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TV And Movie Roles That Were Recast



No television show or movie would be complete without the amazingly talented actors and actresses who take on these famous characters. For the most part, many of these actors look as though they were born to play certain roles. They step into their characters’ shoes with ease, and the world falls head over heels in love with their ability to transform themselves.
However, it seems as though that isn’t the case for everyone. In the past, many TV and movie roles have been cast – either before the finished product makes its way onto our screens, or in the midst of its popularity. Some of these changes were pretty obvious, while others slipped under the carpet…

James Bond – James Bond Film Series

Everyone has seen at least one of the James Bond movies, right? This franchise has become one of the most iconic series of all time, and it’s amazing to think that the first 007 movie was released in 1962. While the first James was played by Sean Connery, six other actors have stepped into Bond’s shoes over the years. These include George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, David Niven, and Daniel Craig. This is to give each movie a fresh new look and to provide fans with a different character to sink their teeth into.

Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones

While there’s no doubt about the fact that every Game of Thrones character is iconic in their own right, there was something about Daenerys Targaryan that made everyone weak at the knees. Most people know that Emilia Clarke absolutely smashed this role, but it seems as though she wasn’t the first pick for the showrunners. To begin with, they cast Tamzin Merchant as this character, and she even starred in the unaired pilot of the show. When changes were made for the first official season, though, they decided that Emilia was a better fit.

Peter Parker/Spiderman – Spider-Man Film Series

Let’s be honest; there have been more Spiderman movies than we can count. It seems as though every movie studio in Hollywood has tried to bring this comic to life, and we’re currently on the MCU/Sony adaptation with Tom Holland in the Spidey Suit. Of course, he’s not the only one to cast his webs and jump from building to building as the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, though. Over the years, this character has been played by high-profile actors, including Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Everyone has their favorite Spidey, as well.

Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer wouldn’t be complete without Buffy Summers herself, and while most people are used to seeing Sarah Michele Gellar yield her knife, what some people don’t know is that this TV show was based on a movie. Yes, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie was released back in 1992, and Kirsty Swanson was the actress who brought this character to life. While the creator of the subsequent TV show, Joss Whedon, considered giving Swanson the role again, he ultimately decided against it. Sarah Michelle Gellar landed it instead.

Sarah Connor – Terminator

The Terminator franchise is one of the most famous and most legendary franchises out there, and it’s fair to say that the characters are pretty awesome. That’s definitely the case for Sarah Connor. This character has no fear and is willing to do anything to save the ones that she loves, and Linda Hamilton certainly rocked this character within the first two movies. When producers decided to reboot this franchise, though, they opted to bring in a new, younger actress to play the part. This came in the form of Emilia Clarke.

Marty McFly – Back to the Future

Back to the Future wouldn’t be as iconic as it is today without the Marty McFly that we all know and love. Played by Michael J. Fox, this actor brought the sci-fi world to life and won us all over with his work within the franchise. What some people don’t realize, however, is the fact that Fox wasn’t the first in line for this role. Eric Stoltz had already filmed much of the movie as Marty McFly, but the director just couldn’t get on board with his serious take on the character. In the end, he was recast.

Clarice Starling – The Hannibal Lecter Film Series

It’s no secret that The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most iconic movies to ever make its way onto our screens. It has made its way into the realm of film legend, and while this is all thanks to the main man himself, there’s no doubt about the fact that Clarice Starling also made her mark. In this movie, Jodie Foster stepped into the shoes of Starling, but rumor has it that Jodie didn’t like the way that the first movie ended. So, she refused to star in the second film. She was replaced by Julianne Moore.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk – Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you’re a fan of the MCU, you’ll know that Bruce Banner is kind of a big deal. Not only is he one of the smartest men in the universe, but he’s also The Hulk – and he’s pretty awesome. He has become one of the most famous characters within this franchise and is famously played by Mark Ruffalo. Yet, if you watched The Incredible Hulk back in 2008, you’ll know that this character’s first debut featured Edward Norton in the driving seat. He was replaced by Ruffalo for the first Avengers movie, and he’s stuck it out ever since.

