is killed by Non when he tries to ride for help, but his death scene is missing from most TV versions of the movie and the Donner Cut.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) had a Foot ninja names Shinsho beaten to death by Tatsu. This was deemed to dark and lines and heavy breathing was added to the final cut to imply that he survived but passed out.
  • 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 Thing (1982): Nauls was originally killed by a jack-in-the-box like alien, only they cut the scene as the special effects didn't look real enough, and John Carpenter liked leaving it ambiguous anyway. Another scene, which made it to storyboards but was never filmed, showed him being eaten alive from the inside out by a series of Thing-tentacles.
  • The Train: Papa Boule and Jacques live in the script but die in the film due to their actors being too busy to film all of their planned scenes.
  • The original ending to True Romance had Clarence Worley dying in the final shoot-out.
  • Infamously happens to just about every victim in the theatrical version of Two-Minute Warning in the television Recut. The sniper deliberately misses his targets in this version, and the only person we actually see die is the sniper himself.
  • The screenplay for Unforgiven reveals that the Schofield Kid drowned himself out of guilt for having killed a man.
  • The original script for The Usual Suspects contains a scene where Redfoot's bullet-ridden corpse is found embedded in a windshield.
  • The 102-minute American cut of Virus (1980) ends with automated nuclear missiles going off toward the colony of the last surviving humans, with no indication that they'll survive, as An Aesop. The 155-minute Japanese version and the original novel both show people surviving in the aftermath of the missile strike.
  • The original ending to Withnail & I had Withnail drinking wine from the shotgun before killing himself with it.

    Literature 
  • Down To A Sunless Sea: In the first edition of the book, all but two of the four hundred or so survivors succumb to radiation sickness, with the last pages setting up an Adam and Eve Plot. However, the author quickly grew dissatisfied with this ending and re-released the book, cutting out the final section and ending the book with a scene where the characters find out that they won't die of radiation sickness, exposure to the cold, or starvation in the coming months and proceed to celebrate.
  • Harry Potter: Remus Lupin and his wife Tonks survive in the original outlines of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while Arthur Weasley dies, but J. K. Rowling couldn't bring herself to kill off Arthur, and killed Lupin and Tonks to compensate for this.
  • Felix Leiter originally suffered a Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome in Live and Let Die when the villains feed him to a shark. Ian Fleming's American publisher talked him out of it and he settled for having him lose an arm and a leg instead.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Pippin was originally going to be squashed by a troll during the Battle at the Black Gate. C. S. Lewis managed to talk J. R. R. Tolkien out of it.
  • Stephenie Meyer wrote a sequel to Twilight where Laurent's Heel–Face Turn sticks, and he and his lover Irina survive until the end. Meyer disliked the finished book (feeling that the Time Skip was a mistake) and decided to spread the plot developments of the original sequel across three books instead of one. In those books, both Laurent and Irina die.
  • Watership Down: Bigwig was originally supposed to die after fighting General Woundwort. After Richard Adams' daughters begged him to spare him, he changed his mind.
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    Live Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • In the middle of the first season, Corrupt Corporate Executive Ian Quinn escapes with the crate of Gravitonium. A scene originally showed a fellow unwitting agent of HYDRA, Raina, killing him by letting the mysterious element consume him but it was removed, leaving the character and plot device open for a return. It was ultimately subverted however, as the show brought back the Gravitonium plot but the actor playing Quinn had retired from acting. The showrunners decided to simply put the cut scene back into the show as a flashback, leaving the character's fate neatly resolved with no further explanation required.
    • In a deleted scene from the pilot, the female scientist who gave Mike Peterson his powers was originally killed by her superiors when her cell phone attaches itself to her face and injects something that kills her instantly. The character's survival allowed her to make another appearance (which ended with her being burned alive, so it didn't save her for very long), while the deadly cellphone was saved for a more memorable scene later that season.
  • Mitch 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 David Hasselhoff and scrapped the death.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike was supposed to be killed off in his introductory season. Firstly when the organ falls on him in "What's My Line Part Two", secondly, Angelus was supposed to kill him in "Innocence" and make his move on Drusilla. The crew loved James Marsters so much that he was kept on.
    • Oz was supposed to be murdered by Angelus in season two, but his popularity with fans saved him, so Jenny was killed off instead.
    • Angel was supposed to stay dead after season two, until plans for his own show were made.
    • "Bad Girls" was supposed to end with Buffy confronting Faith in her motel, only to find that she's hanged herself out of guilt for murdering a human. It was decided to keep her on as an antagonist.
    • Xander was going to be killed by Caleb in "Dirty Girls" and The First Evil would take his form to torment Buffy. It was decided that with the finale approaching, there wasn't enough time to mourn him properly, so he lost an eye instead.
    • In at least one draft of the script for "Chosen", Potential Slayer Amanda doesn't die. In the filmed episode, she falls to the ground in front of Buffy with an apparently fatal wound. Joss Whedon supposedly made the change due to learning how popular her character was becoming and wanting to amp up the sense of loss in the final battle.
    • Early finale script drafts also had Xander die in the battle while the grieving Anya survives. In the actual episode, it's the other way around.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Leela was originally going to be Killed Off for Real in "The Invasion of Time", where she would die defending the Doctor against the Sontarans. Louise Jameson was in favour of this. Ultimately, Graham Williams and Anthony Read felt that this would traumatise children.
    • Peri's death in "Mindwarp" was originally going to be permanant. However, "The Ultimate Foe" later revealed that it was a lie by the Matrix and that she's alive and married to Ycranos. Nicola Bryant didn't learn about this until later and she was not pleased.
    • The Brigadier was supposed to die in "Battlefield", facing off against the Destroyer. This was approved by Nicholas Courtney, Andrew Cartmel and John Nathan-Turner. Ultimately, Ben Aaronovitch couldn't bring himself to do it.
    • In "The Invasion", Routledge attempts to shoot Tobias Vaughn, but Vaughn convinces Routledge to shoot himself. This scene was filmed, but was cut before transmission. It was restored in the novelisation.
    • Part five of "Planet of the Daleks" was originally going to end with all of the Thal characters massacred by the Daleks. Terrance Dicks, however, asked that Terry Nation not include this plot point, as the series was beginning to be criticised for its violent content.
    • In the original script for "New Earth", the Face of Boe was going to die in this episode (and thus impart his secret to the Doctor a year earlier) and the only way for the Doctor to cure all the diseased was to euthanize them all. But then Russell T Davies read Steven Moffat's introduction segment in The Season One Shooting Scripts book, in which Moffat good naturedly mocked Davies, saying he "creates interesting characters and then melts them". This made Davies decide to have them all survive instead. The Face of Boe was spared because his final message was felt to work better in season three.
    • In "School Reunion", what exactly happened to Milo between the Doctor's class and the scene at lunch? In the footage that was cut, the Doctor's questions to Milo actually made him collapse, prompting the Doctor to bring him to the school nurse, who turned out to be another Krillitane. This Krillitane then ate Milo, explaining what Wagner is referring to when he comes up to Melissa and tells her she's being moved up because Milo's failed him.
    • The original plan for "The Doctor's Daughter" was to keep Jenny killed off. However, Moffat noted that Davies seemed to have a habit of introducing interesting new characters and then promptly killing them off, which led Davies to change his mind.
    • In a leaked workprint of "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".
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Harry Kim was almost killed off to make way for Seven of Nine at the start of season four, which is why he's injured in the season three finale. This was scrapped when Garrett Wang was named as one of People Magazine's "Fifty Most Beautiful People", so Kes was written out instead.
  • Rhys Evans was supposed to be Killed Off for Real in the first season of Torchwood, but he was retained partly because the producers liked Kai Owen as an actor.

