Skip To Content

    21 Actors Who Left Their TV Shows, But The Series Decided To Just Recast Them And Move On

    Becky from Roseanne constantly changing is still hilarious.

    Warning: There are some massive spoilers ahead!

    1. First, Janet Hubert left The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air after she was offered a "bad deal" during Season 3. So, the show famously recast Aunt Viv, who was then played by Daphne Maxwell Reid for the rest of the show's run.

    Janet Hubert as Aunt Viv vs. Daphne Maxwell Reid as Aunt Viv
    NBC

    In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 30-year reunion on HBO Max, Janet spoke for the first time about her departure from the show and how "Hollywood disowned" her because of the rumors that she was difficult to work with. She said, "But you know those words, calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood, is the kiss of death."

    2. Ruby Rose left Batwoman after only one season, but instead of Kate dying, Wallis Day was brought on to play Kate, who has a new face, and Javicia Leslie was cast as Ryan, aka the new Batwoman.

    The CW

    Multiple sources claimed that Ruby was "unhappy with the long hours required of her as the series lead," while other sources said it was a "breakup" between the show and Ruby because neither were happy. Meanwhile, Ruby posted a statement on her Instagram, saying, "It wasn't an easy decision but those who know, know."

    3. Santino Fontana departed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend during Season 2, and the show originally had Greg leave West Covina too. However, Greg reappeared during the final season, but this time he was played by Skylar Astin.

    Greg telling Rebecca, ""Right now, I'm deciding to move forward with my life" and then Rebecca telling the new Greg he looks different
    The CW

    Santino was originally given a one-year contract, which is incredibly rare on The CW, so when Season 2 came around, Santino had other movie and theater projects he was pursuing. Creator Aline Brosh McKenna said bringing Skylar in as Greg was a great time to "lean into the perceptual differences" and how people you once knew can change dramatically.

    4. Dick York iconically portrayed Darrin Stephens on Bewitched for five seasons, until his health forced him to drop out of the show. So, Dick Sargent replaced him and played Darrin until the series finale.

    Samantha telling Darrin that she's a real witch
    ABC

    Dick had a severe back condition, which was caused by an accident he suffered on a movie set in 1959. Then, in 1969, while filming the episode "Daddy Does His Thing," Dick collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He left the show shortly after and Dick Sargent was cast that same month.

    5. Lecy Goranson famously left Roseanne after Season 5, and Sarah Chalke was brought in to play Becky in Seasons 6 and 7. However, Lecy returned for Season 8, but then she couldn't do the final season, so Sarah played Becky once again.

    ABC

    Lecy originally left Roseanne to attend Vassar College. At first, the writers just wrote very few Becky scenes, but eventually her college schedule got too demanding and she had to depart the show. So, Sarah starred as Becky for two seasons until Lecy's schedule eased up and she could film Season 8. But then, Lecy couldn't be in the final season, so Sarah played Becky once again. Becky being played by both Lecy and Sarah became a running gag on the show during the final seasons. Now, Lecy plays Becky on The Conners, the revival series.

    6. Jane Levy played Mandy Milkovich during Shameless Season 1, but she didn't return for the next season. So, Emma Greenwell was cast, and she went on to play Mandy for 32 episodes.

    Mandy sitting and standing next to Ian
    Showtime

    Jane left Shameless to star as Tessa Altman on the criminally underrated, but amazing, TV show Suburgatory in 2011. Jane starred on Suburgatory for three seasons before the show was canceled.

    7. Meanwhile, Brenden and Brandon Sims shared the role of Liam Gallagher on Shameless from Season 3 to Season 7. Then, they were replaced by Christian Isaiah, who played Liam until the series finale in 2021.

    Showtime

    Christian's casting coincided with Liam getting more storylines as opposed to just being the Gallaghers' youngest brother. During the remainder of the show, Christian shared a majority of his scenes opposite William H. Macy as Liam and Frank's bond grew.

    8. Ross Butler notably played Reggie in Riverdale Season 1, but when he couldn't return for Season 2, the show cast Charles Melton, who has been playing Reggie ever since.

    Reggie saying, "Reggie Mantle. AKA jock Ram Sweeney. Gonna bro it up with my bud Arch here, just two single straight dudes doing some theater"
    The CW

    Ross left Riverdale in order to continue starring as Zach Dempsey on 13 Reasons Why. Originally, both shows offered to reduce his roles so he could star in both, but Ross turned that option down. He said, "Reggie's a great character, but it's a different tone. I connected with Zach on a much more real level where I didn’t have to create so much of a character for him."

    9. Lily Gibson starred as Morgan Matthews during the first two seasons of Boy Meets World before she was replaced by Lindsay Ridgeway for the rest of the series.

    Morgan telling her mom she put her doll in the oven, and then an older Morgan saying to the other Morgan, "I don't think we've ever been in the same place together"
    ABC

    During the series finale of Girl Meets World in 2017, both Lily and Lindsay appeared as Morgan when the show reunited the original Boy Meets World cast. In the Girl Meets World episode, Auggie is afraid he's going to be replaced just like Morgan was.

    10. Ed Skrein originally played Daario Naharis in three episodes of Game of Thrones, but he was suddenly replaced by Michiel Huisman for the remainder of the series.

    Daario saying, ""The honor of riding by your side on the road to Meereen"
    HBO

    At the time, rumors spread that Ed left Game of Thrones to do Transporter, but that wasn't the case. Later, Ed talked about his departure, saying, "My plan was to stay with Game of Thrones for the long haul. That was always my plan. I would have loved to. It was a wonderful experience, but politics led to us parting ways."

