The character of Mini-Me, played by the late Verne Troyer, was supposed to play a key role in the fourth Austin Powers film, according to director Jay Roach.
Speculation about a belated sequel to the bawdy trilogy has been widespread for years, with writer and star Mike Myers repeatedly pouring fuel on the fire.
It has been 17 years since Austin Powers in Goldmember arrived in cinemas and appeared to mark a truce between Myers’ title character and bald villain Dr Evil, who was also played by Myers.
Troyer made his debut in the second franchise entry, The Spy Who Shagged Me, as Mini-Me - a clone of Dr Evil, created to be an eighth of his size.
“To be honest, I don’t know how we’d do it without Verne,” said the 62-year-old filmmaker.
He added: “We always had ideas of revealing a whole life that he had that would have taken his character much further.
“If Mike cracks it and figures it out, we would definitely do some kind of tribute to him. I’m there if he ever wants to do it.”
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Roach, who also directed Meet the Parents and its sequel Meet the Fockers, said the prospect of Austin Powers 4 is something he remains keen to do.
He said: “We’ve been trying to think up an idea that could earn a fourth film for a long time, but it’s always up to Mike.
“He and I always thought there was more to do with Dr Evil.”
Roach has since made more dramatic films, including the Oscar-nominated biopic Trumbo and HBO’s Lyndon B. Johnson film All the Way.
Read more: Horrific story of an Austin Powers actor
His next project, scheduled for release later this year, focuses on Fox News and, specifically, several of its female personnel.
The A-list cast includes Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron.