Posted by Trevor Norkey @trevornorkey
Writer, filmmaker, actor and film enthusiast.
Trevor Norkey

The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. It affected seemingly everyone, whether they were from the area or not. Airport security skyrocketed, thousands of people lost loved ones, and the United States suffered a loss they had not suffered in a long time.

The effects of the attack were wider-ranging, and it seemed to impact every industry in some small way. In Hollywood, many films had to be edited post-9/11 in order to avoid showing the Twin Towers or avoid terrorist-themed content. Here are five major films that were edited in the wake of 9/11...

1. 'Spider-Man' (2002)

Image: Sony Pictures
Image: Sony Pictures

In the original cut of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, there was a major scene featuring the World Trade Center. As some bank robbers escape seemingly scot-free with a butt-load of money in a helicopter, they face a serious problem. The helicopter is caught by a web, which drags them into an enormous spider-web strung between the Twin Towers.

This scene was cut as the 9/11 attack had occurred less than a year before the film's release. Unfortunately, though, the initial teaser for Spider-Man featured that scene as its primary focus. Because of this, Sony had to pull back the already-released teaser. To cover the damage, Sony later released trailers featuring Spider-Man landing in front of the American flag.


2. 'Men in Black II' (2002)

Image: Columbia Pictures
Image: Columbia Pictures

The original climax of this action-comedy sequel heavily featured the World Trade Center. As this movie came out almost a year after the attack, not only would the scene have been inappropriate, but it also would have made the final battle insanely unrealistic.

To fix this, the climactic moments including the towers were replaced with climactic moments including the Statue of Liberty. It kept the familiarity of a well-known location, but used it in a realistic & tasteful way.


3. 'Collateral Damage' (2002)

Image: Bel-Air Entertainment
Image: Bel-Air Entertainment

This Arnold Schwarzenegger action war-flick suffered quite a bit after the 9/11 attack. Collateral Damage was originally scheduled for release on October 5, 2001 (less than a month after the attack), but was pushed back until February 2002. The amount of violence and explosions in this movie was unreal, and the filmmakers chose to keep most of it. They even included a scene where a terrorist bomber stands in front of a building in Los Angeles.

Despite standing their ground on the violence in the rest of the film, the filmmakers did choose to delete a particular scene. At one point in the film, actress Sofía Vergara appeared as an airplane hijacker. To avoid the touchy subject, the filmmakers cut the scene — and Sofía Vergara — completely out of the film. Unfortunately, the violence was still too much after the devastating attack, and the movie suffered a significant loss at the box office.


4. 'Armageddon' (1998)

Image: Touchstone Pictures
Image: Touchstone Pictures

Even though this explosion-filled Michael Bay film had been released three years prior to the 9/11 terrorist attack, the filmmakers still had to make a change. Armageddon was supposed to premiere on ABC in 2002, but ABC backed out unless one particular shot was taken out.

The original cut of the film featured a scene where the World Trade Center is hit by meteors and catches on fire. Because of how similar this was to the terrorist attack, it was a very smart decision to cut this particular moment out of the film.


5. 'Lilo & Stitch' (2002)

Image: Disney
Image: Disney

Even a beloved Disney film like Lilo & Stitch had to be changed after the 9/11 attack. During the climax of the film, Stitch and a few other characters steal one of the alien ships to chase after Lilo, who has been kidnapped. At one point, the ship is shot and almost crashes into the mountains. The original version of this, however, was quite different.

Originally, Stitch and friends hijacked a commercial airplane to chase after Lilo and her kidnappers. It gets worse, though. When the airplane is shot, it doesn't fall toward the mountains — it falls towards a city, narrowly missing the buildings it is about to hit. Considering how recent the 9/11 attack was when this film was released, it was a seriously smart decision to change it. You can watch the original version below.


Despite all the changes that had to be made, the above films were still released. The movies recovered, just like America has recovered. While the impact of 9/11 was much greater on those involved, it is interesting to note that it was so enormous, it even impacted the little things, like Lilo & Stitch.

Do you think these movies did a good job of changing their content, or should they have kept things the same? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!