In 2005, Lautner co-starred as Sharkboy with Taylor Dooley in the superhero adventure film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. The film follows Max, a lonely young boy who invents an imaginary world to escape — only for this dream realm to come to life. Sharkboy and Lavagirl arrive at Max's school when they need his help saving their planet. In 2020, director Robert Rodriguez released the spinoff film We Can Be Heroes, which featured Dooley — but Lautner was surprisingly absent. Rodriguez explained that the idea of asking Lautner to commit time to such a small role just didn't sit right with him as a director.
“There wasn't a big enough role for him to do. It wasn't about those characters… He became such a big star after Twilight that he would have an expectation,” Rodriguez explained in an interview with Decider. “Could you imagine if he was in it, and then they see it and they're like, ‘Wait! His face is covered the whole time! Hey, he didn't have any dialogue!' It'd certainly look like a demerit against him, and I wouldn't want that.”