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Monday, October 18, 2021

Why Chief Brody Didn’t Return for Jaws 3

The Jaws franchise continued for two more films after 1978’s Jaws 2, but Roy Scheider’s Chief Martin Brody didn’t return, and here’s why.

The Jaws franchise continued for two more films after 1978’s Jaws 2, but Roy Scheider’s Chief Martin Brody didn’t return, and here’s why. If there’s one character most associated with the Jaws franchise outside of the various giant sharks that inhabit it, it’s Chief Brody. Unlike many blockbusters, Jaws – which created the summer blockbuster template – spends a lot of time developing its lead characters, with Brody getting the most attention. While Brody is a good man from the start of the film, it takes deadly adversity for him to rise up as a true hero, as has been the case in so many classic movies.

Brody overcomes his fear of the ocean, and a massive great white shark, preventing any further deaths at its razor sharp teeth. He even managed to outlive Quint, a grizzled shark hunter who seems to know just about every trick in the book when it comes to tangling with the dangerous animals, but still gets devoured by the predator in a hard to watch scene. If Jaws had been a one-off film, Chief Brody might stand as a character virtually untarnished. But it didn’t, as big success usually means sequels, and that was unsurprisingly the case with Jaws.

Related: Jaws: The Biggest Differences Between The Book And Steven Spielberg’s Movie

While Jaws 2 isn’t in the league of the original, it’s decent enough, and is bolstered by Scheider’s return as Brody. Jaws 3 – aka 3-D – and Jaws: The Revenge both suffered for lesser characters leading the way. Of course, any fans of shark flicks will likely have already seen all of them, and if they haven’t, all four Jaws movies can currently be streamed instantly on Netflix. However, it turns out fans were lucky to even see Brody in Jaws 2.

Roy Schneider Didn’t Want To Return in Jaws 3 As Chief Brody

Roy Scheider Jaws 2

It’s not entirely clear why, but Roy Scheider really, really didn’t want to star in Jaws 2. Perhaps he had a similar view on the sequel that Steven Spielberg did at the time, saying they had already made the definitive shark movie, and doing another was just a cheap trick. Either way, Scheider wasn’t interested in returning. The only reason he did is that due to him exiting The Deer Hunter, he owed Universal two more films under a contractual agreement. Universal then said if Schieder returned for Jaws 2, it would be counted as both. So he returned, and ended up constantly battling director Jeannot Swarzc on set.

When it came time to make Jaws 3, there was basically a snowball’s chance in Hell Scheider would’ve even considered returning as Chief Brody. In fact, Schieder is quoted in a 2002 biography as saying “Mephistopheles couldn’t talk me into doing (it). They knew better than to even ask.” That’s certainly a strongly held position, and it would be far from the last time he took such a strong stand with a studio, abruptly exiting his 1990s sci-fi show SeaQuest DSV after publicly trashing its bad writing. He went so far as to book a leading role in the movie Blue Thunder to make sure he was physically and legally unavailable to work on Jaws 3, as he was under contract to a competing studio. Needless to say, Scheider didn’t come back for Jaws 4 either, which killed Brody offscreen.

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