Ways Movies And Shows Had To Change After Lawyers Got Involved

Ashley Hunte
A gavel and stand on top of a white surface.
Unsplash | Tingey Injury Law Firm

The world of copyright and intellectual property laws is pretty strange. It affects media of all kinds (not just movies and shows, but books, comics, music, video games, and even advertising), and its effects can be pretty odd.

In this list, we'll be talking about the ways in which laws and lawyers forced creators to make some pretty strange changes to their projects.

The 'James Bond' franchise had brief legal trouble regarding SPECTRE and Blofeld.

The first two of Daniel Craig's five Bond movies featured a villainous organization called Quantum of Solace, rather than the series' regular big bad, SPECTRE. Why? Because legal issues, of course.

The legal issues had to do with producer, Kevin McClory.

Series creator Ian Fleming worked with McClory on a script that ended up being the basis for the novel "Thunderball," which led McClory to sue for copyright, giving him ownership over the character of Blofeld and the organization, SPECTRE.

It took decades for these legal issues to clear.

EON productions, the group behind the Bond films, finally got the green light to incorporate Blofeld and SPECTRE into their movies in time for 2015's Spectre, which explains Quantum as a subsidiary, never to be heard from again...

Gandalf makes mentions of Blue Wizards in 'The Hobbit,' but not by name.

Warner Bros. has the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, respectively. They don't have the rights to other Tolkien works, though. So when Gandalf drew a blank when trying to remember the names of the Blue Wizards during The Hobbit, it was because he legally couldn't say them.

This is because the Blue Wizards' names are never mentioned in the properties Warner Bros' has the rights to.

These characters are never mentioned in the books to which WB does have movie rights, so that scene was a clever way to reference that fact.

Clarice never makes an appearance on 'Hannibal.'

Bryan Fuller, the creator of the show Hannibal, couldn't secure the rights to The Silence of the Lambs in time for the third season of the show. Legally, he couldn't use Clarice Starling's character. This led to the creation of a different criminologist, Miriam Lass.

'Arrow' had plans to introduce the Suicide Squad, but DC quickly revoked the show's rights to flesh it out.

Season 2 of Arrow teased the introduction of characters like Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn. But this tease went nowhere for the next season.

DC had bigger plans for those characters.

Not long after that season aired came 2016's Suicide Squad. DC didn't want Harley Quinn or the Suicide Squad in Arrow because they feared it would interfere with their movie plans. That's just too bad.

Sam Raimi didn't own the rights to his own movie ('The Evil Dead').

Evil Dead 2 retconned a lot of plot elements from the first film, which more than likely confused fans at the time of its release. But it was done this way because Raimi couldn't use footage from the first film.

The recap at the beginning of 'Evil Dead 2' shows completely different actors than the first.

With the exception of Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, of course. This is because, despite being director and executive producer of The Evil Dead, Raimi didn't have the rights to the film.

In order to dodge copyright, 'The Simpsons' turned 'A Streetcar Named Desire' into a musical.

The moment from the Simpsons episode A Streetcar Named Marge, where Apu is singing.

In the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge," the production was originally going to be a stage play, but the estate of Tennessee Williams would only let them use two direct quotes from the play.

They were, however, allowed to make original songs based off the characters.

After all, that's totally in parody territory. So, the writers did their thing, and the episode became what it is today.

To be honest, though, it was better this way.

There's a reason you don't see King Louie anymore.

In the original Disney's The Jungle Book, King Louie was voiced by Louis Prima, who passed away in 1978. When Disney went to create a show based on The Jungle Book called TailSpin, they replaced King Louie's voice actor with Jim Cummings.

But Cummings's impersonation of Prima's voice was a little TOO good.

His widow and estate threatened legal action, claiming that they were using Prima's likeness without permission. Disney settled, and they made the decision to retire King Louie entirely.

'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' uses original characters for a reason.

Show creator Lauren Faust was a huge fan of the ponies growing up, but couldn't use their names in her reboot because Hasbro couldn't give her the rights to the characters' names.

So she made new original characters, but based them off the ones from the '80s.

Rainbow Dash awkwardly smiling and then flying away.

For instance, she was a fan of the pony Firefly, and since Faust couldn't use her in the show, she based the character Rainbow Dash around her.

'The Sicilian' was supposed to be a spin-off of 'The Godfather.'

Mario Puzo's novel, The Sicilian, is considered a sequel to The Godfather. And much like the books, the film version was supposed to follow that same path, detailing Michael Corleone's exile to Sicily.

But copyright issues kept that from coming to fruition.

Copyright and trademark issues kept the filmmakers from making any connection to The Godfather whatsoever. So, what was meant to be a spiritual sequel to the film ended up being a Godfather-esque movie instead.

'The New Fantastic Four' was missing a member.

The '70s cartoon couldn't use The Human Torch because Marvel had licensed his character out at the time. They added in HERBIE instead, and the show went down in Fantastic Four infamy.

'Eraser' sees Arnold Schwarzenegger face off against Cyrez.

Cyrez was originally called Cyrex, but a company called Cyrix complained that it was too close to their name. The filmmakers had to change it in post-post-post production, which wasn't cheap to do.