With interest peaking in beloved 80s and 90s franchises, the success of 1994's The Crow is one that's continuously revisited. The mystique behind the Alex Proyas film is shrouded in tragedy with the death of film's star Brandon Lee (who played Eric Draven) during filming from a defective prop gun. The director eventually finished the film with body doubles and coordinated reshoots, given how the accident affected cast and crew. While numerous sequels and television series spawned from the 1994 original, there were various actors as different Crows. Draven was even revisited at different points. With interest in a franchise reboot, the project saw several changes in hands with various directors and actors once attached. Among the actors include Ryan Gosling, Luke Evans, and Jason Mamoa. All eventually left. One of the 1994 film's stars in Ernie Hudson, who played Albrecht, believes there's no mere coincidence why the reboots kept getting shelved, and it has to do with the death of Lee. He spoke with Comic Book about why The Crow franchise hasn't gone anywhere since.
"Well, James O'Barr is a friend, and he created this thing as his graphic novel. And Brandon taking it on, I knew Brandon before we did the movie," Hudson said. "We had some problems sort of pulling it together, but when Brandon died, it's even hard to verbalize. I've done action movies, but nobody gets hurt. I mean, it's close to impossible, at least in my mind that that could happen, but it did happen. And so, I love being a part of that movie and Alex Proyas, who directed it, he was a wonderful director, he really took special care to make sure the movie was what it is. But, in my mind, it was kind of done." Brandon's death shares similarities with his father, Bruce Lee. While The Crow immortalized Brandon into pop culture history as many regards it as his finest work, many felt the same when Bruce died prior to the release of Enter the Dragon (1973) for Warner Bros. Bruce finally achieved his dream of becoming a leading man in Hollywood when a cerebral edema prematurely took his life at the age of 32 in 1973. Whether if The Crow or Enter the Dragon would ever be looked up in any other light for it not been the fate of the film's stars is a debate that will never be resolved. Fans of The Dark Knight (2008) are also very aware of this given the posthumous Oscar-winning performance of Heath Ledger.
Hudson thinks The Crow reboot/remake should still be made, but to deviate from O'Barr's original protagonist in Eric Draven and the plot of the Proyas film might be the best way to move forward likening the success of other franchises like Ghostbusters and Star Wars. "Maybe there could be other Crows or whatever, but it's not like Ghostbusters, which I thought, 'Oh yeah, you can have a lot of them,'" he continued. "I just thought Brandon was The Crow and, as far as I was concerned, once he died and we went back to finish it, it was done in my mind. I know they've made others, but I've never seen them. Brandon was The Crow, and that's how I feel. Now, fans feel otherwise. Obviously, the studio feels otherwise, because it could be a great franchise, but sometimes I think it's very specific."
Hudson explained the original trilogy core meant to the Star Wars franchise. "I was watching Star Wars, and I see a lot of the things that have come out of the first three, but there was very specific about Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher," he continued. "You can get other people, but we do bring something unique to it, and sometimes that magic is just very, very hard to do. And I just think The Crow is an amazing movie for a lot of reasons, but Brandon was the heart of it, and I just I can't imagine [another]. But, like I said, people will try and maybe sometime, somebody will find their own thing, but what that is and was, I don't think you can do that again." Hudson reprises his role as Winston Zeddemore in Sony's Ghostbusters: Afterlife currently slated for a March 5, 2021 release.