This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Recast as a Regular

Often in cases of ensemble series, a character introduced into the series sometime later will be played by an actor who appeared on the show much earlier in a guest appearance as an entirely different character. In some cases, it could be because the cast and crew enjoyed working with the actor enough to create a new regular or recurring character to be able to work with him more regularly, but a lot of the time, there's no actual explanation behind it.

The use of the same actor for different characters is typically intended to go unnoticed or at least unremarked. Ed Wasser played Shadow minion Morden in Babylon 5 but also appeared in the series pilot as a character credited as Guerra. Since that series was so intricately plotted, fans wondered if the Shadows were influencing events as far back as the pilot. No, said series creator J. Michael Straczynski, they just liked the actor's work in the pilot and cast him in a recurring role.

Spin-off shows will often encounter this, as the producers find actors they like for the new show.

Subtrope of You Look Familiar. Compare Ascended Extra and Early-Bird Cameo.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • In Fist of the North Star, Kaneto Shiozawa voiced a side character of the week named Dr. Duran several episodes before the debut of his iconic role as Rei.
  • Kazuki Yao played minor recurring villains Django and Mr. 2 Bon Clay in One Piece before playing Franky, one of the members of the Straw Hat crew.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Unshou Ishizuka played Huskisson, a Starter Villain in the film "Conquerer of Shambala" that continued from the 2003 anime. When Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, the anime that followed the original manga story closer, was made four years later, he portrayed Ed and Al's father, Hohenheim.
    • Nana Mizuki first portrayed Armony in the PS2 video game Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel before getting cast in the 2003 anime as Wrath and in Brotherhood as Lanfan.
    • In the English dub of the 2003 series, Kent Williams played Majihal, a one-shot villain in the fourth episode. When Brotherhood was dubbed in English he played the main villain, Father.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Ernest Goes to Camp, Gailard Sartain plays Jake, one of the bumbling cooks at Kamp Kikakee. In subsequent Ernest movies (as well as the Hey Vern, it's Ernest! TV series, and a series of commercials produced by Carden-Cherry - the same advertising firm that created the original Ernest commercials) he plays Chuck, Ernest's loud-mouthed and Know-Nothing Know-It-All pal and neighbor, and "twin brother" of Bobby.
  • Joe Don Baker played James Bond's CIA contact in both GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, after having played a villain in The Living Daylights.

    Franchise 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
    • Tom Lenk, known for playing Andrew in the evil geek trio during Buffy's sixth season (and beyond), originally appeared in a bit part as one of Harmony's vampire minions.
    • Andy Hallett, best known as Lorne from Angel, was originally an extra in the Buffy episode "Hush".
  • CSI: CSI NY regulars Carmine Giovinazzo and A.J. Buckley had each previously appeared in a one-off role in original-flavor CSI.
  • DCAU:
  • Doctor Who has several examples:
  • JAG/NCIS:
    • Catherine Bell was originally cast as Harmon Rabb's girlfriend who is murdered in a first-season episode of JAG, which never aired during the U.S. network run due to cancellation of the show by NBC. When CBS picked up the series, Bell was cast as the new female lead Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie. Harmon Rabb acts like he's seen a ghost when she is introduced to him, and we later learn why in a Whole Episode Flashback incorporating the original episode.
    • Sean Murray first appeared on JAG as a one shot character named Ensign Terry Guitry; he then had a five-episode arc as Danny Walden a couple years later. A few years later, he joined its NCIS as Special Agent Timothy McGee.
    • Michael Bellisario played two minor roles on JAG before being cast as major recurrer Mikey Roberts, then also appeared on 4 episodes of NCIS as Chip Sterling, Abby's assistant.
  • Law & Order has several examples:
    • Jerry Orbach first appeared on Law & Order as a one-off character, a defense lawyer, before later being cast as Lennie Briscoe.
    • Raul Esparza appeared as the perp of the week in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent before becoming ADA Rafael Barba on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
    • Michelle Hurd appeared in a minor part in an episode of L&O before being cast as Monique Jeffries on SVU.
