Have you ever watched a movie where there are characters you come to love so much only to have your heart ripped right out of you at the very end? Of course you have!
While there are plenty of those characters on film, there are also one’s where you may not be entirely invested in their character, however you come to appreciate their part in the story and the role they play. With that being said, this list is simply based on MY personal feelings for these characters. My feelings for them may differ from yours however one cannot disagree that these characters did not DESERVE to die in the movie.
There is one BIG rule I have for making this list. The rule is that these character deaths do not have a MAJOR influence on the story moving forward. For instance a movie like The Lion King, Mufasa did not deserve to die but HAD to pass away because it allowed his son Simba to become the new King of the Pride Lands which further develops his character in the story. So in other words, did the death of these characters have any LASTING IMPACT on the story or other characters in the film? The answer should be a resounding NO.
By the way as a word of caution there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for these films so if you haven’t checked out these films please take a gander at some of my other articles. Let’s all now grab a hold of some tissues and begin to weep as I count down my list of “5 Characters who had Unjustified Deaths in the Movie.”
5. Eddie Carr (The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
Eddie was Dr. Hammond’s equipment specialist/engineer and was asked to go with Ian Malcom and Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn) to Isla Sorna in order to document the wild dinosaur’s natural habitat hopefully preventing Hammond’s nephew from exploiting the site. Malcom is forced to go after learning that his girlfriend Sarah Harding is also on the island. As soon as Eddie’s character is introduced on-screen I immediately knew that this was a character who was going to perish at some point in the film. However, I didn’t realize how devastating his death would become.
While Eddie watches in horror of the crew getting attacked by both T-rex’s, he leaves his high-hide (a mechanism he specifically built for the crew to stay out of danger) to save them from falling off the cliff. Shortly after the T-rex’s leave, Eddie is faced with the task of saving them from certain death. The entire scene (you can watch the final moments of Eddie above) is mostly one single take due to Spielberg’s brilliant camera work. The first thing he does is grab a rope for them to hang on to. We then watch Eddie attempt to tie up the trailer onto a tree stump in the pouring rain and slippery mud but unfortunately the wire is too short.
Having failed in his first attempt at saving the trailer, Eddie then begins to unwind a cable from the front of his Mercedes SUV to attach to the back of the trailer hoping that the weight of the vehicle would prevent it from falling off the cliff’s edge. He does this successfully but realizes that the trailer is too heavy for the SUV and it begins to slide in the mud further towards the cliff. Eddie has no other choice but to jump in to the vehicle and shift the gears into reverse. This works successfully until he is ambushed by both T-rex’s. This is where he meets his unfortunate demise and becomes dino dinner.
His death may not be as tragic as some of the others on this list, but his passing is rather unfortunate. Here’s a man who risked his life to go to an island full of dinosaurs to save Sarah. Instead of staying up high in the trees where he was safe, he left his post to save his friends.
Eddie’s death was brutal and he died for all the right reasons. If he had not tied up the cables and ropes correctly, everyone else would have fallen off that cliff. It’s pretty clear that his death was very undeserving. Eddie was a noble hero and will go down as the most upsetting death in the Jurassic Park franchise.
4. Hedwig (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1)
I could have easily went with Fred Weasley here with this choice but I had to go with Hedwig. I may not have read any of the Harry Potter books, but that does not mean I didn’t feel bad for this character or rather bird. Aside from Ron and Hermione, Hedwig was a VERY close friend of Harry’s. This owl was with him from the very beginning debuting in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Even though Hedwig didn’t get as much screen time as Potter fans may have hoped for, at least we were able to see him in every Harry Potter film.
There are lots of owls in the Harry Potter lore, but this one is arguably the MOST important. So it should come as no surprise when fans were devastated after seeing Hedwig sacrifice her life for Harry. The scene takes place in the sky’s of London shortly after the gang drank the Polyjuice Potion to make everyone look like Harry. This was used to create a diversion for the Death Eaters. After they attempted to kill the real Harry, Hedwig intercepts their attack and is easily killed off by one of the Death Eaters.
Once again this is another character who sacrifices their life to allow the other character(s) to live. While fans of the books already knew about her death long before the film came out, the scene still upsets fans of the Potter franchise. Hedwig is yet another character who’s death wasn’t justified.
