Why The Role Of Capheus Was Recast In Sense8

One of the more ambitious Netflix productions, Lana and Lilly Wachowski's series "Sense8" captured the minds of fans and critics alike, earning a positive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes from both. Overall, the show is large in scope as well as cast. "Sense8" takes place all over the world, focusing on eight main characters — who together are known as "sensates" — who become interconnected emotionally and mentally despite living far apart. 

The series maintained a cult following throughout the show up until its cancelation after Season 2. But the fan following was so powerful that they almost got Netflix to change their minds following the news (via The Hollywood Reporter). Still, despite fan outcry, Netflix ultimately determined that the show should be canceled, granting a two-hour finale to finish off the story in 2017 (via Variety).

One of the main reasons that the show was so successful was the cast, as each storyline explores aspects of the character's specific culture and values. One such character is Capheus (Aml Ameen). A taxi driver in Nairobi, Kenya, Capheus' main motivation is to scrounge up money to afford treatment for his mother's AIDS. Like all of the other main characters, he is pulled into the vast conspiracy involving a man called Whispers (Terrence Mann) who wants to manipulate and use the sensates. 

With such a beautiful and interconnected story, it was a shock when it was reported that Ameen would be replaced by Toby Onwumere in Season 2. But why?

Ameen's recasting still remains mysterious

Casting shakeups happen from time to time in television shows, but Ameen's departure from the show was "abrupt," according to Deadline. The actor was slated to reprise his role and attended table readings for Season 2. Although the specifics are unclear, many reports indicate that Ameen left "Sense8" after conflicts with Lana Wachowski. Ameen departed after filming a few episodes of Season 2, amid speculation that it had to do with the worsening relationship between him and the director. 

Many outlets, including Deadline, cite the reason for the change as "creative differences," and surprisingly, there has never been any confirmation as to what these "differences" were. The only person who has spoken publicly on the matter is costar Jamie Clayton, who plays Nomi in "Sense8". At the time of the recasting, Clayton posted a series of tweets in response. 

While they have since been deleted, Decider relayed Clayton's remarks about how the set had become "hate-filled," and now the "character [of Capheus] can shine as they were meant to." This stoked even more intrigue about the reason for the recasting, and one theory posed by many was that Ameen was not supportive of the transgender community. However, Clayton quickly refuted this, saying that it was solely a rumor and Ameen is not transphobic. 

Ameen himself has not spoken about the matter in the six years since he departed from "Sense8" in 2016, and fans might never know the true reason for the shakeup. Instead, the actor has busied himself with other notable projects, such as the HBO series "I May Destroy You" and the upcoming Jeffrey Wright-led film "Rustin" (via IMDb).