    • Courtney B. Vance played a Scary Black Man in an episode of L&O before being cast as ADA Ron Carver on CI.
    • Alfred Molina played a perp of the week on SVU and Law & Order: Trial by Jury before being cast as Deputy DA Ricardo Morales on Law & Order: LA.
    • Kelli Giddish appeared as a one-off suspect in Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Depths" before later joining the main cast of Law & Order: SVU as Detective Rawlins.
    • Joanna Merlin played two minor characters in Law & Order, in a total of five episodes, before becoming the regularly recurring judge Lena Petrovsky in Law & Order: SVU.
    • David Thornton played four different one-off characters in the original series, before being cast as recurring defense attorney Lionel Granger in SVU.
    • Ned Eisenberg played two one-off characters on Law & Order: SVU before being cast as one of the most common defense attorneys, Roger Kressler. This also overlapped in time with stints as two one-off characters on Criminal Intent and a rare recurring attorney on the original Law & Order.
    • Elizabeth Marvel played four different one-off characters across the three main series before becoming recurring defence attorney Rita Calhoun in SVU.
    • S. Epatha Merkerson had a small one-off role as a cleaning lady in the first season of Law & Order, then was cast in the recurring role of Lt. Anita Van Buren beginning in season four.
    • Jeremy Sisto played a one-off role as a defense lawyer in the final episode of season 17 before making his debut as Detective Cyrus Lupo in the first episode of season 18.
    • Diane Neal, who played ADA Casey Novak in seasons 5-9 of SVU, previously appeared as a rapist and murderer two seasons earlier.
    • Anthony Anderson appeared as a different cop on SVU before being cast as Detective Kevin Bernard in Law & Order.
    • Annie Parisse had a one-off role a few years before becoming a regular as ADA Alexandra Borgia.
    • Milena Govich had a one-off role on Law & Order preceding two regular roles in the franchise: first as ADA Jessica Rossi in the short-lived Conviction, then back in L&O as Detective Nina Cassaday.
    • Annabella Sciorra played a defense lawyer in Law & Order: Trial by Jury before being cast as Carolyn Barek on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
    • Bebe Neuwirth appeared as a one-shot character in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Six years later she was cast as EADA Tracey Kibre, the lead character on Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
    • Jay O. Sanders played a Killer-Of-The-Week in one episode of Criminal Intent before playing Cpt. Hannah in the final season.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Enver Gjokai cameoed in The Avengers as a NYPD cop. He was later cast as Daniel Sousa in the prequel series Agent Carter, with the producers joking that the cop is Sousa's Identical Grandson.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Paul McGillion, who played the main/reoccuring character Carson Beckett on Stargate Atlantis, had previously played Ernest Littlefield, the first 20th century human to use the Stargate, in flashbacks in the first season of Stargate SG-1.
    • In Atlantis, Jewel Staite plays a Wraith in season 2's "Instinct". In season 4 she returns as Dr. Keller.
    • Peter Kelamis played a scientist and an alien news anchor, Mark Burgess played Wraith's victim before they became recurring Stargate Universe characters.
  • Star Trek.
    • Diana Muldaur was a guest star in two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes (in different roles) before becoming the regular Dr. Pulaski in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • Mark Lenard did a one-off as a Romulan Commander on TOS before becoming beloved recurring guest star Sarek.
    • Tim Russ did guest roles in TNG and Star Trek: Generations before becoming Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager.
    • Jeffery Combs has appeared in several Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and VOY roles both before and after his main role as recurring DS9 villain Weyoun.
    • Rene Auberjonois was Colonel West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country before becoming Odo in DS9.
    • Robert Duncan McNeill guest starred as Starfleet cadet Nicholas Locarno in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty". The writers of Star Trek: Voyager wanted to use the character as a regular, but this would have required paying royalties to the writers of "The First Duty" for every episode the Locarno character appeared in, so they created a "new" character named Tom Paris instead and cast McNeill in the role.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation that introduced the Cardassians, "The Wounded," Marc Alaimo guest-starred as the Cardassian leader Gul Macet. When the Cardassians' role was expanded for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the producers wanted Alaimo back, but the Macet character was too nice a guy to make a good villain, so they removed his truly unfortunate facial hair and named the new character Gul Dukat. The Expanded Universe explains the resemblance by making them cousins.
