When an actor gets cast in a role in a series, it may seem like a big break but, unfortunately, job security can be a tough thing to find in Hollywood. Sometimes characters get killed off before the actor even has a chance to make an impression (especially in shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead when anyone could die at any point). However, even if a character does make it, it doesn't mean that the actor is guaranteed a long-term job.
Not every actor has what it takes to star in a series and with all of the aspiring actors vying for a chance at stardom, they can be easily replaced--even during the middle of a series. An actor can even appear in an episode or two before they are switched out for someone else--just because the director and producers think they're not right for the role after all. It's a tough business--but nobody said it was easy.
There are all kinds of reasons why actors are replaced mid-series whether it's because the character has grown up and the child actor is switched out for an adult actor, the network or studio isn't willing to pay the money the actor demands, or the actor may have a conflicting schedule that prevents them from continuing the role. But just because an actor has to move on, doesn't mean that it's obvious. There have been some replacements that have gone completely unnoticed and you'll be surprised which ones you missed.
16 Not Obvious: Shut Up, Meg
Voice acting is good work if you can get it because it's the kind of work that can pay a lot and you can go to work wearing your PJs if you're so inclined. Unfortunately for Mean Girls star, Lacey Chabert, she had the chance to make hundreds of thousands of dollars voicing Meg in an episode on Family Guy but she quit after the first season because, according to her, she was in school and shooting Party of Five at the same time. Oops. It may have seemed like the right decision then--how could she have known that she could have been making about $20,000 for each of her lines like Mila Kunis? Seriously, Kunis makes between $175,000 and $225,000 an episode! Though Chabert says she doesn't have any hard feelings about it, she's probably a little more resentful than she lets on--wouldn't you be if you missed out on that kind of money?
15 Obvious: Archie's Nemesis
Riverdale was a big hit in its first season but unfortunately for one of the actors, a switch needed to be made. In season one, the character of Reggie Mantle (Archie's rival), was played by Ross Butler, and because the creator of the show wanted to give Reggie more of an arc in the second season, they had to get another actor due to Mantle's conflicting schedule filming season two of 13 Reasons Why. Charles Melton became the new Reggie in season two and it's a very obvious change because while Butler is adorable, Melton is wildly handsome. In fact, Melton's first gig in Hollywood was playing a model on an episode of Glee. Unfortunately for Melton, fans weren't happy about the recast and went to Twitter to start the "#notmyreggie" trend but they'll get over it eventually because Melton is a total hottie.
14 Not Obvious: Really Arrested Development, Her?
There is a running joke in Arrested Development about how George Michael's girlfriend, Ann Veal, is so forgettable and plain that she is often ignored or forgotten about. According to the show's creator, Mitch Hurwitz, the original idea for Ann was for a different actress to play the character in each episode, playing on the idea that she was unmemorable. However, there were only two actresses who ended up playing Ann, first Alessandra Torresani and then Mae Whitman and even some of the most die-hard fans never noticed that there was even a switch at all. That proves just how boring Ann is supposed to be. However, Whitman ended up playing the role throughout the rest of the series and the revival season on Netflix. In reality, both actresses are actually much more attractive than the role they play on Arrested Development. It's as Ann as the nose on Plain's face.
13 Obvious: Three Lilies
In the first two seasons of Modern Family, Lily was played by twins Jaden and Ella Hiller after their parents responded to a Craigslist ad. The twins are now retired and all of the money they earned has gone into their college fund. In season three, four-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons replaced the twins. It's pretty obvious that there was a recast considering that Lily was suddenly four but the parents of the Hiller twins wanted to get their daughters out of show business and the show needed a new actress who had acting chops and could also talk. Six seasons later, Anderson-Emmons is now ten-years-old and has appeared on Bill Nye Saves the World and appears in a regular YouTube segment, FoodMania Review, with her mother, Amy Anderson. Though the popular TV show is possibly coming to an end with the next season, Anderson-Emmons has a bright future ahead of her.
