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Why The Role Of Greg In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Was Recast

Santino Fontana's Greg is a far cry from his "Frozen" character, the surprise bad guy Hans, who starts off sweet and then reveals his dastardly motivations. Greg, on the other hand, comes off as a total jerk but is actually quite soft. And yet, Greg, too, does an about-face when he comes back as a whole different person. Here's why.

On the underrated dramedy series, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," Greg was the obvious romantic choice for lead Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) — they got along marvelously when they weren't indulging in their worst tendencies — but once they started sleeping together and tried the whole dating thing, they utterly failed at it. As the series was ultimately about Rebecca's mental health struggles, it's no wonder she wasn't in a good place to be in a relationship with Greg. Frankly, neither was he.

While the series could have explored their relationship further, Fontana had committed himself to other projects when "Crazy Ex Girlfriend" was in limbo, awaiting renewal for a second season (via Entertainment Weekly). He returned to theater and was written off the show by the fourth episode of Season 2.

It was a hard hit. Greg was beloved by fans for his sardonic personality, killer singing voice, and undeniable chemistry with Rebecca. But, the series moved on. That is, until part way through Season 4 when they brought Greg back — not with Fontana, but with "Pitch Perfect" star Skylar Astin.

Fontana was too busy to come back, but recasting offered a unique way to explore the themes

"Settle for me," Greg once sang to Rebecca, but the series wasn't settling with Skylar Astin's Greg. He fit into the role marvelously, taking on Santino Fontana's Greg mannerisms and sliding back into place with Rebecca. The series used a clever storytelling device to explain the change: Rebecca was now seeing Greg as everyone else had always seen him. Their time apart, with him dealing with his alcoholism and her confronting her Borderline personality disorder, changed how they view each other. No one else saw Greg as a different person, only Rebecca.

The character didn't need to come back, but the writers wanted to revisit him. Before Fontana left the series, they had a whole story arc planned for Greg and Rebecca to become friends after their breakup and to show Greg's own journey, series co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna told Entertainment Weekly. However, by the time Season 4 began airing, Fontana was busy singing on stage in the musical "Tootsie." Despite that, McKenna told Vanity Fair, "We just felt like, dramatically, it was important and interesting for Greg to come back. So we committed ourselves to that — and that opened a lot of avenues up for us."

They found the new Greg in Astin. McKenna said, "There is a nice salty, sardonic side to Skylar in some of the parts that he's played, so we felt like that would work well." Plus, he had the Broadway experience and went to college with co-creator and star Rachel Bloom. McKenna said he immediately got along great with everyone.

When Vulture asked Fontana about the recasting, he reacted positively, saying, "I love Skylar! He's a buddy of mine. We've been texting, we've got a whole back-and-forth going. We're brothers from the same mother. That's what I'm calling it. Brothers from the same mother." Astin ended up playing Greg in half as many episodes as Fontana, but he rounded out Greg's character development with a lovely reprise of one of Fontana's iconic songs, "What'll It Be."