    • Michelle Forbes had a role in Season 4 of TNG in "Half a Life" as an "Alien of the Week", before returning in Season 5 as semi-regular character Ensign Ro.
    • Armin Shimerman played a Betazoid gift box and two Ferengi in Next Gen before becoming Quark in Deep Space Nine.
    • Max Grodenchik, best known for playing Quark's brother Rom, also played a couple of Ferengi in Next Gen, as well as a Trill in a deleted scene from Star Trek: Insurrection, and an unnamed human in the Deep Space Nine finale.
    • Ethan Phillips played a Ferengi in an episode of The Next Generation before playing Neelix on Voyager. In the episode " False Profits", Neelix disguises himself as a Ferengi. Gee, wonder where they got that idea.
  • Dragon Ball:

    Live Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood reused actors all the time. The most frequent was Paul Eddington, who played dozens of different roles over the show's five-year run - and combined this trope with The Other Darrin in 1959, when Will Scarlet (hitherto an occasional guest character played by Ron Howard) was promoted to a regular character played by Eddington.
  • Alphas/Eureka/Warehouse 13: (Due to the crossover of Lindsay Wagner's Dr. Vanessa Calder from Warehouse 13 onto an episode of Alphas, and the multiple crossover episodes between Eureka and Warehouse 13, all three can be considered in the same universe.)
    • Laura Mennell originally appeared on Eureka as Dr. Rivers and was later recast as Alphas main cast member Nina Theroux.
    • Saul Rubinek was originally Dr. Carl Carlson on Eureka before becoming Artie Nielsen on Warehouse 13.
    • Jane Moffat appeared on a Warehouse 13 episode as Wanda before being in eight episodes of Alphas as Sandra Bell.
  • In the All in the Family episode "Lionel Moves Into the Neighborhood", Vincent Gardenia plays Archie's neighbor who sells his house to the Jeffersons. In "The Bunkers and the Swingers", a swinger couple is played by Gardenia and Rue McClanahan. Gardenia would appear in the recurring role of Frank Lorenzo from the next season. McClanahan would later appear as Maude's friend, Vivian in Maude, which was a Spin-Off of All in the Family.
  • The Andy Griffith Show:
    • In the Poorly Disguised Pilot that appeared on Make Room For Daddy, Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bee in the regular series, portrayed Mayberry citizen Henrietta Perkins in the pilot episode.
    • Jack Dodson appeared in one Season 6 episode as an insurance agent before taking on the role of county clerk Howard Sprague the following season.
    • Howard Morris is an aversion of this: he was already the mischevious, rock-throwing and window-breaking mountain nut Ernest T. Bass, however in one episode, he randomly appeared as a mild-mannered, and soft-spoken TV repairman.
  • On A.N.T. Farm, Winter Maddox, the ANTs "Den Mother" in Season 3 was Madam Goo Goo, a one-shot character in Season 1 who was a Lady Gaga clone.
  • Patrick Newell had brief roles in The Avengers episodes "The Town of No Return" and "Something Nasty in the Nursery" before playing Mother in the show's final season.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Ed Wasser appeared in the pilot movie as a crewman on the Babylon 5 command deck, before being cast in a regular role as Shadow minion Morden.
    • Robin Atkin Downes played a Minbari in In The Beginning, and had a regular role as the rebel telepath Byron in season five.
  • Barney Miller:
    • Steve Landesberg appeared in one first-season episode as a priest before being cast as the know-it-all detective Arthur Dietrich in the second season.
    • Ron Carey played a cat burglar called "The Mole" who led the detectives in a chase down the sewers. He was later cast as a uniformed cop named Levitt, who was a regular for the rest of the show's run.
    • Paul Lieber played a gang member who tries to break his buddy out of jail in one 6th season episode; in season 7 Lieber plays new Detective Dorsey, who ruffles the rest of the squad by assuming they're all on the take. However, when they decided that season 7 would be the last season his character was dropped.
