OK, Stars Hollow crew, I'm about to blow your minds: In the beginning, circa 2000, before Gilmore Girls became the classic it is today, there was a pilot of the show in which Rory's first love, Dean, was played by someone OTHER than Jared Padalecki.
It's hard to imagine. But thanks to a newly surfaced clip making the rounds this week, it's undeniably true.
The surreal snippet shows actor Nathan Wetherington portraying Dean in the character's initial encounter with Rory. Even apart from rocking sandy blonde hair, Nathan's version of Dean is completely different from Jared's.
Below, check out Nathan's pilot portrayal intercut with the finished scene that ultimately aired. As you'll see, Nathan's Dean was less confident and more awkward - even by Gilmore Girls standards.
You can find the entire original Dean scene (along with the rest of the unaired pilot) through a quick Google search. Another interesting tweak you'll notice from pilot to finished product: The couple's meet-cute changed altogether. Imposter Dean totally spoils the ending of Moby Dick for Rory even though she tells him not to. And the two don't go on their über romantic walking tour through Stars Hollow (probably because he spoiled Moby Dick). Crazy!
As shocking as it is to watch another actor take on this iconic character, I'm sure audiences would have grown to love Nathan's version as much as they loved Jared's. That said, I'm not mad Jared ended up in the role.
Watch Rory and Dean's official first meeting below!
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