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The Real Reason These '00s TV Characters Were Recast

The world of TV is chaotic and uncertain, with the constant potential for last-minute changes. (And that's on a good day!) Since television shows are perpetually in motion, it isn't unusual to see series go through some major changes from their initial inception to the final product on screen. In some cases, it even means replacing actors in popular parts.

While some recastings are forced due to an actor's unavailability or everyday life occurrences, there are others where the stories are a lot juicier, even scandalous. From parents refusing to let their kids take part in storylines to performers being too subtle for the role, there's a litany of reasons that might explain why some of our favorite actors bounced from these productions earlier than anyone could've expected. So, let's turn back the clock to a time when streaming was still reserved to rivers and oceans, and discover the real reason these '00s TV characters were recast.

Teenie (Big Love)

Following "The Sopranos" on HBO was never going to be a simple task, but "Big Love" manages surprisingly well. The award-winning drama is captivating as it explores the complex dynamics of a polygamist, his wives, and their children. One of the most memorable kids on the series is the young Tancy "Teenie" Henrickson, portrayed by Jolean Wejbe for three seasons.

When the fourth season of "Big Love" rolled in, the role of Teenie was recast, with Bella Thorne now playing the beloved character. But why the change, especially since Wejbe had played Teenie for so long? The show's co-creator, Will Scheffer, explained to the Los Angeles Times that it was due to the actors and characters not aging at the same pace. "Unfortunately our Teenie — our cute little pixie — just shot up," Scheffer said. "By the time she was 13 playing 11, she started to become tall and looked like she was turning into a 15-year-old." Father Time can be so cruel to child actors!

Morgan Edge (Smallville)

"Smallville" isn't a small show by any means: It embraces the vastness of the DC Universe and introduces a host of heroes and villains. One of the key characters featured is Morgan Edge, a creation from the mind of Jack Kirby. Edge debuts in Season 3 of "Smallville," portrayed by the iconic Dutch actor Rutger Hauer in the episodes "Phoenix" and "Extinction." Later in the season, Edge appears once again; however, this time, he is played by Patrick Bergin. While the change in physical appearance is explained away within the story by Edge getting plastic surgery to hide from Lionel Luthor, many fans wondered why Hauer didn't return.

The truth is pretty simple: According to KryptonSite, Hauer was unavailable to film a new episode at the time. "Smallville" wasn't Hauer's last rodeo with DC, though, as he played the role of William Earle, the greedy executive who becomes CEO of Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins."

Rose (Bette)

There was a time in TV history when networks loved nothing more than casting comedians as fictionalized versions of themselves in sitcoms. "Seinfeld," "Mulaney" ... the list goes on and on. Naturally, CBS tried its luck and cast Bette Midler in her own show called — drumroll, please — "Bette." While the sitcom was short-lived and canned after a single season, it does feature Lindsay Lohan as Bette's daughter, Rose, for the pilot. After that, Lohan was promptly replaced by Marina Malota for the rest of the season.

Lohan's departure from "Bette" was because the show moved its production from New York to Los Angeles, and she was unwilling to relocate at the time. The actress ended up moving to Los Angeles later on in her life, which she admitted regretting to Vanity Fair, saying if she could she "would have listened more to my mother and gone back home to N.Y.C. earlier in life."

Claire Kyle (My Wife and Kids)

Damon Wayans has a number of great television shows to his name, but one of the best is probably "My Wife and Kids." The sitcom ran for five seasons, and was generally well-received. That said, there is a switch-up between Season 1 and 2, as Jazz Raycole, the original actress playing Claire Kyle, was replaced by Jennifer Freeman. While the sitcom handled the change in a hilariously meta way by saying Claire looks like "a whole different person," the audience at home pondered what had inspired this drastic change.

According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1946-Present)" by Tim Brook and Earle F. Marsh, Raycole's mother wasn't too pleased with a proposed storyline where one of Claire's friends would've been pregnant. In an interview with The Christian Post, Raycole said: "I was 12 years old when I got that job. The producers wanted a different thing, they wanted someone a little bit older. I wasn't ready for that." Fair enough.

Sookie St. James (Gilmore Girls)

While Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are the beating heart of "Gilmore Girls," the fun and lively Sookie St. James is its soul. Of course, it's difficult to imagine anyone else but Melissa McCarthy in the part, since she owned the role from day one. But here's the thing: She wasn't actually there on day one when the pilot was shot in Markham, Ontario.

