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Top 10 TV Characters That Were Suddenly Recast

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Written by Nathan Sharp Wait, that isn’t what they looked like before. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Characters That Were Suddenly Recast. For this list, we’ll be looking at various television characters that were suddenly recast for various reasons.
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Wait, that isn’t what they looked like before. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Characters That Were Suddenly Recast.

For this list, we’ll be looking at various television characters that were suddenly recast for various reasons.

#10: Reggie Mantle
“Riverdale” (2017-)


Reggie Mantle is a well-liked prankster, personal rival, and perfect foil to lead character Archie. In the first season of “Riverdale,” Reggie was a recurring character portrayed by Ross Butler. And while the creators and writers of the show wanted to use Reggie a lot more than they did, they were forced to significantly cut his role due to Butler’s commitment to “13 Reasons Why.” For the show’s second season, Butler was replaced by Charles Melton, who had previously appeared in one episode of “Glee” and two episodes of “American Horror Story: Hotel.”

#9: Holly
“Red Dwarf” (1988-99; 2009; 2012-)

Holly is Red Dwarf’s onboard computer, and unlike HAL or similar pieces of artificial intelligence, he appears as a disembodied human head on a black background. It’s quite creepy. For the first two seasons of the show, Holly’s head and voice were provided by Norman Lovett. However, filming of “Red Dwarf” soon moved to London and Lovett wasn’t willing to move or commute, so he was replaced with Hattie Hayridge. In the show’s universe, the character of Holly became infatuated with his female counterpart and altered his physical appearance to be based on hers.

#8: Kristin Beth Baxter, Boyd Baxter & Ryan Vogelson
“Last Man Standing” (2011-17)

Turns out that the show has a fitting title, because a lot of its cast members dropped like flies after the first season. Mike’s oldest daughter Kristin was originally portrayed by Alexandra Krosney. However, Krosney was fired for creative reasons and replaced by Amanda Fuller for the remainder of the series. Kristin’s son Boyd was played by Luke Kruntchev for the first season before being replaced by Flynn Morrison. And finally, Boyd’s father Ryan was portrayed by singer Nick Jonas in a guest role before he was permanently replaced by Jordan Masterson, presumably because Jonas wasn’t committed to a 130-episode show. He’s a busy man, after all.

#7: Laurie Forman
“That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006)

Laurie, Eric’s loose and whiny older sister, doesn’t make a lot of appearances, but when she does, there is bound to be gold. She was originally portrayed by Lisa Robin Kelly, who had a recurring role in the first season before she was promoted to series regular in seasons two and three. However, Kelly tragically lost a baby and fell into alcoholism, resulting in her diminished appearances after season three. Kelly was then permanently replaced by Christina Moore for the show’s sixth season. Moore appeared in six episodes before Laurie Forman was finally written out of the show for good.

#6: Harriette Winslow
“Family Matters” (1989-98)

Harriette, the matriarch of the Winslow family, was famously portrayed by Jo Marie Payton for nine seasons and two hundred episodes. It was a massive accomplishment, which makes it all the more baffling that Payton was replaced by Judyann Elder for the final nine episodes. She was so close to making it all the way! As Payton explains, she had decided to leave the show two years earlier, as her heart wasn’t in the role anymore and she “wanted to do something else.” Her departure hit her co-star Reginald VelJohnson particularly hard, as he explained that it was like getting a divorce.

#5: Spartacus
“Spartacus” (2010-13)
We think we can speak for everyone when we say that cancer is a bitch. For the show’s first season, “Blood and Sand,” Spartacus was portrayed by Andy Whitfield. However, Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2010, and to give him time to seek treatment and heal, Starz ordered a prequel series called “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.” However, when Whitfield failed to get better, he was replaced by Liam McIntyre, who portrayed Spartacus for the remaining two seasons. Whitfield tragically passed away on September 11, 2011, four months before the premiere of the second season.

#4: Daario Naharis
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)

“Game of Thrones” has certainly seen its fair share of replaced cast members. Hell, The Mountain has been played by three different people! But perhaps the most jarring replacement was that of Daario Naharis. For three episodes of season three, Daario was portrayed by Ed Skrein, who rocked the long, luscious hair. However, Skrein left the show for ambiguous office politics and was replaced by Dutch actor Michiel Huisman, who looks absolutely nothing like Skrein. But then again, this is TV, so we had to just go with it.

#3: Jesus Adams Foster
“The Fosters” (2013-)

Jesus Adams Foster is Stef and Lena’s son who suffers from ADHD and has a strong relationship with his twin sister, Mariana. For the first forty-odd episodes, Jesus was portrayed by Jake T. Austin of “Wizards of Waverly Place” fame. However, he left the show at the end of season two for unknown reasons, ambiguously tweeting, “My time on the show has come to an end.” Fortunately, there seemed to be no animosity with the show’s producers and creators. He was replaced by Noah Centineo for season three, who would go on to be nominated for a Teen Choice Award.

#2: Vivian Banks
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-96)

At least this show had the sense of humor to address Aunt Viv’s mysterious change in appearance. For seventy-three episodes, Aunt Viv was played by Janet Hubert. However, Hubert reportedly never got along with Will Smith, and she was subsequently let go from the show after three seasons. Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid, who would continue to portray Aunt Viv for the remaining three seasons. And unlike most shows, this change in actress resulted in a change of character, as Hubert’s Vivian was career-oriented and tough while Reid’s Vivian was more family-oriented and reserved.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Alura Zor-El
“Supergirl” (2015-)

James Kent
“True Blood” (2008-14)

Jimmy Olsen
“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (1993-97)

#1: Becky Conner-Healy
“Roseanne” (1988-97; 2018)

The case of Becky Conner-Healy is certainly an interesting one. For the show’s first five seasons, Becky was portrayed by Lecy Goranson. However, Goranson left the show to attend college, forcing the producers to write her character out of the show. However, the decision was eventually made to recast the role, and it was given to future TV star Sarah Chalke. Goranson was then brought back for season eight, and both she and Chalke alternated episodes. Chalke then permanently took over the role for the show’s ninth and initially final season. Then when they brought “Roseanne” back over two decades later, Goranson reprised her role as Becky, who became a surrogate for Chalke’s Andrea.
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