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    17 Celebs Who Were Added Into These Movies And Advertisements After Their Deaths Using Special Effects, Stand-Ins, And More

    14 years after his death, John Lennon appeared in Forrest Gump when the filmmakers combined an old interview of him with new footage of Tom Hanks as Forrest.

    This post contains mentions of suicide in #5. 

    1. First, Carrie Fisher, who died in 2016, was digitally recreated for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). The visual effects team used unused footage from The Force Awakens, combined with a digital recreation of Leia, helped bring her to life for the final film.

    Screenshots from "Star Wars"

    2. Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, ended up appearing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). His appearance was created for the prequel so that his character from Star Wars: A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin, could be seen in a scene in the prequel.

    Screenshots from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

    3. Paul Walker, who died in 2013, made an appearance in Furious 7 when it hit theaters in 2015. Several of his "key scenes" still had to be filmed, so Paul's brothers Caleb and Cody Walker allowed the visual effects team to scan them and work with them in scenes so they could finished the movie and keep Paul in it.

    Screenshots from "Furious 7"

    4. Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004, made a cameo as Superman in The Flash (2023). While he was alive, Christopher criticized how studios produce unnecessary sequels, and then he was placed right into this type of movie posthumously.

    Christopher Reeve as Superman

    5. Also in The Flash (2023), George Reeves, who played Superman in the TV series Adventures of Superman, was digitally added for a cameo as well. Many fans called out how this was in poor taste considering George died in 1959 of an apparent suicide after reportedly dealing with depression that was linked to his failing career.

    George Reeves as Superman

    6. Marilyn Monroe, who died in 1962, starred in a Dior perfume ad in 2011. Using old footage and CGI, Marilyn appeared opposite Charlize Theron for J'Adore and even says, "Dior." Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich, who died in 1982 and 1992 respectively, also appeared in the ad.

    Marilyn Monroe in Dior

    7. Harold Ramis, who died in 2014, was digitally recreated for Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). In the movie, Harold's Egon Spengler appears as a ghost. Old footage and photos from Ghostbusters as well as performance capture from an actor on set were used to create this older looking version of Egon.

    Screenshots from "Ghostbusters: Afterlife"

    8. Bruce Lee had completed some of Game of Death before his death in 1973, but in order to complete the film, stand-ins, body doubles, archival footage, cardboard cutouts of Bruce's head, and more were used to cobble together a film.

    Closeup of Bruce Lee

    9. Brandon Lee was fatally shot while filming The Crow in 1993 when a prop gun was improperly loaded. Since Brandon had finished a majority of his scenes prior to his death, a body double and CGI were used to finish the movie.

    Screenshots from "The Crow"

    10. John Lennon, who died in 1980, was notably featured in Forrest Gump in 1994. Using an old interview of John Lennon on The Dick Cavett Show, the visual effects team spliced together the interview with footage of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump. This gave the illusion that John and Forrest were guests on the talk show together.

    John Lennon with Forrest Gump

    11. Audrey Hepburn, who died in 1993, was digitally recreated for a Dove chocolate commercial in 2014. Apparently, the team behind the ad originally used a stand-in and tweaked her features using CGI, but when that wasn't good enough, they decided to recreate Audrey using only CGI.

    Digital rendering of Audrey Hepburn

    12. Marlon Brando, who died in 2004, appeared in Superman Returns (2006) as Jor-El, Superman's biological father. The VFX team used footage originally shot for Superman: The Movie in 1978 and CGI to create Marlon's new scenes for this Superman film.

    Clips from "Superman Returns"

    13. John Candy died in 1994 while filming the western comedy movie Wagons East (1994). Production was suspended following his death, but in order to complete the film, they used visual effects, and a "Candy look-alike" to place John in a handful of scenes he hadn't filmed yet.

    John Candy in "Wagons East"

    14. Oliver Reed died in 1999 while filming Gladiator (2000) and before all of his scenes were completed. In order to finish the film, Oliver's face was "digitally grafted onto an extra," the script was rewritten, and unused takes of Oliver were used.

    Oliver Reed in "Gladiator"

    15. Laurence Olivier, who died in 1989, starred as Dr. Totenkopf in Sky Captain and the World Tomorrow in 2004. The filmmakers used old footage of Laurence after Jude Law, who starred in the movie, suggested he play Dr. Totenkopf.

    Screenshots from "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow"

    16. Fred Astaire, who died in 1987, was recreated for a vacuum commercial in 1997 using old footage. In the ad for Dirt Devil, Fred can be seen dancing around a house with various props. His children notably criticized the commercial, with his daughter saying, "Saddened that after his wonderful career he was sold to the devil."

    Fred Astaire dancing in a commercial

    17. And finally, James Dean, who died in 1955, was literally cast in a supporting role for the movie Finding Jack in 2019, which was met with criticism immediately. Although the film was never released, the filmmakers planned to create a "realistic version of James Dean."

    Closeup of James Dean

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386.