As I mention in the introduction, I find the practice of editing existing shots of the World Trade Center out of movies (and TV shows, and other media) absolutely deplorable.
The only remotely acceptable reason I can think of for removing images of (or references to) the World Trade Center from popular media is the desire not to "date" the project in question. For example, the short-lived sci-fi show "SeaQuest DSV" was set in the year 2018; in an episode made in 1994 ("An Ocean On Fire," a.k.a. "Higher Power"), there's a discussion of global warming, during which one character remarks, "You're gonna need scuba gear to stand on the observation deck of the World Trade Center." Immediately, your suspension of disbelief, in a fictional story set in an era after September 11, 2001, is shattered.
But that's the only scenario I can think of in which redacting a WTC reference might be acceptable: for artistic reasons, not political ones, or imagined psychological ones. There's no good reason to erase the WTC from any film or show set in a time when the towers still existed.
So why do it? Are we such big wussies that we need some studio executive to decide that we can't handle the sight of the towers (thereby cutting into their bottom line - or so they assume)?
As Kevin Pack wrote in late 2001, in Hollywood Patriotism, 2001:
This new world seems to be policed to a point that you would think there is no demographic above the age or 12, even though we hardly live in a world that is rated PG.And, as I'm very fond of saying, "You wouldn't cut Grandpa out of the family pictures just because he was dead, would you?" Cutting Grandpa out of the family photo album wouldn't serve to spare the feelings of the survivors; it would only serve to dishonor the deceased.
Radio stations have lists longer than Robert Downey Jr.'s rap sheet of songs that can't be played on the radio because it could be seen as "offensive" and more depressed than we already are. ... The public can't hear songs like "New York, New York" by Old Blue Eyes, and movies are having their release dates pushed back because we need to edit out every goddamn shot of the World Trade Center. People don't want any reminders of the devastating events that have happened and can't be bogged down with thoughts, feelings, sights, or sounds that could push them over the edge.
"Sidewalks of New York" had its release date pushed back, like many other films, because scenes of the WTC had to be edited out. It is called "Sidewalks of New York" right? The WTC may be rubble now, but when the film was shot it was a tall monument that was a symbol of America and a hallmark of one of the best cities in the world, NYC. So, instead of celebrating what once was, we have to walk on tip toes and edit it from, well, I guess everything. The "Spiderman" trailer and poster were both recalled and most likely scrapped because of shots of, you guessed it, the WTC. Funny how we can't be shown any images of the WTC in all its glory because it might bring us down, but copies of "Die Hard" are flying off of Blockbuster's shelves. ...
Why is it that we can't be shown an image ot the WTC but the public will flock to see a movie about Jack the Ripper and watch his blood soaked hands cut out women's anatomy? ...
I go to Blockbuster and see a warning sticker on the cover of "Swordfish" telling me I might find this film offensive since the "events" that took place on 9/11. The only thing I found offensive about the film was John Travolta's hideously bad haircut ...
Or, as Rita Kempley put it:
If we erase the towers from our art, we erase it from our memories. It's right out of Forrest Gump and Zelig. We're destroying our own history, never a wise idea."Right out of Forrest Gump and Zelig"... and 1984, for that matter.
That said, here's our list of movies, TV shows, and other media in which the World Trade Center once existed, but was erased, digitally or otherwise - usually on orders from a bunch of shortsighted suits who must think very little of American resiliency.