The big news in the sporting world yesterday is that Peyton Manning is leaving the Indianapolis Colts after sitting out all last season while undergoing surgical procedures on his neck. While it’s not known if he has fully recovered, the Colts are looking to the future, presumably by drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with their first pick.

Will the Colts thrive under Luck? Will Peyton be able to muster his career in its twilight years? Scenarios like this don’t just happen in sports, but also in entertainment, where properties and franchises are held together by actors who, for one reason or another, take leave and move on.

As you’ll see below, the results are a mixed bag. Sometimes franchises improve, sometimes they flounder, and sometimes they just gently fade away. Take a look.

Steve Carell – The Office

The question of whether or not Carell left the office because it had started to suck or if the show started to suck when he was gone is one that I won’t address here, because I didn’t watch the later episodes during his tenure. But it’s clear that his demise has hastened the decline of the show regardless.

While the gimmicky casting of James Spader made for interesting copy and kept all eyes on the show, perhaps people didn’t realize just how integral Steve was to the show. Sure, the supporting characters were able to hold their own, but the show needed a star more than most people realize, and someone like James Spader or even the competent ensemble can’t fill that void.

The fate of The Office is up in the air after Carell’s first year away, but if it does carry on, I would expect it to end with a bang, and not a whimper.

Matt Damon – The Bourne Series

The problem with hiring (or even creating) a big star with your franchise is that it affords them big opportunities outside of the franchise. Most actors want to take the goodwill they create with one role and parlay it into much more. For instance, Matt Damon was in a bit of a slump when he signed on to play Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity. However, the Jason Bourne character made Damon as close to an action-hero icon as the world has right now.

Damon has used that goodwill to star in both independent and large-scale films, eventually walking away from the Bourne series after The Bourne Supremacy. However, new blood was eagerly anticipated by both the producers and audiences, so the role became one of the most coveted in Hollywood, eventually going to Jeremy Renner.

With Edward Norton playing the villain in The Bourne Legacy, I would be very surprised if this film didn’t succeed on a larger scale than the Damon ones.

Steve Guttenberg – Police Academy

This is an instance of the star leaving the franchise because the franchise was EXTREMELY tired by this point. The Police Academy films haven’t garnered a lot of respect among audiences or critics, mostly because they consist of about 15 scenes that can be played in any order without affecting the outcome.

Guttenberg, who most don't remember was a HUGE star during the 1980’s, walked away from the Police Academy franchise (as Carey Mahoney) after 1987’s Citizens on Patrol. He starred in five films that year, but 1987 served as his swan song, as his career was never the same after that year.

Was it because he quit Police Academy before Assignment Miami Beach, City Under Siege, or Mission to Moscow? Doubtful. Those films were terrible, even by Police Academy standards. The series lies dormant, but there is talk that it will start back up under the careful hand of some Tosh.0 director.

Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man

After three Spider-Man's (Spider-Men?) both star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi went on to do other things, leaving the franchise in the hands of Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb. The third Spider-Man entry featured a strangely emo Spider-Man, as well as a host of villains, none of who really blew the audiences hair back the way Doc Ock and the Green Goblin did. Thus, Tobey went back to more dramatic fare that allows him to whisper lines from his slight, frail body.

Though we’re still a few months away from The Amazing Spider-Man, it doesn’t look as though audiences are going to miss Tobey very much, with the equally adorable Garfield waiting in the wings.

Harrison Ford – Jack Ryan Films

While he wasn’t the original face of the Jack Ryan saga (that goes to Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford became the face of the franchise by appearing in the two subsequent films (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) that weren’t claustrophobic and filmed under weird red lights.

However, Harrison Ford-as-Jack Ryan ended early, as the franchise was rebooted, with a younger Jack Ryan played by Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears. Also, Morgan Freeman played a character that bore uncannily similarities to James Earl Jones’ despite the fact that Jones’ character died in Clear and Present Danger.

Needless to say, Sum of All Fears didn’t do so well, and the franchise hasn’t popped back up since.

Christian Bale – Batman

While there were other Batmans before him, namely, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney, it’s no stretch to say that Bale has been the apex of the franchise, both in terms of critical acclaim and popularity. However, with The Dark Knight Rises on the horizon, and the last film for both Bale and director Christopher Nolan, don’t expect producers to sit around for long given the earning power of these films. There’s no reason to believe that this Batman won’t be even bigger than the record-setting The Dark Knight, but where they take it from here is anyone’s guess. It will be extremely hard to outdo Nolan’s versions in terms of over-the-top spectacle, and Christian Bale does so well at portraying “joyless” (I wonder why that is), that the future of the franchise is in question.

Further, when two such important piece leave concurrently, it’s hard to know how important one was without the context of the other. It will be hard to continue making Batman as big as it was with Bale, but it will be fun to see the studios try.

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