Olivia Wilde Would’ve Stayed on ‘The O.C.’ If the Show’s Creator Had His Way

Olivia Wilde’s movie roles are expansive and so are her TV roles. Before playing a doctor on the hit TV show, House, Wilde played a character on The O.C. responsible for shaking up the oceanside town of Newport Beach, California.

Olivia Wilde plays Alex Kelly on ‘The O.C.’

Olivia Wilde attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards
Olivia Wilde attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

RELATED: Olivia Wilde Reveals Her Favorite Thing about ‘Booksmart,’ Weighs in on the ‘Twisted’ Truth about the Oscar Nominees

Years before directing 2019’s Booksmart, Wilde landed a role on The O.C., one of the most popular teen dramas of the early 2000s. On The O.C., Wilde plays the role of Alex Kelly. 

After getting expelled from two schools, Alex runs The Bait Shop. Newport Beach’s local music venue, The Bait Shop is a hangout place for Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton), Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), and Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson). 

According to Wilde’s acting credits on IMDd, her stint as Alex on The O.C. marked her third acting gig ever and her first on a major TV series. Wilde made her debut appearance as Alex in The O.C. Season 2 Episode 3: “The New Kids on the Block.”

Wilde played Alex in 13 episodes of the show’s second season before her final appearance in The O.C. Season 2 Episode 16: The Blaze of Glory

Olivia Wilde’s character on ‘The O.C.’ dates Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper

Initially, when The O.C.’s “core four” — Ryan, Summer, Marissa, and Seth — meet Alex, she’s Seth’s tough boss at The Bait Shop where he works as a janitor.

After Alex goes on a disastrous double date with Ryan, Seth, and Lindsay (Shannon Lucio), she realizes she has a thing for Seth. They share a kiss and so begins a relationship between Seth and Alex.

Olivia Wilde attends 'The O.C.' premiere party in 2003
Olivia Wilde attends ‘The O.C.’ premiere party in 2003 | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The O.C.’: How Rachel Bilson Went From a Guest Star to a Series Regular

However, the romance is short-lived. After some ups and downs and an ill-timed visit from Alex’s ex-girlfriend, Alex and Seth break up. 

After Alex and Seth split, Alex starts dating Marissa. They get close and eventually, Marissa moves in with Alex. But Alex’s feelings of jealousy toward Ryan cause problems, and the two eventually break things off.

After yet another failed relationship, Alex decides to leave Newport Beach and go back to school. 

‘The O.C.’ creator enjoyed working with Olivia Wilde and ‘wanted her to stick around’

During a conversation with Vulture in 2007, Josh Schwartz, the creator of The O.C., Josh discusses the romance between Marissa and Alex. He notes that he doesn’t “regret” the storyline and wishes Alex (and Wilde) stayed on The O.C. longer.

“The only thing I’m bummed about that is that they made us write Olivia Wilde off the show much, much sooner than we had planned,” he said. “I wanted her to stick around.”

He continued, saying, “I love Olivia Wilde. I think she’s terrific,” before adding, “I wanted to keep that character on.”

Peter Roth, Rachel Bilson, Gail Berman, Josh Schwartz, and Olivia Wilde
Peter Roth, Rachel Bilson, Gail Berman, Josh Schwartz, and Olivia Wilde | L. Cohen/WireImage

RELATED: Adam Brody Thinks Mischa Barton’s Character on ‘The O.C.’ Shouldn’t Have Died

So, why then did Wilde’s character leave Newport Beach after 13 episodes? Concern from others behind the show. 

“But they told us, ‘People are worried about this episode and this storyline and blah blah blah,’” Schwartz said of Marissa and Alex dating. “So we had to write her out way sooner than we expected, so it just became much more rushed.” 

He continued, saying that he wanted to see more from Alex and Marissa. “But I liked the whole idea,” Schwartz said. “I thought it was intriguing, beyond the obvious factor.”

RELATED: ‘The O.C.’ Creator Explains Why Marissa and Ryan’s First Meeting Scene Is Still a Big Deal