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What Happened To The Actress Who Played Tyra On Friday Night Lights?

When Friday Night Lights debuted in the fall of 2006, it was immediately lauded by critics. Many members of the large ensemble cast parlayed their appearance on the show into a steady Hollywood career — here's looking at you Jesse Plemons — though the entertainment industry can be a fickle and cruel mistress. Certain cast members have struggled to stick since the show ended, but what of Adrianne Palicki? The Midwestern-born actress toiled away in Los Angeles, working odd jobs while trying to find her big break, eventually landing the role of Tyra Collette on Friday Night Lights, changing her career fortunes drastically. 

Starring in a critical hit and eventual cult smash completely changed the course of her career track, but what exactly happened to Palicki after she left Friday Night Lights just three seasons in? What does an actress do when the first truly steady gig of her career ends? Well, here's what happened to Adrianne Palicki after she stopped playing Tyra on Friday Night Lights.

Adrianne Palicki's early career

After growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Palicki decided against going to college in favor of heading to New York to try and kickstart an acting career against her parents wishes. When talking to the Toledo Blade, Palicki said, "It didn't go over very well. It was really hard for them to hear, but I did it." After working her way through acting classes and working numerous jobs — from waitressing to managing a sunglasses store — Palicki would finally start to book some parts, the biggest being a lead role in an unaired, John Woo-directed pilot for a new Lost in Space series that just wasn't meant to be

Palicki would again book a role in a doomed pilot in 2006, this time as the villain in the failed Aquaman show starring This Is Us' Justin Hartley, though her disappointment had to be short-lived. After a few years of guest spots and failed pilots, Palicki would soon start the first steady role of her career.

Melting hearts in Friday Night Lights

While Friday Night Lights wasn't exactly a ratings-bonanza during its heyday — it peaked as the 143rd most watched show in 2007 — the series certainly had its fans while on the air, and it's grown considerably in popularity thanks to the advent of internet streaming services over the past decade. The show, a soap opera-like drama about the community surrounding high school football in the fictional small town of Dillon, Texas, addressed many issues at the forefront of American culture. It touched on everything from family values and economic struggles to racism and drug culture. Friday Night Lights had a turbulent run throughout its five season history, to say the least, but the show has a certain poignancy when it's firing on all cylinders. 

As for Palicki, she starred as Tyra Collette, character who evolves from high school bad girl to ambitious young woman over the show's run. After leaving the main cast when the third season was over, Palicki would try to transition from successful small screen actress to big screen star. 

Palicki builds her resume

Immediately following her work on Friday Night Lights, Palicki would continue to find steady work in Hollywood. Getting to showcase her acting ability as Tyra opened the door for more guest roles on television shows like CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds. Around this time, Palicki would also start to do numerous episodes of voiceover work for programs like Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum. And soon, Palicki would nab another major (if incredibly brief) gig on network television.

A few years after her stint on Friday Night Lights ended, Palicki starred in a main role on another Texas-based drama, Lone Star. While Lone Star would be canceled after just two episodes, the show was a major hit with critics. Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club said, "Lone Star is, hands down, the best network pilot of the year. It might be the best network pilot since Friday Night Lights." While the failure of Lone Star had to be hard to take, Palicki would not stay down and out for very long.

Palicki dips her toes into film

While getting continuous work in the realm of television is nice, it's hard for actors to turn down the allure of the big screen, and Palicki is no exception. Palicki would begin her foray into film by playing fictitious porn star Holly Rocket in two films, 2009's Women in Trouble and 2010's Elektra Luxx. Both films were written and directed by veteran Hollywood screenwriter Sebastian Gutiérrez, whose previous works included Snakes on a Plane and Gothika. While both movies were quick and cheap affairs that didn't do particularly well with critics, Palicki got to rub shoulders with talents like Josh Brolin, Carla Gugino, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Timothy Olyphant.

Outside of playing a porn star for laughs, Palicki found time to star in the supernatural action film Legion. The movie centers around a rogue angel played by Paul Bettany who wishes to stop an apocalypse of zombie-like monsters sent by God himself. Bettany's character believes that the only hope for humanity rests with the unborn child — a messiah, if you will — of Palicki's unassuming waitress. Yes, Legion is exactly as dumb as it sounds, and critics didn't exactly go gaga for it. Starring in any film project, whether large or small, is nice, but Palicki would soon return to the small screen for a big role.

Adrianne Palicki becomes Wonder Woman

In October 2010, reports surfaced that popular superhero Wonder Woman would be returning to television. Unfortunately, the first sign of trouble was Warner Brothers' choice to pen the pilot script: David E. Kelley. Best known for his work on popular legal dramas like Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, Kelley was an odd pick from the start, and his hiring was a sign for the show's struggles to come. Palicki was eventually cast in early 2011, and prominent TV critic Alan Sepinwall was excited for her shot at the role. However, he did mention that "a David E. Kelley-written Wonder Woman is going to be a complete embarrassment, even with somebody like Palicki in the title role."

When images began to leak out of her in the titular hero's costume, the comments were ... not kind. Vulture's Kyle Buchanan said the outfit was "like a Project Runway challenge gone awry," while Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that many were saying "it's too trashy, too bad porn-y." Yikes, that's rough. So it should come as no surprise that in May 2011, NBC decided to pass on the project. But Palicki looks back on her time as the Amazonian princess fondly, saying, "I was so grateful to get to play Wonder Woman. That was a childhood dream of mine, and I'm proud of the outcome."

