Cinematic Deaths, No One Saw Coming!

Okay, it's that time again, where we honor those who fought and died for our country, by gouging Hot dogs and burgers while sunbathing at the beach. Why, I’m referring to Memorial Day holiday of course and on this very day, PN will be listing deaths in cinema that we didn't see coming!

Now mind you, this list refers to either main protagonists or top supporting cast members. Most Horror films have been omitted because of the constant tropes that feature our final gals and guys, getting whacked, ergo no surprise.  However, let's get our first mention out of the way..

Ben (Night of the Living Dead)

The first black protagonist in a horror film, was no "yessir" trope in fact, Ben played by Duane Jones, was the last man standing while fending off hordes of, I meant "ghouls" Ironically, when looking out the window to signal help, poor ol Ben the last survivor, was "mistaken" for a ghoul, and shot through the dead from what would be, his rescuers. Then dragged into a pile of dead bodies for cremation. Usually in horror and science fiction films, a black person doesn't make it past the first 30 minutes, however the great George A Romero didn't kill Ben off at least until the end of the film, so that's progress, I guess.

Optimus Prime (Transformers the Movie)

What was scoffed as a 2-hour commercial for a popular toyline, became a cult phenomenon. 
Transformers garnered its share of controversy not only because of its violent content like a giant planet devouring sentient civilization, or the infamous swear word used, but mostly due to Autobot leader Optimus Prime's death.  
During a grueling battle on lookout mountain Optimus goes head on against Megatron and just when Prime appears to have the upper hand, Hot Rod jumps out of nowhere to stop the notorious Deception. Unfortunately, it backfires as Rod is held hostage while Megatron blasts Optimus. Mortally wounded, Prime passes the Matrix of leadership to second in command, Ultra Magnus. This was a shock to me despite getting hints from the TV spots advertising the movie. It was like my Bambi's mother" moment, which left me and most fans of the franchise, traumatized. Hasbro decided to kill of the previous generation so that they can clear the way for succeeding product line. This of course backfired when the toy manufacturer got a ton of backlash! Afterwards, they brought him back from the dead.  Yes, Prime is alive, but that scene was still shocking as hell!

Duke (G.I. Joe Retaliation)

Here's a funny bit of trivia.
While making G.I. Joe the Movie, Hasbro and Marvel Productions originally planned to kill off one of their most popular characters. Well, after the negative responses that came from Optimus Prime's death, Hasbro had a change of heart and decided to have Joe team leader, Duke survives after getting "Thulsa Doomed" in the chest. 

Fast forward decades later to the sequel to G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra, called Retaliation, to which Channing Tatum resumed his role as Duke Hauser. After the Joes accomplished their mission, they were ambushed by Cobra's air superiority, to which Duke was suddenly killed via explosion. Director Joh Chu had the balls to kill off one of the main flagship characters...well actually Tatum hated the first Joe movie and didn't mind being unceremoniously killed off. Retaliation did the one thing that the often-lauded 1986 movie was afraid to do, kill off a major toyline character!

Iron Man (Avengers Endgame)

As if the deaths of (Honorable mentions) Gamora and Natasha Romanoff weren't enough, Marvel Studios upped their game by doing the unthinkable. Killing off the Golden Goose character whose film debut established the Marvel Cinematic Universe-Iron Man!
Just when the mad titan Thanos seizes the gauntlet. Stark manages to steal the infinity Stones and while struggling to hold onto the unstable power from the stones, Tony does a "reverse snap" but not before making his signature catchphrase which was well utilized at the first Iron Man's ending.

After performing the ultimate sacrifice, Thanos and his army are turned to ashes and Stark dies surrounded by his wife Pepper, his friends and teammates. 
Originally, I suspected that it would be Captain America who would bite the dust, as his noble sacrifice to save humanity, would continue to be a fitting trope for our first Avenger but at the end of the day, both Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans' contract with the MCU had expired.

