Role Reprisal

There is an unwritten expectation that actors can only play the same character for so long, maybe they got sick of the role, contract negotiations fell through, scheduling didn't work out, or they simply died. We tend to view things like The Other Darrin and Suspiciously Similar Substitute as normal and common. But there is something to be said for when an actor sticks with or comes back to a role. This tends to come as a surprise, just because of the length of time involved and scheduling issues.

This tends to happen one of three ways:
  • Single Continuity- Time has continued from the last time we saw the character.
  • Alternate Continuity- A reboot of some sort is created, and instead of recasting the role they keep the same actor despite that.
  • Marathon Run- Every few years there is a new appearance that reminds us that they are still around, and have no intention on leaving the character alone.

Please note that while some characters can be played by the same actor for a significant amount of time, it only counts as a Role Reprisal if the original actor resumes playing the character in a different adaptation or if it has been a while since they last played the character.

Compare Regular Character, The Original Darrin, Recurring Character, Remake Cameo and Back for the Finale.


    open/close all folders 


    Fan Works 


  • In an odd form of this trope, Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in Disney's Aladdin in 1992, returned to the role for the live action Broadway production of the film in 2014.
  • The Wiz had a short-lived 2009 Off-Broadway production starring Ashanti as Dorothy Gale, a role she played another interpretation of in The Muppets' 2005 take on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Annie Get Your Gun: Ethel Merman reprised her starring role in the 1966 Lincoln Center revival (for which Irving Berlin wrote a new Counterpoint Duet for her) and in NBC's televised version the following year.
  • Pal Joey: Vivienne Segal appeared in both the original 1940 production and the 1952 revival, though neither she nor the new Joey, Harold Lang, were on the revival cast album due to Columbia Records having recorded Pal Joey with them in 1950.
  • In the 1952 revival of the 1934 play The Children's Hour, Katherine Emmet reprised her role as Amelia Tilford.
  • Harvey Fierstein, who played Edna in the original cast of Hairspray, reprised the role for the 2016 NBC live production of the same show.