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Scarface's director regretted killing Tony Montana. He didn't know that the movie would have such success; he could have used the character to create a sequel.

Is it possible to revive someone who died in a movie in order to create a sequel? Did someone do that?

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It happens all the time in Soap Operas ... On a serious note, I'm sure there are plenty of examples, but for the life of me, they are not popping in my head right now! –  Paulster2 Feb 27 at 11:07
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And wouldn't this rather be the screenwriter's decision? The director doesn't have much to do with the overall story. But nevermind, I still get what you mean. –  Napoleon Wilson Feb 27 at 12:24
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There is always the prequels. Example of this is Lucian from Underworld. He wasn't the hero in the first, but he was in the 3rd movie (prequel to the first) –  DustinDavis Feb 27 at 19:48
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I think the title ("Would a director..?") and your first question ("Is it possible...?") are really speculative. I suggest you change the question to focus on if or where the return of a dead character actually happened. –  atticae Feb 27 at 20:36
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Not to mention Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? –  Carl Witthoft Feb 28 at 2:13

9 Answers 9

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Probably the most famous example I can think of for this is Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Despite his rather untimely demise in the previous film, Arnie is back albeit technically as a different terminator in the second film - however I fully admit I don't know enough about the film to know if this was always intended, or simply happened due to the financial implications of having Arnold.

Of course, an issue with your question is what you mean by killing a character. For example, pretend Lord of the Rings was a movie-only experience and no books had been written. I think most people would have looked at the first movie, and Gandalf's fall, and assumed death - but all that needed was a few clips to expand on the scene and everything changed.

In the movie you referenced, Scarface, given the fact it's not a sci-fi movie and there's no silly futuristic technology capable of doing anything, it would be difficult to imagine how anyone could return from that ending. But if he had been shot once and fallen off a cliff, since we never see the moment of death, he could certainly have returned - although whether or not he would have "died" in the way you meant would obviously be questionable.

Finally, although it's not quite what you asked, director's can leave a character in limbo. A famous example of that was Han Solo in the Empire Strikes Back. The story goes that Harrison Ford hadn't agreed to sign on for the final film yet. George Lucas, wanting to simply freeze time until the contractual negotiations had been completed and he knew one way or another did just that - he froze time, or rather Han Solo in the carbonite. That meant they could either kill him off if the negotiations didn't work or revive him, as they did, in Return of the Jedi.

Edit

Forgot to include the legendary Kris Kristofferson, playing Abraham Whistler, in the Blade films. Killed himself in the first one after becoming infected, pops right back up again in the second (although we never see the death in the first film, it is strongly implied as he is given a gun by Wesley Snipes who then walks away as a bullet fires).

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Good general answer (to a very general question). Another example would be Crank, or to be exact Crank 2, making him alive again after dropping out of a helicopter up high. That is to some degree set in a present day non-SciFi-Fantasy reality, yet a quite weird and stretched reality, though. –  Napoleon Wilson Feb 27 at 12:20
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Another example would be the Alien series, where Ripley is reborn either from hyper-sleep or DNA resurrection throughout the series. What is fun to note about the Terminator example is that he is resurrected from a bad guy into a good guy between the first and second films ... talk about messing with your head :-) –  Paulster2 Feb 27 at 14:07
    
@Paulster2: Agree totally. I still remember the scene where the two terminators meet in the hallway at the start. For all the world I thought Arnie was the bad guy! –  Andrew Martin Feb 27 at 14:24
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Bringing a (different) robot back from the dead does not seem like a good example to me, but maybe I'm too particular. And Han Solo was never considered dead. And Lord of the Rings? Somehow you answered the question without answering the question, it seems. Good job on the upvotes and acceptance. Napoleon and Paulster2 made better points in my opinion, and I'd have upvoted their answers if they weren't comments. A robot, a planned-out reincarnation, an implied death, and a guy we knew wasn't dead? sigh –  Meat Trademark Feb 28 at 5:23
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@MeatTrademark "I wasn't trying to be rude" - Haha, nobody assumed the opposite anyway. ;-) –  Napoleon Wilson Feb 28 at 23:51

Bobby Ewing in Dallas is a fine example

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I have heard a completely surprising turn of events being described as "a real Bobby in the shower moment" ;-) –  noonand Feb 27 at 15:31

I accept that it's not a movie but perhaps the canonical example of this is the return of Sherlock Holmes.

Wanting to devote more time to his serious novels, Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Holmes by having him plunge to his death from the Reichenbach Falls locked in a struggle to the death with his arch-enemy Moriarty.

Eight years later in real life (but three in the canon) after Doyle bowed to increasing public pressure, Holmes reappeared and explained to a shocked Watson that he had only faked his death in to fool his enemies.

"The Adventure of the Empty House" marks the beginning of the second set of stories, which Doyle continued to write until 1927, three years before his death.

