Weekend Roundtable: Movie Character Retirement

After 17 years and 9 movies, Hugh Jackman says that ‘Logan’ will be his last appearance as Wolverine in the ‘X-Men’ franchise. It’s a shame that some other long-running movie characters don’t likewise have the good sense to hang up their hats. In this week’s Roundtable, we call out a few we think should consider heading off to retirement.

Brian Hoss

Harrison Ford was and is great. Indiana Jones, however, was only great prior to ‘Crystal Skull‘. Unfortunately, instead of letting that mistake fade into a seldom-visited darkness, the nuclear fridge-riding character is apparently going to return in a fifth film. Presumably, this one will be better. Even so, ‘Last Crusade’ should have been Indy’s retirement party.

M. Enois Duarte

When I heard this week’s topic, the name James Bond almost immediately came to mind. However, I then remembered one other character who needs even more to retire his license to kill and permanently put away his witty one-liners. Filmmaker Len Wiseman is currently working on bringing ‘Die Hard 6’, a.k.a. ‘Die Hard Year One’, to the big screen, and it’s rumored that Bruce Willis will reprise his career-making role as Det. John McClane. How exactly the filmmakers intend to justify Willis’s appearance in a so-called origin story is anybody’s guess. Wiseman directed the decently entertaining ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ (although some would argue that the PG-13 rating became a hindrance), so we can hope for the best. Unfortunately, after the terrible last installment, which was also PG-13, I really think the studio needs to retire the character before ruining his legacy with another bad sequel.

Luke Hickman

When the original ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ movie opened, like most, I was enchanted by Johnny Depp’s character, Capt. Jack Sparrow. He was a fun delight in the beginning – silly and comedic, yet smarter than he appeared and one step ahead of everyone else. Unfortunately, the two sequels that followed formed an incoherent mess of a trilogy, and let’s not even talk about the fourth one.

Back in the 1990s, Disney gave all of its terrible sequels direct-to-video releases. However, starting with ‘Pirates’, the studio pawned them off to theatergoers. Depp’s Jack Sparrow character is so worn out and that it’s not even close to being fun anymore. It also doesn’t help that every non-dramatic character that Depp has played since the first ‘Pirates’ is nothing more than a variation on Sparrow. In ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Depp plays a lispy Sparrow on acid. In ‘Into the Woods’, he plays a rapey Sparrow. Although we may someday be lucky enough for the ‘Pirates’ franchise to come to an end, we’ll likely never see the end of Sparrow while Depp is still acting.

Shannon Nutt

Can Warner Bros. cool its jets with Batman for a while? Yes, I understand he’s probably (at least currently) the most popular superhero from the pantheon, but his presence in almost every major DC Comics-related production these days seems like a bit of overkill.

It was great to see Batman given a more serious story (though now it seems much campier) back in 1989 with the Tim Burton movie. It was even nicer when Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale joined forces in their trilogy of films to provide what, for many, remains the definitive movie Batman. But the decision to shoehorn Batman into what should have been a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel seems very ill-advised in retrospect. Now fans are preparing for a ‘Justice League’ movie where, once again, Batman is the lead character – not to mention a standalone movie that will be directed by Matt Reeves (‘Cloverfield’, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’).

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Batman has his own standalone Lego movie now, needlessly made a cameo in ‘Suicide Squad‘, and I haven’t even mentioned how the studio finds a place for the character in every single DC Comics animated release on home video (see, for example, ‘Justice League Dark’, where Batman is a main character and serves no purpose whatsoever).

Hey, I love Batman as much as the next guy (or gal), and I’m not naive enough to think that Warner Bros. will let up on the Batman oversaturation until the money train finally runs dry. However, it would sure be nice to give Bruce Wayne a well-deserved vacation, at least until someone can figure out a new slant on the character that will make him seem fresh. Here’s a thought: How about a film where Batman actually uses his detective skills instead of his fists? I know, call me crazy…

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

In a perfect world, there would only have been one ‘Halloween‘ film revolving around Michael Myers. Rewatch the original by John Carpenter and block out everything from the sequels, remakes, and sequels to remakes. That version of Michael Myers is the bogeyman. We never witness any glimmer of humanity. That he has no motivation in particular for targeting Laurie Strode makes it all the more terrifying. Other takes on Myers are hellbent on back story and unnecessary explanations, diminishing so much of what made the initial film so brilliant. If you direct a bright, beaming light towards a shadow, it ceases to inspire fear, and that’s what the “Oh, he’s compelled to kill everyone in his family” and “This is how he got to be so messed up in the first place” sequels and remakes ultimately accomplish.

Josh Zyber

I’m a big fan of the ‘Terminator’ franchise, even some of the lesser entries. When I first saw the trailers for the last installment, ‘Terminator: Genisys‘, I thought it had the potential to be a playful twist on the series’ history, revisiting scenes from the earlier movies ‘Back to the Future Part II’-style. Unfortunately, when I actually watched the movie, I discovered that the plot gimmick was just a fan-service excuse to replay some Greatest Hits moments from the better films, and the way it addressed star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s aging felt jokey and desperate.

I’ve long believed that the franchise concept is strong enough to survive without Schwarzenegger’s T-800 character. ‘Terminator Salvation‘ attempted that (aside from a CGI cameo). It’s a shame that movie didn’t work as well as it should have and was dismissed by fans. The ‘Sarah Connor Chronicles‘ TV spinoff also never quite caught the public’s imagination. As a result, Schwarzenegger got dragged back for ‘Genisys’, which then bombed at the box office.

James Cameron reportedly will regain the rights to the property in 2019 and is said to be planning some sort of unspecified reboot with ‘Deadpool’ director Tim Miller at the helm. Whatever that turns out to be, I’m sure Cameron will want his pal Arnold involved. If that happens, I hope it’s tailored as a swan song for the star, and that any subsequent movies can move on without him.

What movie characters do you feel are ready to waltz off into retirement? Tell us in the Comments.


  1. Bolo

    I think they should have let the ‘Alien’ series die a long time ago. There’s a new one coming out this year,but I can’t even bother to watch the trailer.

  2. Pedram

    I know it won’t happen, but I hope Optimus prime gets retired from the Transformers movieverse soon. It’s almost painful to see him in bad sequel after bad sequel, and I have no hopes of the latest movie turning things around.

    I thought the first was great, but sadly it was all downhill after that.

  3. Dylan Rackel

    I’m definitely with Adam. The original Halloween is my favorite film, and if they would have just stopped there, it would have vaulted the movie even higher, but I understand they saw dollar signs. But back to the picture, Halloween 1 Michael Myers, with absolutely no clear reason, motivation or explanation for his actions, simply perfection.

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