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Who Plays Dean In Gilmore Girls & Which True Detective Star Originally Had The Role?

Fans of "Gilmore Girls" know that, throughout the series, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) has three significant relationships — one with Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia), one with Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry), and one with Dean Forester, played by Jared Padalecki. (She also dates Jack Carpenter's Paul in the Netflix reboot "A Year in the Life," but the less said about the unremarkable Paul, the better.)

At this point, it feels almost impossible that anybody else could have ever played the floppy-haired, devoted Dean, who starts dating Rory in the show's first season after she transfers from Stars Hollow High to the prestigious Chilton Academy. Somebody else did, though, in the show's unaired pilot — and that would be actor Nathan Wetherington, who told Entertainment Weekly that he didn't have the best experience during filming.

"I kind of let myself get hustled," Wetherington said, recalling the moment when they styled his hair for the pilot. "I remember going into makeup for the first time and they sprayed my hair over and they were combing it down and I didn't know if I could say anything," Wetherington says. "I was like, 'This doesn't look like me, I don't know what's going on right now.' I remember feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin."

Nathan Wetherington was also considered for a huge Star Wars role

Dean Forester wasn't the only big role Wetherington lost out on during that period of his life; according to him, he was also in talks to play adult Anakin Skywalker in the second and third "Star Wars" prequels. "I was actually at Skywalker Ranch, having just walked out of a meeting with George Lucas for Anakin, when I got a call that I had booked Gilmore Girls," Wetherington told EW. "I think the only reason I got cast in Gilmore Girls was because word was traveling that I was in the running for Anakin."

Wetherington says he then dropped out of the race to play Anakin, but had regrets when Hayden Christensen booked the role. "I wrote George a letter after it had been cast and was like, 'I really feel like this should've been me. I think I made a mistake,'" Wetherington said. Around that same time, he also got word that Dean Forester had been recast on "Gilmore Girls."

Beyond Anakin and Dean, there's allegedly another role that slipped through Wetherington's fingers; according to the EW profile, he also tested for "The O.C." and read alongside Ben McKenzie, who ended up playing Ryan Atwood on the show. According to Wetherington, it was down to him and Adam Brody... and whether or not that's the case, Brody did get the role when all was said and done. Ultimately, Wetherington appeared in two episodes of the third season of "True Detective" as Mike Ardoin in 2019, and that same year, he wrote and directed his own film, "A Thousand Miles Behind."

Dean and Rory had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least

To say Dean and Rory had a rough go of it is an understatement... and maybe Wetherington was better off because Dean is definitely pretty low on the boyfriends ranking on "Gilmore Girls." This is probably because, as we're told at the beginning of the series, Dean is Rory's very first boyfriend. The two seem cute at first, but Rory is exceptionally bright and academically ambitious, whereas Dean isn't quite as interested in schoolwork. As Rory sets her sights on going to Harvard University, Dean starts feeling inadequate, and when Jess gets between them, they break up.

The two briefly reunite in Season 5 after they sleep together in the Season 4 finale, which turns into a whole thing (it's Rory's first time, and Dean is married to another girl). After Dean gets divorced, they try and make a go of it while Rory is a student at Yale University, but another boy gets in their way: the wealthy, smooth Logan. Beyond that, Rory and Dean recognize that they want completely different things in life, and go their separate ways. Rory briefly sees him in "A Year in the Life," and Dean is re-married with children.

"Gilmore Girls" and "A Year in the Life" are both available to stream on Netflix.