Unless you’re the Son of God or a soap character, death is usually the end. But there’s a place on Earth where even the grip of the Grim Reaper counts for nothing – Hollywood, USA.
You see the humble Hollywood producer wields a force more powerful than death. It’s called money, and it makes sequels to successful movies happen, regardless of silly little details like the death of a major character.
Logic be damned! If you want a follow-up as good as the first, you’re going to need the old cast back together - alive and well.
So get digging, Hollywood’s going all Burke and Hare… Here are the sequels that brought their characters back from the dead, and the implausible plots too.
The character: Ellen Ripley in Alien Resurrection (1997)
The resurrection: Cloning
Sigourney Weaver’s eternal E.T. hater, Ellen Ripley, finished up ‘Alien 3’ by leaping into a giant furnace – incinerating herself and the unborn alien Queen that was about to burst from her chest. Noble and dramatic: double tick. Skip forward 200 story years to ‘Alien Resurrection’ (giveaway title?), and sneaky scientists create a clone of Ripley from blood samples taken just before her death. They then harvest the alien DNA from within her, and begin to grow monsters of their own. Needless to say splatter ensues. Did they learn nothing from ‘Jurassic Park’?
The Character: Chev Chelios in Crank 2: High Voltage (2009)
The resurrection: Jump-start heart
After being injected with a heart-stopping poison, Jason Statham’s rogue hitman, Chev Chelios, is forced to keep his adrenalin flowing, his heart pumping, and death at bay. He gets his kicks from shoplifting, street brawls and public indecency before finally tumbling out of a helicopter and belly-flopping to the ground. Miraculously the Stath wakes up a whole movie later, fitted with a snazzy artificial heart, but a less than impressive battery life. The solution? Recharge however possible: live wires, car batteries, even friction (want to guess how he got that?) – and you’ve got a whole other movie to stave off death.
The character: Barbossa in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
The resurrection: Voodoo magic
Geoffrey Rush’s scurvy skeleton pirate, Captain Barbossa, spent the entire first movie trying to break the Aztec curse that kept him and his crew permanently undead – lifting the spell just in time to take a bullet in the chest. Awkward. One movie later when Jack Sparrow got himself eaten by the Kraken, his mates needed an experienced seaman to guide them to his rescue: step forward a sprightly-looking Barbossa – somehow resurrected by unearthly wizard-woman Calypso, no questions asked… well, none answered anyway.
The character: Leticia Ortiz in Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
The resurrection: Wasn’t really dead
Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty narrowly escaped the Reaper after flipping her car in ‘Fast 4’, only to be gunned down by the nasty Fenix as she crawled from the wreckage - just to make sure she was extra dead. However Fenix must have trained at the Stormtropper School of Marksmanship, as a post-credit scene in ‘Fast 5’ revealed a photo of Letty in a fresh police file, before the hard-to-kill character finally reappeared in the recent ‘Fast 6’ – now working for the bad guys. How you ask? That old soap-star favourite amnesia of course. Doesn’t really explain the bullet proof thing though, does it?
The Character: Spock in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)
The resurrection: Personality transplant
“He’s dead Jim!” Oh wait, no he’s not… When Leonard Nimoy’s noble Vulcan sacrificed himself to save the crew of the Enterprise at the end of ‘The Wrath Of Khan’, we were given one of the most wobbly-lipped moments in sci-fi history: Spock’s funeral. But how could the franchise carry on without its most endearing figure? Well, it couldn’t. Spock’s space-ejected coffin lands nice and safe on a nearby world formed by the “Genesis Device” detonated in ‘Khan’. He’s then reborn thanks to the planet’s life-giving powers, and later picks up his personality from Dr McCoy - who he left his memories with via a “mind-meld” in the previous movie. Handy that…
The character: Imhotep in The Mummy Returns (2001)
The resurrection: Egyptian curse
After evil Egyptian high priest, Imhotep, is awakened from death via accidental incantation in the first ‘Mummy’ movie, he embarks on a life-absorbing reign of terror to reincarnate himself – only to be killed the minute he becomes mortal again. Gutted. But, if he could do it once, he could do it again. We should have seen it coming. Actor Arnold Vosloo’s Imhotep is swiftly dragged back from the grave to do more mummy-ing around in the sequel. This time accompanied by dead girlfriend, Anck-Su-Namun, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s curse-riddled Scorpion King. Extra resurrection points there.
The character: Curly in City Slickers II: The Legend Of Curly’s Gold (1994)
The resurrection: Identical twin
Endearing Eastwood-esque ba*tard Curly suffered a heart attack whilst on the cattle trail with Billy Crystal’s troop of midlife crisis plagued pals. Jack Palance bagged an Oscar for the role, justifying any means possible to resurrect the popular character for a sequel (including sticking his name in the title). In the end producers gave us the old switcheroo, introducing Palance back as Duke – Curley’s suspiciously-identical twin brother. A cheap trick, but it worked.
The character: Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The resurrection: Psychic spirit
In 'X-2’, super psychic mutant Jean Grey forms a telekinetic wall to protect her fellow X-Men from the tidal wave of water released by a collapsing dam. They make their escape, and Famke Janssen’s Jean is presumably killed - crushed by the weight of the wet stuff. However Jean then mysteriously appears to boyfriend Cyclops in ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ - sucking out his life-force and trading existences. Turns out it’s the character’s vicious psychic alter-ego, The Phoenix, a villain who features heavily in the comic book lore. So, once again Jean sacrifices herself for the greater good – suiciding on Wolverine’s claws.
The character: Ramirez in Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
The resurrection: Change the rules
Sean Connery’s Scottish/Spanish/Egyptian/who knows what immortal bowed out of ‘Highlander’ without a head – having had it dramatically lopped off in a duel with the Kurgan. Poor sequel 'The Quickening’ shoehorned in a flashback scene with Ramirez telling pal MacLeod “When you need me, you’ll only have to call my name” – so he did just that. After MacLeod slays two fellow immortals, the bizarre “Quickening” process that transfers the life force of defeated foes unto the victors rejuvenates him, and with one throaty call of “RAMIREZ!” summons his dead pal back to life too – midway through an in-movie production of 'Hamlet’. We know. Don’t even try to understand it…
Think we’ve missed a silly resurrection? Tell us in the comments below.