Kate was originally going to have gone undercover as a prostitute, Become The Mask, and gotten addicted to cocaine—all before she was even introduced. It was decided that this might be a bit much.
Kate was also supposed to have an important story arc in the second half of season 2, but Elisabeth Röhm got cast on Law & Order, and it was replaced by the Pylea arc.
Kate's arc would have eventually led to her becoming a full-fledged Anti-Villain, opposing Angel and vampires in general as a result of her bitterness over her father's death (and Angel bringing her into awareness of the supernatural), rather than their moving reconciliation in "Epiphany". This would have led to her becoming Holtz's key disciple, having an uncomfortable father-daughter dynamic - as opposed to the semi-romantic, semi-familial overtones that Justine (who was created to absorb that part of Kate's arc in the greater narrative) had with Holtz. No word on whether Kate would have continued to serve a role from there or been written out like Justine was.
Season Four as a whole, generally, was slated to be a lot more awesome than it ended up being when Charisma Carpenter got pregnant and the whole arc had to be rewritten to adapt. It wouldn't have changed the fact that having Cordelia acting out-of-character for so long was a major element of why Season 4 was polarising... but perhaps the arc might have played out differently in that regard. We don't have enough information to say for sure.
Had Angel been allowed to continue into its sixth season, Illyria would have been split into Illyria and Fred, with Amy Acker playing both roles in tandem. This is the reason for the statement that Fred's soul was destroyed by Illyria's possession, which comes off as just being pointlessly cruel in the final version.
Plans for season 6 included bringing in Oz, most likely to help Nina with her werewolfism.
Joss originally planned for Whistler to appear on Angel. When the actor's schedule didn't work out, he created Doyle.
There was also talk of Doyle coming back in Season Three or Four as a villain. Glenn Quinn's death quashed this.
In season five, however, antagonist Lindsay pretends to be Doyle, so they got some mileage out of that one at least.
Groosalugg was supposed to come back in Season Four.
Ben Edlund originally pitched Bad Horse of Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog fame as an Angel villain. His reasoning was supposedly that; since horses on TV are usually nice, a bad horse would be really scary. Joss felt the idea was too silly to fit into Angel's universe. Then they did a puppet episode (which Edlund also wrote...).
After the series ended, there was a lot of talk about a series of made-for TV movies with the characters, but no one wanted to fund them.
When Buffy ended, Nicholas Brendon offered to move to Angel, but Joss Whedon didn't feel that Xander would fit well into Angel's life and Spike was shunted over to Angel instead.
David Greenwalt, one of Angel's executive producers, wanted the main character of his own show Profit to reappear as a Wolfram and Hart employee. But due to rights issues and conflicts with Adrian Pasdar's schedule, the idea was scrapped.
Had the show continued into season 6, the writers were allegedly planning for Spike and Angel to hook up at some point.
There's a throwaway line in the series that mentioned they did at one point, so I guess we sorta got that.
The original plan was for Takashima (the XO from the pilot) to be an unaware traitor — she was going to be the one who shot Garibaldi and eventually get Talia's ending. Ivanova would have been a CIC officer already at this point and would have then taken over as second-in-command. Then Takashima's actress declined to return for the series (a year had passed between the pilot and the beginning of the main series, and she'd found other work), so they had Ivanova replace her as XO and split Takashima's arc between Talia and Garibaldi's aide Jack.
Ironically, the reason Takashima was planned to bow out in season two was because JMS knew that the actress had a film career and wouldn't stay long. He just assumed that she'd at least come back for the series.
Delenn was originally going to start the show as androgynous-"male", and only become obviously female after her end-of-season-1 transformation, while keeping the same actress throughout. They couldn't get the voice effects right that would change the pitch to "male", so they decided to just make her female from the start (redubbing one line to change a "he" to "she", and subsequently extensively changing the Minbari makeup to appear more feminine for the series).
Jeffrey Sinclair was originally supposed to be the CO of Babylon 5 for the series' entire run, and didn't end up transforming into the legendary Minbari figure Valen — midway through production of the first season Straczynski came up with the idea of concluding the series with Sinclair's transformation and realized that he had been unintentionally foreshadowing it in dialogue. Later, Sinclair was dropped as a main character and replaced by John Sheridan from the second season onwards — Straczynski admitted that he had "written himself into a corner", and could find no more room to develop Sinclair — so Sinclair's transformation was written into the series in a third-season two-parter.
Additionally, Sinclair's transformation into Valen was originally supposed to happen as a Distant Finale to the series, which is why he appears as an old man at the end in the Babylon Squared episode. The story was instead wrapped up in a third-season two-parter (as a case of The Bus Came Back for Sinclair), in which exposure to the tachyon field causes Sinclair to rapidly age.
It was revealed after Michael O'Hare's death that the real reason for Sinclair's departure was that O'Hare had schizophrenia. JMS actually offered to put the show on hold for a year so he could get treatment, but O'Hare refused to be the reason so many people lost their jobs.
In Season 5, Ivanova was supposed to become romantically involved with Byron the telepath, and have her latent powers awakened. When Claudia Christian left the show, the romantic subplot was given to Lyta (who was originally going to only have a platonic relationship with Byron, but still would have become a follower of his).
Perhaps the most infamous example: the original plan for Season 4 was to end with the episode "Intersections in Real Time"; the Earth Civil War arc would be concluded in the first six or seven episodes of Season 5 (much like the Shadow War arc conclusion in the first six episodes of Season 4). But then the network PTEN finally disintegrated, and it seemed like Babylon 5 was going to be cancelled at the end of Season 4 — so JMS, determined to give his show a proper ending, condensed his original plan for Season 4 to make it four episodes shorter and then crammed the resolution of the Earth Civil War into three massively-compressed Wham Episodes followed by the Distant Finale "Sleeping in Light". Then, at the last minute, Babylon 5 was picked up for its last season by the cable network TNT! There was only one problem: Season 4 had already been shot, so there was now a massive gap at the beginning of Season 5 where the planned story had already been told. JMS had no choice but to fill the gap by taking the telepath colony arc — intended to last only three episodes — and stretching it out to eleven episodes over Season 5's entire first half. There's a reason why Season 5 is so unpopular with fans.
JMS recently went one step further by releasing his original five-year document as part of the issuing of the complete scripts for the series. This document is extremely startling, as it is very far removed from what happened in the actual series. Sinclair indeed remains on B5, but he doesn't become Valen. Instead, at the end of Season 5 the Shadow War is still raging but the alliance against the Shadows is betrayed by the Minbari warrior caste, who destroy Babylon 5 near the end of the series. Sinclair and Delenn go back in time, retrieve Babylon 4 and bring it forwards in time to serve as the new base of operations: this would lead into a sequel series, Babylon Prime, in which the conclusion to the Shadow War, Earth Civil War and so on would all happen. In the end, the two series ended up being amalgamated into one.
That "original five-year document" dates back to 1993, having been written between the Pilot Movie and the first season. The actual original scribblings of JMS from when he first came up with the concept of Babylon 5 back in 1986 have been released on the internet here, and are actually closer to the finished TV show in a lot of ways than the "original outline" is. For one thing, the original intention was that there be just one TV show lasting five years — no more, no less. Comparing the two documents, one gets the impression that the 1993 "original outline" was significantly watered-down to appease the network, pushing all the most expensive stuff into a hypothetical sequel series in order to sell them on the first one. And as it turned out, Babylon 5's success allowed JMS to do the entire Shadow War & Earth Civil War stories in the one series.
Crusade, the Babylon 5 spinoff, was cancelled after 13 episodes due to some serious disagreements with J. Michael Straczynski. JMS had a five year arc planned out for the show, which he's teased at over the years and will be revealed with the publication of Crusade scriptbooks. Additionally, three scripts had been written and prepped for production when the show was cancelled, including the season finale:
"To The Ends Of The Earth", by JMS, would have kicked off the series' real story arc by having Captain Gideon getting a lead from the Apocalypse Box on the mysterious vessel that destroyed his former ship, the Cerberus. After taking the Excalibur on a Captain Ahab mission and alienating the rest of the crew, he destroys it, and the audience learns the ship had some connection to EarthForce.
"Value Judgements", by Fiona Avery, would have seen the crew encountering Alfred Bester, the antagonist telepath from Babylon 5 who's been a fugitive since the Telepath War. Walter Koenig had been signed on to reprise his role as Bester, and thought the script was the best he'd read from the franchise yet.
A story arc for Dureena in the latter half of the first season would have seen her banished from the Excalibur for a few episodes. When she returns, it's with no memories and a mysterious glowing sword.
"The End Of The Line", by JMS, would have been the season finale and seen Gideon trace the origins of the mysterious ship he destroyed (in "To The Ends Of The Earth") to a top-secret EarthForce base that had been experimenting with Shadow technology since before the Shadow War and now wants to eliminate Gideon to keep their secrets. Technomancy such as Galen's would be revealed as Shadow technology, the result of a deal between the Shadows and the earliest Technomages. The cliffhanger end of season one would see Gideon would travel alone to Mars and attempt to expose the EarthForce experiments, only to be shot and seemingly killed by an EarthForce sniper.
The cliffhanger would be resolved in season 2 by transferring Gideon's consciousness into the Apocalypse Box until his body had been healed. As a result of discovering the conspiracy in EarthForce to use Shadow technology, the Excalibur crew would be "black-balled" by the Earth Alliance and become renegades. Ultimately, the cure to the Drakh plague would have been discovered around the middle of the second season, since the EarthForce conspiracy storyline was always meant to be the main arc of the show.
The original plan for Battlestar Galactica's Season 4.5 has Ellen as a villain, Tory having more involvement in Baltar's cult, which would turn violent, Cavil's forces attacking during the mutiny, Gaeta and Zarek's group leaving the Fleet in their own ships, and Boomer coming over and convincing more Cylons to join the Fleet. It was revised during the Writer's Strike hiatus.
In the season one episode "Bastille Day", Cally was originally raped and murdered by the prisoner holding her captive. The writers decided to change this because it would make the scene where Cally bites the guy's ear off seem pointless.
The publication of the "bible" document drawn up before Season One went into production revealed some plots that never made it into the series, among them:
Lee developing romantic feelings for Laura, and this complicating his relationship with his father further, because Bill also has feelings for Laura.
Laura being harsher on security matters than Bill, and Bill following her advice because Lee agreed with her.
Bill declaring martial law and putting Laura in the brig because he felt she had gone too far to suppress dissent in the fleet rather than because of a disagreement over the Arrow of Apollo.
Six joining in when Gaius has sex with Kara.
Laura banning abortion in Season One (she did it in Season Two), and allowing birth control only for women with jobs like Viper pilot.
The Cylons having let Galactica escape to find Earth.
Helo telling Sharon things about the Colonial military that are then instantly known by the Cylons pursuing Galactica.
Tyrol becoming Baltar's archnemesis.
Baltar naming people who are threats to him as Cylons.
Baltar positioning himself into a position of leadership with the people unhappy with Roslin's administration (this kind of happened in Seasons Two and Four).
"The Face of the Enemy" went through a few revisions. Originally Gaeta's old lover would have been a Six and his boyfriend would have been Narcho (Sebastian Spence). As Narcho was a mutineer, their relationship wouldn't have ended. Actor availability changed that. The Cylon passengers would have been a Six and an Eight, both involved in the killings, and they would have a scene talking about the killings while the others slept. Tricia's unavailability changed it to two Eights, with one killed off at the start to reduce the amount of computer trickery needed. In retrospect, as Jane Espenson says in the podcast, this was a boon, because the sororicide made it less obvious that Sweet Eight was the killer.
Grace Park originally tried out for Dee and then Starbuck, before Kandyse McClure and Katee Sackhoff got the parts and she was cast as Boomer. The peeps were so impressed by her Dee audition that they let her try out for Starbuck, and she was one of two finalists for the role. Subsequently, she didn't need to read for the role of Boomer, and, thinking it was a minor role, got a pleasant surprise when she read the end of the Miniseries and learned her character was a Cylon (she went "Mwhahhahhahhahhah").
Harrison Ford auditioned to play Commander Adama, and really wanted the role. Unfortunately, the producers couldn't meet his pay requests, even after he drastically cut his usual pay scale. Ed Harris also tried out for the role.
Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men fame not only auditioned for the role of Gaius Baltar, he actively campaigned to get it.
Season three was going to have a storyline about the Saggitarons having been far more successful than others during a famine on New Caprica, due to their holistic farming methods, leading the other Colonies to band together and steal their food. This would have tied in with Baltar's mysterious whisper to Gaeta that made Gaeta try to kill him (later repurposed for the "Face of the Enemy" webisodes) and would have made the notoriously bad episode "The Woman King" not seem quite so random and pointless.
In one draft of the finale Helo and Athena die, leaving Hera to be raised by Baltar and Caprica Six.
Battlestar Galactica, as done by Tom DeSanto and Bryan Singer. With the full support of series creator Glen A. Larson, their project would have been a faithful continuation of the 1978 series set some 20 years later, using as much of the original cast as possible. The project got as far as having scripts written, cast hired, sets build and filming scheduled. Then 9/11 happened, which caused delays, then both DeSanto and Singer left the project to work on X-Men 2, as the delay to filming BSG was interfering with their contractual obligations to start the movie by a certain date. Then Sci-Fi Channel tore up all the preproduction sets, without warning, overnight, whilst greenlighting the series we all know now. This page gives some idea as to What Could Have Been.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss' original concept that eventually evolved into Buffy was "Rhonda the Immortal Waitress".
From the very beginning, Joss Whedon planned to reveal that one of the main characters was gay. However, until Season 4 he had not decided as to whether this would be Willow or Xander, and subtle clues (extremely subtle) were placed for both characters in case his plans were able to see light. Ultimately, he decided to pick Willow instead of Xander.
Despite some popular belief, Tara was not necessarily introduced just as a Love Interest / Closet Key for Willow (though the timing is impeccable) - she was created because Willow was getting too powerful as a witch and outgrowing her initial "cuteness", so the writers realised that using her to make the villains sinister (and get captured/kidnapped) was no longer plausible. Thus, Tara was created to replace her in this role as The Woobie, as well as to explore Willow's "addiction storyline" that led to Dark Willow in Season 6 - Tara became Willow's Love Interest because Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson had wonderful on-screen chemistry and the writers seized the opportunity presented to them. This leads into another WCHB - if Oz hadn't been written out of the show, would Willow and Tara have been written as lovers (before or after Oz's death led to the Dark Willow arc), or would they have been straight and Xander turned out gay/bi? Some combination of the aforementioned? Who can say for certain?
There was talk about bringing Tara Back from the Dead in Season 7. At some point in the season, Buffy would get access to one wish that could alter reality. She would consider a number of options, including restoring Angel's humanity. Eventually she would return to Casa de Scooby to show her cute new shoes off to Willow...
Willow: You used the wish on shoes? Buffy: Of course not. (Buffy leaves, and Tara's standing right behind Willow...)
They could not get Amber Benson's schedule to work with the plot, though, so it was scrapped. There was also talk of bringing Amber Benson back as one of the manifestations of the First Evil, but she refused because it would be too cruel to Willow's character and the fans. The echoes of that plot could be felt in Conversations With Dead People, which had Cassie appear and claim to be speaking for Tara.
A shooting script for the Tara version of CWDP did the internet rounds back in the day, with truly heartbreaking Willow-First!Tara dialogue (Willow with Tara but unable to touch her — think about it).
Sarah Michelle Gellar or Bianca Lawson (Kendra) could have been cast as Cordelia, which was the role they originally auditioned for. Both Charisma Carpenter and Elizabeth Anne Allen originally auditioned for Buffy. Sarah and Charisma's roles were switched, and the character of Amy was created for Elizabeth.
Similarly, Danny Strong auditioned for Xander originally. He didn't get the part, obviously, but was later given the role of Jonathan, and his talent at portraying a hapless dupe of a Spear Carrier with Hidden Depths led to his becoming a recurring, popular character. What would have happened if he, not Nicholas Brendan, had won the role of Xander?
There are two ways Xander could have been killed off. In the fifth season they considered revealing that he and not Ben was actually Glory's alter ego — presumably that would have involved Glory's memory glitch spell affecting the audience all this time. They also considered having Caleb kill him in "Dirty Girls" so that the First would appear as him from then on, but decided the rest of the characters would have insufficient grieving time.
At one point, Joss wanted Sunnydale to sink into the earth in Season 5. This happened in Season 7 instead.
Wesley was originally going to be an American Watcher.
Many characters stayed on longer than anticipated. Both Jenny Calendar and Joyce Summers (Buffy's mom) were supposed to die in the first season, but Jenny survived until Season 2, and Joyce until Season 5. Jenny only died because the fan response to Oz was so positive, otherwise he would have been the one killed by Angelus. And had he not left, Oz would have died instead of Tara, triggering her Dark Willow phase. Mayor Wilkins was only set for 2 episodes. Anya was to only appear in the episode "The Wish," and after that was only supposed to appear once again in "Dopplegangland". Faith was originally signed on for only 5 episodes. Spike was to die at the end of "What's My Line?" but thankfully it was decided against (after so much hype of being trained by Angelus and killing two Slayers, Spike's death that quickly would have been cheap). Spike was thus planned to exit the show after his one Season 3 appearance, but was brought on as a regular in Season 4 instead.
Another contributing factor in Jenny dying was that Robia La Morte became a Christian and was no longer comfortable playing the part.
In "Conversations With Dead People", they considered having the First appear to Anya as Halfrek, or to Xander as Jesse, instead of to Willow as Cassie.
The "appear to Xander as Jesse" part would have appeared whether or not Willow had hers (which was intended to be Tara, but Amber Benson was uncomfortable with how this would hurt the fans of both characters), but sadly Eric Balfour was unavailable to film the scenes. This incidentally made CWDP the only episode in the entire series to not feature Nicholas Brendan as Xander.
When Season One was being produced, the Anointed One was planned as Season Two's Big Bad. However the actor's growth made him portraying a theoretically ageless vampire unrealistic. If this had happened, however, we might not have met Spike and the beard wouldn't have been grown.
In "Grave", Buffy would have fought the dragon that escaped in "The Gift". It was changed to earth monsters because of the budget.
And also the proposed live-action Ripper spin-off, which would have been a Hellblazer-esque dark supernatural thriller starring Anthony Stewart Head as Giles, initially intended to be set during his bus excursion in the sixth season. It was reportedly intended to have been made in the UK as a co-production with The BBC. With hindsight it appears that the Beeb were never actually very interested as at much the same time they were considering the revival of their own biggest fantasy property. There were still occasional fan rumors of the show being made for a couple of years after Buffy ended, but Head signing up for Merlin probably put the final nail in the coffin.
Joss was still saying it was possible, though, in an interview that came out in April '12.
Ripper would have introduced Giles's eternally young great aunts Lavinia and Sophie, played by Anthony Head's daughters Emily and Daisy. They later appeared in the Angel & Faith comic series as recurring characters.
There have also been repeated but never-elaborated fan rumors and hints in interviews about a possible "Faith and ghostly Spike Walking the Earth" spin-off that was abandoned when Eliza Dushku signed up for Tru Calling, after which Spike was added to the Angel regular cast. Ironically, now there's going to be a "Faith and AngelWalking the Earth" comic coming out.
Search "Buffy Unaired Pilot" on YouTube to see a whole episode of What Could Have Beens answering questions like "What if Willow was fat?"
There was a plan for Andy Hallett to make a cameo in "Once More With Feeling", and rumors exist of a crossover idea for 'The Gift' with Team Angel coming to help.
