29 Iconic TV Characters Who Were Almost Played By A Totally Different Person

1.Elizabeth Olsen actually auditioned for Daenerys Targaryen, but Emilia Clarke ended up getting cast.

Elizabeth Olsen
Unique Nicole / WireImage, HBO

2.Pedro Pascal was actually one of the actors who came in to read for Marcel Gerard on The Originals. Series creator Julie Plec even admitted she "loved" him for the role, but he "was just on the older side."

Pedro Pascal
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3.Jeremy Strong auditioned for the role of Roman Roy on Succession, but Jesse Armstrong, the show's creator, felt that Kieran Culkin was a "slam dunk."

Jeremy Strong

Instead, Jeremy landed the role of Kendall Roy, and Jesse shared, "There’s no gaps in his armor‚ he is the character. He’s pretty extraordinary."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, HBO

4.Whitney Houston was cast as Sondra, the oldest daughter on The Cosby Show, but she didn't end up signing the contract because she wanted to pursue a singing career.

Whitney Houston
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5.Penn Badgley screen-tested to play Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, but the role went to Aaron Paul instead.

Penn Badgley

Chase Crawford told the Independent that Breaking Bad was actually casting around the same time Gossip Girl was. Penn was later offered the role of Dan Humphrey.

Nbc / Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images, AMC / Everett

6.Nicola Coughlan auditioned to play Robin on Stranger Things, but Maya Hawke ended up with the role. Nicola said, "She was far better than I ever would have been."

Nicola Coughlan
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7.Octavia Spencer auditioned to play Donna on Parks and Recreation, but the role ended up going to Retta.

Octavia Spencer
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8.Joshua Bassett was one of the final two choices for Harvey Kinkle in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but the role ended up going to Ross Lynch.

Joshua Bassett
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9.Sandra Oh was originally called in to audition for Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, but she liked the part of Cristina more, so she asked if she could audition for that role instead.

Sandra Oh
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, ABC / Everett

10.Stephanie Beatriz screen-tested for Amy Santiago on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but Melissa Fumero was cast instead.

Stephanie Beatriz

At the same time, Stephanie was also reading and screen-testing for a character named Megan, who later became Rosa. She said she was heartbroken because she didn't believe the network would cast two Latinas on one show, but then she got cast as Rosa a few days later.

Frazer Harrison / WireImage, Fox / Everett

11.Rumer Willis was originally pitched to play Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl, but the casting director wanted to go with a lesser-known actor and cast Blake Lively instead.

Closeup of Rumer Willis

Ashley Olsen was also pitched to play Blair Waldorf.

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images, The CW / Everett

12.Jennifer Lawrence also really wanted to play Serena van der Woodsen. She was 16 at the time she auditioned for the role.

Closeup of Jennifer Lawrence
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13.Connie Britton was one of the network's choices to play Olivia Pope in Scandal, but creator Shonda Rhimes insisted Olivia should be played by a Black woman instead.

Connie Britton
Momodu Mansaray / WireImage, ABC / Everett

14.Taraji P. Henson was another famous person who went in to read for the role of Olivia Pope.

Taraji P. Henson
Greg Doherty / WireImage, ABC

15.Noah Centineo read for several roles on Teen Wolf, and the casting director even told him, "You’re my choice! I want you to get it!"

Closeup of Noah Centineo

"And then for some reason, they just didn’t want me on the show," he told MTV.

Steve Granitz / FilmMagic, MTV

16.Rob Lowe was originally offered the role of Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, but he turned down the role, and it went to Patrick Dempsey instead.

Rob Lowe
Jon Kopaloff / WireImage, ABC / Everett

17.Darren Criss auditioned to play Finn Hudson on Glee, but the part went to Cory Monteith instead.

Darren Criss
Sean Zanni / Getty Images for House of Suntory, Fox / Everett Collection

18.Iwan Rheon originally auditioned for Jon Snow on Game of Thrones and didn't get the role. He eventually got called in to play Ramsay Bolton in Season 3.

Iwan Rheon
David M. Benett / Dave Benett/Getty Images, HBO

19.Keke Palmer screen-tested for the role of Iris on The Flash, but she didn't end up getting it because she looked "a little too young" compared to Grant Gustin.

Keke Palmer
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20.Chris Rock was one of the many famous actors who was in talks to play George Costanza on Seinfeld.

Chris Rock

Nathan Lane, Steve Buscemi, and Paul Shaffer were also brought in to audition for George. Danny DeVito was offered the role but turned it down.

Gregg Deguire / WireImage, NBC / Everett

21.Wesley Snipes was originally approached to play Lucious Lyons on Empire, but Taraji P. Henson said she'd only star on the show if Terrence Howard was cast instead.

Wesley Snipes
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Fox

22.Sonequa Martin-Green auditioned for the part of Michonne on The Walking Dead, but the role ended up going to Danai Gurira. However, the producers loved her so much that they created the role of Sasha for her.

Sonequa Martin-Green
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23.Matt LeBlanc was offered the role of Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, but he felt like he wasn't the best fit. The role went to Ty Burrell instead.

Closeup of Matt LeBlanc

Matt told USA Today, "I remember reading it thinking, this is a really good script, [but] I’m not the guy for this. I’d be doing the project an injustice to take this. I know what I can do, I know what I can’t do. Plus, I’m having too much fun laying on the couch.”

Momodu Mansaray / Getty Images, ABC / Everett

24.Mahershala Ali auditioned for the role of "a merchant who got locked in a safe on Season 3" of Game of Thrones, aka Xaro Xhoan Daxos, and he said it was one of the "worst auditions" of his life.

Mahershala Ali

He told Jimmy Kimmel that he felt really prepared going in but was totally thrown off when he saw the backless stools he had to sit on during the audition.

Amy Sussman / Getty Images for Deadline, HBO

25.Oliver Hudson was in the final running for Jack Pearson on This Is Us, but by the time he was scheduled to screen-test with Mandy Moore, Oliver went on an already-planned fishing trip instead.

Closeup of Oliver Hudson
Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images, NBC

26.Joshua Jackson was originally announced to play Owen Hunt on Grey's Anatomy, but just weeks before he was scheduled to shoot his first episode, the TV writers went on strike. By the time the strike ended, Joshua had already moved on to star on Fringe.

Joshua Jackson
Robin L Marshall / WireImage, ABC / Everett

27.Betty White was actually supposed to play Blanche on The Golden Girls, but director Jay Sandrich felt that part was too similar to Betty's role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, so she played Rose instead.

Betty White
D Dipasupil / FilmMagic, NBC

28.Macaulay Culkin was pursued several times to play a role on The Big Bang Theory, but he couldn't see himself starring on a sitcom.

Macaulay Culkin

He didn't name which role he was asked to play, but he did share that he was flattered they'd asked.

Steve Granitz / WireImage, CBS

29.And finally, Courteney Cox was originally offered the role of Rachel on Friends, but she turned it down because she felt like she related to Monica more.

Courteney Cox

Jane Krakowski, Tiffani Thiessen, and Téa Leoni auditioned for Rachel, too.

Dominik Bindl / FilmMagic, NBC / Everett

So, which almost-casting were you most shocked by? Let us know in the comments!