From ‘Roseanne’ to ‘The Crown,’ TV’s Biggest Casting Changes (PHOTOS)

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Mrs. Beesly (The Office)

Avid fans of The Office would’ve noticed that Pam’s mother was not only replaced by another actress, but completely reinvented. We were first introduced to a loving and sweet Mrs. Beesly in Season 2’s “sexual harassment” episode. It’s a stark contrast to the resentful and mean mugging Mrs. Beesly that popped back up in Season 6. As far as we know, there wasn’t a dramatic reason behind this switch besides the fact that they wanted to make a change. In later seasons, writers leveraged Mrs. Beesly’s instability to advance the plot, i.e, getting divorced and dating Michael.

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Carol (Friends)

Carol, the ex-wife of Ross, was initially played by actress Anita Barone. But fans will know Barone didn’t stick around for too long. After just one episode, ‘The One with the Sonogram at the End,’ Barone quit in hopes of landing bigger roles. Carol was then recast and given to Jane Sibbett.

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Laurie (That ’70s Show)

That ’70s Show was one of our favorites for a reason. Some reasons that come to mind would be its euphoric ‘70s setting, the comedy, and of course, its cast. Among the group of beloved and talented actors was none other than the blonde bombshell, Lisa Robin Kelly. Kelly — who played Laurie, Eric Forman’s older sister — was recast after season three. Unfortunately, this was due to Kelly’s substance abuse issues. Sadly, Kelly lost her battle with addiction in 2013.

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Jesus (The Fosters)

Sometimes being overworked is just as bad as not being given enough opportunities by your boss. Jake T. Austin can agree. Austin, who played Jesus Adams Foster on the show, tweeted in 2017, “I was only asked to return for 3 episodes and wasn’t going to be able to work on anything else, so I left.” Austin was quickly replaced by Noah Centineo.

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Charley Gallay/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/ImageDirect

Claire (My Wife and Kids)

This early 2000s show had one of the most noticeable TV recasts when in season 3 they recast Claire. Jazz Raycole, who originally played Claire, was pulled off the show by her mother who was upset over a storyline in the show. She was replaced by Jennifer Freeman who looked absolutely nothing like Raycole.

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The Mountain (Game of Thrones)

Recasting is brutal enough, but imagine doing it twice? Well, that’s exactly what happened to the role of Gregor Clegane, also known as the Mountain, on Game of Thrones. That’s right. Within the show’s seventh season, the Mountain was played by three different actors. Conan Stevens, the first to play the role, was recast due to scheduling conflicts, while Ian Whyte, Stevens’ successor, left after two seasons due to the emotional toll of playing the Mountain. Eventually, the role was given to Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who started in season four and played the role up until the finale of the show.

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Becky (Roseanne)

You can’t talk about cast changes without mentioning Roseanne’s Becky. Lecy Goranson was the first to play Roseanne’s daughter on the popular ’90s sitcom. This was, of course, until Lecy left for college in 1992 and subsequently began to appear sporadically throughout Season 5. By Season 6, the show decided to recast the role with Sarah Chalke in efforts to keep Becky as a main character on the show rather than an infrequent appearance.

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Janet: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank. Daphne: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

Aunt Viv (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

Janet Hubert-Whitten wowed audiences with her powerhouse performance on this ‘90s sitcom where she played the iconic Aunt Viv. While everything seemed to be dandy on screen, behind the scenes was constant conflict between Hubert, her costars, and showrunners. This would eventually lead to her firing. After three seasons, Hubert got the boot and was replaced by Daphne Maxwell-Reid.

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When The Crown Season 3 debuted in fall 2019, the cast switch-up — particularly the change from Claire Foy to Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth — was a lot for fans to adjust to.

But as shocking and heartbreaking as it was for audiences, this wasn’t the first or last time actors were swapped on a series. Shows recast characters, it’s just fact. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of chemistry on screen, bad blood, or health problems. Nonetheless, we’re left confused and longing for the O.G.

Click through to see TV’s biggest casting changes and the reasons behind them!

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