  • Bewitched:
    • Before becoming Uncle Arthur in Season Two, Paul Lynde appeared in the Season One episode "Driving is the Only Way to Fly" as Harold Harold, the insecure and neurotic instructor who was hired to teach Samantha how to drive. Elizabeth Montgomery and Paul Lynde loved working together so much and the crew got such a big kick out of him that Uncle Arthur was created so they could work with him on a semi-regular basis.
    • Before playing witch doctor Dr. Bombay in Season Three, Bernard Fox appeared as a witch hunter in Season Two's "Disappearing Samantha" in which his incantation for making witches disappear affects Samantha, leaving Darrin and Endora to look for a way to get information from him on how to reverse it.
    • The first appearance of Alice Ghostly was as a maid, Naomi Hogan, before she appeared regularly as Esmeralda.
  • Hugh Laurie appeared in two episodes of Blackadder II, first as Simon Partridge and then as Prince Ludwig the Indestructible. In Blackadder the Third he was cast as one of the main characters, George, Prince of Wales.
  • Rebecca Breeds plays Cassie Cometti in season 3 of Blue Water High, but she made her first appearance in season 2, episode 3 as Tina.
  • John Larroquette guest starred several times on The Practice as Magnificent Bastard Joey Heric. A few years later, he became a regular on the show's spin-off, Boston Legal, playing senior partner Carl Sack.
  • Jeff's nephew, also a nurse, in Casualty was played by someone who had previously played two different one-shot characters (which both had large parts in their episodes). These one-shots were quite recognisable, though, because the actor had been in Doctor Who and its spin-off at the same time as them and is quite memorable in appearance.
  • Charmed: Rebecca Balding, who plays Phoebe's newspaper boss Elise, was the aunt of a young witch in the Season 1 episode "The Fourth Sister".
  • CHiPs. Randi Oaks played a car thief named Kim Balford in the Season 2 episode "Down Time" and joined the cast as officer Bonnie Clark at the beginning of Season 3.
  • In Community, Paget Brewster appears in the Season 5 episode "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" as IT Admin Debra Chambers before taking the role of Season 6 cast regular Frankie Dart.
  • In Dark Angel Jensen Ackles played Ben in a season 1 episode and was later recast as regular Ben's twin Alec in season 2.
  • Garret Dillahunt played the coward Jack McCall on the first season of Deadwood, then came back the next season to play Francis Woolcott. McCall was, however, featured in five episodes, and was a very memorable character, which is probably why Dillahunt grew a beard for playing Wolcott, to lessen the visual similarities between the two characters.
  • ER:
    • J.P. Manoux played an unnamed mime in a 1996 episode, then was cast as Dr. Crenshaw a full decade later.
    • Vondie Curtis Hall appeared as a transvestite in S1. He reappeared a few seasons later as a recast version of Roger, stepfather to Benton's son.
    • Justina Machado appeared as a one-off character in a 1997 episode ("Ambush"). Twelve years later, she returned as recurring character Claudia Diaz, who ends up dating (and, it is stated, eventually marrying) Dr. Archie Morris.
    • Troy Evans appeared as an unnamed cop being treated by Carter in the pilot episode, before returning in a recurring role as desk clerk Frank from Series 6 onwards. It was established that Frank was an ex-cop, so they could conceivably have been the same person.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond. Before becoming Ray's lazy, sports-obsessed pal Giani, Joe Manfrellotti appeared in Season One's "The Game" as a cable repairman who discovers an illegal splitter sending cable to Frank and Marie's house.
  • Frasier:
    • John Mahoney (Martin) appeared as hack songwriter Sy Flemback in the canonically related Cheers.
    • Peri Gilpin (Roz) appeared in Cheers as a reporter and in Wings (where Frasier once appeared) as a blind date.
  • Friends:
    • Giovanni Ribisi played a teenager who accidentally dropped a condom in Phoebe's guitar case, about half a season before he was cast as Phoebe's half-brother.
