We’ve seen a lot of amazing moments on-screen, but what about the ones that COULD have been if things had been different? If casting rumours had been true, directors hadn’t got stuck on other projects or there was more money in the budget…
Tupac Shakur as Mace Windu in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels
The murdered rapper read for George Lucas just before his death in September 1996. Either he didn’t get the role, or Samuel L. Jackson was a pretty cool back-up.
Indiana Jones and the Monkey King
An abandoned script by ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Goonies’ writer Chris Columbus, this was actually going to be the third film in the franchise and involves 200-year-old pygmies, Nazis and Indy being brought back from the dead in a garden of immortal peaches.
Marlon Brando’s cameo at the end of ‘The Godfather Part II’
The icon was supposed to feature in a birthday flashback scene and had even said yes to Francis Ford Coppola. But financial issues with Paramount meant the actor never showed up.
Kojack appearing in ‘Superman: The Movie’
Director Richard Donner says the original script for ‘Superman’ had Telly Savalas’ bald detective showing up and quipping his famous catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” when the Man of Steel mistakes him for Lex Luthor. We think it would have been quite cool.
The dark version of ‘Pretty Woman’
Julia Roberts has a great laugh and everything, but it would have been interesting to see how she dealt with the dark drama that the script originally called for when it was titled ‘3000’ and was about a drug addict.
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Casino Royale’
The director has always wanted to make a Bond film and actually bid for the book rights to ‘Casino’, saying he would keep Pierce Brosnan as Bond and set it in the 1960s with Uma Thurman as Vesper Lynd. Tell us that doesn’t sound awesome.
Jack Nicholson playing Napoleon in a biopic directed by Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick did years of pre-production on his movie about the French emperor, cast Jack in the lead role and arranged to shoot with thousands of extras in France and Romania. Unfortunately, the budget skyrocketed and the film never happened.
Vin Diesel riding elephants across the Alps
Diesel has dreamed of playing legendary Carthaginian leader Hannibal for years, the man known for marching with a herd of elephants across the Pyrenees and Alps into Italy. Maybe he can somehow weave it into the next ‘Fast & Furious’.
Christopher Weekes’ script ‘The Muppet Man’ topped industry chart The Black List a few years ago and is a quirky biopic of Muppet creator Jim Henson. Though it’s said to be in development, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the film – it’s opening scene features Kermit waking up with stubble and a hangover.
James Cameron’s ‘Planet of the Apes’
The director’s version was buzzing around Hollywood in 1996/7 and apparently featured an old Charlton Heston who has fathered a tribe of reclusive humans and a more technologically-advanced ape population who are ruled by a perverted egomaniac likened to a primate Caligula.
The Twin Towers scene in ‘Spider-Man’
An early teaser trailer had a spectacular sequence in which a bank robbers’ helicopter was captured in a web suspended between the two buildings. After 9/11, the shot was removed from both the trailer and the movie.
Tim Burton’s ‘Jurassic Park’
When Michael Crichton’s then-unpublished novel was being shopped around Hollywood, Burton – hot off ‘Batman’ – was one of the directors considered. Can you imagine?
‘World War Z’ original battle-tastic ending
The troubled production had its third act completely rewritten, so you’ll never see what was intended to be a spectacular Russia-set final battle, rather than the low-key scenes that were in the final cut.
David Duchovny as the Incredible Hulk
The ‘X-Files’ star was frontrunner to take over from Eric Bana for a straight to DVD sequel to the 2003 film. It never happened, obviously.
Sylvester Stallone writing, directing and starring in ‘The Godfather Part III’
Back in 1983, Sly was approached to make the sequel and he envisioned a contemporary crime story about the family in which John Travolta would have played Michael’s son, Anthony. As strange as this sounds, it probably would have been better than what we ended up with.
Johnny Depp’s ‘Birdman’ cameo
Writer/director Alejandro Iñárritu planned to have the final scene set in a talk show dressing room, where Johnny Depp is sitting next to a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ poster, only for Jack Sparrow to come alive and say, “What the f*** are we doing here, mate?”. You know, because Depp is being smothered by that character too.
David Lynch’s ‘Return of the Jedi’
The esoteric director met with George Lucas who tried to convince him to helm the third ‘Star Wars’ movie, but it wasn’t to be. Here’s hoping that his version would have had Yoda talking backwards. Even more than usual.
National Lampoon’s ‘Jaws 3, People 0’
Written by John Hughes and directed by Joe Dante, Spielberg threatened to walk from his deal at Universal if the spoof threequel went ahead. It didn’t and instead we got a rubbish 3D one starring Dennis Quaid.
The version of ‘Anchorman’ where the newsmen fought ninja monkeys after a plane crash
Apparently this was one of the original premises for the comedy and also included Burgundy and co. turning to cannibalism. Certainly would have been avant garde.
Nicolas Cage as Superman
Costume tests posted online show just how close Cage came to being the Man of Steel for director Tim Burton. What a missed opportunity. The documentary ‘The Death of Superman Lives’ covers the whole sorry affair in great detail.
Nick Cave’s mad script for ‘Gladiator 2’
The Aussie singer/songwriter called it ‘Christ Killer’ and it featured Russell Crowe’s character in purgatory who is sent back to Earth by the gods to kill a messiah who is destroying heaven. Or something. Ridley Scott called it a great piece of storytelling.
The ‘Halo’ movie
A cinematic version of the videogame mega-franchise has been mooted for years, produced by Peter Jackson and at one time to be directed by Neill Blomkamp, but no-one’s ever been able to crack it. You’ll probably have to make do with the webseries ‘Halo: Nightfall’.
Ridley Scott’s ‘I Am Legend’ starring Arnie with practical VFX vampires
Even those who enjoyed the Will Smith version of the book were disappointed by the CGI baddies. Back in the late 1990s, Scott would have made them look like this. What a shame we never got to see it.
Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Crusade’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger has said it was the director’s inability to kowtow to the studio that derailed the epic back in the early 1990s, which had sets built in Spain, co-starred Jennifer Connelly and Robert Duvall and wouldn’t have balked from the racial and religious issues the war brought up.
An even darker version of Disney flick ‘The Black Cauldron’
The 1985 cartoon is already pretty un-Disneyfied, but it could have been more so if executive Jeffrey Katzenberg hadn’t insisted on cutting 12 minutes of even more downbeat material from the final product.
The unfinished Sex Pistols film ‘Who Killed Bambi?’
Co-written by film critic Roger Ebert, the final scene featured Johnny Rotten looking into the camera and saying, ‘Did yer ever have the feeling yer being watched?’ before fading to black. It shot for half-a-day before it was canned over concerns about the content.
John Hughes’s best unmade script ‘Oil & Vinegar’ which would have starred Matthew Broderick and Molly Ringwald
Taking the single room conceit further than he did in ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Oil & Vinegar’ was set almost entirely between two people in a car. Director Howard Deutch called it one of Hughes’s best pieces of writing.
Kubrick’s hardcore porn film
Writer Terry Southern tells the story of Kubrick watching a porno in 1964 and saying that he would like to make one with “really beautiful actors and good equipment”. The closest he got was ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.
David Bowie as a Bond villain in ‘A View to a Kill’
While Christopher Walken is great as Max Zorin, think what it would have been like with Bowie who was initially announced in the role. Just think.
George Miller’s Justice League movie
A pre-stardom Armie Hammer as Batman, supermodel Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, unknown DJ Cotrona as Superman – all given Miller’s magic touch. Would have taken DC in an intriguing and probably Snyderless direction.