Evelyn Carnahan – The Mummy Film Series

If you’re familiar with Rachel Weisz, you may know that she first became an international icon when she was cast as Evelyn Carnahan in the first two movies in The Mummy franchise. This was the role that really brought her talent to our attention, and fans loved seeing her by Brendan Fraser’s side. While she had all intentions of reprising her role for the third movie, it seems as though the script just didn’t work for her. After trying to work things out with the screenwriters, she eventually decided that the third installment just wasn’t right. Maria Bello replaced her.

Danny Tanner – Full House

Full House is one of those shows that will never go out of style, and you may have even watched the modern reboot, Fuller House. Bob Saget rose to fame within the original show, and there’s no doubt about the fact that his role as Danny Tanner became one of his most iconic performances to date. What you might not realize, though, is that Danny wasn’t always the top dog for this role. The pilot episode of Full House featured John Posey as the hilarious patriarch, but the studio soon realized that he wasn’t quite the right fit.

Bosley – Charlie’s Angels Film Series

You probably don’t need us to tell you that the Charlie’s Angels movies wouldn’t be complete without their dear Charlie by their side. When the first movie was released in 2000, Bill Murray stepped into this role and blew us all away with his character progression and his connection to the ladies. However, when Full Throttle made its debut just three years later, fans were a little confused to learn that Bill Murray had been replaced by Bernie Mac. Nobody quite knew whether Bill had been fired or whether he chose to leave of his own accord.

Shrek – Shrek

While Shrek may not be your average cartoon, there’s something about this angry, Scottish ogre that put a smile on all of our faces, and much of that was because of Mike Myers’ characterization of him. Everything from his voice to his mannerisms made him so much more hilarious, and it’s been suggested that Mike thought up many of these ideas. However, this comedian wasn’t always the front-runner for this role. Chris Farley was originally offered the role and had almost finished filming before he sadly passed away in 1997. The producers decided to start completely from scratch after that.

Russell Hammond – Almost Famous

If you have watched Almost Famous, you’ll know that this comedy-drama showcases the music, the madness, and the mayhem of the 1970s rock era, and featured a whole host of big names. The likes of Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Anna Paquin starred in this movie, and Billy Crudup took on one of the leading roles. He wasn’t always supposed to be in the driver’s seat, though. The role of Russell Hammond was originally given to Brad Pitt, but creative differences between Pitt and Cameron Crowe soon caused a ruckus. In the end, Brad was re-cast.

Rachel Dawes – Batman Film Series

Rachel Dawes may not have superpowers herself, but she definitely has the power to win over Batman with her beauty, her charm, and her intelligence. In Batman Begins, this role was taken by the one and only Katie Holmes. Many thought that she had been made for this role, but it seems as though Katie didn’t quite agree. Instead of appearing in the next movie within the Batman film series, she opted to accept a role in 2008’s Mad Money. So, she was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal. While there were some people who loved this replacement, others weren’t so sure.

Meg Griffin – Family Guy

Family Guy has gone on to become one of the most famous cartoons of all time, and it seems as though we have Seth MacFarlane to thank for that. While he voices many of the characters on this show, it’s fair to say that there have also been some ladies in the voiceover booths. To begin with, the character of Meg Griffin was played by Mean Girls legend Lacey Chabert. However, after one season on the show, Lacey soon realized that her busy schedule just wouldn’t work. Because of this, her character was recast, and Mila Kunis took over.

Jack Ryan – Jack Ryan Franchise

The Jack Ryan franchise has seen countless movies and television shows, and it seems as though everyone loves watching this action man work his magic. While most people know John Krasinski for his role as Jack Ryan, there was a time when Alec Baldwin was stepping into the shoes of this Hollywood legend. He did so within the 1990 film called The Hunt for Red October, and due to the fact that there were two sequels in the pipeline, many assumed that he would continue within this role. That wasn’t the case, though. Harrison Ford took over instead.

