10 Actors Who Returned To Save Dying Movie Franchises

Franchise lost its way? Better call Vin...

Vin Diesel Fast and Furious
Universal Pictures

There are many key ingredients required for the success of a Film franchise, but none more so than the leading actors who become the face of the series. For reasons varying from actors looking for varied opportunities or disliking the film series in the first place, many actors choose not to continue in their roles despite their character's integral place in the franchise's success.

The decision to continue with sequels without their leading men or women is a decision Producers too often take lightly, underestimating how essential these characters are to their films. We are then left with largely inferior products, each subsequent sequel losing its lustre, with audiences gradually losing interest, until the film series is summoned to the graveyard.

Thankfully there are those few occasions when the big name stars who made the films a hit in the first place make a return to continue their good work. The reasons for their return are normally cash related, with the producers reaching into their hip pockets upon the realisation that relatable characters are actually important after all.

The franchises on this list were able to recover from the scrapheap thanks to the return of their iconic characters, bringing life to series that long looked dead. So sit back and reflect on good times reborn once more, as we look at the actors who managed to bring some cinematic joy back to our lives.

10. Matt Damon - Jason Bourne

Vin Diesel Fast and Furious

What on Earth were the producers thinking in creating a Jason Bourne film without the titular character? This is what bizarrely came to be with the development of the fourth film in the franchise, the Bourne Legacy. The casting of everyone's least favourite MCU actor Jeremy Renner in the lead role didn't exactly boost people's confidence in the product either.

Sure, Renner was serviceable as an operative who tried to take down the title character in the previous entry in the franchise, The Bourne Ultimatum, but there were no cries out from the fans demanding his appearance in future instalments. The Bourne Legacy wasn't awful, but it did seem largely pointless, with poor box office figures to boot.

Thankfully the logical decision was made to bring back Matt Damon to play his most famous role for the next entry, the blandly titled Jason Bourne. While never quite hitting the heights of the first three entries in the franchise, the film was a definite improvement on its predecessor in terms of the quality of the product and financial success.

Damon's ability to embrace the physicality of the role, including participating in some bare fist boxing, brought back the gritty warts and all feel from the original films, something sorely lacking in Renner's effort. This allowed for the creation of a general sense of foreboding synonymous with the series, and while the film didn't exactly cover new ground, the feel of it being a true Bourne film was back.


While he likes to know himself as the 'thunder from down under', Luke is actually just a big dork who loves all things sport, film, James Bond, Doctor Who and Karaoke. With all the suave and sophistication of any Aussie half way through a slab, Luke will critique every minute detail of films and shows from all eras- unless it's 1990's Simpsons episodes, because they're just perfect