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Unfortunately this is, as you said, not really answering the question and would be better fit as a comment. Or maybe you might be able to draw some connection to the actual question. –  Napoleon Wilson Feb 27 at 16:14
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@NapoleonWilson While the Sherlock Holmes example is about a book series rather than movie series (and an author instead of director) it is still related and, at least too me, a perfectly valid answer. I agree that without an edit it isn't good enough to be the "accepted" answer, but it certainly is a good addition. –  Tom Feb 27 at 16:37
    
I think there are many more literary examples of this, due to the way characters are often killed in books. You could write about somebody being shot, but that can mean anything. When it's filmed and the viewer actually SEES the damage, it's much harder to work around that. –  Andrew Martin Feb 27 at 17:14
    
@AndrewMartin There's really no difference at all. Just because something is shown in a movie doesn't mean it actually happened any more than if it's "just" written in a book. If you want to undo something, you can do that in a movie series just as "easily" as you can in a book series. –  Tom Feb 27 at 18:20
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@Tom: True. I guess it just depends on the situation and author/director. –  Andrew Martin Feb 27 at 20:40

Most often when they want to revive a character they start the sequel with an explanation why the character didn't die in the end. It doesn't have to make much sense of course, but well. In Death Race (2 and 3) for example it is shown that the main character didn't die and another guy was wearing the mask of the main character during the fatal race.

More often the dead/end of the main character is more mythical or unclear to keep the option of sequel open. Like in Crank.

In Crank the main character falls from a helicopter. He hits the ground/car, supposedly dead. But two heartbeats can be heard as the film fades to black and he blinks, the movie. Hence, the let the option open. Then, in Crank 2 (High voltage) he is alive again in and in "normal healthy" condition.

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It is of course possible to revive a dead character in the sequel but audience are not that stupid to believe such revivals.. Wat I have seen in many movies is that the same actor comes in the sequel as the dead character's son and the story is altered accordingly.


In the movie Scarface, what they could have done for a sequel is that Tony Montana's wife was pregnant at the time of his death and Al Pacino comes in as his son in the sequel.

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Or twin brother (e.g., City Slickers II‌​). –  Michael Itzoe May 30 at 14:18

Tony Montana himself was brought back for a video-game sequel. I know you were asking about movies, but since you used Scarface as an example, I think this might be of interest.

Scarface: The World is Yours is a quasi-sequel beginning with the film's final scene.

game cover

The game begins in the film's final scene, with the mansion of Tony Montana (voiced by André Sogliuzzo) being raided by assassins sent by Alejandro Sosa (Robert Davi). In a point of divergence from the film, Tony kills Sosa's assassin the Skull, that was to slay him. With the assistance of some of his surviving employees, Tony manages to escape just as the DEA and the Miami Police Department arrive to gun down the remaining hitmen.

Of further interest re: the filmmakers:

The developers originally asked Oliver Stone, the film's screenwriter, to write the script for the game. When Stone declined, they approached American screenwriter David McKenna, known for writing American History X and Blow, films which also feature criminal antiheroes. McKenna accepted after seeing early gameplay visualisations. As a fan of the film, he wanted to emphasise the over-the-top humour he perceived in the character of Tony Montana.1

Although Al Pacino lent his image to the game, he did not provide the voice for the Tony Montana character, as his voice had deepened considerably since the production of the film, due to his years of heavy smoking. Instead, actor André Sogliuzzo (who was selected by Pacino) imitated Al Pacino's voice.

Yes, pretty much anyone can be brought back for sequels. Sometimes it may be in another medium, though.

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I played that game, I love it, I upvote your answer for reminding me of my childhood :) –  Fischer Feb 27 at 19:46

My favorite example of this is Chow Yun Fat in John Woo's A Better Tomorrow II (screenplay by Tsui Hark). Fat dies at the end of the first A Better Tomorrow, but he comes back in A Better Tomorrow II as the twin brother of the protagonist in the first film. Sure, they're technically different characters, but their demeanor/action-style is pretty much the same. And the real kicker is that, as silly as this plot device sounds, A Better Tomorrow II is a better film that its predecessor in near every way.

Aside from that film, and the films mentioned above, sure. It happens all the time. Especially in horror films. Take Freddy Kreuger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example. Sure, he's the antagonist in the first film, but as he became the box office draw, he really became the series' protagonist.

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From previous comments:

(An) example would be Crank, or to be exact Crank 2, making him alive again after dropping out of a helicopter up high. That is to some degree set in a present day non-SciFi-Fantasy reality, yet a quite weird and stretched reality, though. – Napoleon Wilson

AND

Another example would be the Alien series, where Ripley is reborn either from hyper-sleep or DNA resurrection throughout the series. - Paulster2

And a few other examples:

"Curly" from City Slickers being brought back (using the same actor) as a twin brother. Usually a lame gambit used for soap operas.

Agent Smith was killed in The Matrix. Brought back for parts 2 and 3.

Spock gave his life in Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan "for the many" only to be brought back, ruining the meaning of his selfless sacrifice.

Elektra. Ugh, I almost don't even want to get into that awful nightmare.

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"(using the same actor) as a twin brother." that also happened within the movie "Beerfest" :) –  invalid_id Mar 1 at 10:44
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@invalid_id Beerfest is absolved of any shenanigans. Yeah. –  Meat Trademark Mar 1 at 12:11

Ramirez, played by Sean Connery, dies in Highlander, and returns to life, with no explanation whatever, in Highlander II. Both films were directed by Russell Mulcahy.

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There is no "highlander ii" movie. shudders –  Olivier Dulac Nov 10 at 17:32
    
Er... Yes, there is. Highlander II: The Quickening. Came out in 1991. I've seen it on TV. My son has the DVD. You can look it up on Wikipedia, or IMDB. Anything else I can help you with? –  PeterClose yesterday

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