Samantha – Her

If you cast your mind back to 2013, you might remember a sci-fi movie by the name of Her. This movie quickly became extremely popular, and it allowed Spike Jonze to really showcase his talent. In the final movie, most people recognize Scarlett Johansson’s voice behind the artificially intelligent operating system. She wasn’t always in the running for this role, though. To begin with, Spike chose Samantha Morton as Samantha in this movie. She spent hours in the booth perfecting her dialogue, and she had even finished when Spike decided that he wanted to go in a different direction.

Kevin – Home Alone 4

When you think of the Home Alone franchise, you immediately think of Macaulay Culkin, right? This child star rose through the Hollywood ranks after this classic Christmas movie made its mark, and many were incredibly surprised when the second movie was just as entertaining as the first. However, it seems as though the Christmas miracle wore off after that. By the time the third movie came along, it was decided that they would focus on a different character and his family. When this flop, they revisited Kevin McCallister – but with Mike Weinberger in the driver’s seat.

Frank Costanza – Seinfeld

When it comes to sitcoms, there’s no doubt about the fact that Seinfeld paved the way for the modern shows we know and love today. It’s considered one of the most legendary shows of all time, and much of that success was all down to Jerry Stiller. He took on the hugely funny role of Frank Costanza, but he wasn’t the original choice for this role. In the first episode of this show, Frank was played by John Randolph. When they realized that it wasn’t working, though, they decided to reshoot the scene with Jerry in front of the camera.

Dumbledore – Harry Potter Film Series

Let’s be honest; the Harry Potter franchise would not be the same without Albus Dumbledore. While the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry certainly liked to keep his secrets, he also helped the students to forge their own path and help Harry defeat the evil that surrounded them. Dumbledore was originally played by Richard Harris, and he appeared in the first two movies within the franchise. Sadly, Harris passed away soon after filming ended, and he was replaced by Michael Gambon throughout the subsequent movies. They were both magical, though.

Jenna Maroney – 30 Rock

30 Rock has proven to be extremely popular over the years, and much of this is thanks to the character of Jenna Maroney. Of course, those who are fans of this show and this character will know that Jane Krakowski brought this humor to life. That wasn’t always the case, though. In the unaired pilot, Rachel Dratch stepped into the shows of this self-obsessed character, and it seemed as though she nailed the part. She didn’t quite have what the producers were looking for, though, so they opted for Jane instead.

Laurie Forman – That ‘70s Show

That ‘70s Show brought some of the biggest modern names into the limelight, and we’ll forever be grateful for that. After all, this was the show that thrust the likes of Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Wilmer Valderamma into the center of our attention. This was also the show that featured the character of Laurie Forman. From 1998 until 2003, actress Lisa Robin Kelly took on this character, but she ultimately had to call it a day due to personal reasons. She was later replaced by Christina Moore.

Darrin Stephens – Bewitched

Even if you weren’t alive during the 1960s and 1970s, there’s a high chance that you’re still familiar with the magical television show, Bewitched. While the storylines enticed people across the world, it was the fantastic casting decisions that really helped this show become as famous as it did. For the most part, Dick York became one of these popular actors. He took on the role of Darrin Stephens, and it seemed as though everyone loved him. Unfortunately, Darrin started to suffer from back pain during filming, and he ultimately had to be replaced by Dick Sargent.

Gordon – Sesame Street

Many fans are happy to know that Sesame Street is still going strong today, and that means that we still get to see our favorite characters on TV. Over the years, many of the characters on Sesame Street have been voiced by the same actors, but Gordon has belonged exclusively to Roscoe Orman for decades. Many of us know this actor for playing such a character, but it seems as though he wasn’t the first Gordon to make his way onto our screens. From 1969 until 1972, Matt Robinson played him. Then, Hal Miller stepped in from 1972 until 1974.