Tucker Wells (from "The Prom") was going to be the leader of the Trio in Season 6, and the interim Big Bad until he killed Tara and Dark Willow then killed him. This would have made particular sense, since in his one appearance he was rather callous about killing people and even darker than Warren (who was originally a weak-willed, somewhat amoral nerd with some Hidden Depths). Jonathan would've been the same pretty much, but Warren was going to be the passive follower (this suggests that Andrew's arc in Season 7 might have ended up being his). Since Brad Kane, Tucker's actor was unavailable to reprise the role, Warren was upped to Big Bad via Jumping Off the Slippery Slope & With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, and Andrew was created to serve the weak-willed-follower role (as Tucker's brother who caused a chaotic incident absolutely nobody seems to remember).
This seems to be one potential thread that people rarely seem interested in pondering about - few people like WarrenMears well enough even as a villain to consider redeeming him (or even pre-empting his Moral Event Horizon), while Andrew is reasonably popular. Of course, fanfic writing wouldn't encounter this problem (or any of the above, for that matter).
Veruca was going to be a recurring character, but those plans fell through with the departure of Seth Green.
One storyline idea was that Buffy would have found Faith had hanged herself, unable to live with killing an innocent man. What the writers came up with instead was much more interesting.
Initially Wishverse Buffy was going to be decked out in more military style clothing, with a larger cross. The writers must have thought it would look silly so they went with a grittier, harder version of Buffy's normal dress sense.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's writers originally planned to go on longer with Grissom's otosclerosis, and possibly have it eventually force him into retirement, but they got a lot of letters about the fact that the condition is easily repaired with surgery, and finished the arc in season 3.
It appears that Ray Langston's character was retooled after William Petersen announced his departure. An issue of the short-lived CSI official magazine talks of him being a younger character with a different last name who was a replacement for Warrick. The secret struggle thing was always there, though.
Nick and Catherine were going to be paired up from the beginning, and there's even stills of a cut kiss scene that still exist. This was scrapped because it would seem too much like Nick was just her boy-toy.
Both Gil Grissom and Mac Taylor from CSI NY had different names originally, but both actors changed them-William Petersen dubbed his character 'Grissom' after astronaut Gus Grissom because he was a fan of the US space program. Gary Sinise used his son's nickname, Mac (short for McCanna) and 'Taylor' after his Forrest Gump character. (leading to, unsurprisingly, a few Epileptic Trees as a result).
There was intended to be a fourth series in the franchise titled CSI: London, which was to be centered around CSI: NY character Dr. Peyton Driscoll after she had moved back to the city. It was never put into production for unknown reasons, though they did get far enough into development to pick out which The Who song they were going to use as the theme ("Eminence Front"). New Orleans was considered for a spinoff location as well, though one surmises without Stella going there as she did.
Peyton's season 6 return was planned as the start of a love triangle arc with it being revealed in season 7 if Mac picked her or Aubrey, his new potential love interest. However, Melina Kanakaredes' departure and Claire Forliani taking a part on Camelot scrapped it.
Word Of God says the writers still had ideas for hooking up Jo and Mac. The 200th ep would have had a wedding but they weren't sure who Mac would marry. One idea was to have a fake out and everyone would think it was Christine, then reveal it was Jo. Or if the series continued, have Mac leave Christine and hook up with Jo. Some Internet Backlash resulted from unhappy fans after it was revealed.
Christine's brother was written first as a Marine buddy of Mac's but it would have been unworkable given Mac's timeline-she would have been too young back then.
Russell T. Davies has mentioned several times that for characters he's made, he had specific actors in mind. One of them was wanting Helen Mirren for Adelaide Brooke in "The Waters of Mars". Lindsay Duncan did an amazing job, but could you imagine having Oscar-winning actors on Doctor Who?
Kate Winslet was also suggested for the role of River Song.
David Mitchell has admitted to wanting to play the Eleventh Doctor, but felt he wouldn't be good looking enough for the role. But it's the type of part he would do great in.
David Mitchell, along with his comedic co-star Robert Webb, did end up lending their voices to the hijacker/scavenger's robotic henchmen in "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship", so it wasn't a total loss.
Among the alternative pitches considered for the new DW were Dan Freedman's fantasy retelling, Matthew Graham's Gothic-styled pitch, and Mark Gatiss' reboot, which would make the Doctor the audience surrogate character, instead of his companions.
Speaking of the Master, he was supposed to be Killed Off for Real during season 11 in a Heroic Sacrifice to save theDoctor's life. The episode, The Final Game, would have also been the final story for the Third Doctor. This was scrapped by Roger Delgado's untimely death in a car accident in Turkey while shooting The Bell of Tibet.
Said story would also have revealed the Doctor and Master to be two aspects of the same person.
The Masters of Luxor was a proposed script for the second serial, later published. The production team decided to go with Terry Nation instead, and thus gave us the Daleks. This rejection angered writer Anthony Coburn, who never wrote for the series subsequently.
When the series was suspended for eighteen months between seasons 22 and 23, a number of scripts for the original season 23 had been written. These later turned up as novelisations (The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil, Mission to Magnus). Some of these were made into novelizations by Target and later audio dramas by Big Finish, who released them as part of the Lost Stories range
Raine: A Classy Cat-Burglar who would have replaced Ace had the series not been cancelled. Finally given existence by Big Finish, who have made audio versions of some of the cancelled scripts. Julia Sawalha (the Doctor's companion/fiancee from the non-canon Comic Relief story Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death) was considered for the role.
Penny Carter (who would have been the companion in series 4 if Catherine Tate had not come back to reprise the role of Donna). Russell T Davies's book The Writer's Tale details more about Penny: she would have been a journalist in her thirties, from the north of England, with a snobbish mother and amateur astronomer grandfather (later re-worked into the characters of Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott.) She was to be a love interest for the Doctor and join him after she discovered that her live-in boyfriend was cheating on her. A guest character in the episode "Partners in Crime" was ultimately named Penny Carter in homage to her.
A story with an Eighth Doctor, considered for Richard Griffiths, was planned for the unmade season 27 in 1990. Known as "Network"'', the story featured the Rani.
Ace would have gone to the Academy to become a human Time Lord. This was touched on in the Expanded Universe - it happened in the webcast Death Comes To Time, was mentioned as the Doctor's original intent for her in the Virgin New Adventures novel Lungbarrow, and was teased in a Big Finish adaptation of the original story "Ice Time," retitled "Thin Ice". In this version Ace turns the chance down so as to keep the story in line with their continuity.
Of the scripts proposed for the 1996 TV movie, the one filmed is the only one which didn't include or presuppose the destruction of Gallifrey. Though every one of them had the Doctor as half-human.
The Dirk Gently series only exists because a strike prevented the Douglas Adams-penned Doctor Who story Shada from being filmed in its entirety for Season 17: the Time Travel-based plot was recycled from the script.
Some of the existing Shada footage was incorporated into Season 20's "The Five Doctors" when Tom Baker chose not to participate. The existing footage was later compiled into a 1992 video (with Baker providing linking material), and the script was later adapted into a Big Finish audio story for the Eighth Doctor. Details here.
There was a proposed Canadian animated series in the 90s.
The monster in the pit in "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" was originally going to be the Master.
In Doctor Who Magazine, Russell T. Davies basically said that they considered dozens of options for what would be in the pit. Another was Davros. Not Daleks, mind, just Davros being a possibility. They eventually settled for Satan.
Most of the special effects budget for "Fear Her" being given to "The Satan Pit" resulted in significant cuts (such as a cupboard monster), which is why you never see the dad monster directly and the disappearance of lots of people is communicated via people vanishing just offscreen.
In the Russell T. Davies book The Writer's Tale, there are places where he goes over the various episodes' production notes and gives feedback on ideas they didn't end up going with. Most notably, he talks about his expanded ideas for Davros, even going into background information and flashbacks, if "Journey's End" were more Doctor-specific instead of a Mega Crossover. Some of the dialogue on the drafted scripts is very awesome:
Rose: "What happened to you? I mean, your face... your eyes..."
Davros: "Do you pity me, Ms. Tyler?"
Rose: "Someone must have, once."
*Or, while still trapped on the Crucible...*
Rose: "So how was that sentence going to end?"
The Doctor: "Which one?"
Rose: The one that started with 'Rose Tyler'?"
The Doctor: "'...it's cold out.'"
The Doctor: "Does it really need saying?"
Davros: "Such intimacy with your companions, Doctor. So different from the man I once knew."
Despair for the alternate Easter specials, which ranged from a space opera featuring an EU race to a horror story featuring alien eggs in a space hotel. "The Waters of Mars" was meant as a Christmas special and was almost a sword-and-sorcery tinged future Earth tale.
Martha's home year was originally to have been 1913, which would have made "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" a "back to reality" story for her.
RTD's original notes and concept sketch for the Shadow Proclamation (which appeared on TV as a handful of Judoon and one official, the Shadow Architect) has a huge council chamber containing "every creature we've ever had", including a fifteen-foot adult Adipose, and Margaret Blaine the Slitheen, now a toddler being raised by the Jingatheen family, but still voiced by Anette Badland (who actually recorded the dialog for her scene.) This was axed because it would have used up half the episode's allotted budget in about 30 seconds.
Ah, the Cartmel Masterplan. Had the original series gone past season 26, the plan was for Andrew Cartmel and other writers to delve deeply into the Doctor's history, while revealing the Doctor as a Machiavellian chessmaster (shades of this were revealed in some of Sylvester McCoy's stories like Remembrance of the Daleks and Silver Nemesis). Who was The Other? What was the real relationship between the Doctor and his "granddaughter" Susan Foreman? Had the Cartmel Masterplan gone through, we might have those answers.
Had one of Patrick Troughton's ideas been used, the Second Doctor would've been a pirate-cum-Arabian-genie in blackface. (Troughton later admitted that his main reason for the suggestion had been that he wasn't confident at first that the regeneration gamble would pay off, and if the series tanked with a new Doctor he didn't want to spend the rest of his career with people thinking "That's the man who killed Doctor Who." every time they saw his face.)
Even more astonishingly, there were serious proposals for Louise Jameson to play the Nubile Savage companion Leela in blackface. Make-up test photographs survive and can be found online. In the end, her skin tone was slightly darkened to play the role, but more to "deeply tanned" than "horribly embarassing racist masquerade".
Stephen Fry was meant to write a Tenth Doctor story set in The Roaring Twenties. Let us weep for budgetary problems pushing it forward a season, and then Stephen not having time to rewrite it with Martha instead of Rose.
J. K. Rowling was offered to write an episode back when Davies was planning Series 1. Of course, she was writing some book at the time and couldn't accept the offer, but just think. The writer of one of the most successful books in recent time giving a spin on one of Britain's most well-known series. Davies wanted Rowling to star in an episode, too, where she fell into the Harry Potter universe thanks to a minion of the Trickster. The idea was, they'd had Charles Dickens and Shakespeare on, why not bring on another famous British author? In the end David Tennant, fearing a Jump the Shark moment, convinced Davies to drop the idea.
Davies' original pitch for the two-part episode "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" cast Jack Harkness as an interstellar alien soldier named Jax, who met the Doctor while tracking a murderous escaped "alien-child creature" in Blitz-era London. The character was also conceived as a serious, hard-nosed figure who would have befriended the Doctor while intimidating Rose.
"Boom Town" was a replacement for a story called "The New Team" by Paul Abbott, which would have been set in Pompeii. More importantly, it would have revealed that Rose was created by the Doctor to be "the perfect companion". This was never filmed because the writer couldn't do rewrites and Davies disliked the dark twist about Rose. An entirely different Pompeii story would be made three series later, however.
Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife" was originally the eleventh episode of Matt Smith's first series, and as such had to be completely rewritten to feature Rory when pushed to the next series. Gaiman has mentioned quite a bit of his episode that never made it. First, there was supposed to be a scene where they were being sacrificed at the Planet of the Rain Gods when they got the message. Second, Nephew was supposed to be a monster of Gaiman's own creation, instead of an Ood. Third, the (in)famous TARDIS swimming pool would have finally made an appearance. Fourth, Idris as herself (before the TARDIS went inside her) would have been given more screen time. Fifth the control room at the end was originally going to be from the classic series. All five ended up getting cut due to budget (and the third was doubly shot down when Karen Gillan mentioned she couldn't swim.) Neil Gaiman also says that he originally wrote this episode as a Tenth Doctor tale, and it had to be retooled for the Eleventh. According to some reports, the villain House was originally supposed to be The Great Intelligence as a preview to his appearance in later seasons, but they couldn't acquire the rights in time.
The original Daleks were supposed to have guns mounted on a ring around their midsection, for a 360 degree field of fire. It proved too expensive to do at the time, and this ability was never seen until the new series episode "Dalek". They were also going to have rounded bases rather than angular ones.
According to Steven Moffat, the initial plan was to have the Eleventh Doctor in a "piratey" outfit, but Matt Smith wasn't happy with it—until, at the last minute, he discovered his on-screen costume. There were apparently photos of the alternate costume which Moffat showed to Doctor Who Magazine. (The black clothes Matt wore for his initial photoshoot and interview, despite fan speculation, don't seem to have been an option.) Some photos did eventually surface, and turned out to be much more "insufferable Hoxton hipster" than "Jack Sparrow", supporting rumours that BBC Executive Meddling initially wanted to make Smith's Doctor much more of a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Tennant's in concept and characterisation.
Speaking of Eleven, there's a piece of concept art◊ for Eleven's TARDIS, where everything is all black and teal and swooping lines.
This seems to have made itself into the canon, as inspiration for his 2013 TARDIS◊
While we're on alternate Doctor costumes—Colin Baker wanted his Doctor to dress in severe black velvet, but it got nixed as being too similar to the Master's outfit.
The Tenth Doctor's epic send-off in The End of Time was just one option considered. The other possibility was a much smaller-scale, one-part story about the Doctor befriending a family of aliens on Christmas Eve, and eventually giving his life to save them from a radiation leak.
For some time it has been known that Elisabeth Sladen was not the first choice to play Sarah Jane Smith: a different actress was signed up, but it was felt that she wasn't suitable and the part was recast. The actress's identity was revealed in January 2012: April Walker.
A small one but Susan at first was meant to have a crush on Ian.
When the TARDIS crew first uses the time viewer in the episode The Chase, they are shown stock footage of one of the Beatles' performances. However, the original plan was for the Beatles to perform dressed as old men, and the footage would have been from a reunion tour sometime in the future. The Beatles agreed to this, but some fool executive nixed the idea. Possibly for the good, as if it had gone through it would have been a massive real life "Funny Aneurysm" Moment given John Lennon's early death.
An offer was made to David Tennant by the new production team, stating that if he wanted to do one more series, they'd be happy to have him. Tennant declined, but later stated that if anything COULD have convinced him to stay, it was the knowledge that Steven Moffat was going to be in charge. And had Tennant stayed for that series, The Eleventh Hour would have started with Amelia Pond meeting an injured Tenth Doctor, only for Amy to meet him years later unscathed. The series finale would have revealed a Timey-Wimey Ball showing that Amelia had met Tenth at the end of his life, on the brink of regeneration.
The season following "The Trial of a Time Lord" would have revealed how the Doctor first met Mel. Then Colin Baker was fired, making this impossible.
At one point, it was thought that because of rights issues, the new series would not be able to use the Daleks. In this case, the monster in "Dalek" would have been a Toclafane, and it would have been revealed that the Toclafane wiped out the Daleks.
The whole show! Doctor Who was originally conceived as a series which would avoid cliches like bug-eyed monsters. Then along came the Daleks. And the Daleks' creator, Terry Nation had created the Daleks to avoid the image of an actor in a suit, which Doctor Who would eventually do many times.
Many, many actors have been considered for the role of the Doctor, some of them quite different to the ones eventually cast.
Geoffrey Bayldon, Alan Well, Cyril Cusack, and Leslie French turned down the role of the 1st Doctor. Hugh David was also considered by the production team, but vetoed by producer Verity Lambert as too young (he was in his late 30s at the time).
Rupert Davies, Michael Hordern, Valentine Dyall and BRIAN BLESSED turned down the role of the 2nd Doctor. Perhaps apocryphally, Troughton himself was William Hartnell's preferred choice for replacement.
According to Jon Pertwee himself, he was number two on the shortlist of 3rd Doctor candidates. The first choice was Ron Moody, who has since said that he regrets turning the role down.
Graham Crowden was first offered the role of 4th Doctor but turned it down as he didn't want to commit to a long-running series. Michael Bentine and Richard Hearne were both considered but ultimately discarded when they each wanted too much influence over the show's scripts and production. Bernard Cribbins (who had previously appeared as Tom, the Ian Expy in the non-canonical Dalek S Invasion Earth 2150) was also shortlisted, but turned down because he envisaged the show as Bloodier and Gorier and wanted to carry a gun. (Ironically, the Fourth Doctor eventually cast eventually became notorious for tinkering with his scripts and starred in all of the most strikingly violentWho episodes ever.)
Richard Griffiths is probably the actor most often considered for the role of the Doctor who then never went on to play the role – he seems to have been on the shortlist for playing the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors. He is popularly assumed to have been favourite for the role of 8th Doctor had production of the show not ceased in 1989, as the next season would have been Sylvester McCoy's last.
Other actors interviewed for the 7th Doctor include Sylvester McCoy's mentor Ken Campbell, and Chris Jury.
During the 90's there were many attempts to adapt the show for American audiences. One TV series idea would have featured Bill Cosby in the role, while a pitch for a movie included the Doctor being played by Michael Jackson. At some point, even Jim Carrey was considered.
Many, many actors were auditioned for the role of the 8th Doctor in the TV movie. The book "Regeneration" by Phillip Segal and Gary Russell detailing the tortured production of the TV Movie lists at least 30 names in total, including Mark Mc Gann, brother of Paul. The production team's initial frontrunners were Michael Crawford, Liam Cunningham and Robert Lindsay.
Initially the TV Movie was a full reboot of Doctor Who and both very different from what we got and very much at odds with existing continuity. Peter O'Toole was approached and provisionally accepted the role of Borusa during this early phase – Borusa would have been the Doctor's (and the Master's) grandfather in this continuity, instead of just an old teacher.
Among the other actors considered for the TV Movie were Rowan Atkinson and his TV Black Adder co-star Tim Mc Innerny.
Hugh Grant has stated that he turned down the role of the 9th Doctor, and later expressed regret at this having seen how the series turned out.
Bill Nighy is popularly assumed to have been the first choice of Russell T Davies for the role of 9th Doctor. Nighy has never confirmed he was specifically approached for the role of the 9th Doctor, saying that "it's disrespectful to whoever did it", but has admitted he turned down the lead role at some point.
Chris Barrie was also considered for 9. Yes, that's right. Rimmer.
Russell T Davies recommended Russell Tovey to Steven Moffat as the 11th Doctor when Moffat took over the producer role. Davies also liked the idea of Harry Lloyd in the role. Yes, Viserys Targaryen.
Peter Capaldi was considered for the role of the 11th Doctor by Moffat, but he didn't feel the timing was right. He was Moffat's first choice for the role of the 12th Doctor. Ben Daniels was considered in case Capaldi turned out to be unavailable.
An early idea for the Doctor's backstory (and the one in mind when the first regeneration was written) was that the Doctor would turn out to be a refugee from a war between his people and the Daleks. This is very similar to what happened in the revival series, coincidentally. An early concept of regeneration was that it was supposed to be like a bad acid trip - during regeneration (which was supposed to happen every 500 years or so) the Doctor would go through a 'metaphysical change' that would mess up his brain by forcing him to relive all of his most horrible memories, explaining why his personality seemed radically different and somewhat traumatised at first.
