DiscardedYKTTW Character Leaves With The Actor YKTTW Discussion

Character Leaves With The Actor
An actor leaves a show and their character is written out in consequence. [Trivia]
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(permanent link) added: 2013-08-11 16:28:27 sponsor: CluLegacy (last reply: 2013-08-19 06:44:15)

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Noticed someone missing at the right? The black guy was axed because his actor left. The white guy only replaced him in the cover, though.

Up for Grabs

When an actor decides to leave a show, or is fired, or is unavailable for a long time, or dies, the obvious thing to do is writing out the character.

This sometimes can lead to the creation of a Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Also can be the reason behind Put on a Bus, when the character takes a "vacation". May be caused by Role Ending Misdemeanor.

This effect is common enough, we have subtropes dealing with specific variations:
  • McLeaned - When the actor leaves and the character is killed off
  • Put on a Bus to Hell - When the actor leaves and the character is written out in a mean-spirited way, but not killed off.
  • The Character Died with Him - When the character is killed off because the actor died.

Examples belong on the appropriate subtrope.

The aversion (when the character is not written out) is The Other Darrin and The Nth Doctor. Compare Character Outlives Actor when an actor dies and the character remains alive off-screen or on-screen.

This entry is Trivia and is related to/shall be indexed under Characters and Casting and Real Life Writes the Plot.



