21 Celebrities Who Turned Down Reboots & Sequels

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In the modern entertainment world, reboots and sequels have become just as prevalent as the films that spawned them. However, not every celebrity is eager to revisit their past roles. For some stars, it’s an issue of artistic integrity. Others would love to reprise the role, but their hectic schedules won’t allow it.

Today, we would like to explore why these celebrities turned down the opportunity to reappear in these iconic roles. From disputes over money to mental health concerns, some of the reasons may surprise you.

1. David Hyde Pierce, Frasier

Photo Credit: NBC.

Many were excited to hear that a Frasier reboot was in the works. However, that excitement dissipated when it was announced that one of the iconic costars would not return to the show. Considering much of the show revolved around infighting between the two brothers, fans were justifiably upset about the news.

When asked about his refusal to return in an interview with The Los Angeles Times, he said the following: “They don’t actually need me.’ Frasier has moved on to a new world. They have new characters. And I think I’m right. It’s doing great, and the new people they have are great.”

2. Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City

Photo Credit: HBO.

Although Kim Cattrall appeared in a cameo of the Sex and the City continuation And Just Like That, she initially turned down the opportunity to appear in the show. Audiences loved Cattrall’s portrayal of Samantha on the hit series and were deeply saddened to hear she wouldn’t return for the reboot.

In an interview with Today, she explains how she feels about her iconic character. “I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to Samantha. She’s like a lot of other characters that I’ve done over the years. I get very emotionally attached and protective of my characters. She gave me so much, and I’m so appreciative of her.”

3. Mathew Gray Gubler, Criminal Minds

Photo Credit: Touchstone Television.

Dr. Spencer Reid is one of the most beloved characters from the hit TV show Criminal Minds. Because of this, fans were distraught to hear that Mathew Gray Gubler would not be returning for Criminal Minds: Evolution.

Gubler’s unfortunate scheduling conflict prevented him from participating in the series reboot. However, he did offer viewers hope that he would reprise the role if his schedule opened up.

“Of course! I would be honored. I would absolutely love that. They did a newer spin-off of the show, but it was filming during a time when I was shooting something else. But I can’t wait — hopefully, it will soon work out.”

4. Will Ferrell, Elf

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

It turns out that Will Ferrell cares more about artistic integrity than money. Ferrell turned down a $29 million paycheck to reprise his role as Buddy in the Elf sequel. Ferrell took issue with the script quality and offered the following quote to the Hollywood Reporter:

“I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would’ve been, like, ‘Oh no, it’s not good. I just couldn’t turn down that much money.’ And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie.’”

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5. Tori Spelling, 90210

Photo Credit: The CW Television Network.

Beverly Hills 90210 is a show that defines the 90s. Tori Spelling played the iconic Donna Martin on the show, and audiences were thrilled to hear about her return.

While Spelling originally agreed to participate in the reboot, she backed out after discovering she would be paid significantly less than her costars.

6. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Fuller House

Photo Credit: Jeff Franklin Productions.

The Olsen twins played a considerable role in the success of the 80s sitcom Full House. When a reboot was announced, fans were excited to learn that almost all of the original cast would return.

However, the iconic Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had already left the acting world by 2015 and no longer felt comfortable in front of the camera. Although fans were disappointed, Fuller House still captured some of that ’80s magic without the Olsen Twins.

7. Steve Carell, The Office

Photo Credit: NBC Universal Television.

Before you get your hopes up, no confirmed The Office reboot is in the works. However, that hasn’t stopped Steve Carell from preemptively turning down his iconic role if it ever happens. In an interview with Esquire, Carell said he doesn’t think the character would work on modern TV.

“I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now.”

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8. Shelley Morrison, Will & Grace

Photo Credit: KoMut Entertainment.

Will & Grace serves as a groundbreaking series for LGTBQ rights and acceptance. The series portrayal of queer people living ordinary lives has gone a long way in the acceptance of queer people on television. It was announced that a reboot would take place in 2017, but sadly, Shelley Morrison would not return.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Max Mutchnic, the show’s co-creator, explained Morrisons’ refusal to appear on the show. “Shelley has decided to retire. It was with a heavy heart that she gave us that information, and we received it, but it is the way that it goes. It is a choice that she has made. We really wanted Shelley to be a part of this series, so we find ourselves having to figure that out moving forward.”

9. Simon Cowell, American Idol

Photo Credit: Fremantle.

American Idol is such an essential part of American culture that many people aren’t even aware the show was canceled. The famed show ran on FOX from 2002 to 2016 before the network cut it. It was then rebooted by ABC in 2018.

That change came at the cost of losing some of the star power that made the series famous in the first place. When asked by Extra TV about why he didn’t return to the show, Cowell stated, “It was not the same show, just the same name. I left for a reason, and I never regretted that.”

10. Robert Patrick, The X-Files

Photo Credit: Ten Thirteen Productions.

Unlike what the X-files would like you to believe, not everything is a conspiracy. When The X-Files reboot was announced, fans were ecstatic to see the return of the infamous John Doggett. However, Robert Patrick had a scheduling conflict that didn’t allow him to participate in the show—or at least, that’s what they want you to think.

11. Dylan O’Brien, Teen Wolf

Photo Credit: MGM Television.