Lily Tucker-Pritchett – Modern Family

One of the main reasons why characters are recast is because time isn’t always on their side. This is especially the case with children, as they grow up pretty quickly, which can often work to a show’s disadvantage. In the case of Lily Tucker-Pritchett in Modern Family, her baby self was portrayed by twins Ella and Jaden Hiller. As the next season came around, the showrunners wanted to show that Lily had grown up, and while they were considering keeping the twins on, their parents ultimately pulled them out of the running. So, they were replaced by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.

Aunt Viv – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

There’s a high chance that you know The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme tune off by heart and that you’ve watched every single episode ever created. If that’s the case, then you may have realized that Aunt Viv looked a little different during season four of the show. That’s because the original Aunt Vivian, Janet Hubert, didn’t get on with her co-star and on-screen nephew, Will Smith. Rumor has it that Will hated Janet so much that he got her fired from the show altogether. In the end, Daphne Reid stepped into her shoes.

Sookie St. James – Gilmore Girls

Although Melissa McCarthy is now one of the most incredible actresses of all time, fans of Gilmore Girls will know that this is where she really made her mark. Melissa played the quirky Sookie St. James within this show, and she soon became a firm favorite in the town of Stars Hollow. She appeared in season one, but anyone who has been able to get their hands on the unaired pilot of this show will know that Alex Borstein was the original Sookie. Borstein’s schedule just wasn’t as open as it needed to be, so McCarthy got the role.

Catelyn Stark – Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones may have come to an end, but there’s no doubt about the fact that people still talk about this show on a regular basis. As if that wasn’t enough, the cast have since become legends in their own right – including Michelle Fairley, who took on the role of Catelyn Stark. However, it seems as though finding the right cast members for this show wasn’t easy. Many changes were made between the unaired pilot and the first episode of Game of Thrones, including the fact that Jennifer Ehle was meant to play this character. She dropped out, though.

Fandral – Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you’re a fan of Thor, you’ll know that this character has a loyal band of followers and friends who are willing to fight for him within any battle. Fandral was one of those characters, and he formed one of the famous Warriors Three. Within the first Thor movie, Fandral was played by Josh Dallas, and it seemed as though he was perfect for the role. Unfortunately, his schedule wasn’t quite as perfect, and he ultimately chose to take on the lead role in Once Upon A Time instead. He was replaced by Zachary Levi.

The ‘Fat Lady’ – Harry Potter Film Series

The wizarding world of Harry Potter features all kinds of magical elements, including moving paintings. While many of the figures inside of these paintings simply walked from painting to painting, the ‘Fat Lady’ had another use. She guarded the entrance of the Gryffindor Common Room, and only those who gave her the correct password would be allowed passage into the rooms beyond. In the first movie, this painting was played by Elizabeth Spriggs, who only had a small role. When the Prisoner of Azkaban came along, though, comedian Dawn French stepped in with an even bigger performance.

Sarah Braverman – Parenthood

If you have watched Parenthood, you’ll probably know that Lauren Graham did a pretty impressive job of bringing the character of Sarah Braverman to life. Did you know that she wasn’t originally meant to star in this show, though? In the original pilot episode, Sarah was played by actress Maura Tierney. This leading lady was battling some serious health concerns at the time, though, and was battling through cancer treatment. Although she wanted to continue in her role, she just knew that she wouldn’t be able to do it justice, so she quit the show.

Kristen Parker – A Nightmare on Elm Street

Those who have watched the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise will know that it’s not uncommon to say goodbye to characters as each movie comes and goes. That’s just what happens in slasher movies, but there was something different about Patricia Arquette’s character within the fourth movie. In fact, she wasn’t in it at all! Patricia had previously taken on the role of Kristen Parker for the first three movies, and while she would have loved to have continued her reign, she was heavily pregnant at the time of filming. Because of this, Tuesday Knight had to step in.

Robin Hood – Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time has brought every fairytale lover’s dreams come true, even though they do offer a dark twist on the stories we have grown up with. Featuring some of the biggest names in the fairytale world, Robin Hood served as a minor character on the show for many years. To begin with, this role was played by Tom Ellis. He appeared in one episode as Robin Hood, but his diary soon started to fill up when he was cast as the lead in Lucifer. He was then replaced by Sean Maguire.