While a female Doctor is on the wishlist of many Whovians, creator Sydney Newman would have had one ready to go in 1987 if he came back as the showrunner.
The opening title scene was originally supposed to show the main cast playing around/goofing off in the water fountain, but this was only used once in the pilot episode and scrapped afterwards due to the producers feeling that the scene showed the cast as a closed group of friends that might snub anyone outside their group. All of the opening title scenes afterwards show a mixture of the fountain scene and scenes from other episodes.
James Micheal Tyler was supposed to be just another extra on the set. However, he was recruited to be a recurring character in the coffeehouse because he was the only extra who knew how to operate a cappuccino machine.
Joey and Monica were originally supposed to be the main couple focused on over the course of series rather than Ross and Rachel and later Chandler and Monica. A couple of episodes seem to have a few nods to this, such as Joey mistakenly thinking that Monica is flirting with him in "The One with the Flashback", and Monica revealing that she'd originally wanted to have sex with Joey right before getting together with Chandler in "The One With the Truth About London".
Meanwhile Chandler was originally going to be gay, though they scrapped it when Matthew Perry was cast. It's really a miracle Chandler and Monica ever got together.
Also connected with the Joey and Monica relationship, both their characters were originally written very differently. Joey was a a self-centered Handsome Lech, and Monica was much more cynical and sexualized. However both Matt Leblanc and Courteney Cox took the roles in new directions which the writers loved (giving Joey 'heart' and making Monica the warmer, Team Mom of the gang) and they altered the script and dynamic. It was because of these changes that their relationship didn't really click anymore, and the writers quickly realized the much softened Monica was better paired with Chandler's insecurities and neuroses, than Joey's charm.
Although this Chandler/Monica relationship didn't come until Season 5, it almost happened much earlier. The writers first considered it during Season 2 and seriously pitched the idea at the beginning of Season 3, but nixed the plan as there was already a huge romantic plot with Ross and Rachel and they didn't want to split focus. After Ross and Rachel broke up they tested the waters for Monica and Chandler's relationship in the end of Season 3 and with the fans' enthusiastic response, began laying the groundwork throughout Season 4 and got them together for the finale.
They originally had the fallback of making Monica and Chandler a short fling and only lasting a few episodes into Season 5, which was why, in-universe, the relationship was kept a secret from the others characters. However the audience adored them so much and the characters fitted together so well that the writers continued with the relationship and they became the stable relationshipof the gang.
The Season 6 finale was originally going end with both Richard and Chandler proposing to Monica and leaving it as a cliffhanger of who she'd choose. This was scrapped because a) The producers weren't sure the show would be renewed for another season and didn't want to end it unconcluded and b) They realized it would be brain-searingly obvious that Monica would pick Chandler. The final result was a much more personal, romantic scene where Monica proposes to Chandler instead.
The producers supposedly approached REM, then They Might Be Giants, to perform the show's (already written) theme tune "I'll Be There For You". The Rembrandts were their third choice.
Early on, Matt Leblanc and Lisa Kudrow had kicked around the idea that Joey and Phoebe were having casual sex in secret, but the writers were against it.
They also considered having a more elaborate plot of Ross chasing after Rachel in the final episode, with him following her to Paris and them falling in love there but decided they wanted to keep things closer to home and the other characters.
During the casting process, at one point, Leah Remini auditioned for Monica. Jon Cryer was considered for Chandler. Jessica Hecht (Susan) auditioned for Monica as well.
Jennifer Aniston auditioned for the role of Monica as well, and Courtney Cox auditioned for that of Rachel. Producers realized that were better suited for the other role.
Originally Monica was the one having a baby in Season 8, but the writers thought it would be open more storylines if Rachel did instead. To avoid having another pregnancy story in Season 10, they developed Chandler and Monica's infertility and eventual adoption arc.
They also thought about revealing Monica was pregnant in the final episode but nixed it in favour of their adopted baby turning out to be twins. Word Of God does admit they envision they would have had a third child of their own anyway, much to the fans' happiness.
During production of Kamen Rider V3, Riderman was supposed to have a machinegun arm as one of his arsenal. While Shotaro Ishinomori already made its concept art, he ultimately dropped the idea.
Kamen Rider Hibiki was originally to show Asumu becoming an Oni in the final episode, along with Kiriya. A suit had been put together for him, but due to extensive Executive Meddling, the scenes weren't included in what became the rewritten ending, and Asumu's Oni suit was scrapped for parts to enhance Kiriya's. This is partially remedied in the Hibiki's World episodes of Kamen Rider Decade, where Hibiki dies and Asumu becomes an Oni in his place.
Hibiki could apply for this all around, thanks to the Executive Meddling that afflicted its latter portion and forced them to focus on selling toys more than telling a story.
Early rumors for Kamen Rider Decade were that the series was to have a high school theme and have actor Kousei Amano reprise his role as Tachibana/Garren from Kamen Rider Blade. It's likely these ideas were planned at some point, since Kamen Rider Fourze (also an anniversary series) is set in a high school and features Amano in a main role.
Kamen Rider Double was originally going to take place in Suito, a flooded city a la Venice. The idea was scrapped and eventually replaced with the much less budget-consuming (and ecologically-correct) "windy city" of Fuuto.
According to Word Of God, Kamen Rider OOO was supposed to have Dr Maki be the villain of the second arc and then be killed off around episode 30, with Ankh as the final villain of the series. Instead, Maki is the final villain and Ankh sacrifices himself to give Eiji his Core Medals.
Date was also supposed to die, be revived as a homunculus (much like Nobunaga in Movie Wars Core) and become a Greeed. The producer has also confirmed that she wasn't originally planning for Eiji to turn into a Greeed, but changed this later on.
Eiji was conceived as a more cynical type of character akin to Takumi from Kamen Rider Faiz. The characterization was changed after Shu Watanabe was cast in the role and it was felt he would fit better as a Nice Guy hero.
Early pre-release info for Kamen Rider Fourze stated that the Kamen Rider club would investigate the legends of Kamen Riders in their town, with guest appearances from past heroes. This got as far as Fourze's Early-Bird Cameo in the Kamen Rider OOO movie (where Gentaro leaves suddenly because he's late for club activities) but the producers later confirmed it had been scrapped because the idea was too much like Decade (and possibly Gokaiger as well). Instead, the club functions to support Fourze, with Shout Outs to previous heroes but no guest stars.
The character of Hayami/Libra Zodiarts was originally slated to appear for only a few episodes, but his run in the show was later extended. The same thing happened with Bishop from Kamen Rider Kiva, whose character was kept on due to his popularity with fans.
Hayami was intended to have been given a backstory in which he was a brilliant college student who attracted Gamou's notice. This was eventually cut from the show, but stills of the deleted scene were released in a magazine feature.
Nadeshiko Misaki was to have been named Yuriko after Tackle, the first female Kamen Rider; but they changed the name in honor of the national women's football team Nadeshiko Japan, which at that time had just won the FIFA Women's World Cup. Her Rider Kick is also based on the kick that scored the winning goal.
The team behind Kamen Rider Gaim at first played with the idea of a bird/insect theme to the suit designs, until toy company Bandai insisted on fruit. They also considered the idea of having all the Rider suits be samurai with a different kanji on each helmet; but then decided this "wasn't enough", and instead based the suits on different historical armour designs from around the world. They still kept the bird motifs though, as some Riders look like a bird, while one of the Rider's forms looks like a dinosaur (hey, they count as birds).
Gaim's production team stated that they hadn't planned on Kaito Kumon gaining an upgrade; but chose to give him his Lemon Energy form because of his popularity with fans.
The writers of LOST had wildly different plans for many of the central characters. The most famous of these is the by now well-known early plan to have Jack killed by the monster in the middle of the pilot episode. Casting footage on the first season DVD shows just how differently the show might have evolved, with Matthew Fox reading as a much slicker version of Sawyer, Yunjin Kim (Sun) reading for Kate, and multiple mentions of Kate's husband, who was in the tail section. Furthermore, Jack was to be played by a "name" actor (Michael Keaton was specifically mentioned) before being offed, Dominic Monaghan auditioned for the part of Sawyer, but had the part of Charlie written in for him instead, and Nikki and Paulo were intended to become major characters. Specifically, "Exposé" was planned to be solely Nikki-centric and follow her time on the show... and only reveal at the end that the absurd stripper plot was part of a show. Luckily, they were killed off and, thankfully, this was quietly dropped.
Charlotte was originally meant to be an American and the role was offered to Kristen Bell, but she rejected it for a role on Heroes. So it was changed when British actress Rebecca Madder was cast. This has lead to a (implausable) theory held by some that she was meant to be revealed as Annie (given her link to DHARMA), but since Annie was American this was quietly dropped later on. Other Lost castings that never were include Lance Reddick as Eko (had to drop out due to his role on The Wire) and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Libby (which never got past them asking her).
Casting was going on as the pilot was being written. Sayid, Jin, Sun and Hurley were written for actors who auditioned for other parts or written in to accompany those parts in Jin's case. It was not originally decided who would be a regular cast member, Rose or Claire, and on the DVD you can see a cast promo picture getting taken with L. Scott Caldwell instead of Emilie de Ravin. Caldwell dropped out for much of the season thanks to her husband's cancer (later on, this would be the inspiration for Rose's backstory). They were later on still unsure if they wanted to keep on Claire permanently after the kidnapping, hence why de Ravin was on a holding contract until Claire returned (namely, they were only credited when they appeared while everyone else was credited regardless).
Mr Eko was meant to be one of the most important characters on the show, with a arc that would cover the rest of the series. Then the actor left. Though what exactly this arc entails and who it was given to is unknown, the most likely option is that the MIB-as-Locke arc was meant for him given Eko's link to the Smoke Monster.
Likewise, Ilana was meant to have a big part in the final season-in fact, she was going to be Jacob's daughter! But this was cut and scenes were refilmed when they decided they didn't have enough time for this. This explains her promotion to regular, despite not having any development or much importance outside of "Dr Linus" and her abrupt death and absence from the finale.
Caesar was meant to have a regular, and fairly major, role in the final season. But the actor turned down more Lost in favor of GI Joe, so Caesar's abrupt death stuck and his character became an unintentional red herring.
Daniel, Charlotte and Miles were originally planned as guest stars who would last eight episodes, tops. Thanks to how awesomely "Confirmed Dead" turned out, they were promoted to regulars for the rest of season 4 and beyond; while Charlotte was killed off early in season 5 and Daniel was killed off at the end of the season, Miles is still around and Frank has also made the jump to regular for season 6.
After the idea of the reset was introduced, the producers considered season 6 both featuring no reset/alternate timeline of any kind, or a complete reset. After deciding both approaches were deficient, they decided to do both. In fact, they decided to both "do both" and "not do both" by having the alternate timeline in fact be a waiting room for the afterlife rather than an actual alternate timeline, while still having it take place in a what-if-the-plane-never-crashed scenario.
The elements in the tie-in video game, the alternate reality games, and a teaser at Comic-Con where one of the DHARMA researches stated that they knew the events on the island were to die, thanks to the nature of time on the island, were all dumped.
Monty Python's Flying Circus
The entire creation of the series was a stroke of luck. As it were, the Pythons had no concept about what their show was going to be about. During a painful meeting with BBC executives they were absolutely sure that they were never going to get their show on the air. But surprisingly: the nonetheless unimpressed executives gave them 13 episodes "but not a single one more." As Cleese observed, "they just didn't care and let us do whatever we wanted."
Recent documents have also shown that executives were originally planning to axe the show after only one season. But the document disappeared in a drawer and the Pythons went on to make three seasons more.
In a 2007 interview Michael Palin noticed that in today's atmosphere of interfering with every show put on TV "Monty Python" would have probably never been allowed on television or not in the form it exists today.
In 1975 the BBC had serious plans to wipe all tapes of the program. The Pythons heard of this and managed to get a private copy of the entire series. Eventually the BBC deciced to keep all footage when they realized the show remained popular in re-runs and was becoming increasingly well-loved overseas.
In 1974, Dallas PBS station KERA began running the show, introducing it to American audiences. Sometime later, other PBS stations followed, including WNET in New York City. In 1975, ABC obtained the rights to episodes from the fourth, Cleese-less series, which had not been included in the PBS episode package. The network planned to run the episodes as two late-night specials, after they'd been re-edited and heavily censored. The Pythons, who had no input into the sale or editing, sued ABC to prevent the shows from being aired. They lost that battle (though the second show was aired with a brief disclaimer), but won a decision allowing the lawsuit against ABC, the BBC and syndicator Time-Life over improper sale and alteration of their material to proceed. The case was settled out of court, with the Pythons receiving full rights and control over the series. So, it wouldn't be until years later before Python would truly debut on American commercial TV.
Considering that Graham Chapman was usually under the influence of alcohol whenever he performed you wonder how much different his acting would have been without.
John Cleese 's departure after the third season is also interesting to ponder about. Compared to the rest of the group he grew bored with the format very early on. What if he left earlier than the fourth season? Or what if he had stayed, despite his grudges?
The fourth season is generally considered to be less strong than the previous ones, due to the absence of Cleese and Seasonal Rot starting to creep in. This also explains why some members wanted to quit after six episodes, while others want to go on. Eventually the show was cancelled. But what if they had kept going?
Terry Gilliam once said that they should have made several bad episodes until in the end barely anyone was watching it anymore. And then make one final brilliant and excellent episode - which would only be seen by a handful of people.
Terry Gilliam once told Trey Parker and Matt Stone that the Pythons once played with the idea of making an serious episode without any comedy at all, just to see the audience's reactions. The idea never came about, though Parker and Stone used it as an inspiration for the South Park episode "Stanley's Cup".
Another idea that never came about was having all the members of The Beatles appear in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. This could have been promoted as their first reunion since their split. Yet, despite the fact that all the Beatles were Python fans only Ringo Starr made a special guest appearance.
Saban (as well as Marvel beforehand) was trying to sell the Super Sentai series for years before it finally got picked up - when it was, Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger was used because it was the most recent series. If it had been picked up earlier, another show would have ended up as the first Power Rangers series.
Had Power Rangers been delayed another year, Gosei Sentai Dairanger would have been the first series, which would have been... interesting (the show revolves strongly around Chinese and Japanese mythology). There wouldn't have been a Lord Zedd, though.
Saban had apparently been attempting to adapt Sentai over from Japan all the back to Bioman (Bioman was the eighth series made; for reference Zyuranger was sixteenth.) If you're a Rangers fan, however, this seemed to have worked out for the best. Originally Rangers was pre-canceled after a 40-episode run, and it's believed that the only thing that saved it was a huge surge in ratings and toy sales thanks to the arrival of the Green Ranger Tommy. Had it been adapted even one year earlier, when there was no Sixth Ranger, it might not have lasted as long as it did.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: A largely known fact of Power Rangers net fandom has it that Saban and Bandai, having ran out of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger footage and wanting to push product hot on the heels of MMPR Mania, custom-ordered original Sentai footage from Toei (complete with new monster costumes and incorporating several parts of the Power Ranger mythos into it) to fill in those episodes. Among the concept art for this later disseminated amongst the fandom were a series of unused Dinozord redesigns◊, complete with sketches of how they could combine with the Dairanger Tigerzord (or a remake thereof) and all of which are emblazoned with the MMPR lightning bolt. The sketches are now available in a compilation concept art book for Super Sentai, and some fans claim parts of the Dinozord redesigns were incorporated into Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger/Power Rangers Dino Thunder, but imagine what could have been had the redesigns actually been used...
To clarify more thoroughly in the words of the fan who first identified and charted the production history of "Zyu2" (as the footage is dubbed): "Zyu2 comprises 25 monsters and original battles commissioned by Saban Entertainment from Toei and Plex to extend the first season of Power Rangers after the initial episode order of 40. It was produced concurrently to Kakuranger, and internal documents from Saban and Toei even list Zyu2 monster suits as being from Kaku. The hybridized Zyuranger/Dairanger mech designs appear to be control art for a theoretical Zyu3 which never materialized. It seems Dairanger was going to be gutted only for the White Ranger, skipping ahead to Kakuranger for the show's third season and feature film after this. As Zyu2 was prohibitively expensive due to Toei creating extensive new model work for the individual Dinozords, new assembly sequences, and even new finishers atop the usual FX done for the fights — expenses which Saban then had to pay for themselves, thus necessitating they adapt Dairanger for season two to sell more toys simply to offset Zyu2's cost — I'm not surprised." And now you know...
Plex also made designs for later series, like a modified Titanus for both Mighty Morphin Season 3 and Power Rangers in Space and a pair of stand-alone Zords for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue's Red and Titanium Rangers. While these never made it into the shows, they were released as part of the toy line.
And then there's the rumored cut Zord battle involving the Bloom of Doom, featuring the only Zyu2 appearance of Lokar. Though an available script for Bloom of Doom makes no mention of Lokar.
Catherine Sutherland auditioned for Dulcea (and obviously didn't get that part.)
David Yost originally auditioned for Jason.
Jason Narvy originally tried out for a role that eventually became Billy in MMPR's development stage.
Tommy was originally going to be a biker named Rocky.
In "The Green Candle" episodes, they briefly considered killing Tommy off much like his Sentai counterpart but that never left the writer's room.
Originally Power Rangers was only supposed to last for 40 episodes with "Doomsday" being the series finale, early version of the script had an evil child named Bubba piloting Cyclopsis and the Rangers would gain access to Rita's spellbook and Jason recites an incantation that imprisons Rita and her minions in a urn much like how Zyuranger ended.
In addition, originally Jason David Frank was going to star in VR Troopers with Brad Hawkins playing the White Ranger but the two swapped roles.
In the development stage, the series was called "Phantoms" and "Dino Rangers". Though Phantoms appeared to be a working title that was never meant to be anything but a working title.
The original promo that was used to pitch the series (featured in the big box set Shout! and Time-Life offered) showed another take of the series. The Rangers (going by the collective name of "Galaxy Rangers") were known as "Biorhythm Users" (So, instead of "Red Ranger", it was "Biorhythm Red"). Jason was known as "Victor Lee", who was a martial arts expert; Zach was "Zach Taylor", who was a detective, not a "hip-hopkito expert"; Kimberly was "Kimberly Harte" was an aerobics instructor; Billy was still "Billy Cranston", who was a hunky, athletic heartthrob, a far cry from his later nerd style; and Trini was "Trini Crystal", intellectual and struggling novelist.
One idea for season 2 would of had Goldar get fed up with Rita's failure and overthrow her, becoming that season's Big Bad instead of Zedd.
Power Rangers Zeo: The Gold Ranger was originally supposed to be Ryan Steele from VR Troopers, hence Brad Hawkins doing the voice. This was scrapped for the triplet Triforians, and then the returning Jason. Billy was also supposed to be the Gold Ranger at one point but it too was scrapped due to growing tension behind the scenes (later discovered to be David Yost's being gay-bashed).
Power Rangers Turbo: The original planned mid-season finale was called "Rangers in Concert", which would've involved the current Turbo Rangers fighting a cockroach monster named Rockin' Roach, as well as focus much on Carlos (whose surname was orignally "Chavez") and Ashley (who was originally named "Missy"), along with Lt. Stone's niece Jenny Hunter (from "Cars Attacks", and she was originally called "Ashley"), and introduce Tanya's intern at KAGV, Michael (who was basically a prototype of T.J. minus the baseball skills). At the end of the episode, the Blue Senturion would be fixed, and show Tommy, Kat, Adam, and Tanya the full Millennium Message, revealing Michael, Ashley, Carlos, and Missy as the next Power Rangers and the ones who save the world from the united villains. . But Doug Sloan and Ann Austen were both fired by Jonathan Tzachor before the script could be filmed. However, despite the ditching of this script, the second part of "Passing the Torch" does work on the possibility that the retiring Rangers did see the full Millenium Message.
