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Ahh, the early 2000s. What a time to be alive. Of course, if you were a young adult in the early aughts, you never missed your date with Ryan Atwood, Seth Cohen, and the rest of the gang in Fox’s hit TV show, The O.C., on Thursday nights. The teen drama captivated audiences and even paved the way for other shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills. It also gave fans a taste of a few actors before they became today’s big stars. 

'The OC' Season 2 featured guest star Olivia Wilde, seen here with Kristen Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Mischa Barton
Kristen Bell, Rachel Bilson, Olivia Wilde and Mischa Barton | Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for InStyle Magazine

‘The O.C.’ originally had Shailene Woodley as Kaitlyn Cooper

If you’re a sucker for teen soaps, you recognize Shailene Woodley from The Secret Life of the American Teenager. However, before Woodley played teen mom Amy Juergens, she was cast in the role of Marissa Cooper’s (Mischa Barton) bratty kid sister, Kaitlyn. Woodley only lasted through the first season of The O.C., and most of the time, her appearances involved someone talking about her horse Chyna having alopecia. 

Kaitlyn was mysteriously missing from season 2 but showed up again in season 3. This time the role went to Willa Holland. 

Logan Marshall Green caused nothing but trouble as Trey Atwood in ‘The O.C.’ Season 2

Ryan Atwood’s (Benjamin McKenzie) older brother Trey’s bad decision-making ultimately landed Ryan at the Cohen’s house in The O.C. When Trey and Ryan attempted to steal a car, Ryan took the fall because he was under 18 years old and would get a lesser sentence. However, Ryan’s time in juvie led him to Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher).

Green pops up in The O.C. Season 2 as Trey and chaos follows. His criminal tendencies get him and everyone else in trouble. Things in the show take a much more serious turn when he attempts to sexually assault Marissa. Ryan fights him off, and Marissa shoots Trey in the chest in one of the most iconic scenes in television history. (Andy Samberg and Bill Hader even parodied it years later in an SNL Digital Short.)


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Olivia Wilde as wild child Alex Kelly in season 2

Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) tried his hand at a rebellious streak in The O.C. Season 2 when he got a job cleaning at The Bait Shop. The Bait Shop featured live music for the under-21 crowd, and Alex managed the venue. While Seth initially had his sights set on her after his breakup with Summer (Rachel Bilson), it was Marissa who Alex ultimately chose. Marissa moved in with Alex to escape the problems at home with her mom, but their relationship ended quickly. Alex decided to return to high school, leaving Marissa in the condo alone.

Chris Pratt as Che in ‘The O.C.’ Season 4

After Marissa’s death in The O.C. Season 3, the group struggled with moving on without her. Ryan turned to cage fighting (yes, really) while Summer moved away to college. Seth tried his best to help, but he could only do so much. In college, Summer meets Che, a stereotypical hippie who actually causes her to get expelled from school. Before any of that happens, though, she and Che become friends, much to Seth’s annoyance. If you’re ever in need of seeing Chris Pratt play guitar naked in his pre-Guardians of the Galaxy days, just turn to The O.C.