  • Dana Freeling (Carol Anne's elder sister) from Poltergeist was written out of Poltergeist II due to the actress Dominique Dunne having been murdered. Word of God stated that Dana was in the college during the events of II however she was not even mentioned in the film.
  • The Joker was intended to reappear in The Dark Knight Rises but then the actor Heath Ledger passed away and the script had to be rewritten without the Joker because Ledger's image was strongly attached to the character.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • After Francesca Gonshaw's departure from the show at the end of the third series, 'Allo 'Allo!! opted to explain why Maria Recamier had suddenly vanished when she was trapped in the prison camp for British soldiers with the majority of rest of the primary cast by explaining that she had attempted to escape by disguising herself as a package and getting mailed out. Unfortunately, she didn't have enough stamps and was as such "returned to Switzerland."
  • This is played straight in the Brazilian television: Actors are never replaced in soap operas, drama series or comedy shows. If an actor dies the character is written out. Period.
  • Babylon 5 made frequent use of Put on a Bus and The Bus Came Back. Notably, Commander Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) was replaced by the seemingly very similar Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner), but Sinclair continued to receive character development as O'Hare became a recurring guest star.
    • Commander Susan Ivanova was given her own ship to command when the actress Claudia Christian left the show. She appeared a year later in the last episode of season five, which was however filmed as the last episode of the season four when the actress was still part of the cast.
  • Beverly Hills 90210: When Shannon Doherty was fired due to unprofessional behavior her character Brenda Walsh went off to London and never more came back. Reverted when Doherty made cameo appearances in the Sequel Series 90210.
  • After five seasons on Bewitched, Aunt Clara was quietly dropped from the show, due to Marion Lorne's death. In spite of The Other Darrins this show had (different actors played Darrin, Gladys Kravitz, and Louise Tate), Aunt Clara was the only character who wasn't recast, so in her place, the writers brought in a Suspiciously Similar Substitute named Esmeralda, played by Alice Ghostley.
  • First-Season character of the series Big Wolf on Campus Stacy Hansen is a prime example. It's revealed at the start of the Second Season that she had left for college. This is somewhat based on real life in that the actress who played Stacy really DID go to college.
  • On Bonanza, Adam Cartwright moved to Australia when Pernell Roberts left the show.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Detective Aiden Burn was dismissed from the team in season two episode "Grand Murder at Central Station" due to actress Vanessa Ferlito having left to pursue career in theatre and films. Subverted with Ferlito's special appearance in season two episode "Heroes", where Aiden is Killed Off for Real.
    • Detective Stella Bonasera moved definitively from New York to New Orleans due to actress Melina Kanakaredes not renewing her contract to season seven.
  • Degrassi:
    • Darcy supposedly goes to Africa as some sort of missionary, when in reality the actress Shenae Grimes left to work on 90210.
    • Mia Jones went off to Paris to model. In reality actress Nina Dobrev ran off to The Vampire Diaries.
  • Doctor Who: Louise Jameson wanted to leave, and at the time had no real interest in returning sometime down the line, and so asked that her character Leela die at the end of her last serial. The producers decided the event might be too traumatic for children (more likely, they were concerned about the increasing violence in the show -- the series was already being targeted by Media Watchdogs), and so instead had a last-minute romance occur between her and a capitol guard, prompting her to stay on Gallifrey.
  • Doogie Howser MD: Dr. Jack McGuire, the hunky (yet not too suave) doc played by Mitchell Anderson. Although an integral part of the show, Anderson quit the series at the end of season 2, and was subsequently written off. McGuire, after returning from a life-changing mission trip to Mexico, decided to move across the border to continue pursuing his medical aspirations.
  • iCarly: Chuck Cunningham, Spenser's nemesis, was sent off to military school since the actor Ryan Ochoa is now appearing on Pair of Kings on Disney.
  • From M*A*S*H:
    • The actor Wayne Rogers (who played Trapper John McIntyre) had some disagreements with the producers and so left between seasons 3 & 4. In the opening episode of season 4 Hawkeye returns from R&R and discovers that Trapper John had been discharged while he was away. Hawkeye tries to catch Trapper before he leaves Seul, but he misses him and picks up his replacement, BJ Hunnicut. The change was so sudden (behind the scenes) that they had to start filming the shows they had already written before they could write the one intoducing BJ; they just changed all the instances of "Trapper" to "BJ" in the script.
    • The actor Gary Burghoff (who played Radar O'Reilly) decided to leave after the seventh season due to having lost the interest in his role and because he wanted to spend more time with his family. His last appearance in the show was in the two-part special episode of the eighth season "Good Bye, Radar".
  • When James Bolam left New Tricks his character, Jack Halford, was also written out in-universe, the character said he was leaving to retire to France. Also in New Tricks Alun Armstrong's character, Brian, suffered from a No Good Deed Goes Unpunished moment and made to leave UCOS when Armstrong decided to move on.
  • In NYPD Blue's first season David Caruso became a major hearthrob and decided to quit the show to pursue a film career, which upset the creators of the show. But they decided that no matter how much the actor pissed them off, the character of John Kelly didn't deserve being Put on a Bus to Hell; so Kelly proudly left out on his own terms.
  • Darth Lott was written out of Raumschiff GameStar in a hurry because his actor, Gunnar Lott, was promoted to editor-in-chief of GameStar's sister magazine GamePro and had to leave the team.
  • In That '70s Show, main characters Eric Forman and Michael Kelso are both written out due to their respective actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher working on other projects. Eric leaves in the seventh season finale to teach in Africa; Kelso remains among the cast for the first few episodes of Season 8 before leaving for Chicago. Both make guest appearances in the series finale.
  • When T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh decided to leave That's So Raven the character Tanya Baxter was written out by stating she went to study in England. Tanya didn't even appear in the spin-off Cory in the House.
  • In 1992 Bea Arthur decided to leave The Golden Girls to go on with her acting career and the producers didn't dare to replace her, what led to the end of the show and the production of a short-lived spin-off without her character Dorothy Zbornak: The Golden Palace.
  • When David Duchovny decided to leave The X-Files due to a contract dispute the executive producer Chris Carter considered recasting the character Fox Mulder but then he decided that Mulder would be abducted by aliens, making him a recurring character in the show.
  • Three's Company: Suzanne Somers's character, Chrissy Snow was sent away when her contract wasn't renewed because of her protesting for a pay raise. Her character was sent off to tend to her sick aunt. She spent the rest of her run on the show in brief on-the-phone segments until her contract ran out.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In Blue's Clues, to help its impressionable young viewers cope more easily with the resignation of host Steve Burns, he supposedly leaves to go to college and is quickly replaced by a brother, Joe.
  • When Phil Hartman was murdered his characters in The Simpsons were retired.
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