10 Characters Left Out of the Movie Adaptations of Popular Books
By Rudie Obias
While many film adaptations of popular books try to remain faithful to their source material, others take creative liberties by changing the setting, altering relationships, cutting out entire storylines, and eliminating key characters. Here are 10 characters who never made the leap from book to big screen.
1. Tattypoo // The Wizard of Oz (1939)
In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Good Witch of the South is named Glinda and is described as an unbelievably beautiful woman. Her counterpart, the Good Witch of the North, is an older woman who later writers dubbed "Locasta" or "Tattypoo." Glinda only appears at the end of the story and tells Dorothy how to return home, while Tattypoo greets the heroine once she arrives in the Land of Oz.
However, in the classic film adaptation, Glinda is the sole Good Witch, acting as a composite character of the two from the book. "Tattypoo" is never referred to at all throughout the film.
2. Madge Undersee // The Hunger Games (2012)
Although she was introduced early in The Hunger Games book series, Madge Undersee wasn't featured in any of the films. On the page, she was Katniss Everdeen’s best friend and the daughter of the mayor of District 12. Madge also gives Katniss her Mockingjay pin at the beginning of the trilogy.
In the film version, Katniss picks up the iconic pin and gives it to her sister, Primrose, instead. Prim then gives it back to Katniss once she volunteers as Tribute to take her sister’s place.
3. Tom Bombadil // The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Although he’s a beloved character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings book series, Peter Jackson didn’t include Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring movie, despite his memorable appearance in the book. Believing Bombadil would simply slow down the action and that the scene didn’t move the main Sauron/Ring story forward, the director cut the character during the film's development. Poor ol' Tom was also left out of Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings for the same reason.
4. Dr. Martin Guitierrez // Jurassic Park (1993)
Dr. Martin Guitierrez is the only character who appears in both Jurassic Park and The Lost World novels without appearing in any of the film adaptations. In the books, he’s an American biologist who lives in Costa Rica and identifies a small dinosaur that attacked a little girl as the lizard Basiliscus amoratus. But as he learns more about this creature, he begins to doubt his identification. Some of the opening chapters of the Jurassic Park novel weren't used in the film, but were later repurposed for The Lost World: Jurassic Park sequel.
5. Captain Marvel // Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers, then in the role of Ms. Marvel) is one of the most powerful members of the Avengers team. She played an integral role in the comic event Civil War during the mid-2000s, but she doesn’t appear at all in the Marvel Cinematic Universe version. In the comic book, the future Captain Marvel was on Team Iron Man and urged the superpowered to unmask and to obey the Superhero Registration Act. Captain Marvel didn’t appear in the movie because her character hadn't been introduced (or teased) in the Marvel film franchise at that point. A standalone Captain Marvel film, with Oscar-winner Brie Larson playing the lead role, hit theaters in 2019. Not long after that film came out, the character also made an appearance in Avengers: Endgame.
In addition, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were also a big part of Civil War, but didn’t appear in the film because they each had their own Netflix series at the time.
6. Carol Masters // Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was actually based on a novel called Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which followed a cartoon character who hired a hard-boiled private eye to investigate why his company isn’t going to feature him in a new comic strip. Disney acquired the film rights and changed almost everything about the story, including lightening up the novel’s dark noir tone.
The Mouse House also ditched a number of characters from the original novel; one of them was Carol Masters, Roger’s comic strip photographer. In the book, toons appear in print instead of animation, so photographers are teamed with cartoon characters to take pictures of them posing in comic strips.
7. Alexandra Finch // To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Alexandra Finch is Atticus's sister—and Scout and Jem’s aunt—in To Kill a Mockingbird. She was a stern woman who wanted Scout to act more like a lady instead of a tomboy. Her character was omitted from the movie version, as was Uncle Jack, who played a minor role in the book.
8. The Countess Rugen // The Princess Bride (1987)
Described as fashionable and beautiful, the Countess Rugen was left out of the film adaptation of The Princess Bride. She was the wife of Count Rugen, played by Christopher Guest in the movie, and appears at the beginning of the novel at Buttercup’s farm. The Countess was very attracted to Westley, which led to Buttercup realizing she was in love with him. A majority of the farm storyline was cut out of the film to streamline the running time and story flow.
9. Peeves // Harry Potter film series (2001-2011)
Although Peeves, a pesky prankster poltergeist, is a fan favorite from the Harry Potter book series, he never made an appearance in any of the film versions—despite the fact that director Chris Columbus had actually cast Rik Mayall to play the role in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The actor was on set for three weeks before he was eventually cut out of the movie due to problems on set and with the special effects. Mayall later explained that “I got sent off the set because every time I tried to do a bit of acting, all the lads who were playing the school kids kept getting the giggles, they kept corpsing [slang for breaking character and laughing], so they threw me off.”
“Peeves was always an issue,” Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves told io9. “Chris Columbus was determined to put him in the first movie. I think there were even some technological problems with him initially, and [not] being satisfied with how he looked. He was always a bit tangential.”
10. Mr. and Mrs. Hurst // Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Mr. and Mrs. Hurst are Bingley's brother-in-law and sister, but the unaffectionate couple in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice doesn’t make an appearance in the 2005 film adaptation from director Joe Wright. Mrs. Hurst is described as arrogant and snobbish, while Mr. Hurst is mostly known as an indolent man who is more interested in food and playing cards than his wife. While the Hursts are not in the 2005 film, they do appear in the six-episode BBC TV series from 1995, played by Rupert Vansittart and Lucy Robinson.
A version of this story ran in 2017; it has been updated for 2022.