    Theatre 
  • Inverted in many productions of Othello. Roderigo is apparently killed off by Iago in the penultimate scene, but a brief line by Cassio later implies that he was Only Mostly Dead. The line is easy to miss, and many productions cut it altogether, making it appear that Roderigo is dead after all.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins had a scene where the player could be outed as a blood mage in front of the leaders of the mages and templars, which was removed for the final game but can be enabled through mods. The scene, if the player failed to lie their way out, would end with everyone in the tower — mages and templars alike — going hostile, forcing the player to kill them. This included Greagoir and Cullen, who are otherwise unkillable in the game.
    • Dragon Age II was originally supposed to conclude with an Expansion Pack called Exalted March, which was to set up the sequel Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was also meant to end with the death of fan-favourite Varric. When Exalted March was cancelled during pre-production, the developers were forced to rework most of their plans into Inquisition itself. This ended up changing the direction they took Varric’s character and he ended up surviving.
    • Cole, a spirit in human form, from Dragon Age: Inquisition has a Loyalty Mission where he must either become more human or more spirit-like in order to protect himself from being controlled by the Big Bad Corypheus. The plan was that Cole would protect himself and survive if the mission was completed, but if it wasn’t he would fall under Corypheus's influence and had to be fought and killed. The developers were unable to get this to work in-game, so in the final game Cole cannot be taken to the battle against Corypheus unless you complete his mission first.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Kenny was originally supposed to die in The Walking Dead: Season One after being surrounded by a group of walkers. However, the developers changed their mind as they wanted to bring him back in Season 2. In the end the just muted his death screams (which still exist in the game files and made it painfully clear that he was being eaten alive), leaving his "death" ambiguous enough that he could return.
    • In the final episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two, Clementine originally had the option to shoot Mike during a tense standoff, which was removed for the final release. It was apparently removed at the last second, as the option was available and fully functional in the Playstation 3 version by accident and had to be disabled with a patch.

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