    • June Gable played a nurse in episode 23 before picking up a recurring role as Joey's agent Estelle. According to her, she was always meant to be Estelle, but her scenes were cut from that episode and she was given the part of the nurse to make up for it.
  • Jennifer Coolidge and Adam Goldberg guest starred on Friends. Both ended up in regular roles on Joey; the latter, though, was more of a recurring role.
  • In Game of Thrones, Dean Charles Chapman played the small role of Martyn Lannister in Season 3 before taking over the role of Tommen Baratheon in Season 4, making for a case of an actor being both The Other Darrin and Recast as a Regular. While this isn't addressed in the series itself, Tommen and Martyn are actually first cousins (once removed) in a family wrought with Kissing Cousins and Brother-Sister Incest, so this could be used to explain the strong resemblance.
  • The Gene Autry Show has a rather unusual example: despite Pat Buttram being Autry's sidekick from the beginning of the series, Buttram didn't official become sidekick as himself until the second season, and through the first half of the first season, he played two Danza sidekicks named Pat Jensen and Patrick Smith, and one sidekick named Hap Wallace. Similarly, prior to the TV series, Buttram also played different sidekicks or other allies to Autry in a few of his movies in place of Autry's original regular sidekick Smiley Burnett.
  • A first-season episode of The Golden Girls featured Harold Gould as Rose's date, Arnie, long before he became a recurring character as Rose's steady boyfriend Miles.
  • Green Acres. Before becoming half of Hooterville's carpentry company - Alf and Ralph - Sid Melton appeared in one of the earliest episodes in a rather similar role as one of the potential interior decorators Oliver was looking to hire to help redecorate the Old Haney Place.
  • Happy Days:
    • In season two, Linda Purl played Richie's recurring girlfriend Gloria, while in season 10 she played Fonzie's girlfriend Ashley Pfitster.
    • Lynda Goodfriend was cast as Richie's date Kim a good while before being brought back as his girlfriend-turned-wife Lori Beth Allen in season five.
    • In season 9, Crystal Bernard guest starred in "The Telltale Tart" before joining the cast in season 10 as KC Cunningham.
  • Conchata Ferrell played the main character's ex-wife's lesbian lover in one episode of the first season of Hearts Afire, but she joined the series as a regular in the second season, playing straight-as-an-arrow Madeline. Both characters were therapists, but otherwise had no connection.
  • Hill Street Blues: Dennis Franz appeared in several episodes as a crooked cop named Sal Benedetto. One or two years later he reappeared as the non-crooked but otherwise identical character Norman Buntz.
  • Hogan's Heroes.
    • Larry Hovis is a variation of this. Although he played Carter in the pilot, this Carter was different than his series' proper Carter: the Carter in the pilot was a lieutenant instead of a sergeant, and was an escapee who was being passed through Stalag 13 on his way to rejoin his unit in London. This Carter was intended to be a one-shot guest character, but when Leonid Kinsey (Vladimir) refused to sign on as a regular when the pilot went to series, Hovis was brought back to play Carter as Hogan's young, bright-eyed, yet naive explosives expert and bomb-maker.
    • Howard Caine played two different German officers in two different episodes before becoming a semi-regular as Major Hochstetter in Season Three. One appearance was in "Happy Birthday, Adolf" from Season One, playing a Major who was involved in organizing a party for Hitler's birthday while remaining on alert for an impending American air raid; in "The Battle of Stalag 13" from Season Two he played a Colonel wanting to turn Stalag 13 into a camp for local citizens to be interrogated for suspcious activity (ironically, the character wore the exact same uniform as that of Major Hochstetter).
    • Patricia Olsen, otherwise known as Sigrid Valdis, played a fraulein General Burkhalter uses in a Season One episode to soften up Hogan to get information from him before becoming Klink's second secretary Hilda the following season for the remainder of the series.
    • Jon Cedar is an inversion: despite playing Klink's guard Laggenscheidt from the beginning, he appears in two other random roles, one of which is a German counterfeiting expert, the other a rookie Gestapo officer who cracks after enduring nonstop abuse from his superior.
    • Cynthia Lynn is another inversion: after leaving the show after its first season, in which she played Klink's first secretary Helga, she made two random guest appearance as different characters seasons later.
