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Why The Role Of Jason Was Recast On Pretty Little Liars

Through 7 seasons of "Pretty Little Liars," the Liars have put up with a lot. It seems that they can never escape their cyber tormentor, known only as the moniker "A." In addition to the revolving door of betrayals, and plot holes, and fake deaths, there is one mystery that still baffles viewers. Though the series has been over for 5 years, some still question the decision to replace the character Jason on "Pretty Little Liars."

Jason DiLaurentis (Drew Van Acker) is the famed older brother of Alison (Sasha Pieterse), frenemy and queen bee who initially united the liars. First depicted as a preppy and uptight authority figure by Parker Bagley, the actor only lasted 2 episodes in Season 1 (via IMDb). When he reappeared (this time with Van Acker in the role), he was notably different. Gone was the upper crust and strait-laced character. Van Acker's Jason was instead a former burn-out who was more sensitive and would go on to prove to put a serious wedge between Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding). 

The show's creator claimed that Van Acker was a better fit

One of the main clues to the reason behind Bagley's departure is in the different characterizations of the character. The two Jasons could not be more diametrically opposed if they tried. Series showrunner I. Marlene King's statement to Today indicated that this was intentional. "This actor works more for where we're going with that story," King stated. She went on to say, "He plays a dark and mysterious guy, and he taps into Aria's dark and mysterious side."

This was in reference to Aria's storyline in Season 2. Even though her relationship with Ezra hypothetically should have been moving forward after he accepted a position at Hollis College, they were still on shaky ground. Aria gets closer to Jason because he can identify with the problems her brother Mike was having — not to mention actually being age appropriate. Aria ultimately ends up with Ezra, but not without engaging in heavy flirting with the idea of Jason first.