Actors That Asked For Their Character To Be Killed Off

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Can’t believe Derek Shepherd didn’t want to be Derek Shepherd anymore.



Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones


Turner wanted her character to have a memorable death and be killed off before the end of the series. “I don’t want to survive,” she explained, “If you’re on Game of Thrones and you don’t have a cool death scene, then what’s the point?”


Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office


After seven seasons, Steve Carell had handed in his resignation for The Office. He never intended to leave at first, but NBC never offered negotiations when his contract was up, so he left. 


Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr. Eko in Lost


While writers weren’t happy about his departure, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was unhappy living in Hawaii for filming and felt his character’s story was finished. Executive producer for the show Carlton Cuse remarked, “In a perfect world it would’ve been great to have Mr. Eko for a little longer. But it was the best time to go our separate ways.”


Dean Norris as Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad


When Dean Norris wanted his character Hank Schrader killed off, the writers insisted on keeping him until the end. He wanted to depart due to starring in another series, but eventually had to turn it down due to his ongoing role on Breaking Bad.


Donald Glover as Troy Barnes in Community


Glover left the series to pursue his career in music and film. His coworker Danny Pudi remembers knowing his music career was going to take off after hearing his mixtape while they filmed Season 3. 


Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Force Awakens


During the making of Return of the Jedi, Ford had expressed that he wanted his character Han Solo to die during the trilogy’s last film, but George Lucas had turned down the thought. Though 30 years later in the Force Awakens, Ford was happy to see his character’s story end. “I’ve been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he’s boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight.”


Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy


After almost 11 seasons, Patrick Dempsey had requested that Shonda Rhimes write his character Derek Shepherd off of the show. The reason for his exit was his desire to work on other projects. “It had been long enough. It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier.” His character was later killed off by a car wreck. Although, Shepherd was one of many characters to return in the reunion episode in 2021.


Kal Penn as Lawrence Kutner in House


Kal Penn decided to leave House in Season 5 after being offered a position in the President Obama administration. He started a new career as the White House’s Office of Public Liaison before eventually returning to acting.


Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls


While Ventimiglia’s character Jess never actually died in the series, he had other thoughts. Ventimiglia urged for a bloody exit; “I was the one who actually tried to get Jess killed, and they didn’t go for it. Get him hit by a bus, a knife to the side of the neck, something bad.” The writers ended up giving Jess the innocent exit of moving to Pennsylvania. 


Isaac Hayes as Chef in South Park

Michael Putland / Getty Images/Comedy Central

After voicing the character for nearly nine years, Hayes left and took his character with him because of how creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone offended him. The creators criticized Scientology, and Hayes who has been an avid Scientologist since 1993, felt as if the creators were disrespecting others’ beliefs. He asked to be let out of his contract soon after.


Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey in Grey’s Anatomy


Chyler Leigh was ready to leave Grey’s Anatomy and her character Lexie Grey after she had an extended hiatus where she wanted to spend more time with her family. She and writer Shonda Rhimes came together to “give Lexie’s story appropriate closure.” Her character was ultimately killed off by a plane crash in the series. She returned for a single reunion episode nine years later.


Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler in Law and Order: SVU


Meloni’s character Detective Elliot Stabler had a graceful exit from the series as he simply retired from the force. Meloni himself revealed that the departure was the fault of contract negotiations, “I left with zero animosity, but I did leave clearly and open-eyed in going forward and finding new adventures.”


Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey


Once Stevens’ initial three-year contract was up, his character faced an onscreen death. It was rumored Stevens did not care for the show, as he remarked on his exit, “And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.”


Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien 3

20th Century Fox

Weaver knew the franchise’s third installment would be her last appearance as Ellen Ripley when she found out they were continuing the films with Alien vs Predator, which she and Ridley Scott thought was a wrong direction for the franchise. She opted for Ellen to have a heroic death of jumping into a furnace to prevent an alien from hatching.


Justin Chambers as Alex Karev in Grey’s Anatomy


After 15 years, Justin Chambers decided to leave his character Alex Karev behind him. He explained in a statement there was not a dramatic reason behind the leave, “There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years…As I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”


Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-O


Daniel Dae Kim was one of the main characters for seven seasons of Hawaii Five-O. But when CBS declined to renegotiate his salary to match that of his white costars, he decided to depart.


Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn in The West Wing


Rob Lowe joined The West Wing as Sam Seaborn in 1999, but soon left in 2002 over pay disputes. He still left a statement thanking the creators for a respectful leave, “We were a part of television history and I will never forget it.”


Mandy Patinkin as Jason Gideon in Criminal Minds


Patinkin stopped showing up to set as he grew unhappy with how graphic and distributing the show was. He went as far to say the show was “the biggest public mistake” he chose to do.


Skeet Ulrich as F.P. Jones in Riverdale


Ulrich explained in an Instagram Live that he would not be returning back to the series as he was “bored creatively.” Though, the series creator said Ulrich is “always welcome back in Riverdale.”


Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory


After Parsons had earned a Golden Globe for his role as Sheldon Cooper, he decided that Season 12 would be his last. While the network offered him a $50 million contract for two more years, he still declined. It was later announced the show would be ending on Season 12 as well.


Topher Grace as Eric Forman in That ‘70s Show


The last season of That ’70s Show was missing its main character Eric who “moved to Africa,” as Grace wanted to further his career in film. He was quickly being cast in roles at the time as he was landed the character of Eddie in Spider-Man 3.


David Duchovny as Fox Mulder in The X-Files


Duchovny chose not to renew his contract for the series, which resulted in his character being written off by alien abduction. He said while exiting the series, “I always thought five years was enough. Seven years is definitely enough.”


Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Randy Taylor in Home Improvement


Thomas left the show before the final season to take a break and step back from his longtime role. Thomas remarked on his leaving, “I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel, and have a bit of a break.” His character Randy Taylor was written off in a similar exit by leaving for an environmental study program to Costa Rica. 


Michael Weatherly as Agent Anthony DiNozzo in NCIS


Weatherly had left a legacy for his character Agent Anthony DiNozzo after serving the role for 13 seasons. He ultimately left the series to star in another show for the same network, Bull. His character had a graceful and respectful exit of retirement from the force. He remarked on the transition, “It came about at the right time. I was burnt out by NCIS and I was ready for a new challenge.”


T.R. Knight as George O’Malley in Grey’s Anatomy


Knight decided to leave after noticing a decrease in his character’s screen time and a “breakdown in communication” with the show’s creator and writer Shonda Rhimes. He said in a statement with regards to his concerns and leave, “My five-year experience proved to me that I could not trust any answer that was given [about his character]. And with respect, I’m going to leave it at that.” Despite his feelings on the leave, Knight returned for a single reunion episode in 2021.


Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill


Even though Murray played one of the show’s main characters, and was excited to return for the last season, it was announced his character would not be returning. The reason behind it was he failed to renegotiate his contract with CW. Although, he returned for another episode later in the season.


And George Clooney as Doug Ross in ER


Clooney played Dr. Ross on ER for six years, before leaving to take on more film roles. ER executive producer John Wells said Clooney “lost literally millions of dollars by staying on the show.”