When Robin Williams died last year, a sequel to one of his biggest hits, Mrs Doubtfire, was in early development. As we've seen in recent times, an actor's untimely death, no matter how tragic the circumstances, doesn't necessarily mean curtains for a production. CGI was used to finish Oliver Reed's scenes in Gladiator when he died of a heart attack half way through filming, and the forthcoming Fast & Furious 7 used special effects to complete Paul Walker's scenes after he was killed in a car crash.
But Mrs Doubtfire 2 will certainly never make it to the big screen after new documents from Williams' estate emerged this week stipulating a restriction on his image, or any likeness of it, being used for 25 years after his death.
The filed deed states that his image cannot be used in film or publicity until 2039 and he also passed the rights to his name, photograph and signature to the Windfall Foundation, a charity that he himself set up. Although no such law exists in the UK, California already grants individuals the right to say where their image can and cannot be used for 70 years after their death. This document is even more secure.
"It's about protecting their brand legacy," says Marketing magazine's Nicola Kemp. "It's testament to how much and how quickly the market is changing with technology and the possibilities it throws up regarding bringing back the dead."
Indeed, Williams could easily have ended up doing stand-up as a hologram. Just look what happened to the rapper Tupac, who played the main stage at Coachella music festival in 2012, despite having died 16 years earlier. Last year a hologrammed Michael Jackson performed at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
1/30 Robin Williams
1980: Robin Williams in the world-famous Mork and Mindy series that launched his career.
2/30 Robin Williams
1984: Williams in 'Moscow On The Hudson'. The actor earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his turn as a Russian circus performer in this 1984 hit.
3/30 Robin Williams
1987: Williams in the critically acclaimed 'Good Morning, Vietnam'. Williams ad-libbed all the radio broadcast scenes from this 1987 film about a radio DJ sent to Vietnam to entertain the US troops serving out there.
4/30 Robin Williams
1989: Robin Williams appeared with Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles in 'Dead Poets Society' as English teacher John Keating - or the “slightly more daring O Captain, My Captain”.
5/30 Robin Williams
1990: Williams and Robert De Niro in Awakenings, an emotional film that saw Williams portray a British neurologist who administered a drug to catatonic patients that briefly awoke them from decades of catatonia.
6/30 Robin Williams
1991: Williams appeared as an adult Peter Pan forced to return to Neverland to rescue his children in 'Hook'. The film received mixed reviews but proved popular at the box office.
7/30 Robin Williams
1992: Williams in 'Toys'. The film followed a military general after he inherits a toy factory and decides to produce war toys.
8/30 Robin Williams
1993: Williams appeared in one of his best-loved roles in Mrs Doubtfire, where he played an actor disguising himself as a female housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children.
9/30 Robin Williams
1995: Williams appeared as man released from a board game after being trapped for decades inside it in the blockbuster 'Jumanji'.
10/30 Robin Williams
1996: Williams starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in 'Jack', a film about a young boy who ages four times faster than other children.
11/30 Robin Williams
1997: Williams appeared alongside Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting', a film that won him an Oscar for his portrayal of psychologist Sean Maguire. As he accepted his award, a touched Williams warned the audience: "Oh man, this might be the one time I’m speechless".
12/30 Robin Williams
1997: The box-office hit Flubber saw Williams take the role of Professor Philip Brainard, who creates the unstoppable green goo Flubber in his bid to produce a new energy source.
13/30 Robin Williams
1998: Williams gave a poignant turn as Dr Hunter 'Patch' Adams, an unqualified doctor who treats patients with laughter in 'Patch Adams' .
14/30 Robin Williams
1998: Williams stars alongside Cuba Gooding, Jr in 'What Dreams May Come', a film that follows American physician Chris Nielsen's journey through the afterlife after he is killed in a car crash.
15/30 Robin Williams
1999: Robin Williams, Bob Balaban (left), and Armin Mueller-Stahl star in the movie 'Jakob the Liar' about a Jewish shopkeeper who uses his imagination to engender hope throughout a Polish ghetto in 1944.
16/30 Robin Williams
1999: American Science Fiction drama 'Bicentennial Man' followed an android (Williams) as he experiences emotions and becomes more human
17/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams took a more sinister role as reclusive crime writer and murderer Walter Finch in 'Insomnia'.