Although Dylan O’Brien can thank the popularity of Teen Wolf for his fame and fortune, the young actor turned down the opportunity to reprise his role in the movie. Sitting with Variety, O’Brien discussed why he would not return to the role.

“Ultimately, I just decided it was left in a really good place for me and I still want to leave it there. I wish them well, and I’m going to watch it the first night it comes out.”

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12. Chad Michael Murray, Gilmore Girls

Photo Credit: The CW Television Network.

Gilmore Girls has featured many heartthrobs over the years. When Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was announced, fans eagerly awaited the return of their favorite bad boy, Tristan DuGray. However, the series pulled a fast one and replaced Chad Michael with a look-alike actor for the cameo.

ET reached out to Murray about his refusal to return to the role, and he offered the following quote about the revival. “I haven’t personally seen it, but I know everyone’s really excited. I wish I could’ve been there, but it’s all good—life is good. All my buddies got to go back.”

13. Rachel McAdams, Mean Girls

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

While the Mean Girls reunion was just a Black Friday commercial, it still marked a critical moment for fans who had been desperately waiting for news of a reboot of the iconic film. However, that excitement was somewhat lessened by Rachel McAdams’s absence.

When Variety asked McAdams about her absence, she offered the following explanation. “I don’t know; I guess I wasn’t that excited about doing a commercial, if I’m being totally honest. A movie sounded awesome, but I’ve never done commercials, and it just didn’t feel like my bag. Also…I didn’t know that everyone was doing it. I would, of course, always love to be part of a ‘Mean Girls’ reunion and hang with my plastics, but yeah, I found that out later.”

14. Ron Perlman, Hellboy

Photo Credit: Millennium Films.

Guillermo del Toro is among the best directors ever to grace the screen. Ron Perlman apparently feels the same way. When asked if he would appear in the 2019 reboot of Hellboy, he stated he would only do so if del Toro were at the helm.

He expressed his opinion on the film during an interview with Empire. “If Guillermo were to wake up one day and say, ‘You know what, Ron? We need to finish the trilogy,’ which is an idea that is near and dear to me, I’d be there in a heartbeat. But without him, I have no interest in donning the make-up again. And you know, I just turned 70. So I would actually go down in history as being the oldest superhero!”

15. Zachary Quinto, Heroes

Photo Credit: NBC.

Beloved American Horror Story actor Zachary Quinto made it clear from the beginning that he had no interest in joining the Heroes reboot. When BuzzFeed asked the actor about whether he would return to the series, he stated the following:

“No, I’m not going to go back. It was such a meaningful experience for me. I just felt like I didn’t want to go back to it.  It’s a great thing to be a part of. I just felt like I need to cultivate other outlets for myself.”

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16. Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Fans were ecstatic to hear that the original cast would return for Ghostbusters: Afterlife—all of the original cast, excluding Rick Moranis. When The Hollywood Reporter asked about the role, he responded, “I hope it’s terrific. But it just makes no sense to me. Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?”

17. Jennette McCurdy, iCarly

Photo Credit: Nickelodeon Network.

Almost all of the original cast returned for the 2021 reboot of iCarly. However, fans were disappointed that the iconic Jennette McCurdy was unwilling to return to the series. In her memoir, McCurdy discusses her refusal to return, citing her mental health as the main reason for her hesitance. While disguising her time as a star, she states that she regrets her involvement in the series and is “ashamed” of her past work.

18. Melissa McCarthy, Gilmore Girls

Photo Credit: The CW Television Network.

Although Melissa McCarthy eventually changed her mind, she initially declined the invitation to be included in The Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life. McCarthy stated that a scheduling issue initially prevented her return, but everything worked out in the end.

“There has been something that I have been asked about so, so many times and it hasn’t worked out, and there is… they’re making four new movies of the Gilmore Girls which is a show which was near and dear to my heart…and we could not get those schedules to work. And there was a whole thing. And then I was gonna be out of the country and blah, blah, blah. And literally about an hour and a half ago, we figured out that I’m gonna go back and do it and I am so excited.”

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19. Michael Ontkean, Twin Peaks

Photo Credit: ABC.

Michael Ontkean did a fantastic job portraying Sheriff Harry S. Thompson in the brilliantly weird Twin Peaks. Unfortunately for fans of all things strange, Ontkean had retired from acting when he was approached by the show’s co-creators, Mark Frost and Devid Lynch.

20. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer reinvented the Final Girl classification. No longer were they helpless civilians running for their lives. Buffy turned Final Girls into the powerhouses that we love so much today. That’s why fans were disheartened to learn Sarah Michelle Gellar would not be making a return for the reboot.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Gellar explained her position on the series. “I’m all for them rebooting it. I think it’s an important story. I think there’s a way to modernize it and tell a different story now. I think the way we ended lends itself to it, but at the same time, I’m so proud of the show that we made.”

21. Adam Brody, The O.C.

Photo Credit: The WB Television Network.

Not only did Adam Brody refuse to appear on the reboot of The O.C., he doesn’t think the reboot should happen at all. While performing on a podcast, he stated the following about the planned reboot.

“But I guess my point is like, for me, in a post-Donald Trump America, to go, ‘Let’s go to Orange County,’ I feel like you have to have a real reckoning politically and socially. And is that what people want to see with this show? I don’t know. And is there a way to do both? I mean, there is, I suppose, but in my eyes, I’d probably want to torch it more than, like, the fans would want. So, I don’t know who would be happy.”

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