It is a common idea in the entertainment industry that if an actor plays a part in a TV show or movie, whether it be stand-alone or a series, that the same actor plays their respective character the entirety of the show/movie.
It’s why Hollywood has countless contracts that legally bind certain actors to a fixed number of projects.
This allows for continuity of the characters because each actor/actress might play the same character differently than the other.
Unfortunately, even with all these contracts, some characters are not always represented by the same actor, which leads to confusing and pointless storylines.
Take “The Fosters” for example.
Jake T. Austin was known for playing Jesus Adams Foster for the first two seasons of the popular show. While there were some behind the scenes reason that Austin left the show, the show kept his character.
Rather than having the character die or be written off in a happier way, they recast Noah Centineo for the role. Producers had him reappear after being gone for months at a camp.
If the Adams Foster family had lost Jesus or he moved away to a boarding school, the characters that were closely related to him could find ways to grow and manage their own struggles of him leaving.
Additionally, Austin’s character, Jesus, could have ended the second season when he and his sister, Mariana, got into a car wreck.
This change in casting was confusing for people who had watched the show regularly, and it was not beneficial to the story, nor to character development.
This would have been the perfect opportunity to write off the character so there wasn’t an awkward transition to having a different actor play the character.
“The Fosters”isn’t the only example of recasting.
The famous teen drama, “Riverdale,” did something similar with one of the regularly recurring characters.
Ross Butler portrayed Reggie Mantle in the opening season of the hit show but ended up not coming back for the second season.
While viewers were not as attached to Butler’s portrayal of the character, it was still a major change.
Butler’s character was a friend of the main character, Archie, and was one of the original suspects for the murder of a fellow student.
While the first season does not provide an obvious way to write the character off, the showrunners could have easily made up an excuse for him leaving, such as attending boarding school for football, which the character was very serious about.
This is especially true because the production probably knew Butler was leaving because of his bigger role on “13 Reasons Why.”
Instead, Charles Melton took over the role, which caused confusion among fans that thought it would have been easier to simply write the character off.
Recasting can be confusing and upsetting for regular viewers of shows, but TV is not the only media where recasting can become confusing.
Movies series have also had their fair share of recasting characters between movies, which can cause confusion among viewers.
“Halloweentown” was a popular Disney Channel Original Movie and its sequel was equally as popular.
Unfortunately, the people behind the movie series recast the main character, Marnie Piper, for the fourth and final movie.
There was no real reason that actress Kimberly J. Brown was aware of for the recasting of her beloved character.
Instead, viewers got to see Sara Paxton in the role, which was upsetting for viewers who had gotten used to Brown’s portrayal of the character.
Not only that, but it was also confusing as to why they would change the main character when it was the last movie.
The movie itself had mixed reactions compared to the former three’s positive ones, which indicated that the recasting decision wasn’t the best decision.
Showrunners and filmmakers might think that recasting is the best decision in situations, but it is actually confusing for the audience.
It would just be easier to write off the characters or keep the same actor/actress, especially if there is no explainable reason as to why they were recast.