The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Full House: Four casting decisions that changed the shows' fates
The Tudors and Pride and Prejudice star Tamzin Merchant was initially chosen to play the role of Daenarys Targaryen in Game of Thrones
One cannot imagine FRIENDS without Joey or Chandler, Game of Thrones without Jon Snow, or The Big Bang Theory without Penny.
So, what happens if one of your favorite characters on a show was suddenly replaced? Ordinarily, viewers hardly ever get to see the pilot episode of a series. Hence, are oblivious of the various changes that a show undergoes until it has been greenlit by the channel.
Over the years, studios have had to take some drastic decisions when it comes to casting of characters, especially if a promising concept’s pilot episode doesn’t garner a favorable response or rate as per their expectations.
Thus, here is a list of few of television’s favorite characters that would not be in the prominent shows, had it not been for the dismal performance of the original casting choice in the pilot episodes:.
Kaley Cuoco (Penny) – The Big Bang Theory
Kaley was not the original choice of the show runners for the role of the gorgeous yet quintessential girl-next-door – Penny in television’s longest running and highest rated comedy sitcom – The Big Bang Theory. One could hardly imagine the show without Kaley in the role of Leonard’s beloved and the centre of attention for most men on the show. But it was Amanda Walsh of Disturbia fame who was the original choice for the role. After a forgetful performance in the un-aired test pilot, Amanda was replaced by Kaley. Reportedly, it took Kaley Cuoco three tries to be cast in the role of Penny.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) – Game of Thrones
In light of the abysmal response to the show’s original unaired pilot, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took the harsh feedback into serious consideration, by drastically altering the episode and recasting some pivotal characters. Despite a solid performances as Catherine Howard in The Tudors and Georgina Darcy in Price & Prejudice, Tamzin Merchant failed to impress as Daenerys Targaryen or as more popularly known ‘Mother of Dragons’. One man’s loss is another man’s gain, or in this case woman’s, as Emilia Clarke bagged the iconic role with her unforgettable performance.
Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) – Game of Thrones
Contrary to the reason for replacement of Tamzim Merchant in the show, the original choice for the role of Catelyn Stark – Jennifer Ehle (of Zero Dark Thirty fame) opted out due to family reasons. But most people would not believe that, as her less than passable performance in the role of Catelyn did raise a few eyebrows and made way for Michelle Fairley to grab the prestigious role in the now-superhit television show.
Bob Saget (Danny Tanner) – Full House
For fans of the show, Danny Tanner played by Bob Saget was the ideal television dad. But before Bob could land the role, John Posey was cast as Tanner in the pilot episode. Even though Posey was a funny comic actor, Bob Saget did a marvelous job at bringing to life the role of a nerdy dad, that was funny, affectionate, serious and quirky in equal parts.
Regardless of who was initially cast, we love our favourites unconditionally and cannot imagine the show with any other actor in their place, be it Penny, Daenerys or Danny.
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