Despite appearing in the previous two movies, Julia Roberts did not reprise her role as Tess Ocean in Ocean’s 13. This is why she wasn’t in the cast.
Here’s why Julia Roberts didn’t reprise her role as Tess in Ocean’s 13, and why she wasn’t cast in the final installment of the trilogy. Ocean’s 11 was rebooted in 2001 by director Steven Soderbergh with a star-studded ensemble cast. Danny Ocean, Rusty Ryan, and Linus Caldwell, played by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, led the heist film franchise. Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, and Andy Garcia were among the recurring male cast members. Despite having the largest female role in the Ocean’s films, Julia Roberts chose not to return for the final original installment.
Roberts joined Ocean’s 11 to play Tess Ocean after working with Soderbergh on Erin Brockovich. She first appeared in the franchise as Danny’s ex-wife, and she was dating Terry Benedict, the owner of the three casinos the Eleven planned to rob. By the end of Ocean’s 11, Danny had reclaimed Tess, and the two were happily remarried by the start of Ocean’s 12. Tess didn’t have as much of a role in the sequel at first, but once she was a part of Ocean’s 12’s heist and ending, the movie allowed her to play Julia Roberts in real life. Julia Roberts, on the other hand, did not return for Ocean’s 13 despite this.
Tess’ absence from the final installment of the Ocean’s trilogy was unexpected given her presence in the first two. Danny explains why Tess didn’t show up in Ocean’s 13 by saying that the latest heist isn’t her fight. Catherine Zeta-Jones’ absence was explained in the same way, but the real reason she and Julia Roberts were left out was due to the size of their roles. Soderbergh had intended to bring Julia Roberts back for Ocean’s 13, but she would only do so if she would have a significant role. Roberts wanted Tess to play a more active role in the story after being a supporting character in the previous films. She didn’t return because Ocean’s 13 director Steven Soderbergh was unable to accommodate her request.
Despite the possibility of a Julia Roberts-led Ocean’s 13 sequels, her departure from the franchise was amicable. She, understandably, desired a larger role in the third installment of the series. Soderbergh wanted Tess to stay, but not in the way Roberts desired. It was a disappointing outcome, as it meant Ocean’s 13 would be without its most prominent female character. As a result of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ departure, the trilogy ended with only one significant female character, Ellen Barkin’s Abigail Sponder.
Julia Roberts‘ absence from Oceans 13 is unlikely to be rectified shortly. Because the chances of Ocean’s 14 happenings are extremely slim, Tess and Danny’s lives will not continue in this manner. It appears that Roberts’ best chance of returning to the Ocean’s franchise has already passed. Missing out on Ocean’s 13 was one thing, but she could’ve theoretically been a member of the crew in Ocean’s 8 and worked alongside Danny’s sister, Sandra Bullock. Of course, the latter would have required casting Julia Roberts in the lead role, which may or may not has worked.