Sharkboy and Lavagirl are back in We Can Be Heroes, and while Taylor Dooley is returning, Taylor Lautner has been recast as Sharkboy.
Sharkboy and Lavagirl are back in a standalone sequel titled We Can Be Heroes, and while Taylor Dooley is reprising her role as Lavagirl, Taylor Lautner has been recast – here’s why. Robert Rodriguez has explored various genres throughout his career as a filmmaker, from exploitation movies like Planet Terror to crime thrillers like Sin City and even children’s movies like Spy Kids, but in 2005 he surprised critics and viewers with a bizarre adventure movie that didn’t have the desired impact on the audience: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D.
The story of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, along with many details, was conceived by Robert Rodriguez’s children, with his son Racer getting a “story by” credit. The movie follows Max (Cayden Boyd), a lonely, bullied 10-yeard-old who is recruited by Sharkboy and Lavagirl, two superheroes created by him, to save their planet from forces of evil. The planet in question is Planet Drool, and many people close to Max are somehow represented in it, such as his bully Linus (Minus in Planet Drool) and his teacher Mr. Electricidad (villain Mr. Electric, Planet Drool’s corrupt electrician). The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was a critical and commercial failure, and time hasn’t been good to it either – however, Robert Rodriguez decided to revisit this universe with a standalone sequel, which has some big changes in its main cast.
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Titled We Can Be Heroes, the movie is directed, produced, and written by Robert Rodriguez (staying true to his nickname “the one-man film crew”), and is set to be released on Netflix in January 2021. We Can Be Heroes will see the children of Earth’s superheroes team up after their parents are kidnapped by alien invaders, pushing them to learn to work together so they can save not only their parents but the world as well. The movie will welcome new characters like Ms. Granada (Priyanka Chopra), Tech-No (Christian Slater), and Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal), as well as the daughter of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Guppy, who has both shark and lava powers. While Taylor Dooley will be back as Lavagirl, Sharkboy has been recast, and not because Taylor Lautner wasn’t open to returning.
Speaking to Collider, Robert Rodriguez shared that only Lavagirl has a speaking role, meaning that her and Sharkboy’s presence are merely cameo roles, so with that in mind, it makes sense that Sharkboy was recast, even if many were looking forward to seeing Lautner back in action. It’s worth noting, however, that Lautner suggested not long ago that he would be open to reprising his role as Sharkboy if a remake was to happen, so recasting the role was most likely due to the character’s minor appearance in We Can Be Heroes, and not so much because Lautner refused to return. Just three years after playing Sharkboy, Lautner played werewolf Jacob Black in Twilight, reprising his role in the rest of the saga. Since then, Lautner has had a couple of minor roles in movies and TV shows, and among his most recent credits are the TV shows Scream Queens and Cuckoo.
Those who have a special place in their hearts for The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl might not be happy to learn that Taylor Lautner is not coming back as Sharkboy, but it’s important to remember that We Can Be Heroes isn’t a direct sequel to the first movie, and it’s more a movie set in the same universe, which will hopefully have a better story and visual effects than the previous one.
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