3. Quicksilver (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
The most recent of deaths, Pietro Maximoff made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Even though this character did not play a large role in the film, his death certainly caught me off guard. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff fought the Avenger’s at the beginning of the film eventually teaming up with Ultron. However, it wasn’t until Wanda read into Ultron’s true intentions forcing them to join the Avengers. Quicksilver would later fight with his new team annihilating all of the Ultron drones with his supersonic speed.
As the battle slowly calmed down, we see Ultron jump into a Quinjet and begin to obliterate any human or superhero in his way. The scene cuts right to Hawkeye while holding a child in his arms. The audience is led to believe that Hawkeye will not make it out alive. Before Hawkeye begins to avoid the gunfire, Quicksilver rushes in to move a bus in front of Clint and the child protecting them from their impending doom. Quicksilver may be the fastest Marvel hero alive, but this time he is unable to dodge all of the bullets.
The scene then cuts to a bloody Pietro as we see multiple bullet wounds all over his body. The crowd in the theater gasps as we hear him speak his final words staring up at Hawkeye saying, “You didn’t see that coming.” While it may not prove to be a moving moment considering we were just introduced to this character, it is a shame for him to be killed off so “quickly.” This is yet another character with an unfortunate death who becomes a hero. His death will not be in vain and is fondly remembered by the man who he saved: Hawkeye.
Near the end of the film, we see Clint Barton actually name his child after Pietro. His childs full name is ‘Nathaniel Pietro Barton.’ I wrote a full article on this fantastic tribute to a fallen Avenger which you can view right here.
2. Samantha (I Am Legend)
It’s never good when you watch a human being perish on screen no matter how emotionally attached you may get. Like Hedwig, this is another animal that we care for. This time, it’s man’s best friend.
Samantha was Robert Neville’s only friend throughout the ENTIRE time he stayed on the island of Manhattan. For many years, Neville searched for a cure to the virus while trying to stay hidden from the “Darkseekers” as they are called. The whole film focuses on the relationship of Robert and his canine friend. They do EVERYTHING together from hunting for food, to exercising, to shopping and renting DVD’s from a video store (remember those?). There’s a tremendous amount of buildup between both of these characters. It should come as no surprise that as an audience watching these events unfold, we are torn up from the inside when we see Samantha protect her master from being mauled by other dogs who are also infected with the virus.
As soon as Samantha is attacked, we see the bite marks and scars as a result of the infected canines. Neville can’t help but begin to cry as he holds his pal in his arms knowing that she will soon be meeting her end.
The next scene, we see Neville try to concoct an antidote to cure Samantha. Unfortunately the medicine is not strong enough to fight the virus as we slowly see the virus taking over her. She starts losing fur, her eyes are more red in color, and becomes more aggressive to the point where she begins attacking Robert.
He then has no choice but to kill the only friend he had with him on that island. It is a very touching moment and one that hits me hard every time I watch this film.
1. John Coffey (The Green Mile)
There is no one and I repeat NO ONE in any film (at least in my opinion) who has the most undeserving death in a movie. This is a man who was wrongly accused of raping and murdering two children. We eventually find out who the real killer is but unfortunately there was no evidence left at the scene of the crime.
From the moment John Coffey is put in prison you can’t help but feel sorry for the man. Michael Clarke Duncan gives his best performance as the soft spoken gentleman who was framed of a murder. The entire film, showcases multiple executions including a man who befriended a mouse. Anyone who watches this film knows that Coffey’s time is coming to an end. A man who heals a mouse, cures Paul’s (Tom Hank) bladder infection, and heals Warden Hal Moores’ (James Cromwell) terminally ill wife is executed at the very end of the film.
There was a chance John could have survived having been asked by Paul if he should just set him free. John’s response could not have been more heartfelt saying that he is “rightly tired of the pain.” The part of the film that gets me to tear up every time is when Paul is about to place the black hood over his head to which John Coffey responds saying, “Please boss, don’t put that thing over my face. Don’t put me in the dark. I’s afraid of the dark.”
It is one of my favorite films of all time due to the character of John Coffey. Someone so generous, so humble, and with so much power, allows his life to be taken from him because the world is cruel and doesn’t want to fight it any longer. Coffey was a great character and absolutely did not deserve to die in the film.
So that’s my list of five characters who’s deaths were unjustified. What other characters come to mind that I may have missed? Please share your thoughts and comment below!