Reportedly, Bulk and Skull were going to get their own spinoff show, a sitcom where they would work at a hotel with an Mexican Elvis impersonator named "El Vez". One can only imagine what that would be like. This was the reason they were turned into monkeys for a good portion of that season - the actors were shooting the pilot.
Thuy Trang was going to reprise her role of Trini in the episode "Passing the Torch."
The Turbo writing staff was apparently split 50-50 between those who wanted to retain the parody aspect of Gekisou Sentai Carranger and those who wanted the season to be serious. While some of the silly bits were unavoidable (like the infamous "baked into a pizza" moment), the series stays mostly serious.
In Space was also supposed to be the end of the series but it did so well in ratings that it got picked up for another season
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Cassie Chan (Patricia Ja Lee) was supposed to take over Kendrix's spot as the Pink Galaxy Ranger at the end of "The Power of Pink", due to Valerie Vernon's fight with leukemia, with the handoff already filmed. Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty of Vernon's cancer fight at the time (she later won, hence her sudden resurrection in the finale), the crew was unable to drop Vernon from her spot in the opening in order to pay Lee the same rate and benefits (since PR was SAG union at the time) instead of sticking her in the back end for much less. Lee quit, necessitating a re-shoot of the ending using stuntmen for stand-ins and Melody Perkins (Astronema/Karone) was hired becoming The Atoner.
Erin Simms was originally cast as Maya but left a couple of episodes in.
There was supposed to be a set of Ancient Rangers who would have played a part in the series. Interestingly, they would have donned the costumes from Gosei Sentai Dairanger. However, Valerie Vernon's leukemia fight caused it to be scrapped.
Power Rangers Time Force: The Time Force movie rumors that got derailed by a SAG strike that was later averted. Also, it was supposed to get 10 extra episodes and Eric would die like his Sentai counterpart. Fox Kid censors shot the latter down. There was also some talk of bringing the cast back for the following season.
Power Rangers Wild Force: And then there was the tenth anniversary team-up episode "Forever Red". Initially planned as a two-parter/hour-long special climaxing with an all-CGI battle between Serpentera and *ten* Megazords, one for each Red Ranger present, the budget was repeatedly slashed by Disney executives who argued "Why should we spend money advertising old toys?" The result? The run time was cut down to a half-hour, leaving many scenes either cut or shortened, what CGI there was done in-house literally weeks before it aired, and the climax rewritten to pimp the latest season's newest toy bike, so that Bandai would pay the cost of completing the episode. Conspicuous by his absence is Rocky. Steve Cardenas was called and had agreed to appear in the episode, but he was in the process of moving at the time and the producers lost contact with him. He was going to be Tommy's butler. Also, Kat was supposed to show up in "Forever Red" and Dino Thunder, canonizing the possible future that she does end up married to Tommy, but she wasn't available. Thus Tommy/Kim fans can still sleep easy at night....they can also count their blessings that one of the original draft scripts (which revealed Kimberly married Skull) didnt become the final product. They can sleep less easy that Word Of God said "A Season to Remember" the episode that revealed Tommy/Kat are married, is canon.
The writers were only allowed to include the horrific death of Cole's parents if they were brought back to life later. Then the franchise switched from Fox Kids to ABC Family and the writers were able to keep them dead.
Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The original plan for the series was Tommy Oliver heading up a Power Ranger Academy with other Power Rangers alumni, all serving as supporting characters to the three new Rangers, the Ninja Storm Rangers. However, the Phantom Ranger does not want a Legion of Power Rangers, therefore creating a Power Rangers civil war.
A post from Wild Force producer Amit Bhaumik expands this. The base of operations would have been known as the "Hexagon" (think the Pentagon, but PR-related) with Tommy in a Zordon-like role. The three main Hurricangers were to be the new recruits, powers derived from Ninjor, ferried to different locations in a special helicoptor by Joel, the Lightspeed Green Ranger. The Hurricanger monsters would have been allies of the remaining bad guys from the earlier seasons, such as Prince Gasket and Archerina, Scorpina and Lokar. The Goraigers were to be part of an anti-Hexagon group (with an original third female member to boot) who felt that Ranger teams should be serparate and not being controlled by one man. This would lead to a Civil War-type conflict with different Rangers siding with either the Hexagon or the anti-Hexagon groups. Jason would have been one of the major supporters of the anti-Hexagon group and butt heads with Tommy. Tommy, on the other hand, would have obtained the Shurikenger powers and, as more Rangers bailed from the Hexagon, would have became the main antagonist before pulling a My God, What Have I Done? and shutting down the Hexagon and letting the teams go their own ways.
Also, Emma Lahana auditioned for Tori Hanson. And since she was trying to launch a music career at the same time, one wonders if the character would have been a straight copy of Hurricaneger's Nanami had she gotten the role.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder: Originally, Billy (yes, thatBilly) was supposed to be the real identity of Zeltrax. Also, the Black Dino Ranger wasn't originally going to be Tommy; it was supposed to be Jason Lee Scott, who was another nominee for the identity of Zeltrax as well. There is also footage that most fans of the season would simply die to see. When the production team was filming Kira's video for the song 'Patiently', Anton Mercer/Mesogog's actor sang the song in full Mesogog makeup. According to sources, he was singing his throat out.
Power Rangers S.P.D.: Sam/Omega Ranger from was originally supposed to have had a regular form while out of costume, but Executive Meddling didn't allow them to hire another full-time actor, thus the weirdness of him spending his down time as a ball of light.
Producer Greg Aronowitz planned for the season to have the first full-fledged female Red Ranger in the franchise's (including Sentai's) history, but since this is a series designed to sell toys to little boys, he was quickly shot down by higher ups from both sides of the Pacific. The idea eventually morphed into the A-Squad subplot.
Bruce Kalish had plans for an SPD movie in which Jack rejoined the team, but was vetoed by Disney.
A-Squad was going to be brainwashed, but there wasn't enough time to play out the concept, so instead we're stuck with the idea that all five of them apparently just woke up one day and decided to turn evil.
Power Rangers Mystic Force: Madison and Vida Rocca were not originally written as sisters (Madison's last name was Grey) but ended up casted as such. The inverse happened to Jack and Z of SPD, sharing the last name of Manners before being casted apart.
Greg Aronowitz was filming Lebou in New Orleans during the break between SPD and Mystic Force when Hurricane Katrina hit and delayed production of the film. Aronowitz stayed behind to finish the film in early 2006, leaving many to wonder what Mystic Force would have been like co-penned by him along with Bruce Kalish.
Leelee Pimvare was meant to be casted as twins like her Sentai counterparts.
Power Rangers RPM: Eddie Guzelian's original ending for the series, a controversial Shoot the Dog ending where Dillon was revealed as Venjix's final host body.
John Tellegen penned another episode for Flynn.
The role of Summer was first offered to an actress called Heidi Bradhurt, with the character reportedly to have been called "Kayla" instead.
Power Rangers Samurai: Amit Bhumik (who wrote "Forever Red" and was the original mastermind behind the aborted "Power Rangers Academy" idea for Ninja Storm) suggested that the as yet-unnamed city featured in the season be revealed as Stone Canyon, Angel Grove's rival city from the early years, but the idea was shot down. Another suggestion that Pink Samurai Ranger Mia be related to former Pink Turbo/Space Ranger Cassie was also turned down. The city was eventually named "Panorama City" by the series props department, who also supplied Mia with a surname on her drivers license, "Watanabe", which sent fans into a frenzy since that name is shared by Ninja Storm's own Samurai Ranger Cam. However, since "Watanabe" is a common name in Japan, it is not an outright indicator the two are related.
Early casting calls for Samurai included a comedy duo called "Skinny Mack and Big Jack", who were ultimately replaced by Bulk and Spike.
Power Rangers Megaforce: wanting a nudge towards what Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger did in bringing back classic Rangers for an anniversary series, Saban sent out invitations to return for a certain series of episodes towards many of the actors. Many of the past Saban-era actors refused to return, citing a number of reasons: David Yost (Billy of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) felt that his invitation was an insult the way it was written; Steve Cardenas and Karan Ashley (Rocky and Aisha of MMPR) refused due to how low the pay was; Rhett Fisher (Ryan of Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) was invited, then later uninvited due to budget constraints. In a very ironic turn of events, Valerie Vernon (Kendrix of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy) couldn't make it because it was too soon of an arrangement when she had kids, too. Melody Perkins (Karone of Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy) could make it, so she's stepping in for her again. Erin Cahill (Jen of Time Force) genuinely wanted to return, but couldn't because she's now a SAG member and the show is non-union. It was later revealed that Austin St. John (Jason of MMPR) was invited but turned it down, feeling the pay wasn't enough for the return trip. He did though clarify that it was more about self-respect than anything greed-like. Also, allegedly none of the actors from the Disney seasons were invited.
Around the time of Operation Overdrive, Disney repeatedly tried to cancel the live-action Power Ranger series and replace it with an animated one, with one incarnation having Doggie Kruger as mentor to a new team. Disney also wanted more control over Super Sentai's production, wanting to make it less violent, which angered Toei and is occasionally thought to be the cause of Shinkenger's heavy Japanese influence.
When Saban bought back the franchise from Disney, they had said that they were going to take it to The Hub as part of a bluff, instead turning around and going to Nickelodeon. What if the bluff was true, though, and Saban did go to The Hub? Discounting the fact that Bandai would have had a fit over this or if Hub network head Margaret Loesch still had any bad blood with Saban over her ousting during Saban Entertainment's takeover of Fox Family, would the presence of three revived childhood series (alongside Transformers Prime and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) made a difference, especially with how popular MLP:FiM ended up being?
And if Power Rangers was on the Hub, would the show still be three years behind of Super Sentai (after the cancellation and 2010 MMPR Reversioning under Disney pushed it back from one to two) especially if The Hub did not have the 20-episode mandate and odd scheduling that Nickelodeon has?
Enter Bhutmik again! The write up for this series, entitled Power Rangers Cyber Corps. Taking place in Eternal City based on Mirinoi and ran by Mayor Kendrix Morgan, the former Pink Lost Galaxy Ranger, the city would have been ran by Energrid, industrializing the Morphin' Grid for everyday use! However, contact with Earth had been severed for about 13 years due to "The Venjix Incident" (that name will be very important later on, folks). The Cyber Rangers would protect this city with the aid of the Buddy-Roids and deal with a mysterious being known as OMNI, who would be working with a virus known as Venjix. Wait a sec, that name sounds familiar, doesn't it? That's because it is... or isn't... Bhutmik would have retconned the RPM!Venjix to be the Venjix from Forever Red, who was accidentally brought into the RPM-verse by accident, thus absolving Dr. K of accidentally destroying the world! However, Venjix would have become an Omnicidal Maniac. There would have been a crossover with RPM that would end with Venjix killing Scott. And the ending, which has Venjix erasing reality save for the Red Ranger.
In the original script of the first episode, Holly is female. Additionally, Lister is forty-one years old. In fact, Lister's personality was quite different overall: he was originally written as though his brain was fried by drugsnote remnants of this still appear in the first episode, e.g. "...What's an iguana?", basically as an Expy of Reverend Jim Ignatowski; Lister's character as he appeared in the show was tailored to better suit actor Craig Charles.
What-Could-Have-Beens in casting include:
Alfred Molina was seriously considered for the part of Rimmer, as was Alan Rickman for Lister.
Chris Barrie auditioned for the part of Lister as well as for Rimmer.
Norman Lovett originally auditioned for the part of Rimmer. Instead, they changed Holly to a male and offered him the part.
When Grant Naylor sent the script to Craig Charles to ask if the character of the Cat was racist, they briefly considered he might take that role.
Alexandra Pigg was originally cast as Kochanski before filming was delayed due to an electrician's strike and she had to drop out, being replaced by Clare Grogan.
One very early idea was to fill the crew with Dead Stars Walking — they didn't, mostly because it would have been too expensive, and partly because they were worried the audience would prefer a programme filled with stars, and revolt when they were killed off.
Lister was originally supposed to have frequent flashbacks to before the accident that killed the crew, but they could never get everyone's schedules to line up.
The originally-planned second episode "Bodysnatcher" involved Rimmer stealing Lister's organs in an attempt to build himself a new body. The writers scrapped it (probably for taste reasons), though the episode does contain one plot point which would impact later episodes (it's in "Bodysnatcher" that Rimmer hides the rest of the crew's personality discs). Some other plot elements and jokes were recycled in later episodes as well.
"Confidence and Paranoia" was planned as the last episode of Series 1, ending with a hologram of Kochanski being activated and joining the crew as a regular cast member. "Bodysnatcher" was then dropped, "Confidence and Paranoia" became the penultimate episode, the hologram in the box was changed to a duplicate Rimmer, and the new Series 1 finale "Me Squared" was written.
The most famous: Series III was to begin with Lister going through pregnancy and giving birth, only to have to abandon the twins in their home universe. The episode ("Dad") was discarded for several reasons; among them, the script came off misogynistic, Grant-Naylor found the idea of a "comedy pregnancy" unfitting for the series, and it just wasn't funny enough. Thus Series III opened with the high-speed Opening Scroll to explain the cast changes.
At the end of "DNA", Kryten was to remain human. Unfortunately for Robert Llewellyn (who was looking forward to not having to go through all the makeup), "DNA" was moved away from its position as the last episode of the season, so he was turned back for continuity.
The episode "White Hole", based on a scene from the novel Better Than Life, was originally based on the "Garbageworld Earth" sequence. But then the producers realized how incredibly expensive that would be and based it on the "Pool with planets" sequence instead.
To address the fact that the programme had never really had an episode that focused on the Cat, an episode titled "Identity Within" was written for Series VII which would have inflicted the Cat with a disease that could only be cured by sex and the crew was meant to visit a slave auction at a GELF colony to try and acquire a mate for the Cat. The episode was eventually cut due to budget problems, so in the end there was never really an episode that featured Cat as the main character.
The final episode of Series VIII was originally entitled "Earth", and would have had the ship return to Earth, smashing through various historic monuments, before finally crashing, at which point Lister would swap insurance details. They couldn't afford it.
The actual Series VIII finale "Only the Good..." had, at different stages, four different endings. The first one, which was written and shot, was an upbeat ending where the Dwarfers saved the ship and took it for themselves, flying right past the escape fleet. This was then rejected in favour of the second ending, written but not shot, which was a Downer Ending in which Rimmer went down with the ship. After Doug Naylor's two young sons objected and told him it was a horrible ending, a third ending was written in which Rimmer was rescued at the last minute by Ace Rimmer. Then, right before shooting, Doug Naylor came up with the final version of the ending: an ambiguous cliffhanger ending where an apparently doomed Rimmer sees a vision of the Grim Reaper... and knees it in the balls and runs away.
In the second version of the US pilot, the Cat was played by Terry Farrell. That's right — Jadzia Dax as a catgirl. A catgirl in a skintight outfit, as well.
Originally, SNL was going to have Albert Brooks as a permanent host, but NBC and the SNL show creators (Lorne Michaels, Michael O'Donoghue, and Dick Ebersol) didn't want SNL to be like Laugh-In, so they opted for booking different celebrities each week. Also, the first episode was supposed to have Billy Crystal as a guest performer. Crystal would later go on to host SNL twice and become a cast member for one season (Season 10/ 1984-1985).
Seasons 6, 11, and 20 all risked being the final season for the show because they were so unfunny, mismanaged, and low-rated that NBC threatened to have SNL cancelled because of it. The threats didn't take (as all the show needed was a quick cast and writer overhaul) and, for better or worse, SNL is still on the air.
Andy Kaufman's special guest appearances warrant some examples:
The Christmas-themed Mr. Bill Show short was intended for the Season 5 Christmas show (1979) but cut when Kaufman's "championship" wrestling match with a woman ran significantly longer than planned. Not only did the short wait a whole year to finally air, but Lorne Michaels was so angry with Kaufman over this that he didn't ask him back for the remainder of the season; Kaufman wouldn't appear on SNL again until January 1982, midway through Season 7. The Mr. Bill Christmas short ended up airing on the season six Christmas episode hosted by David Carradine.
That November, Kaufman was permanently barred from further appearances after a viewer phone-in poll in Season 8's Drew Barrymore/Squeeze episode. Kaufman was behind the idea of the poll and willing to follow it through, but the fallout from this was so damaging to his career that (at the behest of Kaufman's agent George Shapiro) the producers considered trying to get him back on the show; the plan that got the furthest was having him appear for several weeks as a background character (specifically, an African-American cleaning lady!) and then having him break character to reveal his comeback. But the producers were afraid that viewers who voted him off would object to the promise being broken — there had already been complaints over an ad Kaufman made asking for reinstatement being screened in a "Weekend Update" segment. In 1983, guest host Joan Rivers convinced them to bring him back as part of her episode, but he had a prior commitment to the Broadway play Teaneck Tanzi and couldn't participate; his death in 1984 meant that he never did properly return to the show.
According to friend/collaborator Bob Zmuda, it was Kaufman who convinced producer Dick Ebersol to give Eddie Murphy's Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight take on Gumby a chance when the original skit risked being cut over concerns that the audience wouldn't remember the little clay guy.
Jeffrey Hunter was originally cast in the role of Captain Christopher Pike that would later famously be replaced by Capt. James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. Pike was meant to stay on as the series lead character, but Hunter was unavailable to film the second pilot. Rather than recast the role, they created a new character.
When Hunter couldn't return but before Shatner signed on, the producers spoke to both Jack Lord and Lloyd Bridges about playing Kirk. Bridges immediately turned it down because he didn't like the thought of being on a sci-fi show, but Lord was interested, provided they gave him way more creative control than they were comfortable with. Negotiations fell through and their third choice, Shatner, was selected.
Spock's iconic Vulcan salute was actually a last minute change. The original salute would have involved one Vulcan kneeling in front of another, while the standing Vulcan grabs the kneeling Vulcan's shoulders with both arms. Leonard Nimoy changed the salute because he felt it didn't fit the Vulcans' characterization, as they would have considered such physical contact a violation of privacy. Plus it just looked plain silly.
The Klingon Koloth from the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" was envisioned as a recurring character and arch-nemesis of Kirk's. William Campbell, the actor who played Koloth, once said in an interview that he would have played Koloth as Kirk's equal and opposite in the Klingon empire, and someone who respected his adversary, to the point where he would save Kirk's life from other enemies on occasion, declaring that nobody could kill Kirk but him. When the character of Koloth reappears decades later in Deep Space 9 he remarks that his greatest regret is never getting to meet Kirk in battle.
Harlan Ellison's original script of "The City on the Edge of Forever", which was heavily rewritten, mostly due to cost. The aired version was almost entirely written by Star Trek story editor D. C. Fontana, who is uncredited. Ellison was not pleased, believing his version to be True Art. Notable differences include:
Instead of McCoy, history is changed by a random drug-dealing crew member. (Gene Roddenberry would later erroneously claim the script featured Scotty dealing drugs.) Unlike McCoy, this character is a proper villain who murders a Red Shirt who tries to report him. At the end of the episode, the drug-dealing crew member escapes into time again, only to be caught in a star the moment it goes supernova. Time replays itself continuously afterwards, forcing him to relive the supernova again and again as his eternal punishment.
Yeoman Rand is the only named character to beam down to the planet with Kirk and Spock. In the final episode, Scotty and Uhura share this role. (Rand had been Brother Chucked by the time the episode was filmed.)
