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15+ Times When Directors Changed Actors To Attract Viewers

In the world of movies and TV shows, cast changes always can happen. Because we can't make sure whether the movie is successful or not, creators must sometimes replace the actors we've grown to love; it's simply the nature of the beast for a television cast to change. Most of the time, minor cast changes are easily incorporated into the overall show. However, there are many occasions where a cast change is too shocking to bear painlessly. These times when directors change actors to attract viewers might be found here. 

Whether the alternation is smooth or rocky, its result is never certain. Some cast changes prove to be a blessing in disguise, while others spell the end of an entire series. Whatever happens, some of television's most intriguing backstories are forged in the dramatic cast member exits and entrances.

The way we see a movie or TV Show could be affected by a cast change, whether positively or negatively. Scroll down to see 16 examples of directors changed actors to attract viewers.

#1 Florencia Lozano vs Margaret Colin as Eleanor Waldorf (Gossip Girl).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract Viewers, eleanor waldorfSource: © Gossip Girl / CBS Television Studios and co-producers


 At the age of 37 years old, Florencia Lozano starred in the Gossip Girl pilot and Leighton Meester, her on-screen daughter, was 21 at the time. The age gap was insufficient for the audience to believe they were mother and daughter. Eleanor Waldorf was thus played by Margaret Colin, who was 49 years old at the time she first appeared in the series.

#2 Henry Cavill vs Liam Hemsworth as Geralt of Rivia.


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Witcher / Netflix and co-producers


When Henry Cavill was cast in the role of Geralt, not everyone was pleased. Three years later, the actor is leaving the show and handing over the role to Liam Hemsworth, which has enraged fans.

Despite the official reason — Cavill is returning to the role of Superman and cannot do both — fans believe something else has occurred, and they continue to sign petitions urging Cavill to return.

#3 Hugo Weaving vs Jonathan Groff as Agent Smith (The Matrix).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Matrix Revolutions / Warner Bros. and co-producers, © The Matrix Resurrections / Warner Bros. and co-producers


The main antagonist of The Matrix franchise was named one of the 100 most fantastic movie characters of all time by Empire in 2008. Of course, it would not have been possible without Hugo Weaving. However, due to scheduling conflicts, he could not appear in The Matrix Resurrections.

As a result, Jonathan Groff, who you may recognize from Mindhunter, was cast. He wasn't as good as Hugo, unfortunately. "It's a handsome Broadway actor pretending, unconvincingly, to be a bad guy," critics said about him.

#4 John Shepherd vs Thom Mathews as Tommy Jarvis (Friday the 13th).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Friday the 13th: A New Beginning / Warner Bros. and co-producers, © Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives / Warner Bros. and co-producers


Tommy Jarvis appears in 3 of the 12 movies and plays an important role in the plot. This character, played by Corey Feldman, first appears as a teenager and then grows into a young man.

John Shepherd played adult Tommy, but he refused to play the role again because he wasn't sure he wanted to continue his acting career. Thom Mathews won the role. Fans adored him so much that he was asked to play the role of Jason in Friday the 13th: The Game.

#5 Johnny Depp vs Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald / Warner Bros. and co-producers, © Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore / Warner Bros. and co-producers


Due to a series of scandals surrounding his divorce, Warner Bros. management asked Johnny Depp to quit the role of Grindelwald. Mads Mikkelsen was cast as the dark wizard. The actor was excellent in the role. Many critics thought he was better than Johnny Depp.

#6 Joseph Sanders vs Elias Janssen as Mateo (Jane the Virgin).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Jane the Virgin / CBS Television Studios and co-producers


Mateo, the charming son of the main character, played by Joseph Sanders, was popular with the audience. However, after Season 4, the actor's mother stated that it was time for him to concentrate on his education. Elias Janssen was cast by the showrunners. The boy had previously appeared on the show as Rafael, Mateo's father when he was a child.

#7 Laura Benanti vs Erica Durance as Alura Zor-El (Supergirl).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Supergirl / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers


Laura Benanti portrayed the main character in Supergirl for two seasons. She was even nominated for a Saturn Award for her efforts. However, it was announced in July 2017 that she would not be returning due to her schedule and that the role of Alura would be filled by Erica Durance, the star of Smallville.

