13 Times Actors Took A Chance And Traded One Role For Another

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1.Zión Moreno starred as Isabela in the first season of Netflix's teen drama Control Z. However, she chose not to return for Season 2.

Zion Moreno as Isabela
Netflix

Instead, Moreno went on to play the role of Luna in Gossip Girl (2021). "Gossip Girl was something that I watched pretty religiously growing up. I knew it very well," she said in an interview with V Magazine. "Me and my best friend would compare each other to Serena and Blair. ... I had a very special place for the series in my heart, and when I got the audition for [the reboot], I just felt like it was meant to be. It was super nostalgic and serendipitous."

Zion Moreno as Luna in "Gossip Girl"

Gossip Girl (2021) was renewed for a second season on HBO Max.

Gotham / GC Images / Getty Images

2.Despite his character, Simon (aka the Duke of Hastings) becoming a fan favorite in Season 1, Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page declined to sign on for more seasons of the Netflix series.

closeup of Rege-Jean Page
Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images

Page explained his decision not to return in an interview with Variety: "It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end — give us a year. [I thought] ‘That’s interesting,’ because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on."

Simon in "Bridgerton"

The actor recently took to Instagram to clear up rumors that he was returning to the series, writing, "No, I’m not going back to the show btw — the papers made that one up."

Netflix / Everett Collection

In addition to feeling like his character's arc was complete, Page reportedly also wanted to leave Bridgerton to pursue his film career. He has upcoming roles in The Gray Man (2022) and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023).

Cover image for "The Gray Man"
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.After three seasons, Ashleigh Murray left her role as Josie McCoy on Riverdale to reprise the character in the 2020 spinoff Katy Keene.

Josie saying, "you're too cute for words"
The CW

Katy Keene, which starred Murray alongside Lucy Hale, focused on Josie and her friends trying to make it in the music industry in New York City. It took place approximately five years after the events of Riverdale, and occasionally referenced its parent show. The series was cancelled after just one season.

Josie and Katy
HBO Max / Everett Collection

However, Murray did return as Josie for a special episode of Riverdale in Season 5. She explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Unfortunately, after the cancellation of Katy Keene, we didn't get to explore [Josie] making her dream come true, so this episode idea came about as an option to pay some homage to the Katy Keene years that we lost and also be able to pay proper homage to who Josie is in the comic books, which is a superstar.

Josie and Archie hugging

Archosie will always have a special place in my heart.

The CW

4.Similarly, Tyler Blackburn briefly left his role as Caleb Rivers on Pretty Little Liars to star on the PLL spinoff, Ravenswood. The Season 4 episode "Grave New World" served as a backdoor pilot to the spinoff.

Caleb saying, "I can't!"

I love Haleb with all my heart, but to this day, this is still one of the dumbest TV breakups I've ever had the misfortune of witnessing.

Freeform

However, Ravenswood was cancelled after just 10 episodes due to low ratings. Blackburn then returned to Pretty Little Liars in Season 5 and stayed as a series regular for the remainder of the show.

Caleb on "Pretty Little Liars"
Freeform

5.Ross Butler originally played Reggie Mantle for the first season of Riverdale.

Reggie, Jughead and Archie

Charles Melton took over the character from Season 2 onward.

The CW

However, the actor chose to leave after Season 1 to focus on his role as Zach on 13 Reasons Why. Butler explained his decision in an interview with Vulture: "I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to focus on one character or split two characters and have a smaller role on both shows. Reggie’s a great character, but it’s a different tone. I connected with Zach on a much more real level where I didn’t have to create so much of a character for him."

Ross Butler in "13 Reasons Why"
Beth Dubber / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Chad Michael Murray played Rory's classmate and brief love interest, Tristan, for the first two seasons of Gilmore Girls. However, he left when he was offered the part of Charlie on another WB show, Dawson's Creek.

Tristan in "Gilmore Girls"

Tristan was the original — and superior — Logan Huntzberger. Fight me.

The WB

Soon after that, Murray landed the starring role of Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill.

Lucas Scott
Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

One Tree Hill takes place in North Carolina, which makes Murray's final Gilmore Girls scene extra special in retrospect.