Instead of simply disappearing, the Enterprise is replaced by a ship of Space Pirates. This part was apparently forced on Ellison by Executive Meddling, only to be deleted from the final version anyway. A similar concept was later used in the episode "Mirror, Mirror".
The Guardians of Forever (note the plural) are nine-foot-tall aliens who guard the Time Vortex of the Ancients. Thus, the Guardian of Forever in the final episode is not just a Composite Character of the two aliens, but also of the vortex itself.
Kirk and Spock are taken in by a janitor and first encounter Edith Keeler when she makes her speech. Kirk and Spock recognize her as their focal point in time immediately and spy on her for awhile before making contact.
Kirk does let Edith fall down the stairs, realizing in time that she is meant to die. Edith survives the fall, but is confused by Kirk's behavior and he ends up feeling guilty. When the climax rolls around, Kirk is unable to let her die and Spock has to step in to restore history. (This seems to be the change Ellison is most upset about, feeling that his version makes Kirk flawed and human instead of just The Hero.)
In Roddenberry's pitch for the Original Series, Spock was described as "half-Martian" rather than half-Vulcan. Presumably, if this little detail had remained unchanged, a sentient Martian species would have become become part of the Trek verse. Spock was also originally planned to have red skin, but just before production started it was discovered that the makeup would make him look black on a black-and-white TV (which many people had at the time), and it was feared that this would cause controversy. As the later fallout involving Uhura's introduction showed, they were probably right.
If you think that's odd, imagine what could have been if Leonard Nimoy had decided not to return for the second season, which he seriously was considering. Had he opted out, producers were looking at an actor named Laurence Montaigne or Mark Lenard to replace him. Montaigne was later given the role of Spock's romantic rival, Stonn, while Lenard, who had already played the first Romulan on the series, would go on to his far more famous role, Spock's father, Sarek. Imagine that; Spock was almost his own father.
There are rumors, denied by the actor himself, that when it seemed like Leonard Nimoy may not be available, Martin Landau was pursued by producers to play Spock, but he was signed to TV Mission: Impossible first.
Several plans were made had Enterprise been renewed for another season, among them:
An episode essentially nullifying the unpopular ending of "These Are the Voyages" and reviving Trip in some way. (A book that was written, albeit without any guidance from the writers of the series, basically said that the death and its inclusion in the Holodeck program was part of a cover-up to hide the true purposes of a mission.)
An episode called "The Treatment" that would have guest-starred the incredibly-long-lived Star Trek: The Next Generation character Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and would have had an appearance by Spock's grandfather, Skon, and the words (yes, there are words) of the original Star Trek theme song being sung out loud by a Capellan (Chase Masterson). (Presumably without music...)
An episode called "Kilkenny Cats", which would have featured the Kzinti, the Star Trek version of the Cat-like race of the same name that is seen in Larry Niven's Known Space.
Shran would have become a member of the crew. No doubt foreshadowing Andoria's co-founding of the Federation with Vulcan, Earth, and Tellar.
Interestingly enough, Shran's actor, Jeffrey Combs, had auditioned years previously for the role of Riker on The Next Generation.
Several episodes that would explain or foreshadow events in the "future" Star Trek Series (mainly TOS): Stratos, NOMAD, Flint, The Borg Queen, "This Side of Paradise" and possibly more on the Mirror Universe would have been explored.
And, believe it or not, there might have been a televised crossover with Doctor Who. Seriously. Russell T. Davies was planning on making overtures to Paramount for a story in which the TARDIS showed up on the NX-01, but the Trek series was canceled before he could do so. He admitted it probably wouldn't have happened (for obvious reasons), and certainly not in a way that the two creative teams would have liked. But still, the two longest-running SF Franchises in history...
For that matter, what would have happened if the first Star Trek: TOS pilot was the one that got picked up?
Star Trek: Phase II. Intended as a continuation of Star Trek: TOS but with an extensive visual update and new characters. The pilot of the series and the already partially-built sets were reworked into The Motion Picture, while many of the remaining scripts got recycled ten years later as TNG episodes.
The very earliest concept for the series seen it as being set more than a century after the original, featuring the NCC-1701-7 (not a typo, they really were going to have a number instead of a letter), and with the ship being crewed by... cadets. When Gene Roddenberry heard about these plans, which were put forward by the studio executives completely independently of him, he rang them up and insisted on taking personal charge of the series.
Wesley was also, originally, going to be a teenage girl, Lesley Crusher, until Roddenberry decided to cast Wil Weaton in the part, and gave the character his own middle name.
Wes was also originally intended to be the product of an affair between Picard and Beverly Crusher. This was alluded to in early seasons, but wound up going nowhere.
At one point in development, it was considered to ditch the starship concept altogether and instead increase the power of the transporter to allow the crew to beam from planet to planet every week. The idea didn't last very long, though it did crop up elsewhere.
The Borg were at one point supposed to have a much bigger part in the series than they did. Those Romulan and Federation outposts that were wiped out at the end of the first season were supposed to be foreshadows of a major Borg invasion of the Romulan Empire. A writer's strike wound up forcing the producers to cut and change the story to what was seen in "The Best of Both Worlds". Certainly would have been a darker turn for the series though.
The Borg were originally supposed to be an insectoid race, related to the invading parasites from the first-season episode "Conspiracy". They were later reimagined into more budget-friendly humanoid cyborgs.
Take another look at that casting letter. Notice a name missing? That's right, Worf was not initially a planned part of the series. The producers toyed with the idea of a Klingon as a regular crew member in order to parallel the repaired relations between the USA and Russia. The idea for Worf was actually rather last-minute, which is reflected in early cast promotional photos that he is absent from. It also explains why his character didn't really seem to have a permanent post in the first season. One wonders what would have happened if Denise Crosby had not left.
Data had a remarkably different original backstory as a product of alien biomechanics. This idea was probably still in the writers' minds as of TNG "The Naked Now" when Data compared himself to a biological life form in an attempt to explain to Picard how it was that he could get intoxicated by the virus in that episode.
Peter David took that part and ran with it in Q-Squared where an alternate timeline sees Data built as a "human-oid": A positronic brain in a human body.
The sixth season episode "Second Chances" deals with Riker dealing with a copy of himself created 8 years prior. An idea considered at the time was to have the original Riker accidentally die during the episode and then have 'Lt. Riker' join the crew, taking Data's position at OPS while Data became the new first officer.
Interestingly, there is an early model of the Ambassador Class visible in the conference room as a mural of all the Starfleet ships named Enterprise. The final Ambassador design was very different, but the ship in the mural was never changed. Other examples may be present in the various models of ships found on desks of officers; leftovers of models that were going to be used but never were.
The character that eventually became Worf was originally supposed to have been a Marine from the Klingon Empire who simply held a post on a Federation ship.
Originally, the crew was supposed to keep the original colors from TOS - Yellow for Tactical, Red for Engineering and Blue for Medical. However, having seen Frakes and Stewart in the red uniforms, they thought they looked better in them and flipped the Tactical and Engineering colors. This is later referenced in the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" when Sisko puts on the wrong colored uniform and has to be reminded of the old ways.
The producers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine briefly considered setting the series on Bajor itself, within a planet-based facility, with heavy use of location filming for the exteriors of the base. Though hardly a huge change to the format of the eventual series, it would have opened up storytelling possibilities, with some Bajorans suspecting that they'd simply traded one set of occupiers for another (an idea that nevertheless made it into the series, at least as subtext).
At first it wasn't certain that the captain on this show would be black, and Richard Dean Anderson was considered as the lead. Later, when they decided that the character would be black, James Earl Jones and Carl Weathers were both approached. Had Jones been cast, the character would have been an admiral and Jake would have been his grandson, but eventually it was agreed that a younger lead was a better plan.
The role of Major Kira was initially intended to be Next Generation recurrer Ro Laren, which was the entire reason for setting the show near Bajor. When Michelle Forbes declined to do a series, Nana Visitor was hired instead. Although the show would certainly have been well-done, showrunners claim that having Kira — who was quite emphatically not a member of Starfleet, and didn't much like the Federation — opened up possibilities for internal conflict that would not have otherwise existed.
"Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" were going to be the finale of season 3 and the premiere of season 4 respectively. However, Paramount decided to boost ratings by introducing a Klingon storyline and adding a TNG regular (they decided on Worf) to the main cast.
The series was originally conceived with The Borg as the primary antagonist in mind. The idea was dumped because it was felt The Borg were too powerful for the main characters to thwart week after week which is the reason they rarely appeared in TNG. They then considered the Romulans and Klingons (an idea they did partially explore midway through the series) but eventually settled on the Cardassians and later a new race, The Dominion. Their appearance in the pilot is all that is left of this idea.
The Dominion was originally going to be a counterpart of The Federation, as an alliance of many different races, just bent on conquest and domination instead of exploration and understanding, with no clear one as the "master race". It was axed due to the pains of both consistently writing and introducing new alien races and the budget pains of having to portray them week after week, and eventually just became three races, one of which is clearly in charge.
Leonard Nimoy expressed interest in playing Mirror Universe Spock in an episode.
Ronald Moore originally wanted to name the Defiant Valiant, but this was rejected out of fear people would confuse it with Voyager. The name Valiant was eventually used for one of the Defiant's sister ships.
Initially it was Vulcan, not Betazed that was conquered by the Dominion during In the Pale Moonlight, but the writers nixed that because they felt it would offer Sisko too much justification for the extreme measures he then undertook.
When the character of Janeway was being developed, the producers weren't sure if they were really going ahead with the first female Trek lead, and spoke to British actor Nigel Havers about the role, as well, as Alien Nation actor Gary Graham (who also claims to have read for the role of Sisko). For that matter, Janeway was the first regular Trek role to actually be recast before the series aired. Initially Oscar-nominated actress Genevieve Bujold was cast as Captain Nicole Janeway. After she departed, the character's name became Elizabeth Janeway and only became Kathryn when Kate Mulgrew was finally cast and the name seemed to suit her better.
Tuvok was initially developed as an older Vulcan, with an actor in his 50's or even early 60's playing him. None of the actors in that age range satisfied producers, and so instead, Tim Russ became Trek's first black Vulcan. They kept the idea of Tuvok being well over 100, however.
Robert Picardo desperately wanted to be cast on Voyager, but as Neelix, whom Picardo was convinced would become the show's breakout character. Thankfully he was persuaded to take the "boring" role of the Doctor, turning that role into the breakout character instead.
Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager was originally meant to be one-off TNG character Nicholas Locarno (who was played by the same actor and had roughly the same past); reasons for changing it include royalties and the far more likely idea that, unlike Tom, Nicholas was "irredeemable".
For that matter, even before the Locarno idea, the producers yet again wanted this character to be Ro Laren, which would have made sense as she was now Maquis. Again, however, Michelle Forbes turned the opportunity down, and the writers started thinking about what other "fallen" characters could be used, and came up with Locarno, who eventually became Paris.
Additionally, the Year of Hell was not originally just a two-parter but instead the plan for the entire fourth season, until Executive Meddling ended that.
Only if the season finale wasn't a massive Reset Buttonlike the two-part episode's ending was, which would have reduced a grim and gritty season to a Dallas cop-out.
It was, indeed, foreshadowed in the season three episode "Before and After", where Kes' time-jumps were caused by a Krenim temporal weapon in Voyager's future, although Kes would leave shortly into the fourth season.
In said foreshadowing, it showed a version where Janeway and Torres were killed off, leaving Chakotay in command of the ship. It also had Neelix as a security officer, and probably would have had some interesting plots later on.
Joanna McCoy, Dr. McCoy's daughter, who was in the Universe Bible for the original Trek series. In the third season, an episode was written which introduced her, but it eventually mutated into the infamous hippie episode "The Way To Eden" with Joanna replaced by Irina Galliulin. Joanna was then set to appear in the fourth season, but the show got cancelled first. She was finally mentioned (but unseen) in Star Trek: The Animated Series and, of course, she has made many appearances in the Star Trek Expanded Universe. But technically she still does not canonically exist.
By the way, the "Michael Richards" who has co-story credit isn't thatMichael Richards but a pseudonym for D.C. Fontana, who wrote the original script for "Joanna" (the episode's initial title); she washed her hands of it after rewriting took effect.
A number of Trek alumni have attempted to create a new series. One such example was by Jonathan Frakes, who attempted to pitch a series, going by his comments, focusing on the now-Captain Riker of the U.S.S. Titan, alluded to during Star Trek: Nemesis. Paramount execs vetoed it to prevent "franchise fatigue", which Frakes agreed made sense.
In the original plans for the series the warp drive didn't counteract Time Dilation. (Which may be why we never saw present-day Earth in the series). This is where the concept of stardates originally came from; which shows that the creators didn't fully understand the concept: special relatively means there is no universal time!
Before the disruption of the Writers Strike, Sam was going to break Dean's deal with Lilith before the end of S3. Additionally, the introduction of angels to the series was only conceived of during the Writers Strike.
Gordon was going to find out the events of Born Under a Bad Sign and gather a few hunters to help him kill Sam Winchester/The Anti-Christ but Sterling K. Brown was only available for two episodes in Season Three so that idea had to be scrapped.
Originally, in Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as in John Winchester) was going to appear as Dean's worst nightmare and Jason Voorhees was going to appear in Sam's dream. But neither were available so Sam had an Erotic Dream about Bela and Dean's dream became even more depressing; canceling out his assertion of self-esteem while he was saying it.
In Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, where ghosts blame the boys for their deaths, Sera Gamble tried to get Jessica Moore (Sam's ex-girlfriend) instead of Ronald (Nightshifter) but it fell through. Thank God it did, though, as her angrily blaming Sam for her death would have probably reduced everyone to tears.
However, in Free To Be You and Me, Lucifer communicates with Sam in his dreams using Jess' form.
Jensen Ackles could have been cast as Sam, as that was the part he originally tried out for and he was the favorite until Jared Padalecki auditioned, at which point they decided to switch him to Dean. Though he says his interpretation of the character was pretty much the same as Jared Padalecki's.
Season 6 was originally planned to be very different from what ended up onscreen. The realization that Sam had lost his soul and the brothers' attempts to get it back were planned to be the main arc, but fan backlash forced the writers to conclude it halfway through the season, and Castiel being the Big Bad was only thought of at the last minute as a replacement.
24 was originally a much different show than what it ended up becoming. Prior to the first season, the producers had envisioned the show as a romantic comedy with dramatic overtones about the planning of a wedding. This was changed in pre-production to a government agent (originally named Jack Barrett) trying to stop the assassination of a senator. The "wedding" angle would be revisited in the first few hours of the second season with the Warner family.
The first season was only fully plotted for 13 hours, because the producers weren't guaranteed a full season. When the series was given a full 24 episodes, new plotlines were drawn up for the rest of the 24 hours (including Victor Drazen - The Man Behind the Man, the reveal that Nina Myers was an enemy, and Kim's second kidnapping).
Alberta Greene was originally intended to be played by Alberta Watson in the first season (the part was named for her). She wouldn't join the series proper until Season 4, playing a character who ironically turns out to be just as "by-the-book" as Greene.
Nina Myers was originally intended to be a loyal agent, but her motivations were changed after several episodes had already been filmed with her "good" persona. The scene where Jack is ordered to shoot her at the side of the road would have been a permanent death, but this was changed to keep her alive (via the reveal that Jack had given her a flak jacket).
The most well-known example: Teri Bauer was originally supposed to survive being shot at the end of Season 1. The film crew shot three different endings: the broadcast version (where she dies), one where she is shot but pulls through, and one where she is unharmed and walks off smiling with Jack. Teri's fate was up in the air until the start of the second season, but this is a case of Executive Meddling that turned out for the best: the incident helped develop Jack Bauer as a character and firmly established 24 as a tragic series where truly Anyone Can Die.
Gabriel Macht was originally supposed to play Chase Edmunds in the third season. However, the producers were so impressed with James Badge Dale's audition that they hired him instead, and told Macht he would get a significant role in the next season. This never materialized. Chase was also originally slated to die as a result of a botched hand-reattachment operation at the end of the season, but this was scrapped in the script stage.
Originally, Ryan Chapelle was originally going to fake his death (and come back later) as a result of Stephen Saunders' demand that he be killed. However, after the script leaked online to a message board, the script was changed to kill him off permanently.
Mandy was supposed to show up in Season 5, but ended up being removed from the narrative. It's believed she would have been the assassin who kills Palmer in his hotel room (replaced by a male assailant).
A well-known example: Glenn Morshower (Agent Aaron Pierce) was originally slated to die in the fifth season, but he blew the producers away with his ad-libbed response of "Is there anything else, Charles?" during a pivotal scene with President Logan late in the season. The writers hastily changed the scripts to keep him alive.
The Season 6 DVD commentaries reveal that Josh was intended to be Jack's son, but it was changed at the last minute to have Josh be Philip Bauer's son instead. Philip was originally going to reveal this to Josh when they were on the oil rig, but it was scrapped because it would have added too much to an already-dramatic situation.
According to various sources, Tony was at one point intended to make an appearance in the sixth season finale. It got as far along as the planning stages, with various scenarios being rumored (one would have had Tony get a separate scene after Jack walks out of Heller's house, and another would have had him confront Jack either in the finale or a DVD-exclusive scene). Either way, it never got far enough along to be scripted and filmed, although it likely would have been a better surprise than the reveal in the Season 7 trailer (for a season that was delayed for a year because of the WGA Writer's Strike, leaving fans up in the air).
In Top Gear, the presenter originally planned for the Vampire rocket-car segment was James May. He had to back out due to a schedule conflict and Richard Hammond did it instead. The car crashed at 288 mph and nearly killed him. The car not only went off the track but rolled over and did an extended slide upside down. Hammond's height, generously listed as 5'7" and for which he is frequently made fun of, may have saved him from being decapitated. May is five inches taller. On the news segment where they watch the footage, notice Clarkson is doing most of the talking; you can see that May knows exactly that fact... his expression says it all. On the other hand, the bulk of the filming had been completed around 5 pm, but they had use of the track for another half hour. Hammond opted to take the rocket-car out one more time, leading to the crash. Had he done the segment, the cautious May (compared to the risk-taker Hammond) might never have taken it out for one last run.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: A plan was scrapped to reveal in the episode "Taken", when Olivia's mother dies, that her mother lied about being raped, followed by Olivia meeting her father. Unfortunately, many fans still haven't gotten the "scrapped" part and think that's All There in the Manual, which must have made for a very confusing Season 8.
For Law & Order: Alana de la Garza's pregnancy was going to be written into Season 21. In spite of Law & Order's tendency to give minimal details about the character's personal lives, both Mike/Connie and Lupo/Connie had fanbases.
Heroes: Forget Peter Petrelli's telekinesis. What really saved the world from getting a virus released on it in S2 was the Writer's Strike. As you might have been expecting, a whole section of the S2 DVD/Bluray release is devoted to What Could Have Been without the Strike ("Untold Stories").
Elle was supposed to be revealed as Claire's sister... and, of course, yet another damn Petrelli. This was luckily dropped. Though the writers briefly decided to imply that Sylar was a Petrelli for no discernible reason instead. Then it turned out Mama Petrelli lied about that.
Being "revealed as Claire's sister" does not mean she would've been a Petrelli - all it required was for them to share a single parent, since they never specified whether the plan was that they be full-blooded sisters or half. As such, Bob Bishop might well have still been intended to be her father, but Meredith Gordon - who is blonde like both Claire and Elle - would almost certainly have been her mother. In turn, if Bob was still her father in this case, it would have made things fascinating if Stephen Tobolowskyhadn't badly hurt his neck and thus had a Bridge Dropped on His Character, instead getting character development regarding his relationship with Elle and her mother that might've seen him Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
Let's all breathe a heavy, sad sigh for the proposed Origins spinoff anthology series.
