With the news breaking recently that Harry Shearer, the voice of so many of our favourite characters, will be leaving The Simpsons after more than 25 years we thought we’d take a look back at some other famous times when characters were recast from starring roles.
In the dark days before The Dark Knight Trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero movies were about as popular as video game adaptations (maybe not as bad as Super Mario Bros.).
So when Eric Bana’s version of the green-skinned monster received mixed reviews on its release the two sequels Bana had signed up for were shelved and the rights were bought again by Marvel.
Rebooting the franchise just 5 years later with The Incredible Hulk, Marvel cast Fight Club’s Edward Norton in the titular role with original Hulk Lou Ferrigno providing the voice.
Norton was slated to appear in future MCU instalments but after talks broke down he was eventually replaced by Mark Ruffalo who appeared in The Avengers and Avengers: Age Of Ultron and will reprise the role again in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2.
During the first season of Fox’s Family Guy the voice of Meg Griffin was provided by Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert, although she was uncredited at the time.
With Chabert’s schedule filling up with her role on Party of Five, she was replaced by Mila Kunis, best known back then for starring in That ’70s Show, who has continued as Meg since.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend most of your time watching Game of Thrones saying ‘Where do I know them from?’ (seriously, Robson and Jerome?), but in the case of Daario Naharis it wasn’t quite the same.
First appearing during Season 3 of the hit HBO show, the Tyroshi sellsword was originally played by English actor and rapper Ed Skrein (aka The Dinnerlady P.I.M.P.) for 3 episodes.
Skrein left the show to star in the reboot The Transporter: Refueled, released September 2015, and was replaced with Treme and Black Book star Michiel Huisman for the fourth and fifth seasons.
There was a bit of audience confusion given the stark change in look between the two actors but it’s still not quite in line with the book…
“…Daario Naharis was flamboyant even for a Tyroshi. His beard was cut into three prongs and dyed blue, the same color as his eyes and the curly hair that fell to his collar. His pointed mustachios were painted gold.”
Batman Begins, the first of the The Dark Knight trilogy, was a huge hit both critically and commercially, giving us as clean a break away from George Clooney’s BatNipples as you could possibly wish to get with Christopher Nolan’s gritty origins story.
After being offered a role in the crime-comedy Mad Money, Holmes turned down the chance to return for The Dark Knight Rises, and was replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
It seems incredible to think that the highest-paid cast member in an Iron Man film wouldn’t be Robert Downey Jr. but in the first instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it was Terrence Howard who took home the megabucks for his role as Lt. Colonel James Rhodes.
The reasons for Howard departing the role are pretty murky, although there were rumours of being offered a lowered salary and being awkward to work with on the first shoot.
He was replaced by Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2, who has also appeared in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Although he had a pretty steady career in the late 80s as a rapper, it was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air that has rocketed Will Smith to stardom over the last 20 years.
Not everything was fresh behind the scenes though with original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert, and Smith reportedly not seeing eye to eye over the first three seasons of the hit NBC sitcom.
Hubert was reportedly sacked due to the issues with Smith and a violation of her contract, namely falling pregnant which would be written into the show.
She was replaced in the role by Daphne Maxwell Reid from the fourth season onwards with only a couple of fourth-wall breaking jokes making reference to it on screen.
All together now… in West Philadelphia, born and raised…
In the first two film adaptations of the Harry Potter series, the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore was taken up by Richard Harris on the grounds that his 11 year-old granddaughter threatened to not speak to him again if he declined.
After Harris’s sad passing in 2002, the role was recast with Michael Gambon taking up the role of Hogwarts’ headmaster for the final six films. The story goes that Ian McKellen was offered the role, but turned it down as he’d already played a white haired wizard in a hit worldwide franchise before.
The Back to the Future trilogy was beset with casting problems from the off, with Eric Stoltz and Melora Hardin originally set to play Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker.
With Michael J. Fox and Claudia Wells on board, the first film was a hit but with Wells leaving the franchise for personal reasons she was recast with Elisabeth Shue.
This led to a re-shoot of the closing scenes of the first movie for the beginning of Part I, in an almost shot-for-shot sequence.
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