12 Not Obvious: The Evolution of Lavender Brown
In the Harry Potter series, Lavender Brown is a character often mentioned but she never really plays a part in the story until the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when she becomes Ron Weasley's girlfriend, making Hermione jealous. In the movies, Lavender is played by Jessie Cave in the Half-Blood Prince but she actually appears in the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban (the second and third movies) and she is played by two different actresses: Kathleen Cauley and Jennifer Smith--both of whom are black. Fans who noticed this were not happy that as soon as Lavender had an important role in the story, the role was given to a white actress after the two other actresses who silently portrayed her were black. However, since Lavender had never spoken a word in the other films, it's easy to miss the recasts completely.
11 Obvious: A Tale of Three Kitty's
While Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for seventeen years, starting in 2000 with X-Men and ending with Logan in 2017 (that's seven movies in all), not every X-Men actor has been so lucky. Sumela Kay played Kitty Pryde in X-Men but only had a brief interaction with Professor Xavier and Wolverine. In X2, Kitty was played by Katie Stuart who only had a brief cameo. In what is known as the worst of the X-Men Movies, X-Men: The Last Stand, Ellen Page took over the role of Kitty. The third film arrived in theaters in 2006, a year after Page first got Hollywood's attention with Hard Candy and a year before she received a nomination for best actress for her role in Juno. Page reprised her role as Kitty in X-Men: Days of Future Past and is currently in talks to star in a Kitty Pryde movie.
10 Not Obvious: Three Mountains
Game of Thrones fans should know not to get too attached to their favorite actors because the characters they play can easily be killed off at a moment's notice. However, actors can also disappear due to a recasting which is the case for Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain) who has been played by three different actors. The Mountain was first played by Conan Stevens in season one and Ian Whyte in season two. While it's easy to miss the first recasting due to the fact that the two actors look familiar, it's hard to miss Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson who has played the character since 2014. While all three of the actors stand at about 7 feet tall, Björnsson seemed to make the most lasting impression since he has now played the character in multiple seasons. With so many characters in the series, it's easy to lose track of who has been recast.
9 Obvious: The Troubled Life of Lisa Robin Kelly
Lisa Robin Kelly played Eric's older sister Laurie for 50 episodes and five seasons on the hugely successful Fox series, That '70s Show, but she was suddenly replaced in season six by Christina Moore. Though Moore only appeared on the show for six episodes and she bears a striking resemblance to Kelly, fans immediately noticed that she had been recast. Fans of the show and of Kelly weren't exactly thrilled about the replacement but the network had no other choice but to recast the role. Unfortunately, the character had to be recast due to Kelly’s addiction and multiple arrests for driving under the influence, corporal injury upon a spouse, and assault. Though she had a successful career, a lot of talent, and great comedic timing, she was very troubled and struggled with her addiction for years until she died of an overdose in 2013 at age 43.
8 Not Obvious: The Secret Life of Shailene Woodley
You may not have realized but there are a lot of now-famous actors who appeared on The O.C. including Lucy Hale, Nikki Reed, Logan Marshall-Green, and Max Greenfield. You also may have missed Shailene Woodley. Before Woodley became the huge star she is today, she appeared briefly on the first season of The O.C. as Kaitlyn Cooper before Willa Holland took over. Holland later went on to appear in the C.W.'s Arrow. Though she was replaced by Holland, Woodley has done all right for herself, first snagging the lead role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager before making an easy transition into more dramatic work after she appeared in The Descendants. With major roles in Divergent, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, and Big Little Lies, Woodley has done pretty well for herself--much better than any of the other actors on The O.C.
7 Obvious: Princess Margaret All Grown Up
The Crown is one of Netflix's biggest hits and it has everybody talking. After two seasons, many of the roles are being passed on to older actors and actresses as the characters age and many fans have been speculating that Helena Bonham Carter might be cast to play Queen Elizabeth's sister, Princess Margaret. While it's been rumored that Carter has been in final negotiations with Netflix to play the older version of Margaret but it's been all but confirmed. Vanessa Kirby played Margaret in the first two seasons and she recently posted a photo on Instagram with Carter with the caption "Honoured" which basically confirms that Carter is playing the famous princess in season three. The recasting is bound to make the series even more interesting as it explores the life of the troubled princess in the later years of her life.
