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9 Actors Who Almost Played These Classic TV Good Guys

Some television roles are so iconic that it feels impossible to imagine anyone else in the role, though some were nearly played by other actors.

There are some iconic television roles where the actor seems so well ingrained that it is impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part. The actor’s look delivery interpretation and antics are such a large part of the character that the idea of anyone else in the role feels almost heretical. Nonetheless almost no casting process ever has only one actor in mind for a character, and it’s even rarer that that one actor agrees. Most characters have at least a few actors considered for the role, many of whom may enter discussions audition or even be cast before a twist of fate results in another actor filling the role sometimes to great effect.

9 Hugh Grant Was Offered The Role Of The Ninth Doctor

As the central character of the now acclaimed revival of Doctor Who, the Ninth Doctor has become one of the more popular iterations of the character. Despite his ambivalence towards the role, Christopher Eccleston is considered by many fans to be quintessential to that success. Eccleston was not the first choice of showrunner Russel T. Davies, however. Before Eccleston was cast, Davies approached Hugh Grant, best known as the star of innumerable romantic comedies. Grant had previously played the Doctor briefly in a non-canon Red Nose Day short but didn’t believe the revival would be a success. He would later mention regretting the decision.

8 Buffy Was Nearly Played By An American Pie Alumnus

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s role of Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is considered iconic by fans of the show and well known even by those who are not viewers. Gellar’s Buffy managed to be powerful and snarky, but also down to earth and relatable, even vulnerable at times, creating an all-time favorite protagonist for many. However, before Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the role Natasha Lyons then best known as Jessica in American Pie was Joss Whedon’s first choice. She turned it down however and the rest is history.

7 Elizabeth Olsen Nearly Starred In Game Of Thrones

It is well known that Emilia Clarke wasn’t always the actress behind Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen, which would come to be her career defining role. In the series’ unaired pilot, Tamzin Merchant played the role of the Mother of Dragons. The role was recast following the pilot, seeing Clarke given the role. Even before Merchant’s casting, other actresses were in consideration. Before her casting as Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Elizabeth Olsen auditioned and was seriously considered by the showrunners before they went a different direction.

6 John Cho Nearly Added Jim Halpert To His Resume

Alongside Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott, the relationship between Jim and Pam is one of the best known parts of The Office. The relationship is considered one of the all-time great ‘will they or won’t they romances of all time. A large part of this is because of the beloved chemistry between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. Also in consideration for the role was John Cho known for American Pie, Harold and Kumar, and the Star Trek films. The actor auditioned, but it is unknown how far in the process he got or how his own interpretation of Jim may have changed the show.

5 Alan Rickman Was Nearly Neurotic Hologram Rimmer

Alan Rickman is best known for his roles as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series and is considered a perfect casting choice for both. Before his film career took off however Rickman was in consideration to play the deuteragonist of Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer. Rickman was actually considered for the role alongside Alfred Molina, but the studio decided against them both. The decision behind turning down Rickman being his burgeoning film career with Die Hard coming out later that year. Instead, Chris Barrie was cast in the role.

4 William Shatner Was Third Choice For Kirk After Jack Lord

Captain James Tiberius Kirk has become one of the most iconic television protagonists of all time. The character’s approaches to leadership, diplomacy and romance are considered integral parts in making Star Trek the juggernaut franchise it is. William Shatner’s performance as Kirk was massively influential to the character and the show as a whole. Shatner was not the first choice for the role, however. The first choice Lloyd Bridges turned the show down immediately for being a scifi show. There were serious discussions with the second choice actor Jack Lord, best known for Hawaii Five-O. Ultimately, Lord wanted too much creative control of the series so Shatner was brought in.

3 Neil Patrick Harris Nearly Starred Opposite Nathan Fillion Much Earlier As Simon Tam

Although in no way the male lead of Firefly, the character of Simon Tam was a crucial member of the team and one of the more undeniably heroic of the crew of Serenity. The character’s portrayal by Sean Maher contributes to his endearingly out of place personality and his romantic tension with crewmate Kaylee, and thus considered an important part of the show. Before this, however Neil Patrick Harris had auditioned and was being seriously considered for the role. Ultimately he would not be selected, but Harris would later appear in a production with Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.

2 Jeffrey Combs Could Have Had A Larger Star Trek Role As Riker

Jeffrey Combs is well known to Trekkies for playing eight different characters across three series of the show appearing in Deep Space Nine Enterprise, and Lower Decks. Despite this plethora of roles, the actor’s first encounter with the franchise would have seen him in only one role albeit a much larger one. Combs initially auditioned for the role of Commander William Riker of The Next Generation, ultimately losing the part to Jonathan Frakes. Nonetheless Combs strong audition led him to be borne in mind for his future roles.

1 Jon Favreau Almost Became Archetypal To A Whole Generation As Chandler Bing

The cast of Friends is widely considered to have some of the best chemistry of any TV show cast ever. Many on the production crew noted that the actors portraying the main six were as firm friends in real life as they were in front of the camera. It is hard to imagine any of them being different or the effects that may have had on the show. Other actors were in consideration for several other roles, with one of the more hotly contested being Chandler Bing. Although now best known as the director of Iron Man, The Jungle Book, and The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau was one of the comic actors auditioning for the role, which may have changed the show immensely.

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