Pedro Pascal as The Originals vamp Marcel Gerard?! Chris Pine as The O.C.‘s so-called bad boy Ryan Atwood?! And Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Lucas’ uncle Keith on One Tree Hill?! Those are just some of the alternate casting scenarios that could have been had the TV stars aligned slightly differently.
Below, TVLine has gathered 30+ stories about actors and actresses who auditioned for characters on popular shows like True Blood, Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights. Some came so very close to nabbing the part, but ultimately lost out to the competition. Others didn’t land the gig they originally tried out for, but still appeared on the show as a different character. Such was the case for Smallville‘s Jensen Ackles, Arrow‘s Anna Hopkins and The Affair‘s Colin Donnell, to name a few. Then there’s those who famously turned down roles on Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Wife.
As you peruse the following list, you’ll also discover which Lost actress almost scrubbed in for Grey’s, and which How I Met Your Mother star almost got Lost. Meanwhile, the names in contention for The Vampire Diaries‘ Elena Gilbert just may surprise you, as might the other contenders who were in the mix to sport Ryan Atwood’s white tank/black leather jacket combo. (Chris Pine wasn’t the only one trying to score a spot in the O.C. pool house!)
(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.)
Scroll through the stories below, then hit the comments to let us know which of the almost-castings intrigue you most!