The first season had plenty of plans that were abandoned, with Sylar originally being a Paul E. Sylar (and much older than the Sylar that was used), and a terrorist plot involving a character named Amid Halebi (who had a connection to Matt), and countless other differences in the plans...
Before the series started, the plan was to have a revolving cast, with only a few characters from previous seasons returning the next. Strangely, that started to happen later in the series, but only with characters who were introduced after season one. Virtually every main character from season one either survived or is survived by a twin, and of now the main cast is still mostly season one alumni and new introductions. Meanwhile, main characters from other seasons, such as Adam, were promptly killed off when their existance wasn't relevant, or like Monica, completely forgotten.
Another early idea was for the show to be about an alien who watched bad movies as a way of understanding Earth's culture.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was originally conceived as an origin movie, revealing how Joel got to space and built the bots. However, the executives funding the movie wanted little to no riffing and it would lead to Joel's departure from the show.
Now, that's an interesting What Could Have Been there - how the series could have gone if Joel didn't leave!
The last episode for season 6 was originally planned to be Master Ninja III, but a combination of being unable to get it and it being Frank Conniff's last episode lead them to use Samson vs. the Vampire Women instead.
So Weird had its arc all planned out (including episodes about Fi's mom coming to terms with her alcoholism, one about Jack discovering that he was a knight in a past life (with help from Rebecca, who had known his past life), one about Fi helping a wandering spirit get to Heaven, and one where Fi finds a portal to Hell and goes there to rescue her dead father). Sadly, the lead actress left midway through, a replacement was cast, and the show —while still keeping its weird stories and characters — got Lighter and Softer (making it more like a Disneyfied version of Goosebumps) instead of Darker and Edgier.
The X-Files episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" was supposed to end with the CSM killing the Lone Gunmen for discovering his identity; the ending was changed because the writers wanted to leave it ambiguous how much of the story was true. In reference to this, one scene has the Cigarette Smoking Man read a story that he had published to a magazine and then complain that the ending had been totally changed.
Once the fans revived Jericho for a second season, only 7 episodes were allotted it. It was originally going to be much broader, with the story in Cheyenne expanded and a story in New York City as well.
Blakes Seven was slated to continue into a fifth season, with the first episode revealing that the only character to die in the dramatic shoot-out at the end of Season 4 was Blake himself. Everyone else would merely have been stunned (aside from any actors who didn't wish to return) and the season would start with the crew as prisoners of the Federation. However, it was generally felt that the series had gone as far as it could go and rather than face the cost of building new sets (since the crew's starship and base had been destroyed at the end of Season 4) the BBC decided to can the show, although ratings were still decent. As a result, everyone dies.
Terry Nation wanted the aliens invading the galaxy at the end of the second season to actually be the Daleks themselves. In fact, the idea of a Doctor Who/Blake's 7 crossover was popular with Tom Baker and some of the B7 cast.
At one point in the 1970s, George Lucas approached Gene Roddenberry to ask if the Star Trek franchise was for sale....
After the series Andromeda came to an end, its original producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who was forced out midway through season 2, released a "Coda" on his website detailing where he had planned to take the series in its planned five-year run. To say that his original vision was different to what made it onto screen is an understatement. So is saying that it was better.
Tyr would take command of the combined Nietchzean prides, Harper would become the controlling intelligence of the Consensus of Parts (by this time he would have already gotten laid and be over the crude sexual jokes), Rev Bem would become leader of the Wayists, and Beka would take the final action to defeat the Abyss using the Engine of Creation, already being A God Am I by this point due to her prolonged use of the Engine and becoming even more of one when she merges with the Abyss (though this essentially results in both of them disappearing as they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence).
And they'd still be a doctor and a captain! But with Ho Yay!
Also, judging from the shooting script of the first episode, Simon (and possibly, by extension, River) was supposed to have an English accent (Simon uses the word "maths" instead of the American "math"). But, this could also be attributed to show creator and pilot writer Joss Whedon's upbringing and education in the UK.
Kaylee was originally going to be an Asian character, but Jewel Staite was cast instead. Understandable, but with the series' issues with Asian representation...yeah.
Speaking of unfortunate material, there was a proposed episode (that never made it to air) where the audience learns what was in the needle Inara was toting in the pilot during the flight through Reaver territory. Turns out it's a biological weapon that kills anyone who tries to touch her... which is discovered when Inara is gang-raped. Yikes.
Nicholas Brendon initially tried out for the Mike Peterson/Deathlok role, but didn't get it.
Melinda May was originally going to be a white woman named Althea Rice. The role was rewritten after Ming-Na Wen nailed her audition, and the character's name was thusly changed to avoid any Unfortunate Implications.
Isabelle Hartley was originally going to be the girlfriend of the late Victoria Hand. Maurissa Tancharoen claims this idea ended up scrapped since the staff didn't want to deal with the Internet Backdraft the show would've gotten over killing off another lesbian character.
Cameron getting caught in a jeep explosion at the end of the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles was supposedly written in case Summer Glau wanted to leave the role at the end of the series. If she had, the resolution would have been that Cameron had her skin burned off in the fire and regrew a new one for the new actress, either like Cromartie did early in the series or by having similar abilities to the T-X of the third film.
One vocal part of the series Hate Dom was that the series was set in the present day, instead of being set in Future War as basically Band of Brotherswith cyborgs. The season two cliffhanger indicates this is what the third season would actually have been. But, of course, Fox...
Actually, thanks again to the Writer's Strike, the whole plot for Season 1 had to be dropped and canceled. The Jeep explosion was supposed to be the halfway point. Remember that blonde chick, Cheri Westin who was mysterious, "broken goods" (as Morris called her) and seemed like she'd play a big part, but then suddenly vanished in Season 2, never to be mentioned again? Yeah, she was supposed to have a sub-plot about being the victim of blackmail from the same person who made Jordan Cowan (the cheerleader who killed herself near the beginning) commit suicide. Because John got to know her, he unwittingly got dragged into a similar type of situation where his idenity would be compromised. Guess we'll never know who made poor Jordan kill herself, or what dark secrets Cheri had...
The producers of the show Once Upon a Time originally wanted to cast Lady Gaga as the Blue Fairy, but her management never replied back to them.
In an early version of the script for the Quantum Leap episode that introduced Alia, the "Evil Leaper", the major difference from the aired version occurred at the end. Alia has a gun on Sam, and is being ordered to kill him. Sam talks her down, appealing to her better nature, and gets the gun from her. Then, Sam points the gun at Alia! He tells her that he can't let her go, that the "stakes are too high." Al is very encouraging of this development, and Ziggy even says that Sam has to shoot her to protect the timeline. Alia, needless to say, feels a tad betrayed. Then she Leaps out. One can only presume that sanity prevailed, because this out-of-character display of hypocrisy never made it to air.
The producers planned to have Sam leap into Thomas Magnum for the season four finale, but the plan was nixed by reluctance from Tom Selleck (who apparently hadn't been in on the idea until late) and rumors that a Magnum P.I. movie was in the works, so they might not be allowed anyway.
In the beginning, Saban's Masked Rider was supposed to be a very different show. Several big differences included Edenoi exploding, no Ferbus, a different Albee and Molly, different voices for Chopper & Magno, no original villain footage... Yet, Ted Jan Roberts is still Dex. As seen in this pilot.
The pilot for Chuck originally had Natalie Martinez cast as a neighbor and love interest for Chuck Bartowski. The character, Kayla Hart, was dropped because the show's cocreators thought she made the plot too complicated. (They also realized it was unlikely a Nerd Herder would have two women pining over him.) Her photo was released with some early cast promo shots.
Word has it that originally the character of Ellie was either conceived as a friend of Chuck's, not his sister OR that Ellie took on some of the lines from removed Kayla, explaining some of the unintentional Incest Subtext in the pilot.
Torchwood: Children of Earth was originally going to have Mickey and Martha on the team, but this was unfortunately scrapped due to actors' scheduling conflicts.
The original pilot of Dollhouse was quite different and is available as an extra on the last disc of the Season One DVD set. Several scenes from it were placed in episodes 2-5. Interestingly, in this version Saunders almost can't be a doll, indicating that this was not a plot point planned from the beginning. And Topher doesn't approve of altruistic pro bono engagements, whereas he himself is behind one in the aired episode "Briar Rose".
Desperate Housewives had a weird take on an inversion early on. Throughout season 1, there was subtle build-up to a sub-plot, picked up by many fans, that Tom Scavo is a bigamist. When this eventually went nowhere, creator Marc Cherry went on the record, explaining that they didn't feel it was right for Tom's character to be a cheater. Season and a half later, once the audience dropped its guard, a version of the plot - that Tom had a daughter by a pre-marital one-night stand - was bombarded into the show, taking everyone by surprise.
In the late nineties, there was talk of resurrecting the cult Channel Four gameshow Wanted with celebrities as a one-off tie-in for Comic Relief- instead, we got the first Celebrity Big Brother.
Stargate SG-1 would have went down a very different road if the writers had their way. Originally it was planned to end after the fifth season, and be continued with a theatrical film which in turn would lead to a sequel series, and if that wasn't picked up, another film. Another plan was to have a series of SG-1 theatrical films run alongside the sequel series to allow it to have its own characters and plots. The series was cancelled by Showtime, but the Sci-Fi Channel picked it up and gave it a sixth season. The writers then planned that season to be SG-1's last, but the ratings were so strong, MGM and Sci-Fi decided to give it another season and axed their plans for the film. So their script was then reworked into a grand series finale, which would lead to the sequel series. The seventh season ended up doing even better than the sixth, and the series was renewed yet again. So finally the script had to be reworked into the two part season finale "Lost City" with the same basic plot of the film, but a lot trimmed out and removed. The ideas and plot elements written for the sequel series were used to create Stargate Atlantis.
"Lost City" originally was going to have Sam and Jack kiss, when it was planned to be the series finale, as a nod to all the shipping requests and theories among fans, which wouldn't have been the first time. The irony is they were never intended to be a couple, as this was pure fan speculation/wishes, and in fact they had separate love interests intended for them but both characters were eventually axed.
Originally the entire Goa'uld fleet would have been destroyed at the end of "Lost City" as Anubis would have conquered the entire Goa'uld empire and sent a fleet of hundreds of ships to attack Earth, essentially ending the Goa'uld plotline with a bang. After an 8th season was confirmed, the writers decided to extend the Goa'uld story to the end of that season (which they believed would finally be their last).
The original press information for Stargate Atlantis included a scientist called Dr. Benjamin Ingram, African Canadian. They brought back Dr. Rodney McKay from SG-1 instead.
Stargate Atlantis was not conceived originally as a spin-off series, but as a sequel to SG-1. The idea of Atlantis being a lost city of the Ancients was an idea the writers had for a long time, and its discovery was supposed to end SG-1, essentially as a way to move the franchise forward. Atlantis would have been discovered under Antarctica, rather than a distant galaxy, and the Stargate would have become public knowledge. The SGC would have been relocated to Atlantis, with the teams and command being less military in orientation and international in membership. Contact with new alien races and travel between galaxies would have been more commonplace, and the Replicators alongside rouge androids the Ancients built would have been the major villains (probably an inspiration for the Asurans), not the Wraith. Most of this was axed when SG-1 looked like it would not end anytime in the near future, and the basic premise had to be reworked into a spin-off that ran alongside SG-1.
Tok'ra characters were planned to have a much larger role in the franchise. Lantash was also originally planned to be a main character in Stargate: Atlantis, and start a romantic relationship with Samantha Carter, which is hinted at in SG-1, but was cut short after the character was killed off. Anise, another Tok'ra, was planned to be SG-1's answer to Seven of Nine and be a potential love interest for Jack O'Neill, but after it was discovered the character had no impact on SG-1's ratings, the writers happily dumped the character.
Had it continued into a third season, the narrative of Stargate Universe might have jumped a few weeks, a few years or a few hundred years into the future. The writers also didn't intend to leave Park blind forever.
Joanne would never have survived that trip to Ireland; the phone booth she was in during her last scene in "Forgiveness" would have been targeted by an IRA bomb - arranged by Jim Profit, of course.
Pete Gracen would have been a senator, then he and Nora would have eventually divorced.
Jim Profit, a full 10 years before Don Draper, would have been revealed to have pulled a Martin Guerre, and gone back to kill the man whose identity he stole.
Jim would have engineered the poisoning of Chaz Gracen (who also would have still been married to Bobbie), and convinced him that his father was trying to kill him. He would then have eliminated Gracen Senior, thus reconciling Chaz and Pete.
David Greenwalt wanted Jim to reappear in Angel as an employee of Wolfram and Hart, but because of Adrian's schedule and rights issues, this was scrapped.
As much as Coy and Vance Duke were disliked amongst The Dukes of Hazzard fans, the idea of having all FIVE Duke cousins working together would have been pretty cool.
Creator Dan Knauf dropped a few bombshells during a convention of how the now-canceled season three of Carnivàle would have started:
Both Ben and Justin would have survived their apparent "deaths" from the finale. Ben would have ended up like Management, crippled and surviving on his own magic, manipulating the Carnivale to his own purposes. Justin would have married Sofie, and supposedly had a child with her, though whether he ever found out she was his daughter was not mentioned. He would not have had the power he once had, though: the shrapnel near his heart would have severely weakened him, reducing him to a figurehead and leaving Sofie and Iris as the true powers of the Ministry.
Jonesy would also have survived the gunshot wound. He would have returned to baseball to play for the Yankees, and stayed married to Libby.
The third season's theme would have been Sofie's internal struggle of her good, human, side and her evil Omega side.
The opening scene would have been a small boy of about three, running through the New Caanan camp. He would have approached Justin, flanked by Sofie and Iris, and called him "Daddy". The question of his parentage - Sofie or Iris as his mother, Ben or Justin as his father - would have been a driving plot point.
SupposedlyScrubs initially planned, if the show wound up being canceled after or during its first season to do a reveal in its final episode that the Janitor was actually a figment of JD's imagination; as a result, they tried to avoid having him interact with anyone else. The show resolutely failed to get canceled, and eventually the actor playing the Janitor begged the writers to let him interact with other people, so this idea was dropped.
The sci-fi series Odyssey 5 was supposed to end up with humanity changing into human-AI hybrids, which is certainly bold. Given the uneven writing of the show, I'm not sure if they could have pulled it off. Anyway, it was cancelled after one season.
In the book Batman Begins and the Comics, released in 2005, Julian Darius talks about a proposed Bruce Wayne spinoff series. The show would have run for five to six seasons, and followed Wayne as he matured from a rambunctious 17-year old kid to a serious young man, and follow his travels from Gotham City to various parts of the world (where he would train). At some point late in the series, he would discover a large cavern under Wayne Manor, and he, Lucius Fox and several Polish workers in blacked-out buses would construct the Batcave. Wayne would have also met early versions of The Joker, Harleen Quinzel, Jonathan Crane and Edward Nygma, as well as Clark Kent. In the end, the rise of the big-budget superhero film (X-Men came out in 2000) and an aborted plan for a film adaptation of Frank Miller's Year One script, as well as the reboot of the film franchise in 2005 killed this series stone-dead. Instead, Alfred Gough and his production team chose to create Smallville instead. Almost ten years later, a "young Bruce Wayne" series actually did materialise.
The cancelled TV adaptation of the Global Frequency comic book series would have seen storylines and concepts from the source material being adapted (including the Le Parkour one-shot, where a female member of the organization must race across London and stop a madman who plans to infect the city with the Ebola Virus) as well as episodes scripted by heavyweight comic writers, including series creator Warren Ellis.
If Defying Gravity had lasted beyond the first season, several plot threads would have been revealed. The team would obtain all of the "fractal objects" (like Beta) over the course of the show. Earth would have been revealed as a very messed-up place. Season three would have taken place either partially or completely on Mars, with two characters (Sharon and Walker) still alive on the planet when the team arrived. Nadia would have been revealed as a hermaphrodite (explaining fan theories) and would have turned into a man because of exposure to the fractal objects, and Goss would have a change of heart and end up helping the team at one point.
This isn't mentioning the thousands of Jalex fics, a fandom that supports this incestous pair in a childrens show, a bunch of viewers who obtained unwanted No Yay, and two teenage actors who can't help their UST.
Sonny With A Chance was originally intended to play up a Nico/Sonny/Chad love triangle. For example, the pilot doesn't include Chad, and has Nico kissing Sonny's hand. A few hints of the Nico/Sonny side of the triangle survived into the 1st season scripts, but on the whole the show is only ever going to be Sonny/Chad.
Before that, the series was going to be called Welcome To Mollywood, and Sonny was originally called Molly.
It was also briefly Welcome to Holliwood with Demi Lovato's character being named Holli (yes, it was spelled with an "i") before they settled on the final show title. YMMV on whether or not they chose the best title.
Dan Schneider has implied that he believes that Sonny With A Chance was based on an idea he created and pitched to the Disney Channel a long time before that show actually aired. Had he ended up doing his version of the show he would probably still be working for Disney, it probably would have stopped him from making Drake & Josh, and that would have ended the successor shows iCarly, Victorious, Sam & Cat and Gibby. That would have left gaping holes in Nick's schedule, torched the finances (as iCarly was an unexpected mega-smash hit) for at least 5 years and would likely have killed the careers of Miranda Cosgrove, Victoria Justice and Jennette McCurdy before they ever got off the ground.
One other potential alternate future would've been Dan making his Sonny With A Chance show, but still doing Drake & Josh, just on Disney. Which would have meant Miranda Cosgrove (who was an accomplished singer even back then) becoming a Disney starlet around the same time Disney were trying to figure out what to do with Development Hell project for what eventually became Hannah Montana.
Speaking of iCarly, the title characters name was meant to be Sam, with the sidekick being named Kira. They couldn't get the website address for iSam though. So Sam became Carly and Kira became Sam. With Freddie keeping his name, it has the humorous consequence of swapping around what the Portmanteau Couple Name for the two main couples are. The Just Friends main character/male lead ship would have been called Seddie (instead of Creddie) and the Jerk Ass sidekick/male lead would have been called Kreddie (instead of Seddie) instead. Funnily enough, the Les Yay ship on the show would almost be the exact same name, except it would be Kam (Kira/Sam) instead of Cam (Carly/Sam).
Jim Broadbent was John Sullivan's original choice for the role of Del Boy. While failing to get the role, he did still appear within the show as DCI Slater, who made three appearances - all highly memorable.
Enn Reitel, Robin Nedwell, and Billy Murray were also considered possible candidates for the role of Del Boy Trotter, before it went to David Jason.
John Sullivan intended for Chas & Dave to sing the series' theme song due to the success from their "Rockney" style of music (a mixture of rock 'n roll and cockney). However, they were unavailable having just recorded their hit record "Ain't No Pleasing You", so Sullivan was persuaded by Ray Butt to sing the song himself, which he did.
Also, the fifth season finale "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was originally written to become the final OFAH episode with Del leaving England with his friend Jumbo Mills to run a car business in Australia, thus launching a planned spin-off series called Hot-Rod, which would've been all about Rodney running Trotters Independent Traders with Mickey Pearce.
In the first chapter of the early 2000s Christmas trilogy, "If They Could See Us Now" (2001), The BBC wanted to get the rights from ITV to use the actual Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? gameshow with a special guest appearance from Chris Tarrant, but ITV refused because a plot point was that Del gave a correct answer and the quizmaster said it was wrong due to an error. They ended up with a blatant expy called Goldrush, hosted by Jonathan Ross.
