Revisiting characters with new actors is always something of a risky business. Even in the world of theatre, where roles are recast and reimagined everyday, you'll find what people refer to as 'definitive performances'. For some Hamlet will always be synonymous with John Gielgud in the same way that Colm Wilkinson defines Jean Valjean for others.
But theatrical revivals are essential to ensure a work survives beyond its initial run, and the same cannot be said of the permanent snapshots in time provided by films and games. That's not to say the products of these mediums are above reinterpretation in a creative sense, but executives (that's a key word right there) must always balance the risk of destroying franchise potential (and there's another) with the chancer's reward of cashing in on a big name.
Even when it's understood that a role is one that requires a change of personnel every so often, the new pretender is run ragged through the media mill. Remember the headlines scoffing at 'James Blond'?
The news over the past few weeks has been littered with disgruntled folks posting grumbling comments on forums regarding the recasting of some of their favourite characters. The tributes poured in for Solid Snake and Big Boss actor David Hayter when the news emerged that Kojima Productions had not approached him to work on Metal Gear Solid V. There were plenty of dissenting voices when Ubisoft had Michael Ironside step aside from the role of Sam Fisher for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, even when the gravelly-voiced pro spoke up to praise the work his replacement, Eric Johnson, had done. Fans petitioned Ubisoft to get Ironside back in the recording booth. They didn't.Click here to read more...