The actress shows up in Red Dawn

A major part of Palicki's post-Friday Night Lights foray into film included Red Dawn, a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the film — which was originally slated for a late 2010 release — got caught up in the fallout of MGM's financial struggles and was eventually pushed back two full years to November 2012. The film would ultimately fail to gross back its $65 million budget even though its main star, Chris Hemsworth, was coming off the heels of Marvel's billion dollar juggernaut, The Avengers. Things got even more complicated when the studio decided to change the movie's baddies from China to North Korea (chase those Chinese film market dollars!). As for Palicki, she starred as Toni Walsh, a member of a group of high school students who band together to fight off a foreign invasion. Sadly, the actress couldn't fight off bad reviews and poor box office results, but fortunately, her next project would prove to be more successful.

Palicki stars in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Given Hollywood's tendency to make movies out of everything from transforming kids toys to classic board games, it shouldn't be surprising that Hollywood would look to bring the "real American hero," G.I. Joe himself, to the multiplex. With 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra grossing over $300 million at the worldwide box office, a sequel was only a matter of time. So Palicki hopped aboard that money train and appeared in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation as U.S. Marine Jaye Burnett, continuing to showcase her ability to pull off action scenes like she did in Legion and Red Dawn

GI Joe: Retaliation starred Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the main role and would bring in even more money than the first film in the franchise. However, critics found the movie to be quite lacking, and the third installment in the series has been stuck in production for years now. Unfortunately for Palicki, Paramount is looking for the next film in the franchise to be a reboot that will apparently focus on Snake Eyes, a character played by Ray Park in the first two movies. 

Adrianne Palicki is all About a Boy

Adapted from the 1998 best-selling book of the same name, the 2014 sitcom About a Boy aired 33 episodes on NBC before getting canceled in May 2015. The show follows successful songwriter and bachelor Will Freeman, played by David Walton, as his carefree life is turned upside down when a single mother and her 11-year-old son move in next door. About a Boy was created by Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims, and he decided to have a small Dillon, Texas, reunion by bringing on Palicki as Dr. Samantha Lake, the recurring love interest for Walton's character.

Palicki used the experience to highlight her ability to play a romantic lead, as well as show off her comedic timing in a way she was only able to do in her two-film stint as Holly Rocket. However, the range Palicki would utilize in About a Boy would be put on the back-burner for a few years as she would dive headfirst back into action roles.

Palicki goes after John Wick

Before the Keanussance was in full bloom, Keanu Reeves' big Hollywood comeback hinged on the success or failure of 2014's John Wick. Of course, John Wick was a massive hit that has spun off into a full-blown franchise — it's spawned sequels, a video game and a television series — and Palicki got in on the ground floor. Palicki's role as fellow assassin Ms. Perkins was apparently supposed to be played by a man, but the creative team behind John Wick, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, decided it would work better as a woman. So naturally, Palicki ran with it. In an interview with The Film Stage, Palicki talked about how the role was originally pretty underwritten, which offered her the chance to collaborate on the character's backstory. As she explained, she decided that Perkins and Wick "were likely friendly before he got married, and maybe this isn't the first time they've fought like this." And thanks to her dedication, Palicki helped make the action flick a truly memorable movie.

She becomes an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In August 2014, Palicki maneuvered her way into the outrageously popular Marvel Cinematic Universe as she joined ABC's superhero drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a recurring role as Barbara "Bobbi" Morse. Her character, also known by the moniker "Mockingbird," has been around in Marvel Comics since 1971, though Palicki's take on the super-spy inspired a popularity that Morse had never seen before. In fact, the first comic books series solely based on Mockingbird arrived in 2016 to rave reviews

Palicki became one of the principal cast members halfway through the second season of the show, and she continued in that starring role until her character was written out of the series near the end of the third season. The reason Morse and fellow Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character Lance Hunter (played by Nick Blood) were written out of the show was to put them in a spin-off series, Marvel's Most Wanted. ABC ordered a pilot episode for the spin-off, featuring Palicki in the lead role, but didn't develop it as a series. Sadly, Palicki's character has never returned to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since, though she has expressed interest in doing so.

Adrianne Palicki joins the crew of The Orville

Adrianne Palicki was having a rough go of it for a while. There was the disappointment of Marvel's Most Wanted, and then two of her films, Baby, Baby, Baby and S.W.A.T.: Under Siege, went straight-to-video. In other words, Palicki was in need of a break, and she got her answer from Fox's golden boy, Seth MacFarlane. The creator behind network staples like Family Guy and American Dad!, MacFarlane decided to focus his creative talents on Star Trek-inspired passion project, The Orville. MacFarlane stars in the sci-fi series as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels who's trying to get his life back on track. But when Mercer is given the keys to the titular ship, he discovers that his ex-wife has been assigned as his first officer. 

Palicki plays Mercer's ex-wife, Kelly Grayson, a role that has banked her two straight Saturn Award nominations for "Best Actress on Television." When asked why she loves working on The Orville, Palicki has mentioned that she adores the writing on the show, stating, "I think [it] is beautifully fantastic and original. To be a part of creating some sort of change or awareness without beating people over the head. It's such an amazing honor to get to work in that situation." The Orville was picked up for a third season on Hulu, so it looks like Palicki will get to keep loving her work for the foreseeable future.