9+ Actors Who Were Suddenly Replaced While Filming Fan Favorite TV Shows

Alicia D'Aversa 10 Jul 2020

Sometimes, external circumstances force a show to recast one of their main characters. And most times, they actually expect us not to notice.

1. Reggie in Riverdale


For Season 1 of Riverdale, the cocky, football-playing jock Reggie Mantle was played by actor Ross Butler.

However, the show hit a snag when Butler was cast in Netflix's hit, 13 Reasons Why.

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Enter Charles Melton

Instagram | @melton

The producers quietly swapped out Ross Butler for Charles Melton.

Reggie's role on the show has grown a lot since Ross Butler originated the role.

In fact, while Reggie was dating Veronica, Charles was dating Ronnie's actress, Camila Mendes!

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2. Aunt Viv in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


For three seasons, Aunt Vivian was played by Janet Hubert in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

While everything was fine with the Banks family on-screen, off-screen was a different matter entirely.

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Hubert hated Will Smith

Giphy | The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

She alleged that, during salary negotiations for the rest of the cast, Smith refused to help his fellow castmates negotiate for higher wages.

The conflict between them eventually led to Hubert being fired.

She was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. At least the show acknowledged the swap!

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3. Carol in Friends


Remember Ross' ex-wife, Carol? She left him for another woman, Susan, but later found out she was pregnant with his child.

Yeah, there were actually two different Carols in Friends. Weird, right?

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The actress left the show in Season 1

Giphy | Friends

Anita Barone originated the role, and she wasn't satisfied with how small it was at the time.

Of course, Jane Sibbett stepped in, and Carol's role did end up being much bigger. Oops.

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4. Danny Tanner in Full House


John Posey originally won the role of Danny Tanner in Full House and was still in the role when the show was ordered to series.

The producers went ahead and screen-tested their actual preferred choice of Bob Saget as Danny, anyway, and ultimately gave Posey's role to him. Ouch.

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5. Jenna Fischer in Man With a Plan


In a move that was probably better for her in the long-run, Jenna Fischer was recast after the pilot episode of Man With a Plan was shot.

Jenna and star Matt LeBlanc didn't have the right chemistry, so the producers fired her and replaced her with Liza Snyder.

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6. Sookie St. James in "Gilmore Girls*

Pinkish, Netflix

When the pilot of Gilmore Girls began production, a very different woman took on the role of Sookie St James: Alex Borstein, who you probably know best as the voice of Lois in Family Guy.

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She didn't disappear entirely

Gilmore Girls Wiki

Borstein got stuck on her show, Mad TV, and the role of Sookie was recast with Melissa McCarthy.

However, Borstein eventually made it to Stars Hollow — as a very quirky harpist.

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7. Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones

Showtime, HBO

Emilia Clarke is Daenerys Targaryen, and Daenerys Targaryen is Emilia Clarke. There’s no separating the two when it comes to the Mother of Dragons.

Originally, Tamzin Merchant was set to play Dany, and shot the original Game of Thrones pilot in the role.

She was recast during the pilot reshoot, and the rest is television history.

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8. The Mountain in Game of Thrones

HBO | Game Of Thrones

What happens when you need to find an actor who can quite literally fill the shoes of The Mountain?

Well, you try one, and try another. And then, when things aren't working, you cast yet another.

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The role eventually went to Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson

HBO | Game Of Thrones

Originally, the Mountain was played by Conan Stevens.

Ian Whyte took over the role afterward, and then Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson eventually got the role in season 4.

He stayed in it for the rest of the show.

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9. Penny in "The Big Bang Theory"


When you picture the The Big Bang Theory, it's impossible not to think of Kaley Cuoco's Penny.

However, Kaley was not the originator of the role — in fact, at one point, Penny didn't exist at all.

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In for a Penny


Amanda Walsh was cast as Katie, Sheldon and Leonard's neighbor.

She was recast after coming across too mean, and was generally not the right fit for the role. So, in came Penny and Cuoco.

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10. Ann Veal in Arrested Development


Alessandra Torresani might be familiar to you as Claire from The Big Bang Theory or Zoe from Caprica, but she played the role of sweet, yet forgettable Ann Veal on Arrested Development in its first season.

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In season two and onward, Mae Whitman took over the role.


In a sort of fitting move for a character designed to be plain and forgettable, many people didn't notice the change when it happened.

The showrunners actually planned on consistently recasting Ann to play into the joke, but they ended up liking Mae Whitman enough to keep her.

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11. Becky Conner in Roseanne


In probably one of the most confusing cast switch-ups, Alicia Goranson, who had the role of the oldest Conner child for five seasons, went off to college, so they replaced her with Sarah Chalke.

But not entirely.

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Goranson came back. Then left again. Then came back...

Giphy | Roseanne

Poor Becky Conner switched between Goranson and Chalke multiple times over the remaining seasons.

The show made a joke out of it, having multiple characters acknowledge Becky's constantly changing appearance, and in the 2017 continuation, Chalke returned to play a woman who wants Becky to be her surrogate.

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12. Lily in Modern Family


Twins Jaden and Ella Hiller played the adorable baby Lily Pritchett for the first two seasons of Modern Family, but according to their parents, they didn't enjoy the experience and didn't want to continue.

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Growing Lily


It worked out well for the show, though, who recast the twins with slightly older Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who had the benefit of being able to walk, talk, and read lines.

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