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The Longmire Character Who Was Almost Played By An NBC Star

The Western crime drama, Longmire, premiered in June 2012 on A&E. After A&E declined to renew it for a fourth season, it was picked up by Netflix, where the drama finished up a six-season run. Based on the crime mystery series, Walt Longmire Mysteries, by Craig Johnson, the show follows a sheriff, Walt Longmire, in a fictional Wyoming county. Having recently been widowed, Walt deals with his personal struggles while taking on investigations.

The lead role of Walt Longmire was played by Robert Taylor, and prior to Longmire, he acted in projects such as The Matrix, Vertical Limit, Stingers, and the made-for-TV film The Mystery of Natalie Wood. But, in recent years, his role as Longmire has pretty much become his most notable to date, especially amongst the show's fans. What some fans may not know, however, is that this role was almost played by a different actor — one fans may recognize from another popular show.

Coach Taylor could've played Longmire

According to Wide Open Country, which looked into facts behind Longmire, the part almost went to Kyle Chandler, who is most known for his lead role as coach Taylor on the small town drama, Friday Night Lights, which ran for five seasons on NBC. There isn't any available information as to why Chandler turned down the part, but TVOverMind speculates that it could have been due to scheduling issues. Additionally, since Longmire premiered just one year after Friday Night Lights wrapped up, Chandler may have been hesitant to jump right into another long-term commitment.

After Friday Night Lights wrapped, Chandler spent the next several years focusing on film and landed roles in some highly acclaimed films. He appeared in Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, The Wolf of Wall Street, Carol, and Manchester by the Sea — to name just a few — all of which garnered significant praise and attention. In between these projects, he returned to TV in 2015 with the leading role in Bloodline, a Netflix drama that received three seasons. In 2019, he had a role in the Hulu miniseries, Catch-22, based on the book of the same name by Joseph Heller.

While Chandler is much beloved in his own right — especially from FNL fans — it's probably safe to say that Longmire fans are more than happy with Taylor ultimately landing the role and being the one to embody Walt Longmire.