    11. Meanwhile, Freddie Stroma played Dickon Tarly in one episode of Game of Thrones in Season 6. However, the role was recast for Season 7, and Tom Hopper assumed the role.

    HBO

    In 2017, Freddie revealed that the reason he couldn't continue playing Dickon was because he was filming the ABC series Time After Time. Talking about his time on the show, he said, "Even just to get such a toe in there is fun. Just to be on set and kind of feel like I was in that world, I was a fan sitting there at the table doing that scene."

    12. Jake T. Austin departed The Fosters after Season 2, so he was replaced by Noah Centineo, who went on to play Jesus for the remaining three seasons.

    Jesus hugging Callie and saying, "Surprise"
    Freeform

    Jake announced he was leaving the show on Twitter after the Season 2 finale, which actually featured Jesus getting into a car accident. There were also rumors that Jake was leaving The Fosters because his role was going to be reduced in Season 3. When Noah assumed the role, it was revealed that Jesus had been away at boarding school.

    13. Xochitl Gomez starred as Dawn Schafer in Season 1 of Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club, but for the upcoming second season, Dawn will be played by Kyndra Sanchez.

    Dawn saying, "But we were also thinking, back in Stoneybrook, maybe you could help us out with babysitting sometimes"
    Netflix

    Filming for The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 coincided with Xochitl filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. Xochitl will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as America Chavez.

    14. Aml Ameen suddenly departed Sense8 after just one season, so the role of Capheus was recast and Toby Onwumere played the part during Season 2.

    Netflix

    Some sources said that there was conflict between Aml and Sense8 co-creator Lana Wachowski that apparently started during the Season 2 table read, and only got worse while filming. So, Aml abruptly left during the middle of the season due to "creative differences." Toby was cast in just a week and he had to begin filming only a few days later.

    15. Shailene Woodley left The O.C. after starring as Kaitlin Cooper during Season 1. She was replaced by Willa Holland during Season 3, and the show explained Kaitlin's absence and new appearance by saying she had been at boarding school.

    Kaitlin saying, "Geez, Ryan. I see Newport hasn't improved your manners at all"
    Fox

    Talking about being recast, Shailene said the main reason was because she "hadn't gone through puberty yet." She said "They needed a girl who had a body. I mean really, that’s what it was. They needed somebody who had a body that was different than mine. But you know what? It’s okay. I didn’t really take offense to it. I was a late bloomer. It's fine."

    16. Luke Grimes played James Kent in Season 6 of True Blood, but then he was replaced by Nathan Parsons, who played James for the final season.

    Lafayette saying, "Lafayette: "There's nothing simple about you at all"
    HBO

    Luke abruptly left the show over "creative direction" for his character, and it turns out Luke's main concern was that he didn't want to play a gay character. In Season 7, James starts a relationship with Lafayette. Apparently, after Luke received a few scripts for the last season, he said he'd only continue playing the role if Lafayette was attracted to James, but not if the attraction was mutual. He also didn't want to do any same-sex kissing or sex scenes.

    17. Laura Benanti left Supergirl after playing Kara's mom for only 10 episodes. So, during Season 3, Erica Durance was brought on to play the role.

    Alura saying that Kara will always be the brave girl she was when she was younger, and then Alura telling Kara she wants to get to know her
    The CW

    Laura was unable to continue playing Alura Zor-El due to the fact that she lives and works in NYC, and the show began filming in Vancouver during Season 2. Supergirl loved continuing the tradition of casting previous Lois Lanes on the show — Teri Hatcher appeared in Season 2 — so Erica Durance, who played Lois on Smallville, was offered the role of Kara's mother.

    18. Tom Ellis originally played Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time before Sean Maguire took over the role in Season 3. Sean went on to star in 55 episodes of the series.

    Robin Hood saying, "My mind was in the forest but my heart took me here"
    ABC

    At the time, Tom was unable to commit to playing Robin Hood, so the show was forced to recast him. Once Upon a Time co-creator Adam Horowitz said, "Although we love Tom Ellis, unfortunately he wasn’t available. We remain huge fans of his, but because we have an arc planned for the character, we had to move forward."

    19. Lisa Robin Kelly left That '70s Show after playing Lori in the first three seasons. Although Lisa briefly reappeared in Season 5, the role was recast and Christina Moore assumed the role in Season 6.

    Laurie sitting next to Fez on a couch
    Fox

    Lisa left That '70s Show after she suffered a miscarriage and she was abusing alcohol. She told ABC News in 2012 that she was "guilty of a drinking problem" and that caused her to run away from That '70s Show. Sadly, Lisa died of a drug overdose in 2013.

    20. Parker Bagley played Jason DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars for only two episodes in Season 1 before he was replaced by Drew Van Acker, who went on to star in 35 episodes.

    Jason saying, "It's just gonna be me for the time being"
    Freeform

    Drew was brought on just when Jason's storyline on Pretty Little Liars became bigger and more important. During Season 2, Jason notably moved back to Rosewood and started dating Aria.

    21. And finally, Molly Ephraim starred as Mandy Baxter on Last Man Standing for six seasons before she was replaced by Molly McCook, who played Mandy until the series finale in 2021.

    Mandy saying, "You guys are so sweet"
    Fox

    Molly was unable to continue playing Mandy after the show was saved from cancellation by Fox. She'd already moved on to other projects, so coming back to play Mandy again wasn't an option. This also wasn't the first time Last Man Standing had to recast a main character. Amanda Fuller replaced Alexandra Krosney as Kristin in Season 2.

    We can't fit everything into one post, so what other TV recasts did you either love or hate? Tell us in the comments below!

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form