Not only was Glee originally going to be a movie, it was a bit more dark with actual drug use and a sexual student-teacher relationship. Also there was going to be an Indian character named Ranjit. When Chris Colfer came in to audition, the writers made up a character for him and Ranjit was completely written out. Sure, Chris is great as Kurt, but you can't help wondering what Ranjit would have been like...
The original pilot script for Glee also did not include Sue Sylvester or any analogous character. She was written in because a higher-up suggested that the story needed an antagonist (a rare occasion of Executive Meddling getting something right?) and was not originally intended to be a regular character until another project of Jane Lynch's fell through.
Rumors have it as well that Sam was originally was supposed to be Kurt's football-playing boyfriend, but Ryan Murphy scrapped that idea after it got spread around the web. Eventually Blaine was written in as a potential love interest for Kurt.
Another reason the Sam/Kurt story arc was dropped was after Murphy noticed Chord Overstreet's chemistry with Diana Agron, and decided to pair up their characters instead. So the popular season 2 Quam/Fabrevans ship was never meant to happen at all.
Tina was originally meant to be a much bigger character than she turned out to be, with a plan for her to sing erotica/justify my love in the Madonna special, and for her to have a season 3 adoption storyline with her adoptive mother portrayed by Margaret Cho. It was scrapped.
^ Fans speculate that the writers simply lost interest in Tina and decided to put more focus on Kurt.
Fandom-wise: One of Kurt and Blaine's portmanteau couple names would probably have been Burt, if it hadn't been for the fact that that is the name of Kurt's dad.
The biggest one right now: What if Cory Monteith lived instead of died, and thus Finn dosen't get killed off?
Through this isn't confirmed, it is likely that Glee 5x03 did reveal a bit of what would have happened had Cory lived. Rachel would succeed on Broadway and maybe do a Woody Allen movie, while Finn would become a Teacher, and they would reunite in what would have been a distant finale.
After the finale of Ashes to Ashes aired, producer Matthew Graham gave an interview (and you can consider yourself warned for massive spoilers) where he talked about the three possible endings the writers had considered, and one alternate version to the third they almost shot before going with the version they chose:
Ending #1: Alex woke up in 2008, the world of 1981-1983 was all a dream. Discarded because "we didn't think anyone would want that because we didn't want that with Sam".
Ending #2: Alex woke up, but chose to "go back" by killing herself, which would have been a repeat of how Life On Mars ended.
Ending #3: Alex is dead and has to move on with her existence, which is the one they chose. There was almost a cameo from John Simm, reprising his role as Sam Tyler, which they storyboarded and apparently everyone liked. Sam would have walked out of the Railway Arms at the end, instead of Nelson, and the ending was ultimately discarded because "it would steal all of Keeley's thunder, it would undermine Ashes as a show and also Sam's supposed to be dead, so he should be in heaven. It suddenly made him seem like a superhero – he could go from purgatory to heaven and back again."
In 1969, The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, and Curly-Joe) filmed a pilot episode for a TV series called Kook's Tour, which would have featured the "retired" Stooges traveling around the world, with every episode filmed on location. Larry Fine, however, suffered a stroke in 1970, that killed his acting career and plans for the TV series. Larry died in January 1975 after a second stroke that left him in a coma. Moe planned to continue The Three Stooges, with Emil filling in for Larry, but Moe died in mid-1975. As a result, the pilot episode of "Kook's Tour" is the last Three Stooges short.
A Venezuelan one: the (in)famous early ninetiesSoap OperaPor Estas Calles originally was, and was promoted in the pre-air sales as, a typical pink soap named "Eva Luna", about a Wrongly Accused girl who had to hide and change her name, taking the titular name for herself. They even had filmed several chapters when the 1992 coup attempt against the president happened and suddenly there wasn't the right atmosphere for a "normal" soap. Then the head writer decided to retool the story to take place in The Present Day instead of the atemporal Soap Opera Time, and go for realism and cynicism, expanding the cast and introducing Loads and Loads of Characters. The Exceutives loved it so much that they immediately ordered the erasure of the already filmed chapters. The only things that survived from the original were the already cast actor, and the plot about the heroine being wrongly accused and changing her name while hiding, now made gritty and dark.
More fun: one of the characters of Por Estas Calles was "El Hombre de la Etiqueta" (The Tag Man), a ex-policeman turned vigilante Serial Killer after the murder of his son, going for common crooks and placing a morgue tag with the word "Irrecuperable" ("unreedemeable") on his victims. Despite being the main enemy of the heroine (whom he mistakenly believed the real murderer of his son), the character gained a Misaimed Fandom of his own. Had the soap not had enough Executive Meddling to make the original head writer resign, he would have had a Redemption Equals Death destiny, instead of the Karma Houdini ending he eventually got.
At one point, there were plans for the Grand Finale of Seinfeld to end with a scene where the Main Characters, after spending a year in prison, would gather at the coffee shop, Kramer having become a religious freak, Elaine having a mohawk and piercings, and George wearing a dress, before Jerry walks in, looking completely ordinary, sits down and says cheerfully, "Well, that was tough.
During the summer of 1993, when Jerry Seinfeld was answering fans' questions on the Prodigy bulletin board system, someone asked who had won the infamous Contest. Jerry notes that it was George, and that he and Larry David were tempted to have a scene early in the next season where George would discover that the contest had ended a year earlier and no one had bothered to tell him.
Farscape: Chiana was originally intended to have been killed by Durka in her very first episode, but the writers liked Gigi Edgley so much that it was Only a Flesh Wound. Zhaan was originally a male character called Zen. Also, in very early versions of the storyline, Scorpius would have been a puppet character, and Crais's sidekick.
Reported possibilities for the aborted Season Five as well as the main Scarran-Sebacean arc that got wrapped up as "The Peacekeeper Wars": return appearances by previous villains Furlow and Natira, and the long-awaited Chiana-centric plot arc picking up on the Nebari and their plan for galactic domination through VD.
The original plan for Rygel was that we would see him take back his empire from his traitorous cousin, like he promises to do one day in the pilot. Unfortunately, an episode with just one more Hynerian puppet caused so many filming issues that everyone realized there was no way they could do an episode with a whole planet of them. Luckily, this plot thread did get wrapped up in the comics.
Young Jeezy, not Saigon, was the rapper originally slated to be managed by Turtle on Entourage.
In Survivor, Shane Powers was intended to be on Heroes vs. Villains, but was dropped in favour of Russell Hantz, who more or less wound up continuing his Samoa adventures (while somehow knowing he didn't win the latter) and had the advantage of nobody actually really knowing who he was, similar to how Amanda and James had the advantage in Micronesia and Rupert in All stars.
A player quit Fiji before filming even began so it was the only cast to be an odd number.
Similarly, Shane and Sandra amongst others were intended to return in Micronesia.
The fourth season, which ended up taking place in the Marquesas Islands, was originally supposed to have taken place in the country of Jordan. Due to the fact that 9/11 had occurred less than two months before the contestants were supposed to be shipped out, the idea of sending civilians to a Middle Eastern country to play on a game show was scrapped for obvious reasons.
In Big Brother 12 US, there was a fourteenth houseguest named "Paula" who quit during sequester and wasn't replaced. It's likely this is why the first head of household competition had to have Andrew sit out as the odd-man out. (He got immunity for the first week, though.)
And in Big Brother 8 US, Jessica had a completely different nemesis who quit and was replaced with Carol. This nemesis was actually a dance rival of hers; rather than Carol who was an ex friend from high school and not as much of a nemesis compared to the other two. (ie, Carol's response was just a shrug when she saw Jessica, and Jessica had to think of what they had against each other.)
The famous TelenovelaLa Señora de Cárdenas by the late Jose Ignacio Cabrujas was going to end with the titular Mrs. Cardenas going back with the terrible husband she had left, after his presumed redemption; but then, in a strange variant of But I Play One on TV, many fans began to write and even tell Cabrujas in the supermarket queue "Please, don't make her come back with that Jerk Ass". Cabrujas then decided to get his protagonist to hook up with another love interest instead.
Several different people could've been the host of Family Feud. Geoff Edwards (best known for Treasure Hunt) confirmed on the newsgroup alt.tv.game-shows that he had been tapped to host the original Feud in 1976, but he was committed to a pilot at the time, so Richard Dawson got the job. Dawson confirmed in a 2010 interview that William Shatner got a crack, and it is believed that Jack Narz of Concentration fame was in the running at one point. Joe Namath auditioned for the 1988 revival, which went to Ray Combs. And Dolly Parton auditioned for the 1999 revival, for which Louie Anderson got the nod. (Anderson was replaced by Richard Karn, then John O'Hurley, then Steve Harvey.)
After The Price Is Right announcer Johnny Olson died in 1985, the show held on-air auditions with Gene Wood, Rich Jeffries, Bob Hilton, and Rod Roddy. Bob Hilton was apparently tapped to take the role, but he declined since he was hosting a pilot that ultimately never sold, so Rod Roddy got the job instead. Given that Hilton is only in his early 60s now, he could still be announcing today had he gotten the nod in 1985. (By comparison, Charlie O'Donnell announced Wheel of Fortune until his death at age 77, and Johnny Gilbert still does Jeopardy! in his upper 80s.)
Phil Hartman, of all people, also auditioned to be Price announcer after Olson's death. But unlike the men mentioned above, Hartman never actually got an on-air audition.
Similarly, the rotation of announcers after Rod's 2003 death included a radio news anchor named Art Sanders. Host Bob Barker really wanted Art to become the new announcer, and almost hired him on the spot. Had either of these situations come to be, then Rich Fields (who announced from 2004-2010) likely wouldn't have gotten his big break.
After Bob Barker's retirement in 2007, several people auditioned for the show, including Mexican TV personality Marco Antonio Regil (who hosted Mexico's version of Price years before), Rosie O'Donnell and experienced game show hosts Todd Newton, Mark L. Walberg and Marc Summers. Drew Carey got the part.
The producer's first choice for Barker's replacement? Dan Patrick, who turned the job down.
Speaking of game shows, one of the first things that comes to mind when one mentions Wheel of Fortune is longtime hostess Vanna White — she was ridiculously popular in the 1980s, and no doubt helped entrench it as one of the longest-running game shows ever. One wonders how things would've panned out if original hostess Susan Stafford hadn't quit. (Interestingly, Wheel was not originally intended to have a hostess. The board was supposed to be mechanical and self-revealing like the original Concentration board, but they didn't have time to finish it before taping of the pilots, so they simply brought Susan in to turn the letters.) Furthermore, host Pat Sajak took over from Chuck Woolery about a year prior; one wonders where the show would've ended up today had Chuck stayed.
From 1981-89, Sajak was hosting the daytime (NBC) and syndicated nighttime versions concurrently. He stepped down from daytime to host a talk show for CBS which didn't go anywhere. Merv Griffin had several worthy candidates in mind for daytime host, but went with the completely inexperienced Rolf Benirschke, a former place kicker for the San Diego Chargers who was completely out of his element. After a mere six months, the daytime version hopped over to CBS with new host Bob Goen. While daytime game shows as a whole fell out of favor in the early 1990s, one can't help but wonder what would happen if a more capable name had helmed the last few months of NBC Wheel.
Had Titus not been Screwed by the Network, the fourth season would've featured Dave and Tommy in their own Neutral Space episodes, as they did with Papa Titus in season 2, and with Erin in season 3.
Originally, Divine (yes, that Divine) was going to play Peggy's mother on Married... with Children, but that plan was quashed by his untimely death. This is why we never actually see Peggy's mom on the show; out of respect.
It was also planned to be a dual role. Divine in his male persona was going to play Uncle Buck. The family dog being named Buck was also a reference in honor of the role that never was.
Originally, the British panel game QI was to be hosted by Michael Palin, with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies as team captains.
Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries. A concept pilot was created using CGI (it's available on the DVD release of the movie); but it never got off the ground.
Degrassi has a few. Two which revolve around Adam are: He was supposed to be an androgynous lesbian named Zoe, and his birth name was originally not Gracie (it was Chelsea).
YMMV on Zoe: only Word Of God would confirm it, but that might've been a way for them to audition different girls for the role while remaining tight-lipped about their plans to introduce a transgender character.
Heck, if they had stuck with the original concept of Ready, Willing and Wired there'd be no adults with backstories, the Emma character wouldn't necessarily have been product-of-a-teen pregnancy Emma and the setting would've been quite explicitly a tech magnet school, forcing them to stick with the sort of kids who could get into a somewhat selective school...
The S11 character concieved as "Noah" was renamed Jake when Justin Kelly was cast in the role note His character on The Latest Buzz had been named Noah.
Idol Singer Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa, a big fan of Sentai, has auditioned to play a Pink Ranger on the show several times but never been cast - reportedly due to a lack of gymnastic ability. She did make a guest appearance as an alien in Dekaranger.
Hideaki Tsukada, who was one of the producers on Dekaranger, confirmed in an interview that he had tried to interest Toei in making a sequel or second series; but the idea wasn't picked up.
Naruhisa Arakawa, writer of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, stated in an interview that his original idea for Don's backstory was for Don to have witnessed his father's horrific death at the hands of Zangyack. This was dropped in favor of having Don be "an ordinary guy."
Speaking of Gokaiger, it originally wasn't meant to have that many returning characters. It was said that the only returning characters would have been those connected to Gokai-Oh-related toys (which mean those from Gorenger and the series between Gaoranger and Gokaiger). One of the returning actors expressed how awesome it was on a Twitter post and it didn't gain traction until the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, where a special Twitter set up by the original actors to calm the children, inspired others to try to return to their roles, even if they had retired from acting.
Gai Yuuki of Choujin Sentai Jetman nearly didn't get to show up in the Great Legend War. One of Gokaiger's writers was one of the writers for Jetman and actually got into a fist fight with one of the other writers over the man's fate and if he should come back.
Thanks to owners fiddling around with the Mobirates toy, they had learned that it had already been preprogramed with the cry of "Kamen Rider OOO!" a year before Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen was even announced. It is highly possible that they had planned for the Gokaigers and OOO to team up while OOO was still airing, but was scrapped.
Chouriki Sentai Ohranger was meant to have been a much darker season, but had to have a Re Tool early in its run after the Tokyo sarin gas attacks. Some elements of the show involving superpowers and ancient civilizations were felt to be too similar to the claims made by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
Kagaku Sentai Dynaman was originally planned to be a baseball-themed Sentai team before it was changed to be about science and Stuff Blowing Up. However, the team's suits still somewhat resemble baseball uniforms.
In Dai Sentai Goggle Five, a different actress was initially cast as Miki, and she filmed several episodes before being replaced by Megumi Ogawa.
The Blue Ranger of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger was initially conceived by writer Riku Sanjo as a 40-something man with a wife and children, but Toei rejected the idea. Instead, the character is in his early 30s and lives with his sister and young niece.
Nao Nagasawa, known to Sentai fans as Nanami Nono in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, stated after the announcement of Kyoryuger that she had signed on for a guest role in the series; but she never appeared, possibly due to scheduling conflicts.
After Torin was revealed on the show as KyoryuSilver, Sanjo claimed in an interview that he'd had trouble deciding whether Silver should be Torin or Dantetsu Kiryu, and that it could have gone either way. Dantetsu does ultimately become Silver at the end of the show.
Before Kyoryuger began, producer Takahito Ohmori stated in an interview that the production team had decided the show should have only one female Ranger in order to make the team look stronger. However, Koichi Sakamoto later convinced him to have Yayoi join the heroes as the second Kyoryu Violet (and later, Nossan's sister Yuko briefly becomes the second Kyoryu Cyan, making three women on the team.)
Sometimes, early promotional material will mention character titbits that ultimately never made it into the show (such as Samurai Sentai Shinkenger's pre-release material stating that Kotoha worked in a wood carvings shop before becoming a Shinkenger) or planned character details later changed in on-screen canon (early Tensou Sentai Goseiger information stated that Blue Ranger Hyde was to be the team leader, but they ultimately didn't have one, even going so far as to base an episode around the characters agreeing that they don't need an official leader.)
Kenji Ebisawa, who portrayed Go-on Black in Engine Sentai Go-onger, stated in an interview that he struggled to play the character as the tough guy originally written in the scripts. As a result, the character became The Comically Serious and later sided with the other Go-ongers against the more uptight and no-nonsense Go-on Wings.
Gosei Sentai Dairanger originally cast Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryō and Keiichi Wada as Kazu, and they filmed early promotional material before it was decided to switch their roles because of Wada's martial arts skills.
VR Troopers was originally titled Cybertron. It would have starred Jason David Frank in the same role Brad Hawkings would play later on. The karate master would have been the one to give Jason's character the Cybertron powers and Jason's character would have been bothered by a Bulk and Skull-type duo. The villain Grimlord would have still been there. However, the popularity of Jason's role as Tommy on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers would lead him to return to the series and Brad Hawkings would take his role. Cybertron's theme song ended up being reworked as the MMPR theme "Go Green Ranger Go" and Cybertron itself would be renamed to the well-known VR Troopers after Hasbro complained.
When VR Troopers reached their third season, Saban realized they were running out of Metal Hero series and picked up the more recent Juukou B-Fighter. However, Saban got cold feet about doing a major retool with VR Troopers and decided, in the end, to cancel VR Troopers and turn B-Fighter into Big Bad Beetle Borgs
John Le Mesurier was initially approached to play Mainwaring and Arthur Lowe for Wilson, but it was decided they worked much better in the opposite roles.
Writer Jimmy Perry wanted to play Walker, but worried that it might cause friction with the rest of the cast. Instead he made a guest appearance as a pierside entertainer in a series 1 episode.
Jack Haig was considered for the role of Jones, and did end up taking over the role for part of the stage show tour while Clive Dunn had other commitments.
The show was to include a character called Private Bracewell as a member of the main cast. He did appear in the first episode, but was cut because the writers felt his character was too much like Godfrey's.
Miss King, a character who appeared in the first series, was intended to have had a larger role as the Fanservice character of the cast. For whatever reason, it didn't work out and she vanished after series one, with the fanservice position largely taken over by Mrs Pike.
An American adaptation of the show called The Rear Guard was planned, but scrapped when the pilot wasn't successful.
Bottom: A fourth series was written in the mid-90s, but rejected by, according to Rik Mayall: "Some fat lesbian bitch" at the BBC. In 2012 Mayall and Adrian Edmondson began writing a Bottom spin-off called "Hooligan's Island", which was picked up by the BBC. Edmondson would later pull out after a change of heart. With Mayall's death in 2014, one can only wonder what could have been.
The Lois and Clark episode "Soul Mates" was fun, but the Reincarnation Romance would have made a heck of a lot more sense if John Shea had been available to play Clark's eternal archenemy who wants to marry Lois. The fact Tempus doesn't really fit the role is even Lampshaded:
Lois: I'm not saying I'm buying into any of this stuff yet, but it is kind of bizarre that Tempus, of all people, is behind the curse. I mean, Lex Luthor, I could understand, but...
Also, Kevin Sorbo was considered for the role of Superman.
Rome had plans for five full seasons. If not for the cancellation at the end of season 2, the second and following seasons could have depicted history with the same eye for details as the first one. To quote creator Bruno Heller:
"The second [season] was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end."
She was also cast in a "Suite Life Of Zack And Cody" spinoff called Arwin, following the misadventures of the Man Child repairman. Again, a pilot episode was filmed, but the show was not picked up.
The Adam WestBatman was cancelled by ABC, but NBC was willing to pick up the show for a fourth season. Unfortunately, all of the sets had been destroyed just a week before and NBC was unwilling to pay for new sets.