Tristan saying, "The police are letting our parents handle it. In my case, that means military school in North Carolina."
The WB

7.Adam Brody, who played Lane's boyfriend, Dave, also left Gilmore Girls for a bigger part on another teen drama: the role of Seth Cohen on The O.C.

Closeup of Adam Brody
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

Dave's sudden disappearance wasn't really addressed much on Gilmore Girls, but it's mentioned in passing that he went to college in California. It made for a nice, subtle nod to Brody's character on The O.C.!

Closeup of Seth Cohen

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Brody explained why he tries not to compare Dave and Seth: "I would say that Dave was short-lived, so who knows what missteps he would have made in a longer arc. I’m sure he was not as infallible as he seemed. So it’s not a real fair comparison with Dave; he only got one window into one relationship in his life, but he really put it all out there and sacrificed and it was a little bit heroic. ... I don’t know if Seth was ever heroic."

Warner Bros / Everett Collection

8.Jane Levy played Mandy Milkovich in Season 1 of Shameless.

Mandy smiling
Showtime

However, after the first season, Levy left to pursue the lead role of Tessa Altman on Suburgatory. The sitcom aired on ABC from 2011 to 2012, and it was cancelled after just three seasons.

Tessa Altman sitting on her stoop
Karen Neal / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Meanwhile, Shameless ran for 12 seasons, ending in 2021. Emma Greenwell took over Levy's part as Mandy from Season 2 onward.

Mandy walking
Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Elisabeth Röhm played detective Kate Lockley on Angel from 1999 to 2001.

Detective Kate Lockley
20th Cent. Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

However, Röhm departed from the show midway through Season 2 after she landed the part of Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order. At the time, she was also busy starring in the short-lived TNT show Bull, which made scheduling too difficult for her to continue on Angel.

Serena Southerlyn

Röhm stayed on Law & Order for four seasons, eventually departing the series in 2005.

NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

10.C. S. Lee played Harry Tang on the dramedy Chuck for six episodes. He soon landed the much bigger role of Vince Masuka on Dexter.

Closeup of Harry Tang
NBC

However, in an interview with Dexter Daily, Lee explained that Vince wasn't always supposed to be such a major character: "Initially, during the first season, the writers didn't quite know what to do with my character. I was just a guest star and not a regular cast member. They know from the [Dexter] books that he had a sick sense of humor and a perverted sense of humor. ... I took liberties to come up with what my take of the character is."

Vince Masuka

"It was a [collaboration] of what the writers wrote and stuff that I improvised as well," Lee continued. "Ultimately, by the second and third season, the writers had a good sense of how he talked and what he went through."

Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Before Nina Dobrev landed her breakout role as Elena Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries, she played teenage mother Mia Jones on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Nina Dobrev in "The Vampire Diaries" and "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
The CW / Everett Collection / TeenNick

When Dobrev was offered the part of Elena, she had to be written off Degrassi quickly. So, Mia's character accepted a modeling job in Paris, and Dobrev exited the show in Season 9.

Closeup of Nina Dobrev

The actor eventually left The Vampire Diaries after six seasons, choosing not to renew her contract.

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

12.Shenae Grimes also left Degrassi: The Next Generation for a CW show, 90210.

Shenae Grimes in "90210"
CW Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

Grimes played Darcy Edwards on Degrassi for four seasons, but left when she landed the lead role of Annie Wilson on 90210. She departed Degrassi at the beginning of Season 8, with the onscreen explanation that Darcy was going to Africa for a semester.

Darcy saying she's leaving for Kenya "tomorrow."

However, Darcy never returned, not even for guest appearances despite her younger sister, Clare, still being a main character on the show.

TeenNick

13.And finally, Lauren Graham was initially supposed to continue her role as Joan on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to scheduling conflicts with her other role, Alex on The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

Lauren Graham as Joan in "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"
Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Zoey showrunner Austin Winsberg explained in an interview with TVLine: "When Lauren had signed on to do [Disney+’s] Mighty Ducks [reboot], they were supposed to start shooting in March, and they were going to be done well in advance so that she could be back for Season 2."

Alex in "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers"

"But because of the pandemic, and the way everything went down, their shooting schedule ended up being the exact same as our show’s shooting schedule," Winsberg continued. "I had plans for Joan to be in several episodes of the show, and unfortunately, we just had to step-pivot, because there was no way that Lauren was going to be able to do both at the same time."

Disney+