Han Solo. (The Force Awakens)

I didn't see it coming, nor did I care. Abrams' Rey Trilogy was an embarrassment to the venerable Star Wars franchise so, let’s make this quick: complying with Lea’s wish to bring their corrupted son Ren home, Han and Chewbacca to, Starkiller Base, to destroy the compound and rescue Rey. There, he sees Ren and pursues him on the bridge, In a desperate effort of reasoning, Han pleads with Ren to abandon the dark side. After a brief dialog between Father and son, Ren ignites his lightsaber, impales Han, as he looks into his son's eyes and touches his face before falling off the bridge to his death. So, there you have it. But that was just the start of the Abrams clusterfucks, in the Last Jedi sequel, *SPOILER* Luke gets killed off as well. In my opinion, this trilogy should have been killed off way before fruition.

James Bond 007 (No Time to Die)

As with Marvel's Endgame, this is another first, when it comes to killing off a major protagonist within the film's franchise. In 2022's "No Time to Die" the final installment of the Daniel Craig led 007 series, our hero Bond, attempts to rescue Swann and Mathilde before ordering a missile strike on Safin's facility. While Bond successfully  reunites with Swann and Mathilde, he is ambushed by Safin, who infects him with a nano virus  programmed to kill both Swann and Mathilde. 

Bond eventually kills Safin but makes a noble sacrifice by choosing to remain on the island to keep Swann and Mathilde safe while the missiles strike the island destroying Safin's base and killing Bond in the process.
I was caught off guard as Bond always had these tropes where he not only saved the day at the end of every movie but hooked up with the beautiful Bond girl while the credits rolled. This was ballsy af and an impactful way to close Craig's run.


This is where the Singerverse X-Men continuity officially wrapped things up! Part western, and part dystopian actioner, Logan was the final act with our titular Antihero fighting his Clone X-24 and the Reavers, the Clone impales a weakened Logan on a tree branch. Laura uses Logan's revolver to kill  X-24 with an adamantium bullet. Afterwards, Laura tearfully acknowledges Logan as her father, prior to dying peacefully in Laura's arms, Logan mutters, "Ah, so this is what it feels like." The big tearjerker was Laura turning Logan's cross marker into an "X!"  Although inspired by the classic western Shane, James Mangold's Magnum opus is both nuanced, dark and one of the best comic films to date, thanks in part to its brilliant cathartic finale.

Ellen Ripley (Alien 3)

And last, allow me to mention one of the biggest gun punches in science fiction history!

"Let's see, Ripley crash lands on a prison planet, finds out that her loved ones are dead as a result of an "stowaway", almost gets gang raped and worse of all; She's carrying a xenomorph leading to having a Chest burst during her sacrifice. How sadistic of both Weaver and Fincher. Fuck this depressing movie!  That's no way to treat a popular female action lead especially since there were very few heroines in celluloid during the 80's-early 90's. This film was a betrayal not only toward the fans but the entire franchise! Yup, The Alien Saga jumped the shark starting with Alien 3. To me, this shit does not exist within the "timeline".

-Stalkeye  Aint it Cool News forum 2012.

Yes, I went there over a decade ago and I still stand uncorrected about this statement! Ripley who went in hard to protect her newfound "daughter" Newt, only to lose her, and Hicks, a potential love interest. If that wasn't bad enough, after refusing to comply with the original Bishop of Weyland Yutani, to turn herself in for "research", Ellen performs the ultimate sacrifice by falling into a pit of molten lava killing her and the Xenomorph hatchling. It's a brutal way for the Godmother of science fiction to go out. I remember how my friends and I was traumatized as we left the theater.  This was a huge mistake on FOX and Brandywine's part. Now they tried to walk it back with a underperforming sequel that further ruined the franchise. Kinda like putting bandage of a 12' bleeding gash. 

So, there you have it. Happy Memorial Day!


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