During the crossover with The Green Hornet, Robin was originally supposed to defeat Kato, but Bruce Lee got really angry, so it was changed to a draw. Even though Burt Ward was a legitimate martial artist, he was nowhere near Lee's level, and a lot of fans found it hard to believe Kato didn't outright win.
The 1996 TV movie adaptation of Generation X was supposed to be a pilot for a proposed TV series, but the movie's negative reception killed this idea in its tracks. Considering the quality of said movie, this is probably a good thing. Still, a live-action TV show based on an X-Men spinoff would have been interesting.
The Malcolm in the Middle episode in which the family took a vacation to a water park leaving ear-infected Dewey behind with a babysitter (played by Bea Arthur) was originally going to culminate with the sitter dyeing Dewey's hair black and calling him "Pepe" as they head for the Mexican border. The producers found this too dark and disturbing, so they instead had the sitter die of a sudden heart attack during a dance together.
According to a lawsuit filed against Disney by a writer who claimed the show was his idea, it would have originally featured a male protagonist and was called Rock and Roland. How much of that is true isn't clear, but the possibility is there.
In its development stages, the show was to be set in school and involve a movie star, not a pop singer. It was to be called Better Days and be a star vehicle for Alyson Stoner of Camp Rock fame. JoAnna "JoJo" LeVesque, Jordan McCoy of American Juniors, and Taylor Momsen of Gossip Girl were also considered for the role.
Miley Cyrus had originally auditioned for The Lilly Truscott role, which went to Emily Osment. And Lilly's last name was to be "Romero".
"Anna Cabana", "Alexis Texas" and "Samantha York" were to be the names of the pop singer alter ego, until Miley suggested "Hannah Montana".
The creators early on believed that it would be hard for then 13-year old Cyrus to remember so many aliases, and changed the protagonist's name from Chloe to Miley to make it easier. And it was Zoe before that. The name was changed because it was too close to the name of the title character in rival network, Nickelodeon's Zoey101.
Billy Ray Cyrus only turned up to offer moral support and help his daughter with her lines at the audition. He did not want to play the dad, but Disney felt his Real Life rapport with Miley was convincing and entertaining enough for him to get him the role of Robby Ray.
Had Veronica Mars gotten a fourth season, the plan was a Re Tool into "Veronica Mars: FBI Trainee.". The new season would fire everyone except Kristen Bell and go with an all new cast. A short was included on the Season 3 DVD set.
Benson's eighth season would've fetured Gene Gatling winning re-election and Benson moving on to become a senator (it wasn't made clear whether this meant "state senator" or "U.S. senator").
Sliders: The idea was thrown around of revealing that Maggie's biological parents were Colonel Rickman and her universe's version of Wade (this would have meant Maggie's universe was in the future compared to ours).
There was a proposed episode that would have shown what happened to Wade after she was taken to a Kromagg breeding camp without Sabrina Lloyd having to return to the show, via the gang coming upon a device that made them experience past events from the perspective of other people. Maggie would have been Wade, Diana would have been Mrs. Mallory, Mallory would have been a Humagg soldier in love with Wade, and Rembrandt would have been a sympathetic Kromagg scientist.
Forever Knight's writers wanted to take the focus off Nick's redemption in season 3. They tried to write out both Janette and Natalie, but Geraint Wyn Davies threatened to quit if Natalie was taken out. There was also going to be a promotion to captain for Schanke, but John Kapelos turned it down.
The ending was originally to have Lacroix saying the last few lines of Romeo and Juliet at the very end, but this was nixed because the producers wanted the show just open ended enough to avoid major hurt in syndication.
Highlander wanted a spinoff with a new female immortal, and pitched quite a few of them in season six. But none clicked and despite initially not wanting Amanda as the lead, they got her anyway. The Raven title came from a plan to make immortal Alex Raven, from one of those eps, the spinoff lead, but that fell through.
The season six plot was originally going to be made as a movie, set 20 years after Richie's death.
Methos was originally a short-term character for season 3, but the fans liked him so much he was kept.
Tessa's death wasn't originally planned, but had to be written in when Alexandra Vandernoot chose to leave the show.
Adrian Paul could have played a re-cast Connor MacLeod. The writers throw this around for a while in the beginning, and even Adrian didn't know after casting whether he'd play the movie character or a new one.
Also, Ron Perlman auditioned for the part of Duncan. He did show up in season 5's "The Messenger" as the false Methos.
Tracker was originally written with Mel and a younger sister, but the sister was replaced by Jess.
Fox at one point had plans to turn MyNetworkTV into an over-the-air version of Fox News. Is it no surprise that this didn't happen?
ER: Carol Hathaway was supposed to die from her drug overdose—indeed, dialogue in the episode indicates that chances of recovery are slim—but test audiences liked her character and were intrigued by the hints of a romantic past with Doug Ross, and so, she was revived. The character went on to be one of the show's most popular, Doug & Carol one of its (and TV's) best pairings, and her portrayer received an Emmy. This was even lampshaded by Carol's portrayer, Julianna Marguiles, upon accepting her award, who noted, "A year ago at this time, I was dead."
The $10,000 Pyramid originally had ten boxes on the big Pyramid, each with a subject the contestant had to identify in 60 seconds (which is what TV Guide printed in their synopsis the week it premiered on CBS). Two nights before taping the pilot, creator Bob Stewart realized that there was no way anyone could get ten subjects in 60 seconds, so he had a 2x4 plank nailed over the bottom four squares.
In the 1980s, there was going to be a TV movie that would unite the casts of Marvel's two biggest live-action shows of the previous decade: The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man.
On the 1984-86 revival (titled The All-New Let's Make a Deal), announcer Dean Goss hosted two deals. According to Goss himself, this was a trial run to see if he had the chops to take over for a retiring Monty Hall should the show be picked up for a third season. It wasn't.
Likewise, Hall stepped out of retirement to attempt an Author's Saving Throw on the 1990 revival, mainly because new host Bob Hilton was poorly received. Hall's plan was to carry the show to the end of its first season, then seek a replacement for Season 2, but Season 2 never came.
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Had Series Five been completed, the final three stories would have included one where Mr Smith (Sarah's alien computer) became human, one that involved a secret thirteenth floor at Rani's work experience, and a big finale that would have revealed Sky's true identity and written out the Trickster permanently. Beyond that, had there been a Series Six, Russell T. Davies wanted to bring Ace back for a story (as with the Brigadier and Jo previously). This story would possibly also have seen a cameo from the Seventh Doctor, as it would have depicted how Ace eventually left the TARDIS.
After Elisabeth Sladen had been diagnosed with cancer, the production team considered a Halloween special to help maintain the series' presence (at first wanting something interactive, then deciding to do an animated adventure).
Also, a lot of ideas were considered for Series Four which never came to fruition. Half of Doctor Who Magazine's "The Sarah Jane Companion: Volume Three" is devoted to what might have been for the series one way or another.
However, the production team never considered continuing the series without Lis, or replacing her.
In 1980, Stephen J. Cannell and Glen A. Larson joined forces to create, write and executive produce a pilot about night workers called Nightside - imagine if J. J. Abrams and Joss Whedon collaborated on a TV series and you'll get how awesome this prospect was. Unfortunately the pilot, though made, didn't sell (Cannell: "It was funny as hell, but it just didn't work").
The LA Complex was planned as a spin-off of Degrassi following Manny Santos to Hollywood, but they chose to make it a freestanding franchise.
Blue of Blue's Clues was supposed to be a cat, but they said that there were too many TV shows where the main character was a cat on when the show was produced (Garfield and Friends and Eek The Cat, to name two), so she was changed into a dog.
I Dream of Jeannie was originally planned to have Jeannie with — guess what? — light brown hair, mainly to avoid comparisons with the blonde Samantha from Bewitched. However, Sidney Sheldon, the show's creator, couldn't find one, so the role — and TV stardom — fell to blonde-haired Barbara Eden.
In Leverage, Hardison's arch-rival hacker Chaos was originally going to be played by Zoe Saldana. Wil Wheaton got the part, but the alternative makes quite an interesting thought.
Michael Jackson's 1995 Primetime Live interview, the first he granted after his 1993 child molestation scandal, could have been a lot different if all of his ideas for it were used. According to Esquire, Diane Sawyer wouldn't have been the only person interviewing him — she would have been joined by Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings, Oprah Winfrey (who interviewed him before the scandal broke), and Howard Stern!Vanity Fair noted that Jackson also appealed to the Royal Family to have Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II make appearances — the former to support his complaints on the tabloid press and the latter to knight him for his charity work.
In Smallville the character of Adam was originally going to be revealed to be Bruce Wayne, but the producers couldn't get permission to use the character because of the then-in-production Batman Begins. They salvaged their plans in later seasons by transferring Bruce's role in the comics to Oliver Queen.
In a DVD Commentary for Merlin one of the writers mention that they were going to try and bring back Guinevere's treacherous-yet-sympathetic hand-maiden Sefa back for an episode. They didn't manage it, and she became an example of What Happened to the Mouse?
On Charmed, the character of Prue was killed off due in part to difficulties Shannen Doherty had with several people on set, including costar Alyssa Milano (Phoebe.) It finally reached a breaking point when Shannen allegedly said "either she goes or I go." How different would everything have been post Season 3 had Alyssa went instead? Phoebe would have died instead of Prue, Piper's character development from mousy middle sister to Badass oldest sister wouldn't have happened, and the Cole storyline would have likely been very different. Similarly, Constance M. Burge left around the same time.
Jim Broadbent was originally slated to play the role of Lord Whiteadder in the Blackadder II episode "Beer", but was unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts. This would have had the pleasing symmetry of all Miriam Margoyles's roles (the Spanish Infantia in The Black Adder, Lady Whiteadder in Blackadder II and Queen Victoria in Blackadder's Christmas Carol) being opposite Broadbent (who played the Infantia's interpreter and Prince Albert).
There was serious talk of Mike Brady dying if The Brady Bunch had got a season 6, due to Robert Reed's constant conflicts with the producers and writers.
Carl Reiner originally wrote The Dick Van Dyke Show as Head of the Family starring himself. It bombed, but the pilot was retooled with Van Dyke in the lead role and was a hit.
Betty White and Rue McClanahan switched roles on The Golden Girls. White was offered Blanche due to playing Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Mclanahan had played a ditzy character named Vivian on Maude which lead to her being offered Rose. However, there was fear of Blanche being too much like Sue Ann and Rue didn't feel comfortable with Rose and they swapped.
Also, this original iteration might not have had Bea Arthur at all. When the show was first pitched to her, Arthur declined, saying, with her as the Deadpan Snarker, McClanahan as the ditz, and White as the maneater, it sounded too much like "Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens." It was only after they decide to swap roles that Arthur said, "Now that sounds interesting."
Additionally, the series was supposed to be about the three ladies and a gay cook named Coco, with Sophia only supposed to be a recurring Drop-In Character. However, the positive reaction to Estelle Getty as Sophia led to them writing her in as a regular and writing Coco out (hence the reason he disappears without a word after the pilot episode.)
Being Human had several cast changes between the pilot and the first series. Mitchell was originally played by Guy Flanagan, Annie by Andrea Riseborough, Herrick by Adrian Lester, and Lauren by Dominique Mcelligott.
Initially, the show wasn't going to be made at all. It was one of several pilots aired by the BBC in 2008, with the plan to choose the most successful to make into a full-length series. They went with Phoo Action, a "dramedy" based around futuristic antics, kung-fu, and They Fight Crime. However, its commission was cancelled when the BBC decided the scripts weren't good enough, and Being Human was then commissioned instead after fans successfully petitioned for it to be Phoo Action's replacement.
Kirstie Alley is the only actor from Cheers to not reprise her role on Frasier, reportedly because Scientology does not believe in psychiatry, and Frasier is a psychiatrist. In the later episodes of Cheers, around the time Lilith and Frasier were going through their separation, Frasier and Rebecca nearly ended up in bed together. Wasting a perfectly good UST plot...
Kirstie Alley claimed in one interview that her being a Scientologist had nothing to do with her never appearing on Frasier, and at least one of the show's writers (Ken Levine) said in a radio interview that they never considered having Kirstie Alley on, mainly because they weren't sure how to write her in, as Rebecca and Frasier hardly interacted on Cheers. Alley also said once she auditioned to play one of Frasier's girlfriends of the week, but was turned down, because the producers thought that would be kind of weird.
Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz, however after the first few days of filming the producers decided that her quirky humor didn't fit the part and they hired Peri Gilpin instead (according to Kudrow, Gilpin was their first choice, but switched her for Kudrow for some reason, then simply restored order by bringing Gilpin back.) Plus, imagine how this would have affected Friends if Kudrow had remained on Frasier.
Frasier's brother Niles wasn't in the original concept and hadn't been mentioned on Cheers. The inspiration for the character came after the producers saw a headshot of David Hyde Pierce and noted his brotherly resemblance to Kelsey Grammer.
Most of the cast of Moonlight was different in the original pilot. Josef was supposed to have been played by Rade Šerbedžija and have a more older-and-wiser look (plus an Eastern European accent fitting an Old World vampire), rather than Jason Dohring's snarky young-looking businessman with a Gordon Gekko feel. To be fair, though, Dohring does a good job nonetheless. Also, Beth and Coraline were originally played by Shannon Lucio and Amber Valletta, respectively, before being replaced by Sophia Myles and Shannyn Sossamon. Alex O'Loughlin is the only main actor to avoid being recast.
Teen Wolf had several of these, mostly changed thanks to actors being unavailable or becoming unexpectedly popular.
The Alpha Pack was meant to have come to Beacon Hills for the Kanima, but due to Jackson's actor leaving very abruptly in between season, they had to hastily write him off along with any prospective plots.
Isaac was meant to die in the finale of Season 2, but his unexpected popularity with fans caused him to live on.
Erica and Boyd were meant to have a storyline of their own which included them becoming a couple, but Erica's actress leaving along with contract issues with Boyd's actor led to them both being killed off, Erica especially abruptly.
Kate Argent's return was meant to happen earlier, but along with the actress being unavaible the writers decided season 2 was packed enough as it is.
Chris Argent and Isaac Lahey were meant to develop a father-son bond in the fourth season, but thanks to Isaac's actor leaving that isn't happening. There is potential for it to happen at a later date since his actor specifically asked to be written off in a way that allowed him to return.
According to actor Dwight Schultz, he read for the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus on St. Elsewhere. However, before he went in to read, he ran into producer Bruce Paltrow, who had several years earlier gotten into a fight with Schultz because of their disparate politics, and Paltrow told him in no uncertain terms that "there's not gonna be a Reagan asshole on this show." Thankfully producers of The A-Team didn't care about Schultz's politics.
Aaron Sorkin and company originally had Sidney Poitier in mind for the role of the President on The West Wing. One can easily imagine the line, "They call me Mister President ..." However, Poitier's agent quoted a salary figure that was so massive Sorkin figured it was a backhanded way of saying "not interested," so they turned to Martin Sheen instead.
Storylines abandoned or changed on EastEnders over the years have included:
The storyline surrounding Ronnie switching Kat's living baby with her own dead one was cut short both because of a flood of viewer complaints, and because Ronnie's actress claimed to have hated the storyline.
"Mad" May was originally to have kidnapped Dawn's baby Summer, but this was changed due to the then-recent disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Instead, May kidnaps Dawn with the intention of delivering and stealing the baby for herself; but Dawn escapes.
In a similar example, an episode that was to have shown Lucas Johnson murdering a prostitute was changed to him kidnapping a random woman from a club, because of the high-profile murders of several sex workers in Ipswich along with complaints that the episode was going to be shown before the 9pm "watershed". He did later murder a prostitute to pass off her corpse as Denise's, but the murder wasn't shown onscreen.
A series of special episodes sending the Mitchells to Spain had to have them going to a seaside resort in the UK instead, because it would have been too expensive to film on location overseas.
The Ferreira family was going to be the centre of a huge storyline where bullying patriarch Dan was murdered by the rest of the family, who would then have to cover up the death. This had to be changed when Dan's actor (an Indian citizen) ran into problems with his permit to work in the UK, and was forced to leave the show. The others were given a new storyline where when Ronny needs a sudden kidney transplant, the family discovers that their friend Tariq is really their half-brother. This storyline, which fans called "Kidneygate", became very unpopular and contributed to the Ferreiras being written out shortly afterwards. Elements of Dan's planned murder were recycled for Den Watts's death the following year.
Barry Evans was to have killed Janine when he forces her onto a cliff to make her confess that she married him for his money. Instead she accidentally kills Barry, who falls and hits his head after she pushes him away.
When Suzy Branning's actress departed at the end of 2008, some of her planned storylines for the following year were given to Janine instead.
A storyline involving Grant Mitchell raping Tiffany at Christmas was dropped because Ross Kemp refused to shoot it.
Lorna Cartwright was supposed to have become a prostitute and been gang-raped; but her actress was worried about the effect the public response would have on her young son, and chose not to renew her contract.
Plans for Peggy to have had an affair with Dennis Rickman were dropped when Barbara Windsor took leave from the show for health reasons.
During Mike Gibbon's run as the show's producer there were plans for a massive cast cull which would have included, controversially, one of the show's few characters of colour being killed by an armed robber and several characters dying in an IRA bombing. The BBC feared public backlash and being targeted by the Broadcasting Standards Council, so the scripts were rejected and Gibbons demoted.
About two years before shows like The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman became front and center, there were actual plans for a series involving Black Widow and Daredevil. Angela Bowie, then-wife of David Bowie was to be the Widow and Ben Carruthers was to be Daredevil. However, all that came out of that was just photo shoots of the two actors in costume.
Had Bill Bixby not passed away due to AIDS, there would have been another installment of The Incredible Hulk TV movies following The Death of the Incredible Hulk where the titular creature would have been resurrected, but it would have caused him to gain Banner's intelligence.
Beane’s of Boston, an Americanization of the popular Britcom Are You Being Served?, was developed by series creators Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft in collaboration with producer Garry Marshall. It never got past the pilot stage, and the pilot has never aired anywhere. The cast included John Hillerman (Magnum P.I.) as Capt. Peacock, Tom Poston (Newhart) as Mr. Rumbold, Alan Sues (Laugh-In) as Mr. Humphries, Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) as Mrs. Slocombe and Lorna Patterson (the TV series version of Private Benjamin) as Miss Brahms.
It was planned to have Loretta's friend Chrissy arrive on the show and reveal that as children they had murdered another child, and were now living under police-protected identities. This was abandoned because the mother of James Bulger, who died in similar circumstances, objected to the storyline. The whole thing was scrapped, Chrissy never appeared (though her actress was cast in a guest role) and Loretta left the show shortly afterwards.
Clare Devine had storylines planned for a longer run on the show, but when her actress quit, Clare was killed off and replaced with her sister Grace, who took over some of the plot intended for Clare.
A reported storyline for 2010, which would have involved an intersex character coming to terms with their gender identity and going through gender reassignment surgery, never took place. However, the show introduced its first trans character (Jason Costello) at the end of that year.
The idea of Robbie Roscoe raping John Paul McQueen was changed to make Finn O'Connor the perpetrator, since it was felt that Robbie had been introduced too recently to write him out by having him jailed for the crime.
Nancy's storyline in the 2010 series of Hollyoaks Later was originally intended for Michaela McQueen, whose actress came into conflict with the producer so her contract was cut short and she was written out of Later.
Louise Summers was to have been the one to try to kill Warren Fox in The Loft fire, with the reveal that he hadn't really killed her after all. The producers could not get her actress back, so Clare Devine was used for the storyline instead and Louise was considered murdered by Warren.
Emily Lawrence was originally cast as Sienna Blake, but quit the show before the character's introduction, and was replaced by Anna Passey.