With the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer currently crashing the internet and James Bond soon slinking back onto cinema screens, it’s all about movie franchises right now. Few film outings receive as much hype as these cinematic staples, yet they’re fraught with peril, as fanboys and girls are so protective of their favourite characters. Make a few creative decisions and you’re asking to slayed by online commenters. Sometimes, though, filmmakers come up trumps and prove their doubters wrong. From Heath Ledger to Harry Potter, here at five times the casting agents, directors and screenwriters had the last laugh…
Quicksilver appearing in X-Men: Days of Future Past
Quicksilver is a character some fans more readily associate with the Avengers franchise. Fans were irate to see Evan Peters playing the character, a mutant with the ability to move with lightning fast agility, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, as they were concerned it would mean he wouldn’t appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was released a year later in 2015. In the event, Aaron Taylor-Johnson also portrayed the character in the Avengers movie and a set-piece in which Quicksilver races around to save his pal from bullets became the most memorable scene of Days of Future Past.
Daniel Craig cast as the new James Bond
Blond, craggy-faced Craig faced even more hostility than Ledger, as fans petitioned to have him removed from 2006’s Casino Royale, believing him no match for dark-haired, traditionally handsome Pierce Brosnan, who had previously played Bond. Casino Royale was soon a critically adored box-office smash and now everyone’s beyond excited for Spectre, Craig’s fourth performance as the character, which is released later this month. The actor has even received a sea of approval from ’70s Bond Roger Moore, who recently said on Loose Women: “I think he’s terrific, he’s a great Bond. He looks like a killer, he really does. Scares me!”
Superman becomes a killer in Man of Steel
SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen Bryan Singer’s 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel, look away now. Anyway, Superman kills someone in the movie and if there’s one unofficial rule regarding the character, it’s that killing ain’t his bag. Fans vented online but screenwriter David S. Goyer explained: ” When you’re writing film or television, you can’t rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative.” The decision arguably ushered Superman into the new world of morally complex superheroes, a la The Dark Knight, as his upcoming Batman mash-up Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice may prove.
Heath Ledger cast as The Joker in The Dark Knight
If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s fans jumping the gun to write off an actor before they’ve had chance to prove themselves as a well-loved character. Redditers were up in arms when teen dream Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker in Christopher Nolans dark 2008 epic The Dark Knight, with one commenter summing up the general mood: “The Joker is a character that needs an actor with gravity. Not some little twerp who got lucky.” Ledger, who died before the film was released, went on to win a posthumous Academy Award for his manic performance.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being split in two
Online commenters decried the decision to split the final Harry Potter adaptation into two films, claiming it would ruin JK Rowling’s story. Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe defended the move in an interview with Total Film, citing the book’s density. “If you come to me with a satisfying adaptation of the seventh book into one film,” he said, “then we can have this debate.” The decision was a huge financial success, with the second film becoming one of the highest-grossing of all time and the tactic is now a film franchise staple, as Twilight and The Hunger Games having followed suit.