#8 Lesley Sharp vs Miranda Richardson as Rosalind Hale (Fate: The Winx Saga).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Fate: The Winx Saga / Netflix and co-producers


After the first season, Lesley Sharp was forced to leave her role as the villain, the ex-principal of the magic school. She had some other projects that she needed to complete. Her role was given to Miranda Richardson.

#9 Nick Jonas vs Jordan Masterson as Ryan Vogelson (Last Man Standing).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Last Man Standing / 20th Century Fox Television and co-producers


Showrunners often hire celebrities to appear in episodes to promote their interest in the show. So, when Nick Jonas first appeared in Last Man Standing, no one expected such a big star to stick around. Ryan Vogelson, played by Jordan Masterson, became the main character when the season 2 production began.

#10 Parker Corno vs Cameron Crovetti as Ryan (The Boys).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Boys / Amazon Studios and co-producers


Many viewers were taken aback by the sudden change in the actor who played Homelander's son. Parker Corno resembled his on-screen son more than Cameron Crovetti.

The actor, on the other hand, will play a more active role in the show. He now understands that his father is a superhero and that he, too, has supernatural powers. As a result, they were concerned that an inexperienced actor like Parker would be unable to handle the role.

#11 Peter Sellers vs Steve Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau (The Pink Panther).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Pink Panther / Mirisch G-E Productions, © The Pink Panther / MGM and co-producers


For many, English comedian Peter Sellers will always be remembered as the awkward and inadequate inspector from The Pink Panther. He showed up in 6 movies out of 11. Following his death, the studio needed a long time to find an actor who could play such an iconic character.

None of the invited stars could commit to more than one film in the franchise. Fans hoped for the inspector's return only after Steve Martin was cast. However, Martin's subsequent film was a flop, and he did not reprise the role.

#12 Rowan Blanchard vs Alexis G. Zall as Jackie Geary (The Goldbergs).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Goldbergs / Sony Pictures Television and co-producers


Rowan Blanchard, who played Adam's high school crush Jackie Geary, decided to leave the show after season 5. She believed that her career was just getting started and that she needed to move on from supporting roles. She is currently working on the post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer. She is one of the show's main characters.

Because The Goldbergs is partially autobiographical, the producers couldn't simply drop the character, so they cast a newcomer, Alexis G. Zall, to play the main character's girlfriend.

#13 Ruby Rose vs Wallis Day as Batwoman (Batwoman).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Batwoman / Warner Bros. and co-producers


Ruby Rose left the show after season one for mysterious reasons. She later claimed she had a back injury, was allergic to the latex used in the mask, and that the environment on set was unsafe and unbearable. Only after all of these accusations did the studio decide to explain that they did not renew the actress' contract due to her work behavior.

So Wallis Day was cast, and the changes in appearance and voice were explained as a result of the plane crash and the subsequent plastic surgeries.

#14 Tom Ellis vs Sean Maguire as Robin Hood (Once Upon a Time).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers


Tom Ellis played Robin Hood in just one episode of the second season. It's unclear why, but there was only a one-episode contract with this actor. When the creators decided to renew it, they discovered that Ellis was already committed to other shows, so Sean Maguire took over.

#15 Wesley Snipes vs Omar Epps as Willie Mays Hayes (Major League).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © Major League / Paramount Pictures and co-producers, © Major League II / Paramount Pictures and co-producers


Wesley Snipes is a famous action star, and his most successful project is the Blade trilogy. But, at the start of his career, he demonstrated his comedic talent as Willie Mays Hayes in Major League. The comedy was a huge success and made a lot of money. However, the producers waited 5 years before making a sequel.

Snipes became known for playing cool guys and refused to return to comedic roles. So Omar Epps was cast, and at the start of his career, he was fine with playing athletes and difficult teenagers.

#16 William Hurt vs Harrison Ford as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (MCU).


Directors Changed Actors To Attract ViewersSource: © The Incredible Hulk / Marvel Studios and co-producers, © Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons, © CC BY-SA 3.0


William Hurt played General Thaddeus, the creator and villain of the Hulk, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Harrison Ford was cast after he passed away.

After the release of Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts in 2024, we will see a great actor in this role. Universe fans believe that if such a big star is invited, he will transform into Red Hulk (Rulk).
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