  • On Home Improvement, Debbe Dunning played a one-off role in the season two episode "Overactive Glance" before she started playing Heidi in season three.
  • I Dream of Jeannie. Before becoming Dr. Bellows's wife Amanda, Emmaline Henry appeared in the Season One episode "Is There an Extra Genie in the House?" as the sexy assistant to a down-on-his-luck magician who temporarily rent out Roger's apartment.
  • I Love Lucy. Frank Nelson was a frequent guest star on a number of episodes throughout the first five seasons, including such notable appearances as Freddy Filmore, a local radio emcee, and a Hollywood talent scout who launched Ricky's would-be film career. During the final season, Nelson was cast in a permanent recurring role as Ralph Ramsey, the Ricardos' neighbor in Connecticut and a TV producer who helped Ricky gain a little more exposure to a broader audience.
  • Two main protagonists in Inspector Rex (Brandtner and Hoffmann) were played by actors who had appeared before as villains of the week in earlier seasons of the show. Elke Wilkens played a minor character in season 7 before acting as Nikki Herzog.
  • MacGyver:
  • Elyssa Davalos appears as a (presumably) Baltic love interest of MacGyver in the two-part S3 opener. Less than a month later, she appears again as Nikki Carpenter and appears in four further episodes.
    • Dana Elcar (the guy who plays Mac's boss, Pete) appeared in the pilot episode, as a different character named Andy Colson.
  • Magnum, P.I.:
    • Lance LeGault appeared as Delta Agent John W. Newton, then returned as recurring character Colonel Buck Greene for several episodes.
    • Kathleen Lloyd played a client of Magnum's then returned as recurring character D.A. Carol Baldwin for several seasons.
  • Married... with Children: Ted McGinley appeared in the Season 4 Christmas Episode "It's a Bundyful Life" as Peggy's "alternate history" husband, before joining the regular cast as Jefferson D'Arcy the following season.
  • M*A*S*H.
    • Harry Morgan played a nutty U.S. Army General in the 3rd season episode "The General Flipped at Dawn". He did such a good job that in the 4th season he was cast in the role of the 4077th's new commanding officer, Colonel Sherman Potter, which he played the remainder of the series.
    • Richard Lee Sung once appeared as a generic Korean local (specifically, one of five Kim Luck's the hospital treated in one day) before becoming Cho Man Chin, the local peddler who would, at least Once a Season, try to swindle folks at the 4077th by selling them crooked goods such as wristwatches that ran backwards, wild boar tusks that are really plastic, and 2x4s that used to be round.
    • John Orchard is an inversion of this. Throughout the first season he played Ugly John the camp anathesiologist, but was eventually written off the show when the production staff felt there were too many minor characters to keep writing for. Orchard eventually returned in a guest role in Season Eight as an Australian M.P.
    • Edward Winter may or may not count, depending on which word you believe. In his first appearance, Winter played an overzealous Intelligence officer named Captain Halloran, and all subsequent appearance he played his noted character Colonel Samuel Flagg; while there is only a slight difference in the characters' demeanor (Halloran was easily convinced to drop everything and join in a poker game), knowing how Flagg frequently uses very many different aliases, one common theory among fans is that Halloran was one of his aliases. That theory is helped by a later appearance in which Flagg reminds Sidney Freedman they played poker once.
    • Before becoming the last and final Rosie of Rosie's Bar, Eileen Saki appeared in a memorable guest role in Season Five's "Bug Out, Part 2" as the leader of a ring of Korean prostitutes that lived in an abandoned schoolhouse.
  • Many of the actors who became regulars on Matlock initially appeared before in different episodes.
  • Midsomer Murders: When Tom Barnaby's actor left the show, they replaced him with his cousin John Barnaby, whose actor had appeared earlier playing a sleazy but innocent suspect who hit on Barnaby's wife.
  • Mork & Mindy. Jonathan Winters appeared as Dave McConnell (Mindy's uncle) in a third season episode. He was cast as Mork and Mindy's child Mearth starting in the fourth season.
