Somewhere, there’s an alternate universe where Rob Lowe practiced medicine not on Code Black, but as Grey’s Anatomy‘s McDreamy. Where Katie Holmes played Orange Is the New Black‘s Piper Chapman. And where Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon almost played Game of Thrones‘… Jon Snow?!
The TV landscape is littered with almost-casting stories — the many cases in which a major small-screen role was nearly filled by someone else. If some of them had come to fruition, we could have seen House‘s Lisa Edelstein slipping into Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks, or Parks and Recreation‘s Chris Pratt sporting a Buy More name tag.
In some cases, actors didn’t land the lead roles for which they originally auditioned, but they did pop up as other characters on those same shows. Such was the case for Smallville‘s Jensen Ackles, Arrow‘s Anna Hopkins and The Affair‘s Colin Donnell, to name a few.
In the attached photo gallery, we’ve gathered more than 20 almost-casting stories from TV shows past and present, all of which got us wondering about how those series would play out with different stars. (Note: We of course haven’t included every case of an actor missing out on a certain role, but simply a selection that struck us as particularly fun or curious. Admit it: You want to know what True Blood would be like with Benedict Cumberbatch as Bill, right?)
Scroll through the attached gallery — or click here for direct access — to see the aforementioned almost-castings and many more, then drop a comment with the stories that intrigue you most!