A deleted scene is footage that has been removed from the final version of a film or television show.
A related term is extended scene, the longer version of a scene that was shortened for the final version of the film. Often, extended scenes are included in collections of deleted scenes or are referred to as deleted scenes themselves, as is the case with for instance, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Serenity.
Reasons for removalEdit
Scenes are often removed from films at the request of a studio or network, or to reduce running time or to improve narrative flow.
Requests for alterationEdit
The studio or network planning to air or distribute it may be uncomfortable with a certain scene. It may ask for it be altered, removed, or replaced.
That is most common in the production of television series since networks and channels often must be mindful of how viewers, critics, or censors will react to programming. There may be a fear of losing ratings, being punished by fines or otherwise, or having trouble finding advertisers.
- The 2002 Fox series Firefly's original pilot episode ("Serenity", parts 1 and 2) had such a change made, with the original, less action-packed scene being replaced in the final cut of the episode but featuring on the later DVD box set release of the series, as one of several bonus features.
- A scene in the pilot of 24 involved the destruction of a Boeing 747. Aired just a few months after the 9/11 attacks, the producers made some creative edits to cutout shots of the plane visibly exploding.
Concerns about running time may also cause scenes to be removed or shortening.
In feature films, scenes may be cut to refuce the length of the film's theatrical cut. That apparently happened with most of the Harry Potter feature films, including an arguably-important transitional/plot-related scene in the second film (involving Harry's overhearing of the conversation in the shop in Knockturn Alley), which was not in the theatrical cut but was released on the 2-disc DVD, along with several other deleted scenes.
In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the scene showing John Connor reprogramming the Terminator was shortened by deleting dialogue that made other scenes necessary. Left out of the theatrical release version, they were restored on the special VHS edition. Also, a scene of the T-1000 killing the family dog was deleted. In interviews, both Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron stress that it was done to shorten the film; the theatrical version still ran 2.5 h, even without the scenes. However, they were not restored for the DVD set that was released in 2003.
In Thirteen Ghosts, a scene was removed of Kathy and Bobby being in the trap room, where they are summoned for the Eye of Hell in which they have a conversation about not liking the house one of the ghosts being their deceased mother in. The scene was included on the DVD release.
In television serials, however, running time becomes an even greater concern because of the strict timeslot limitations, especially on channels supported by advertisements, and there may be only 20 minutes of actual show per half-hour timeslot. Depending on the station and the particular format of the show, that may or may not include opening credits or closing credits; many ad-supported stations now "squish" the closing credits or force them into a split-screen to show more advertising. Most programs are in either a half-hour or a one-hour timeslot. That forces producers of television serials to break up the acts in a manner that will (hopefully) make the viewer want to continue watching after the ad break and to avoid exceeding the stricter running time limits.
One television serial that has had to make such changes is Firefly, which had to remove a lengthy scene from the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" because of time constraints; the scene was included on the DVD collection, as an extra.
A few Jim Henson specials deleted all the scenes featuring Kermit, like in "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" and "The Christmas Toy" (both post-2004 releases). The television versions and the pre-2004 video releases have all of the Kermit scenes intact.
In the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron, scenes showing the development of Ultron were removed to shorten the film shorter; it still ran for 2.5 h. However, director Joss Whedon said that the scenes will be included in the Blu-Ray.
Disruption of narrative flowEdit
Though the quality of the initial and the final cuts of a film is subjective, a scene or version of a scene in a film may have an adverse effect on the film as a whole. It may slow the film down, provide unnecessary details or exposition, or even explain points that should be implied or said more subtly. It is common to remove such scenes at the editing level, but they may be released on the home video release, as a bonus feature.
There are at least a few examples, including a number of the deleted scenes on the DVD release of the sequel film Serenity (in fact, the audio commentary on the DVD's deleted scenes collection quite often mentions the plot or the tension being disrupted or slowed by including a scene or too much expositional as the main reason for the scene's removal from the final theatrical cut. Another well known example is the cocoon sequence in the film Alien. The scene added a lot of information about the fate of several crew members and new information on the life cycle of the creature, but it was ultimately deleted, as it was thought to slow down and to disrupt the tension of the end of the film.
Deleted or extended scenes may be in any of several different formats. They may or may not feature finished special effects (especially in science fiction and fantasy films in which visual effects are more expensive), and the film quality may or may not be the same as in the rest of the film, but that may depend only on how much post-production editing was done.
Additionally, deleted scenes of animated films may not be in the form of a fully animated scene but instead be included in the form of an animatic or a blooper form, as is the case with the deleted scenes on the DVD release of Pixar's Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
YTVs ZAPX sometimes makes "deleted scenes" that are not genuine deleted scenes but random scenes of the movie with footage of the program's host, Simon, inserted into the clip, for that purpose.
- Joss Whedon, audio commentary in Firefly, The Complete Series (DVD box set), 21st Century Fox, 2003
- Sangster, Jim (2002). 24: The Unofficial Guide. London, England: Contender Books. p. 34. ISBN 1-84357-034-3.
- Finding Nemo, DVD, Pixar, 2003
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, DVD, Touchstone Pictures, 2005
- "UHF (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 10 April 2018.