  • NewsRadio: Jon Lovitz appeared on two episodes as two different characters before being cast as Max Louis in the fifth and final season.
  • New Tricks: Tamzin Outhwaite replaced Amanda Redman as the squad boss for the last episodes, after having already appeared as a suspect long before. The guilty suspect, no less.
  • The Odd Couple. Pamelyn Ferden appeared in the Season One episode "Bunny is Missing Down by the Lake" as a member of an all-girl camp group who seek shelter from the rain at the cabin Felix and Oscar stay at before becoming Felix's daughter Edna the following season.
  • On Quincy, Anita Gillette played Quincy's late wife in a flashback in "Promises to Keep". In 1982, she joined the cast as Emily Hanover ... who married him.
  • Red Dwarf: Hattie Hayridge first appeared as the computer 'Hilly' in the episode "Parallel Universe", then took over as Holly from series 3-6, which was Handwaved with the suggestion that Holly had remodelled himself to resemble Hilly.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • Bumper Robinson appeared in Season 1's "Trial By Fury" as Clifford Weaver, before getting cast as James in Season 7.
    • John Ducey played Mr Kraft's nephew in Season 3's "The Band Episode", before also reappearing as a regular in Season 7 (Leonard).
    • A variation with Tara Strong. She voiced the Molly Dolly in Season 3 before getting cast as a protagonist Gwen in the two spin-off movies.
  • Sanford and Son. Before playing Woody and Esther's adopted teen son Daniel at the beginning of the final season, Eric Laneuville appeared in the Christmas Episode "Ebenezer Sanford" as a local teen who asks Fred to put him to work so he can earn at least enough money to buy his parents a Christmas present.
  • Sesame Street. Michael Jeter made a couple of guest appearances on the show in the late 90s, including his own version of the classic song "Dance Myself to Sleep" before being cast as Mr. Noodle's Brother Mr. Noodle while Bill Irwin (Mr. Noodle) was busy filming How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
  • On Supernatural, Ty Olsson plays Benny, a vampire who's been an ally to Dean. He previously played a completely different vampire in an episode way back in season 2.
    • Erica Carroll initially played a nurse in a one-off role in an early season, and then was brought back playing an angel named Hannah in season 9.
    • Tyler Johnson played a kid in season 1 episode Bugs, and then later played recurring angel Samandriel.
  • In Season 2 of Veronica Mars, James Jordan appeared as the mentally unstable janitor Tommy "Lucky" Dohanic for a few episodes, then reappeared in Season 3 as recurring character Tim Foyle, the graduate student of Dr. Landry.
  • The X-Files: Nicholas Lea appeared in an early episode "Gender Bender" playing a character named Michael, then returned later as series regular Alex Krycek.
  • In The Wire, Gbenga Akinnagbe was an extra as a random police officer standing in a courtroom in Episode 4 of Season 1. Years later he would return and from Season 3 until the end of the show he played Chris Partlow, The Dragon and coldly efficient chief assassin/enforcer for sociopathic druglord and mass murderer Marlo Stanfield. Along the way he racked up a huge body count and became perhaps the most feared drug enforcer to ever walk the streets of Baltimore.

    Western Animation 
  • On Avatar: The Last Airbender, before voicing main character Toph, Jessie Flower voiced Meng from "The Fortuneteller".
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Mark Hamill had a one-off role as Ferris Boyle, the villain in "Heart of Ice", before being given the on-going role of the Joker.
  • In the first season of DuckTales Hamilton Camp voiced a few minor characters before voicing Gizmo Duck in season two.
  • In Rugrats Tara Strong voiced Timmy McNulty, a Jerkass neighbor of the babies around Angelica's age, before going on to voice Tommy's brother Dil.
  • In the Latin American dub of Steven Universe, Valentina Toro voiced Alexandrite in her first appearance before later going on to voice Jasper. Ironically, her sister Antonia would voice Alexandrite in her second appearance. Similarly, before she became the Spanish voice actress for Ruby, Judith Noguera voiced minor (as in, she doesn't even have her own voice actress in th original language) recurring character Jane.

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