Think of your favorite TV character. Now think about how different the show would be if another actor had been cast. Unsettling, right?
Often when TV producers search for their perfect cast, things don't go as planned. The right actor for a specific character might be reading for a different role on the same show. Sometimes an actor's audition is so strong there's a character created just for them. Whatever the case may be, many of your faves didn't originally audition for the roles they're best known for.
Check out some examples below.
Before she was cast as the diabolical Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars, Pieterse almost nabbed the role of Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson). At PaleyFest on March 25, Pieterse read a Hanna scene with Mona (Janel Parrish).
After 12 years, it's virtually impossible to picture anyone other than Jared Padalecki playing Sam Winchester on Supernatural, but his co-star, Jensen Ackles, originally auditioned for the part. Ackles spoke in 2010 about his audition for Sam, and confessed that he told producers he liked Dean more.
If you haven't read The Walking Dead comics, you may be surprised to learn that Daryl Dixon only appears on the TV series. That being said, Reedus originally auditioned for Daryl's brother, Merle, even though AMC had already cast Michael Rooker (awkward). Reedus's audition was so good, the character of Daryl was created just for him.
The evil Ramsay Bolton was, shockingly, almost Game of Thrones' Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Rheon told the Telegraph, "I auditioned for the pilot of Game of Thrones, and was down to the last two for Jon Snow, so I guess they knew me."
The Aquamarine star originally auditioned for the title role on Lizzie McGuire, but lost out to Hilary Duff. Paxton later made a guest appearance in an early episode, playing former class president Holly, a girl who said the word "really" way too much.
Before he became Louis Stevens, LaBeouf played Herbert on Freaks and Geeks. LaBeouf originally auditioned for Neal Schweiber (played by Samm Levine), and series creator Paul Feig told The A.V. Club, "I thought [LaBeouf] was hilarious. Just such a weirdo. He came in with these suspenders on, and he has this weird, adult attitude, but not in that obnoxious way where kids say adult things."
Unfortunately, Levine's bizarre William Shatner impersonation during his audition won him the part of Neal. LaBeouf was later cast as the school mascot.
While Azaria is best known for his voice work on The Simpsons, he did have a recurring role on Friends, playing Phoebe's love interest, David "the Science Guy." However, Azaria desperately wanted to play Joey (Matt LeBlanc), going so far as to audition a second time, even though he'd already been rejected once.
The Vampire Diaries could fill several slots on this list, but we'll just stick with the main one. As with Supernatural's Ackles, Wesley originally auditioned for Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) instead of Damon's brother, Stefan.
Freddie from the OG Skins initially read for Tony (Nicholas Hoult). Pasqualino told Den of Geek!, "I don’t think I was ready for [playing Tony] at 16 years old. I was just about ready for it at 18," later adding, "I would have done terribly if I’d have got that job at 16."