5 Characters Who Deserved Better Fates
We’re all going to die… eventually. It’s a fact of life, much like taxes, that most people want to avoid thinking about as much as possible. Death surrounds us at all times of our lives and our entertainment media is no exception.
Much like in our actual lives, deaths in fictional entertainment can come out of nowhere for seemingly no reason as part of an unfair and unjust world. I’ve consumed a lot of media during my short life (as the majority of these blog posts will attest to) and I’ve seen many a fictional death in that time.
I’ve been thinking about this recently so I thought why not share with you guys some character fates in pop culture that wasn’t deserved at all.
5. Cyclops – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Bryan Singer must have been pretty mad in 2006. In the last six years, he’d built up a nice little franchise off this scrappy Intellectual Property Marvel had just sold Fox the rights to called X-Men. He took that scrappy franchise that could and built it up into the first real blockbuster superhero film eight years before Marvel released Iron man, knocking the domino over that cascaded into the largest cinematic universe ever seen.
Then Brett Ratner entered the picture, taking everything Singer had built up in the last two films, arranging them all in a nice neat row, grabbing a nice big hammer and proceeding to smash it all to bits.
Thoughtful breakdown of the comic book characters? Examination of the relationship between Professor X and Magneto? Nuanced takes on real-world issues and drawing parallels between mutants and real-life disenfranchised peoples? Who the hell ordered all that? Bin it and break out the CGI and flat one-dimensional characters.
It also manages to bungle the major X-Men comic event The Phoenix Saga (something that the nineties cartoon managed to handle with some semblance of grandeur). The body count in the film isn’t as high as the comics but it’s more the calibre of characters that are sacrificed on the altar of Ratner that irks me.
Leader of the X-Men and long-standing fan favourite Cyclops is the worst affected by Ratner. The character that had survived all sorts of peril ends up being taken out by a resurrected Jean Grey with a kiss which feels very underwhelming as a death for a beloved comic character.
Luckily, Singer returned to the series for X-Men: Days of Future Past to fix this mistake.
4. Captain James T Kirk – Star Trek Generations (1994)
William Shatner has been a sci-fi and pop culture icon for over thirty years now thanks to his premiere role Captain James T Kirk. Now, if you’re a film producer handling one of the most popular and financially lucrative franchises in entertainment history how do you send off your prize star?
Drop a bridge on him according to Star Trek Generations. Of course, this wasn’t just purely for a plot purpose, there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. It turns out the head honchos weren’t confident that a Star Trek film could be carried without the original cast.
Both Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelly refused to take part in the film as they believed the crews story had come to a satisfactory ending in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (makes sense as that film was explicitly written to send of the original cast).
The writers toyed with various ideas until they asked the unthinkable – What if we killed Kirk?
Of course, they didn’t land on death by bridge straight away, they had him shot on the back which is much more dignified. Yes, they brought Shatner and Kirk back to the series he helped popularise just to be killed. The test audiences cried out that the shot in the back didn’t feel heroic enough so they spun the wheel of death and landed on “death by bridge”.
It was an incredibly ham-fisted attempt to pass the torch from Kirk to Picard and could have been done so much better… at least have him fight The Gorn one last time.
3. Gwen Stacy – The Spiderman Series
Let’s wind the clock all the way back to 2014 and cast your mind back to The Amazing Spiderman 2. Ugh yes, I know, Paul Giamatti doing a bad Russian accent, Jamie Foxx covered in blue electricity, a wimpy Green Goblin and all that.
The film’s not great, the villains are shithouse but the one shining light in the film comes from the relationship between Spiderman and Gwen Stacy (Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone). A light that’s mercilessly snuffed out right at the end of the film after Gwen’s neck is snapped from Spiderman catching her mid fall down a clock tower. It’s the most effective moment in the scene and it’s not even original.
It was done all the way back in the 1973 comic The Night Gwen Stacy Died and it became a watershed moment for both Marvel and the character of Spiderman. She was his first girlfriend before MJ Watson and by 1973 we’d as an audience had known her as a well-established character.
In the film, we hardly know her and as a result, her death isn’t as powerful or moving as the film is trying to make it out. The character deserved more time to be developed instead of being killed off in a half-hearted attempt to add some emotional weight to a terrible film.
2. Arthur Dent – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
It must suck to have your home planet destroyed. I mean I know I’d hate it if the Earth was blown up, all my stuff is on Earth and I haven’t had a chance to finish off my interstellar jump ship yet (still have to pick out the upholstery on the comfy couches).
When I first read the Douglas Adams classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, I was always excited to be like Arthur and go travelling all around the galaxy with some mates. Now after all these years, rereading the book I’m a lot more empathetic to the moment when he realises that the Earth’s been destroyed.
The worst part is that the Earth ended up being destroyed just to create an interspace freeway, the equivalent of demolishing your beachfront property to get a better view of the seagulls flying by.
You know what’s even worse?
Even if the Earth hadn’t been destroyed in the book, Arthur now knows too much about the universe to be able to go back to his normal life without being able to forget everything he’d learnt over the course of the book.
Arthur deserved much better than having his home planet destroyed to build a freeway but also learning fundamental truths about the universe that he can never unlearn.
1. Lugo and Adams – Spec Ops: The Line (2011)
So, it’s another list and I’ve wound up talking about this game yet again. By my count, this is the fourth or fifth time the game’s been mentioned on my blog.
Anyway, so all through the game, we’re controlling Captain Martin Walker through the ruined hellscape of Dubai, fighting off rogue militia and disenfranchised locals all while confronting the hidden darkness of the human heart and the impact of war on the human psyche.
Walker’s flanked by his fellow Delta Force operatives Alphanso Adams and John Lugo whose progression through the game is tracked by the psychological breakdowns taking place as they are forced to partake in war crimes as they endure Walker’s spiralling descent into madness.
Eventually, Walker and the player’s actions go too far and as a result, both Adams and Lugo are killed (Lugo lynched by angry locals and Adams exploded by enemy ordinance). These comrades have followed you and Walker through hell and back and the loyalty and dedication they displayed to their commanding officer should have been rewarded by letting them escape from Dubai not be buried underneath it.
However, as the game itself says – “If Lugo was still alive, he would likely suffer from PTSD. So really, he’s the lucky one.”
I still believe that Adams and Lugo deserved better than being killed just for showing loyalty to their fellow soldier and friend.
Are there any characters that you think deserved a better fate? What do you think about the list? Let me know down below.
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