Kaitlin Cooper – The O.C.

During the early ‘00s, the world was blessed with the teen drama that was The O.C. This show followed the lives of the rich teens from Orange County, and the dramas that followed their close personal relationships and their school lives. While she wasn’t a major character in the show, we were first introduced to Kaitlin Cooper in season one. During this season, she was placed by the young Shailene Woodley. However, she then seemed to disappear completely. She was written back into the show a few seasons later, where she was recast and played by Willa Holland.

Catwoman – Batman

Because many superhero franchises have been rebooted and reworked so many times, it should probably come as no surprise to learn that they have brought countless different actors along for the ride. When the Batman television show made its way onto our screens in 1966, the character of Catwoman was played by Julie Newmar. While many assumed that she would continue this role in the subsequent movie adaptation, those in charge decided to opt for Lee Meriweather instead. As if that wasn’t enough, the end season of the TV show saw Eartha Kitt take over as Catwoman.

Dash – The Incredibles 2

Although we may have had to wait longer than anticipated for a sequel to The Incredibles, that dream finally came true in 2018. Despite the fact that this movie took place almost instantly after the first film, the actor who voiced the character of Dash had grown significantly over the 14-year gap between filming. Because of this, it just didn’t make sense to use his voice any longer, as he sounded like a grown man instead of the child they were hoping for. In the end, they chose another child actor to take his place, Huck Milner.

George McFly – Back to the Future Film Series

It’s always difficult for a movie franchise to re-cast certain characters, especially if they weren’t expecting it. After Crispin Glover took on the role of George McFly in the first Back to the Future movie, they expected him to return for the sequel. However, arguments began to ensue when Glover didn’t like the script or the way that his character was being portrayed. He ultimately left the trilogy behind, and he was replaced by Jeffrey Weissman. You may not have noticed, though. The producers used footage of Glover in the sequel and used prosthetics to make Weissman look like him.

Daario Naharis – Game of Thrones

It seems as though the people behind Game of Thrones really wanted to get their characters right, and there were some serious changes over the course of its run. While some of these were pretty subtle, some of them were also pretty obvious. This was the case for the character of Daario Naharis. This character was originally played by Michiel Huisman, but he looked a little different when season four came around. That’s because he had been replaced by Ed Skrein. It’s been suggested that Huisman left of his own accord because of political reasons.

Victoria – The Twilight Saga

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no doubt about the fact that The Twilight Saga has become one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. Of course, no vampire series would be complete without an evil villain, and that came in the form of the red-headed Victoria. This character was originally played by Rachelle Lefevre in the first two movies, and while she hoped to continue to play this character in the subsequent movies, her filming schedule clashed with another project. In the end, she had to pull out, and Bryce Dallas Howard took over.

Marnie Piper – Halloweentown Film Series

Those who used to watch the Disney Channel may remember a movie franchise by the name of Halloweentown. This was quirky and colorful, and the first movie proved to be incredibly popular. Because of this, Disney ordered four movies in total, and actress Kimberly Brown was pipped to take on the role of Marnie Piper in all of them. She worked hard for the first three – but changes occurred after filming came to an end. It seems as though the casting directors wanted to go in a different direction for the fourth movie, so they replaced her with Sara Paxton.

Christine Cagney – Cagney & Lacey

Cagney & Lacey has become one of the most successful franchises of all time, and it has come into our lives in various forms. Because of this, the role of Cagney has been recast numerous times. For the TV movie, Loretta Swit stepped into the role of Christine Cagney. When the movie was picked up and reworked as a television show, though, they realized that Swit couldn’t sign on because of other contractual obligations. Because of this, they had to recast her with Meg Foster instead. However, when Foster caused a stir on set, she was replaced with Sharon Gless.

