You can't make a Sequel -- You killed off the Character!

A fourth Matrix film is currently in production, starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss. Neo has already died twice, so maybe he exists solely in the matrix. I’m not sure how Trinity can be revived after her half-hour long death scene in The Matrix Revolutions, though.

The first episode of Hill Street Blues ends with the shooting of two patrolmen, Hill and Renko. Capt. Furillo gets a call late at night; he says to his lover Joyce afterward that they’ve been shot: “They’re both in intensive care.”

In the original script, he says “One critical, one DOA.” The network, after screening the pilot, forced the showrunner to reshoot Furillo’s scene, as they felt Hill and Renko were two of the more likeable characters. Thing is, Charles Haid, who played Renko, did it as a favor to the showrunner Steven Bochco. He was the one who was DOA. So when the network picked up the series, they had to seriously negotiate with Haid to continue the role. That’s why in the opening credits he’s billed as “Charles Haid as Renko.” (At least that’s how it was told to me. YMMV)

Maybe their deaths were actually in a simulation and there are various nested artificial realities.

The Matrix(Simulation #1)----Zion Reality(Simulation #2)—?(other simulations perhaps)------Reality

He got better.

Oops. wrong Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference. Nevermind.

Chris Elliott in Get A Life! At some point in the first season they killed off Chris, then it became a running theme for the rest of the series.

Sometimes the author forgets he killed off a character and gets mad when you pointed this out, as what happened to me w/ Dan Simmons when I noted that having Paul Dure be resurrected in Endymion was impossible given the Shrike removed Dure’s cruciform in The Fall of Hyperion… ‘The shrike had granted me death without killing me’.

Too bad I didn’t keep his ‘leave me alone’ email, lol.

He should have simply replied with the well-known quote from Emerson:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.


Stephen King would like to retort:

Take that, Waldo!

Hey, it happens. Authors generally don’t keep a “consistency file” to make sure they always stick to a consistent background. Just look at the plethora of examples in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, or with Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe.

It happens in movies, too. There a scene that they actually filmed for From Russia with Love that they had to cut out because the character involved in the scene had been killed off several scenes earlier.

Among the most un-kill-offable characters in fiction is iconoclastic F.B.I. agent Aloysius Pendergast in the Preston/Child novels.

Marched to the edge of a deep pit, manacled, with a gun at his head…walled up in a basement tomb like Fortunato in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”…driven to the edge of death on a doomed ship by an evil thought form…it doesn’t matter. You know he’s going to stage a miraculous escape and return to astound his friends and enemies, always while impeccably dressed.

This reminds me of the writers’ meeting in the movie Soapdish. When bringing back a character is suggested: “The guy was killed in an auto accident! I looked it up! He was driving in the Yukon, in a pink convertible, to visit his brother who’s an ex-con named Frances, when a tractor trailer comes along and decapitates him. You know what that means? It means he doesn’t have a head. How am I suppose to write for a guy who doesn’t have a head?"

And of course they bring him back. But for that movie, it works.

It actually happened on a real soap opera first! On As The World Turns, the character “Shannon O’Hara” had her head cut off and shrunken by a bloodthirsty tribe…and was still able to come back several years later.

Doesn’t really fit this thread for a couple reasons, though.

  1. The Death of Superman was written with the intent of resurrecting him later. (It was done just to kick his marriage to Lois down the line so that it didn’t overlap with the same happening in the Lois & Clark TV series.)
  2. Each of the four titles Superman was headlining when he died introduced a replacement Superman, so they totally had the ability to do a sequel story (rather, a followup arc), the Reign of the Supermen.

Oh, my! Did they address how that was possible, or did they just ignore the death?

Prison Break was great at this. At the end of Season 2, bad guy Kellerman turns state’s evidence to exonerate former prison doctor-turned-escapee’s girlfriend Sara of… something. While waiting in a van to be transported to a federal facility, Company assassins throw open the rear doors and open fire indiscriminately. In Season 4, turns out it wasn’t indiscriminate after all; they were springing Kellerman and welcoming back into the fold.

Meanwhile, back in Season 3, escapee Lincoln receives the head of Sara in a box. In season 4 we find out that musta been Sara’s long-lost and never spoken of twin sister. (The actual twist is even dumber.)

Finally, in the last regular season, Sara and her toddler son place flowers on Michael’s grave after it was earlier revealed that he had an almost-certainly-fatal heart condition. In a limited-series sequel, he got better.

And he outlived his reader, René Auberjonois.

I got hooked on the audiobooks with Pendergast (had a wonderful brain… he could even concstruct a Memory Palace to help solve a mystery), and Auberjonois was the perfect voice for him.

I listened to all of these, too.

But, despite my best efforts, between the physical description and Auberjonois’ voice, I ended up picturing Agent Pendergast not as a white-suited elegant Southern Gentleman.

He appeared in my mind as John Zacherle, the horror movie host who died four years ago at the age of 98.

Give Damian Lewis white hair and roll camera.

Who hasn’t died and come back in Supernatural? Bobby, Mary, Castiel, Lucifer, Rowena, Ketch, Charlie, Kevin Tran… it’s easier to list who hasn’t returned from the dead.

Yeah, but nobody did it more than Dean.