Second-Rate Tropes: Lead Characters Who Die Immediately In The Sequel/Next Season
Photo: Paramount Pictures
I might be in the minority, but shows like American Horror Story bother me. It has nothing to do with the writing or dreary tone (although that doesn’t help), but more concerns the very nature of anthology series. Namely, you only get a brief time with characters you grow to care about and invest in, only to have the slate wiped clean in the next installment. Otherwise known as Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome in the film and TV trope world, this has been an irksome trend in movies and shows for a long time. Don’t believe us? Here as several examples why it’s time to put this cliché on ice for awhile.
Lead Characters Who Die Immediately In The Sequel/Next Season
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) - 'Halloween: Resurrection'
Photo: Dimension Films
Kind of unnecessary for a movie called Halloween: Resurrection to feature the death of the franchise's leading lady in the opening. And it's always in the most stupidly contrived fashion.
Roxy (Sophie Cookson) - 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'
At least this movie had the good sense to bring Harry Hart (Colin Firth) -- arguably the best character from the original -- back from the grave. However, for being the top cadet in The Secret Service, Roxy sure doesn't get her due in the sequel...unless getting one's due means being blown up 30 minutes in. Nice hardly knowing ya, Rox.
James Whistler (Chris Vance) - 'Prison Break'
Photo: 20th Television
The entirety of the third season of Prison Break hinged on getting this new and intriguing character out of jail. He was shot in the head in the Season 4 premiere. You can see why that might leave a bad taste in viewers' mouths, despite the fact that he left the show seemingly to be on another show, which sort of drove the narrative in this case (pun accidentally intended).
Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) - 'Blade: Trinity'
Photo: New Line CinemaAnother Whistler, another useless death. Even more so since he already died in the original Blade, only to be resurrected in Blade 2. It seems a dead man walking can't live forever on borrowed time. You get one full movie, tops.
Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley) - 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'
Photo: New Line CinemaIn this case, since Austin Powers is a comedic spoof of James Bond, it makes sense that Vanessa was replaced by another hot actress in the form of Heather Graham in the sequel. But she was a fembot for the entirety of the first movie despite such a revelation making zero sense? Anything in the name of comedy you don't have to think about, I guess.
Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) - 'Zoolander 2'
The Zoolander movies aren't James Bond movies. Furthermore, Matilda was an integral part of the trio (obviously), and a good balance to Derek and Hansel's stupidity. Killing her off mere minutes after the original film ended was a slap in the face to folks who'd waited nearly 15 years for this already disappointing sequel.
John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) - 'Supernatural'
Photo: Warner Bros. Television DistributionMuch like the previously mentioned James Whistler, the entire first season of Supernatural was about finding Sam and Dean's father John. They found him, alright, only to have him injured in a car crash in the finale. He lived, however, making it all the way to nearly the end...of the Season 2 premiere. Guess family reunions are best short-lived.
Paxton (Jay Hernandez) - 'Hostel: Part II'
So the good guy gets his revenge and then...his head is chopped off. Like, right away. Great, they had to go and ruin cereal for us in the process, too!
Will Rodman (James Franco) - 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) - 'Alien: Covenant'
Photo: 20th Century FoxI've not actually seen this movie, but not because I didn't very much enjoy Prometheus. In fact, I loved it. That's why I bailed on its sequel. When the character you set up as essentially the next Ripley is literally ripped apart for no real purpose other than to make a menacing character more menacing, that's a hard pass.
Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) - 'Scream 3'
Photo: Dimension FilmsWe get it, all bets are off in the third film in a horror trilogy. But why would they even care to kill the guy who was basically the number one suspect in the killing sprees of both previous films? Instead, we get no redemption; we get no real arc at all. Just stabbin' for the sake of stabbin'.
Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) & Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) - 'Final Destination 2'
Photo: New Line CinemaWe'll end on a double whammy, as not only was the lead from the original killed between films via newspaper headline, but his leading lady also croaks midway, severing any connective tissue to the first movie, and hence, our interest.
A little hypocritical, but tune in again soon for a brand new trope we’ll be asking to tender its resignation. A little hypocritical, but tune in again soon for a brand new trope we’ll be asking to tender its resignation. A little hypocritical, but tune in again soon for a brand new trope we’ll be asking to tender its resignation. (Don’t worry, this repetition will all make sense very soon.)