‘Gilmore Girls’: Three Major Casting Changes That Altered the Course of the Series

Gilmore Girls is one of the most iconic shows of the 21st century, so far. The series, which ran for seven seasons, remains a beloved classic that is streamed by thousands of people each day on Netflix. With talks of an eventual second revival, fans are excited to see what the residents of Stars Hollow are up to, but Gilmore Girls was almost a very different show, and three key characters, in particular, were almost taken in different directions.

Jared Padalecki was cast as Dean at the last minute

Jared Padalecki played Dean Forrester on all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, but did you know he wasn’t originally supposed to take on the iconic role? Padalecki actually joined the cast late and wasn’t even in the original pilot for the series. Sure, he appeared during the aired pilot, but an unaired version of the show’s very first episode had an entirely different actor playing Dean.

The role was initially supposed to go to Nathan Wetherington. Wetherington sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss what could have been, and while he doesn’t seem particularly upset by the fact that his part was recast to Padalecki, he does regret missing out on a role in  Star Wars: Episode II. At the same time that he filmed the Gilmore Girls pilot, he was up for the role of Anakin Skywalker. He eventually took himself out of the running for the part, and Hayden Christensen was cast. The role propelled Christensen to fame.

He auditioned for The O.C., too, but that role went to Gilmore Girls alum, Adam Brody. Wetherington left Hollywood briefly, but he’s back now. You may recognize him for his role on True Detective. In the end, it all seems to have worked out. Love Dean or Hate Dean, most fans couldn’t imagine anyone but Padalecki playing him.

Luke was supposed to be a woman named Daisy

Dean was a pretty important character during the series’ original run. After all, he was Rory Gilmore’s very first love and served up some juicy drama in Season 5 before he departed the series for good. He, however, wasn’t the only important character that almost had a different actor playing them. In fact, Luke’s character wasn’t supposed to exist at all.

Luke Danes, who became the central love interest for Lorelai Gilmore, was initially supposed to be a woman named Daisy. Amy Sherman-Palladino was told to add another male character because the show seemed to “female-heavy.” During the original writing, Luke and Lorelai weren’t meant to have romantic chemistry. Instead, it happened organically.

If Luke wasn’t a part of Stars Hollow, who would Lorelai have ended up with? It’s hard to imagine the teen mom hooking up with another townsperson. Would she have ended up with Christopher Hayden, or would her relationship with Jason Stiles have taken a different course? Fans will never know, and they are perfectly okay with that.  

Melissa McCarthy only became Sookie St. James because of another actress’ conflict

Gilmore Girls fans will remember Drella, the harpist, for her snarky attitude and beautiful music, but she almost had a much more significant role in Gilmore Girls. The actress who played Drella, Alex Borstein, was all set to portray Sookie St. James, the famed chef of The Independence Inn and the co-owner of The Dragonfly. Borstein couldn’t get out of her contract with MadTV, and couldn’t commit to Gilmore Girls because of it, according to Buzzfeed.

Melissa McCarthy eventually stepped in and brought an entirely different feel to the character. Fans of the show all seem to agree that no one but McCarthy could have made Sookie work, and they are hoping to see her reprise the role in an eventual second season of the show’s revival, A Year in the Life.