Fun with counterfactuals

16 December 2014

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The world we live in was not inevitable. But it can feel like it is.

One of the ways I like to draw attention to this is by looking at movies that could have been casted very differently. Imagine:

  • Cary Grant as the first James Bond;
  • Al Pacino as Han Solo in the Star Wars movies;
  • Scott Baio as Maverick in Top Gun;
  • OJ Simpson as the Terminator;
  • Jim Carrey as Dr Evil in the Austin Powers movies;
  • Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the roles that were played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in The Departed;
  • Sean Connery as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies; and
  • Will Smith as Neo and Sean Connery as Morpheus in The Matrix.

These all, allegedly, could have happened.

It’s easy to imagine that with different actors, these would have been very different movies.

The importance of who is cast in a movie is, in the scheme of things, not especially important. What other twists of fate, of greater import, could have occurred, to make the world seem like a very different place?


counterfactuals, decision making, scenario analysis, scenarios, sunshine

About the author 

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie likes telling people that he’s a former Olympic power walker, a lion tamer, or a popular author of erotic, supernatural, mystery novellas. Sometimes he says he was in a band that opened for Robbie Williams. None of these are true.

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