James Rhodes/War Machine – Marvel Cinematic Universe

In 2008, Iron Man made its debut – and there’s no doubt about the fact that it rocked our world. Not only was it the first installment within the new Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it also marked the start of Robert Downey Jr.’s impressive career within this franchise. Terrence Howard was asked to star alongside Downey Jr. as James Rhodes/War Machine, and some people loved his role. However, rumors suggest that he just couldn’t get to grips with his co-stars’ reputation for improvising on set. By the time Iron Man 2 came around, he was replaced by Don Cheadle.

John-Boy Walton – The Waltons

The Waltons made its mark in the 1970s, and it’s fair to say that the impressive cast was able to win over fans across the globe. Of course, it’s rare for the main character to go through such a dramatic recasting, but that’s exactly what happened for John-Boy Walton. While Richard Thomas took on this role for the first seven seasons, he was later replaced by Robert Wightman for the final two seasons. This didn’t go down well with fans of the show, who didn’t like this new replacement and wanted things to go back to normal.

Reggie Mantle – Riverdale

While teen dramas have often struggled in a modern market, Riverdale seems to have filled a television hole that many people were missing in their lives. In the first season of the show, the character Reggie Mantle was played by Ross Butler. However, Ross was then offered the chance to become a major character in the Netflix drama, 13 Reasons Why. Scheduling conflicts meant that he couldn’t work on both, so he opted for the latter. He was replaced by Charles Melton, which seemed to work in the show’s favor, as he has since become extremely popular.

Lavender Brown – Harry Potter Film Series

While Lavender Brown may not have been a major character during Harry’s first few years at Hogwarts, there’s no doubt about the fact that she stole the show during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was during this movie that she entered into a rather tumultuous relationship with Ron, but eagle-eyed Harry Potter fans may have noticed that this wasn’t the Lavender we were used to seeing. Many actresses took on this role over the years, including Kathleen Cauley and Jennifer Smith. When the Half-Blood Prince came about, however, they were replaced by Jessie Cave.

The Oracle – The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix Trilogy will forever go down in history as one of the most epic sci-fi series of all time, and it’s not hard to understand why. In fact, many people still discuss whether they would take the red or the blue pill to this day. While trying to gain some wisdom and some insight on his future, Neo would often make his way to see The Oracle. This elderly character was played by Gloria Foster in the first two movies, but she sadly passed away after The Matrix Reloaded. Mary Alice had to replace her for The Matrix Revolutions.

Mandy – Last Man Standing

Many characters are recast when a show changes hands, and this was certainly the case for Last Man Standing. While fans were happy to learn that it had been picked up by Fox after ABC decided to cancel it after almost a decade, there were a few changes that just didn’t make sense. Most notably, that was the change in casting for Mandy. For six years, this character had been played by Molly Ephraim – but things didn’t stay that way. With a new studio behind it, Fox decided to give Molly McCook the chance to play this famous character.

Ann – Arrested Development

Sitcoms come complete with their main characters, but writers often include ‘bland’ characters to fade into the background without really making any noise. This was supposed to be the case for Ann in Arrested Development – but it seems as though she ended up making more of a mark than they expected. While many people remember the later seasons of Arrested Development and Mae Whitman taking on this role, the earlier – and much more forgettable – Ann was played by Alessandra Torressani. In fact, Alessandra only appeared in one episode before she was replaced.

Willow Rosenberg – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Those who are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will know that this TV show wouldn’t have been the same with Buffy’s best friend, Willow. While she was often shy and quiet, her character could also be seriously strong, and Alyson Hannigan brought this character to life over the numerous seasons. However, Alyson wasn’t the original actress pipped to play Willow Rosenberg. In an unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this character was played by Riff Regan. However, producers deemed her too confident and sure of herself. So, they decided to recast her.

Carol Willick – Friends

While she may not have been a main character in Friends, it’s fair to say that Carol Willick shaped a few of the storylines – especially those including Ross. His ex-wife made various appearances on the show, and many people remember her being played by Jane Sibbett. However, those who are familiar with her first-ever appearance, which came in season one, episode two, Carol was actually played by Anita Barone. Although Anita was excited about the role, she just didn’t see it making her a star. So, she opted to leave the show in search of something more high-profile.

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