6 Not Obvious: Tommen and Myrcella
Again, it's important to not get attached to the actors in Game of Thrones because they can easily disappear but you probably didn't even notice that these actors had been replaced. In season one and two, Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen were played by younger actors before they were recast. In the first two seasons, Myrcella was played by Aimee Richardson and Tommen was played by Callum Wharry. In season five, Nell Tiger Free became the new Myrcella and Dean Charles Chapman took over the role of Tommen. You also may not have noticed that before he played Tommen, Chapman appeared in season three as Martyn Lannister, a minor character, who was killed off by Rickard Karstark. You also may not have realized that Chapman and Free dated back in 2015.
5 Obvious: Surreal Sitcom
'Til Death wasn't exactly a big hit and it's a surprise that it even managed to last for four seasons. However, it was the fourth and final season that people begun to take notice. In the first and second season, Krysten Ritter played Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher's daughter Allison but she was replaced in season three by Laura Clery. In season four, the fact that Allison kept getting recast became a running gag and the character was played by both Lindsey Broad and Kate Micucci. This was when 'Til Death, a cliche network sitcom, ventured into a surrealist territory. Allison's boyfriend and eventual husband, Doug realizes in the fourth season that he is actually in a sitcom and he also realizes that his wife keeps changing. Since the creators of the show knew that the fourth season was going to be their last, they were able to get away with some surrealistic comedy that usually isn't afforded to network sitcoms.
4 Not Obvious: Thor and Friends
In 2011's Thor, Zachary Levi was originally cast to play the part of the swashbuckling Asgardian warrior, Fandral, who is also one of Thor's pals. Unfortunately for Levi, he had to drop out due to his obligation to the NBC series, Chuck and Josh Dallas took over the role in his stead. In 2013, however, Dallas had to drop out of the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, due to his obligation to the ABC show Once Upon a Time. Since Levi was free after Chuck ended in 2012, he took over the role that he was originally cast to play. Considering that Fandral doesn't play a big part in Thor, Thor: The Lost World, or Thor: Ragnarok, it's easy to miss this particular switch--it's hard to even recognize Levi with the blonde hair. If you didn't realize that the part was recast, you're definitely not alone.
3 Obvious: Recast After One Episode
If you're ever having a bad day, think about the Friends actress who only appeared in one episode before she quit. Just think about all of the residuals she missed out on! Anita Barone played Ross' ex-wife Carol in the first episode of Friends but suddenly dropped out because she wanted a full-time acting gig and not just a small recurring role. Jane Sibbett originally tried out for the main roles in Friends and she was almost cast but they decided against it since she was pregnant at the time. Sibbett said that she would happily take the role of Carol (who was supposed to be pregnant at the time anyway) but she was turned down. After Barone quit, Sibbett quickly stepped in to play Carol after all and she is definitely enjoying those residuals.
2 Not Obvious: Eight Bobby Drapers
While Kiernan Shipka played Sally Draper, Don Draper's daughter, on Mad Men for all seven seasons, the actors who played Don's son, Bobby, were not so lucky...or talented. Bobby kept getting recast over and over again during the seven seasons of the AMC series mostly because they couldn't find an actor who could handle the job. John Slattery, who played Roger Sterling in the series, shared the real reason why the actors kept changing: "they've had about five Bobby Drapers and they can't seem to find one who doesn't look straight into the lens." In an interview, Shipka listed eight actors who played the role of Bobby and had nicknames for each of them, she called one "Slurpee Bobby" because his mom often bribed him with 7-Eleven slurpees to make him behave. The actors changed so many time that you'd have to be a super fan to notice them all.
1 Obvious: Queen of the Castle
We already know that Helena Bonham Carter is (probably) taking on the role of Princess Margaret in the third season of The Crown but we know for sure who is replacing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth. Olivia Coleman is a talented and successful English actress and is taking on the role of the queen in the upcoming season. She is known for her work in British TV series such as Broadchurch, The Night Manager (for which she earned a Golden Globe), and Peep Show and has slowly made her way into the collective conscious of American audiences with roles in Hot Fuzz and The Lobster. Since The Crown is following Queen Elizabeth from the 1940s to present day with about ten years between each season, the third season is expected to pick up in the 1970s and will introduce an adult Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, and possibly Princess Diana who Prince Charles met in 1977.