Famous Actors Who Were Replaced Mid-Series
Cast and character replacements are a hit and miss when it comes to our favorite actors suddenly being replaced by someone new to play the same character or to fill the void of a character that's been written out of the show. Sometimes it's seamless, and sometimes it's blatantly jarring and it never sits right with us. So, which actors were replaced in the middle of a series' that had great or dire consequences? Try and see if you noticed the sudden switches, which ones worked, and which choices fell flat on their replaced faces.
Replacement vs Redirection
Not every recast is a direct switcharoo. In some instances, the actor's character is purely written out in the writer's room with the intention of taking the show in a new direction. The onus is on the writers and producers to make those tight calls, and it's often up to the story that the writers take the plunge to make these calls. Some shows swim others sink because the change is just too demanding for faithful viewers.
Did The Changes Flop Or Flourish?
Some actors flop and other actors flourish, and it's based on a multitude of factors that either works or doesn't for each show. How integral the character is the story, backgrounds, and how attached the viewers of the show decide that very fate. So, which direct replacements happened that we were all cool with, and which ones didn't quite work? Take a look.
Mateo Solano Villanueva - Jane The Virgin
The entire Jane The Virgin series rests on the existence of young Mateo in the show. The young ray of sunshine was initially played by Joseph Sanders, who had too many school commitments to carry on in the role. In season 4, we met the equally bright and incredible Elias Johnson who swept up hearts in the role. It was cast so perfectly that many barely minded the new child star in the pivotal role.
Mandy Milkovich - Shameless
Shameless is a show that pushes actors to their absolute limits to form part of the Southside ensemble. The character Mandy Milkovich in Shameless played a big role in the hot mess of this highly dysfunctional family drama. For the first five episodes of the pilot season, Mandy was portrayed by Jane Levy. She then opted for cleaner network tv avenues and chose to star in the ABC sitcom Suburgatory. Actress Emma Greenwell took on the role until she was written off the show in season 6 after a stunning tenure in the role.
Meg Griffin - Family Guy
Voice acting is an acting craft as well, and few animated characters are as defined and maligned as Meg (full name Megatron) Griffin from the long-running animation, Family Guy. She was initially played by actress Lacey Chabert in the earlier seasons but was replaced by the equally capable Mila Kunis.
The Knight King - Game Of Thrones
The phenomenal HBO series Game of Thrones had a few recasts throughout its 10-year-long run. While there are thousands of theories flying around about this show, a little known fact is that one of the primary show's antagonists, The Knight King, was played by two different actors across seasons. Richard Brake played the original Night King before being replaced by Vladimir Furdik, who, in traditional GOT complexities, had previously played the first White Walker Jon Snow killed in Hardhome. So, we technically got that Jon Snow vs. Knight King fight that we never received.
Reggie Mantle - Riverdale
Riverdale has a lot of twists, turns and sudden characters switches that keep us guessing and on the edge of our seats. So, imagine our surprise when we realized that Charles Melton wasn't always the actor behind the jock Reggie. Reggie was initially played by Ross Butler, whom you may recognize from another teen-set drama 13 Reasons Why.
Carol Willick - Friends
Friends was one of those great shows that's entire identity is tethered to the cast being who they are. Though the main six characters never shifted from their iconic roles, a couple of characters around them did reshuffle. For one episode, Carol, Ross's lesbian wife, was played by Anita Barone in a scene where Ross finds out that he's going to be a dad. Anita ditched the series to hunt for full-time acting jobs, and the show cast Jane Sibbett who played the frustrating character of Carol.
Aunt Vivian Banks - The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
The initial Aunt Viv played by Janet Hubert owned the role of the opulent wife of lawyer Phillip Banks (RIP to the wonderful James Avery). But messy behind the scenes issues centering around her, Will Smith and the network over fair compensation led to the drama that threatened the harmony of the production. In season 4, she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid and has since led to some serious back and forth banter as to who was the better Aunt Viv ever since.
Daario Naharis - Game Of Thrones
One of the most jarring recasts was that of Daario Naharis on Game Of Thrones. The role first belonged to Ed Skrein who decided that he would go battle with transformers rather than battle for the throne. Michiel Huisman showed up to jar us then charm us as his memorable replacement. And now, when we think of the role, only the latter pops up in our memory.
Ryan Vogelsong - Last Man Standing
Nick Jonas spent a lot of time effort to differentiate himself from a young Disney star. Amongst his many attempts to do so, Priyanka Chopra's husband played a deadbeat boyfriend on the first season of Tim Allen's Last Man Standing. Jordan Materson stepped in to replace when the character was written as a regular on the show, and the goal here was never to find a look-alike in any way shape or form.
Jesus Adams Foster - The Fosters
Before Noah Centineo stormed the streaming world in his role on To All The Boys I've Loved Before, he replaced Disney's Jake T. Austin on ABC Family's The Fosters. Jake decided that he couldn't commit to the role due to the demanding shooting schedule that wouldn't allow him to work on many other projects. It was a more than fair switch to be honest, with features and talents considered in the role replacement for the character.
Jason DiLaurentis - Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars probably smashed the record for the number of plot twists you could fit into a show. In their hunt for a mystery terrorizer, several characters came and went throughout the show's run. But a very early switch was that of Jason, the brother of Alison, who was the deceased main character whose mysterious death is the crux of the first half of the show. The role was played by Parker Bagley in season 1 and was switched up by Drew Acker for the remainder of the role.
Myrcella Baratheon - Game Of Thrones
There's a lot of messiness associated with Game of Thrones, but one of the craziest was how Aimme, principal actor for Myrcella (Cersei's only daughter) found out how she was getting replaced. She learned of her recasting during a San Diego Comic-Con panel ahead of the fifth season. Nell Tiger Free stepped up in the fifth season to play the doomed role, as it was her first and last before the women of Dawn decided her fate.
Lily Tucker-Pritchett - Modern Family
Lily was originally played by two adorable twins named Jaden and Ella Hiller who were replaced by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons early on. It was the wise call of the producer, predominantly show creator Steve Levitan who called for the replacement as the twins were too young to make their own choice of wanting to be involved and committed to the show. However, it's almost impossible to imagine anyone else who had the gifted young sharpness of Aubrey that would've serviced the show so wonderfully.
A lot of these replacements do one of two things. They either integrate smoothly with great casting that we learn to deal with or, the direct switch is between two actors who look nothing alike. Either way, we've learned to deal with it if the writers continue to do the characters we love justice. Which recasting did you love and hate from the shows you watch? Let us know.