18/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams undertook an unsettling, psychopathic role in One Hour Photo, where he played a photo lab technician obsessed with a family who frequented the store.
19/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams starred alongside Danny DeVito in 'Death to Smoochy', a film about a corrupt children's television host disgraced by an FBI sting.
20/30 Robin Williams
2005: Robin Williams stars in 'The Big White', a film about a financially struggling travel agent trying to make a bogus life insurance claim in order to pay for his wife's Tourette treatment.
21/30 Robin Williams
2006: Williams and Ben Stiller star in 'Night at the Museum'. Williams will appear in upcoming film "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," playing the statue of Teddy Roosevelt who comes to life at night.
22/30 Robin Williams
2006: Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels and Cheryl Hines star in roadtrip comedy 'R.V.', which followed the tribulations of a dysfunctional family.
23/30 Robin Williams
2006: Williams took the leading role in the political comedy drama 'Man of the Year' about a comedian who decides to run for President and finds himself mistakenly elected.
24/30 Robin Williams
2007: Robin Williams and Freddie Highmore in 'August Rush', where Williams played a homeless musician who teaches children living on the streets music and employs them as performers.
25/30 Robin Williams
2007: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski starred in 'License to Wed'. Williams played a reverend who places a couple through a series of tests to see if they should marry in his church. The rom-com was poorly received by critics.
26/30 Robin Williams
2010: Robin Williams and John Travolta star in 'Old Dogs', a comedy that sees two friends and owners of a sports marketing firm struggle to deal with seven-year-old twins placed in their care. The film was nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards.
27/30 Robin Williams
2013: Susan Sarandon, Robert De Niro and Robin Williams star in The Big Wedding
28/30 Robin Williams
2013: Williams starred as President Eisenhower in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'.
29/30 Robin Williams
2014: Robin Williams with his Mork and Mindy co-star Pam Dawber in The Crazy Ones series. It was axed after one season.
30/30 Robin Williams
2014: Rob Williams stars in 'The Angriest Man in Brooklyn', the story of a bad-tempered man mistakenly told he has 90 minutes to live.
Of course, where stars are usually resurrected these days is in the world of advertising. Recently we've seen Marilyn Monroe purring "J'adore Dior" in a commercial for the French fashion house and Audrey Hepburn eating chocolate in an Amalfi Coast-set ad for Galaxy. The Funny Face star's sons, who control her estate and authorised the use of her image for a fee, justified the move by saying she "often spoke about her love of chocolate and how it lifted her spirit". Ten years after his death, Fred Astaire could be seen on TV screens hawking vacuum cleaners. Kemp points out that although the estates can be very complicated to wade through, the deceased can make a good investment.
"Say you pay a footballer a vast sum of money to promote a brand and then they do something terrible, it's a disaster for the company. You don't have that issue with the dead."
That's not to say these kinds of spots always go down well. Specsavers' advertisement featuring the late French singer Edith Piaf singing "Je Ne Regrette Rien" was the ninth most complained about commercial to the Advertising Standards Authority in 2008, with viewers insisting it was derogatory to the memory of the Little Sparrow.
There is plenty of other dubious promotional material that has opened up discussions about taste and, ultimately, the appropriateness of using someone's likeness posthumously.
After Saatchi & Saatchi created adverts for Dr Martens that featured Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious wearing the boots in heaven, the firm was fired by the shoemakers. And fans of Bruce Lee didn't take kindly to his image being used to advertise Johnnie Walker whisky considering that he didn't even drink.
"It's kind of a moral minefield that advertisers need to get to grips with, especially because the use of deceased celebrities in advertising is actually increasing," says Kemp.
"They have to make sure there's a genuine connection – what the industry calls authenticity – between the tie-in. Otherwise they'll get called out on it by consumers, especially in the social media age."
If that's the case then no-one can really argue with the deal struck by Bob Marley's family last year to licence the reggae icon's image to a cannabis company. At least he was known to enjoy a smoke.
So while Robin Williams' decision to protect his image might cause some to pause, he has avoided a life after death that few celebrities would choose for themselves.Reuse content