Actress Alex Borstein revealed to BuzzFeed that she filmed the "Gilmore Girls" pilot and "had a blast." At the time, Borstein was a regular cast member on "MADtv" but believed she'd be allowed to do both shows. "Everyone was leading me to believe it was possible," she said. "The exec producer at 'MADtv' at the time was, like, 'Yeah, yeah, there's no reason we can't make this work.' What I didn't know was the emails behind my back were, like, 'Absolutely not.'" Borstein doesn't have any regrets, though, as she believes McCarthy was a fantastic replacement as Sookie — a role that she made her own.

Inara Serra (Firefly)

In the world of network television, "Firefly" is often mentioned as a sci-fi cult classic that was canceled way too soon. Not only was it a phenomenal piece of TV, but it also helped launch many actors' careers and turn them into household names. For Morena Baccarin, who played Inara Serra in the series, it was her big break in the industry and would prove to be a career-defining role. However, she was actually the second actress to play the role, having joined the cast while "Firefly" was already in production.

According to "Joss Whedon: The Biography" by Amy Pascale (via Gizmodo), Rebecca Gayheart was cast as Inara and left as soon as production began in March 2002. Soon afterward, Baccarin was invited to audition, and the rest is history. In the commentary for "Serenity," creator and director Joss Whedon hinted that Gayheart wasn't the right fit for the role.

Ann Veal (Arrested Development)

Ann is the butt of many jokes on "Arrested Development." Her superpower is that she is so unremarkable that no one notices her (except for George Michael). However, there was originally a bigger plan for the character, as actress Mae Whitman revealed in an interview with PeopleTV (via CinemaBlend). "They were originally going to keep replacing the actress that played Ann," Whitman said, "just so you were always on your toes."

The producers felt that Whitman did such a remarkable job at being unremarkable that they decided to keep her in the role. She joked that it felt like a "real insult" that they kept her around for this reason. That said, she wasn't the original actress to play Ann, as that distinction belongs to Alessandra Torresani in Season 1. But in true Ann spirit, she is so often forgotten: Mae Whitman is the actress most people think of when they remember the character.

Kaitlin Cooper (The O.C.)

When it comes to teenage drama, it doesn't get much juicier than "The O.C." The core cast stays together for the most part; however, there is a supporting character who changes faces in Season 3. Kaitlin Cooper is originally portrayed by Shailene Woodley before she disappears to boarding school after her parents' divorce. When she comes back in Season 3, Kaitlin is played by Willa Holland. The plan seems to have been to age up the character so that she could participate in more mature storylines. But it's bizarre when you consider that Woodley and Holland are actually the same age, both born in 1991.

It turns out there's more to the story than meets the eye, as Woodley revealed in a WIRED interview. "I was replaced when I was 13 by a different actress to play the same character because I hadn't gone through puberty yet," she said. "They needed a girl who had a body." Showbiz, eh?

Ruby (Supernatural)

Katie Cassidy is no stranger to shows on The CW, having appeared as Laurel Lance/Black Canary on "Arrow" and as the demon Ruby on "Supernatural." While it seems quite common for Cassidy to disappear before the end of a series run, fans took quite a while to warm up to her replacement on "Supernatural," Genevieve Padalecki. But why did Cassidy leave such a popular role on an established series so soon?

The real reason for her departure from "Supernatural" seems to vary, depending on who answers the question. Eric Kripke, the show's creator, claimed that it was a money issue and "Supernatural" just couldn't afford to keep her anymore. Cassidy offered a different version of events, stating that no one was certain what they'd be doing with her character, so when the opportunity to work on "Harper's Island" arrived, she asked to leave and her request was granted. Hmm ... who's telling the real story here?

Clay Morrow (Sons of Anarchy)

Think of "Sons of Anarchy," and Clay Morrow is probably one of the first characters who comes to mind. At times, Ron Perlman puts on such a commanding performance as the dangerous leader of SAMCRO that he even outshines the show's lead, Charlie Hunnam. Yet, Perlman wasn't the original actor to play Clay in the pilot. That honor belonged to Scott Glenn, who most fans will recognize as Stick from "Daredevil."

So, what was the reason Clay Morrow was recast in "Sons of Anarchy"? In a discussion with NPR, Perlman credited Glenn as a terrific actor but explained that he understood what showrunner Kurt Sutter wanted in Clay better. "[Glenn's] a very subtle guy," Perlman said. "And he has a very kind of a quiet, understated presence about him, which, in terms of this particular guy, Clay Morrow, they were looking for way more dynamic." Glenn wasn't bitter about losing out on the role either, as he said in an interview with The A.V. Club that he felt things worked out for the best, considering how long the series ran for.