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The Other Marty

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"Now pay attention, Eric Stoltz. If my calculations are correct, you will be replaced by Michael J. Fox in exactly... seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, precisely!"

Casting can be a tricky thing. You don't always get it right at first, and it so happens you might replace an actor after having them already film a substantial amount of the film. That means for all important scenes involving that actor you have to reshoot it with your new performer. In some cases, quick shots of the original actor may find their way into the final cut, though you'd probably only notice this if you paused on those shots. It is, of course, much easier to pull off the Other Marty in animation and voice-only roles.

Named for one of the more famous examples. Originally, Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future. However, after a good portion of the movie was filmed, the filmmakers, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, decided that Stoltz's performance was too dark, and he was replaced by Michael J. Fox. Gale and Zemeckis had actually wanted Fox from the start, but scheduling conflicts due to his work on Family Ties prevented him from accepting the role. In the final cut of the movie, Stoltz can be seen driving the DeLorean in wide shots of the car chase at the mall, and it's his fist punching Biff Tannen in the diner. According to the 2015 documentary Back in Time, in a lot of the shots that don't have Marty onscreen, but the other actors are reacting to him, it's Stoltz who's actually in these scenes.

In a more general business sense, the use of Stunt Doubles and set doubles means that often we are not seeing the actual actor in as many scenes as we may believe. In animation, character models may be changed and updated as work progresses and completed footage may end with glimpses of that original character. Likewise, while replacing voice actors for an animated work is common, sometimes these actors are also made to go back to re-record and replace the voice of older episodes of a show so that when the older episode is re-run, the new actor's voice is heard.

See also What Could Have Been, The Pete Best, Deleted Role, and Fake Shemp.

Sister Trope to The Other Darrin and Flashback with the Other Darrin.


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  • There was at one time a rumor that Little Steven Van Zandt had fallen victim to this when he left Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1984 (rejoining in 1999). Allegedly, a number of songs on the Born in the USA album were re-recorded with Springsteen on lead guitar instead of Van Zandt. In actuality, Van Zandt left before he would have had the chance to appear on those sessions. In any case, Springsteen always played a lot of the lead guitar on his albums even while having another dedicated guitarist in the band.
  • When Michelle Phillips briefly left The Mamas & the Papas during the recording of their self-titled second album, her parts were recorded by producer Lou Adler's girlfriend, Jill Gibson. Phillips returned before the album was released, and re-recorded at least some of her parts. It remains a matter of dispute as to how many songs on the final album feature which singer.
  • The vocals on Black Sabbath album The Eternal Idol were initially recorded by Ray Gillen, but he quit due to personal financial difficulties (among other problems) just before the release and Tony Martin was then hired to rerecord in a nick of time.note 
  • Ozzy Osbourne was at one point sued by his former bandmembers Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake for unpaid royalties. When the albums featuring them (Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman) were reissued in 2002, their parts were rerecorded by Ozzy's then-current members. The original Daisley and Kerslake tracks were eventually restored for the albums' 30th anniversary reissues.
  • Glen Matlock is simultaneously on both sides of this trope. He was replaced by Sid Vicious when the rest of the band decided they couldn't stand him halfway through the recording of their only (studio) album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. Then, they found out that Sid was often strung out on various drugs, and when he was sober he was completely incompetent as a bassist. So they called Matlock back to finish the session. Though Vicious is officially credited on the album, the other band members have confessed that they did their best to keep him away from the studio, allowing guitarist Steve Jones to joke that this proved very easy since Sid was suffering from hepatitis, and he was only allowed a small bass part on "Bodies", which was promptly buried in the mix. The actual bass performances on Never Mind the Bollocks were recorded by Matlock and Jones.
  • Kiss has done a lot of this over the years, as members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had drug and alcohol issues that affected their playing:
    • The majority of the drums on the Dynasty and Unmasked albums were played by Anton Fig, best known as the drummer for David Letterman's house band.
    • Many times, they brought in other guitarists to fill in for Ace. Most notably, many of the studio tracks on Alive II and the "reunion" album, Psycho Circus, were handled by longtime friend of the band, Bob Kulick (Bob's brother, Bruce, would play in the band from 1984 to 1996).
    • Their only album with Mark St. John on guitar, Animalize, had two songs (Lonely Is The Hunter, Murder In High Heels) with his future replacement, Bruce Kulick, playing lead guitar.
    • According to Peter Criss, many of the bass parts on their albums were actually handled by Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley instead of Lead Bassist Gene Simmons.
  • Ministry:
    • Ministry side project 1000 Homo DJs recorded a cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" featuring Trent Reznor on vocals. Reznor was having a contract dispute with his label, TVT, and they refused to allow the song to be released. Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen re-recorded the vocal part himself. note  The version with Reznor's vocal was eventually released, after TVT acquired the rights to 1000 Homo DJs' recordings.
    • Chris Connelly first collaborated with Al Jourgensen when Jourgensen had asked him to add vocals and lyrics to an instrumental he'd written... That instrumental recording was later turned into "I Will Refuse" by Pailhead, with Ian MacKaye on vocals, who provided his own lyrics and vocal melody. Connelly's version was later featured on a self-curated rarities album called Initials C.C., where it was credited to Revolting Cocksnote  and titled "Stick". Connelly would say of the experience that "it was an honor to be erased by Ian".
  • Listing all the examples where a movie's music is replaced could fill a book and has, but some choice ones are
  • Due to the punishing production schedule of Stock Aitken Waterman acts, Miriam Stockley was drafted in to hit notes that the actual stars couldn't. This especially affects Kylie Minogue's hits - an inexperienced singer with a thin soprano voice who had to fly from Australia to the UK to record a song that was brand new to her and then get back on the plane again two hours later, it's testament to the talent of all involved that the vast majority of the singing on the SAW albums is Kylie. "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" is an easy song to spot Miriam in - you can hear Kylie's voice cut out after 'I'm wondering why...' (the cut is mid-vowel and obscured with a lot of reverb effects and BVs), and on the chorus, it's Miriam, who has a noticeably fuller and huskier tone.
  • Bad Brains originally recorded the album Quickness with Taj Singleton on vocals and Mackie Jayson on drums. Shortly after finishing the recording, HR and Earl Hudson, the group's original singer and drummer, rejoined the band; Singleton's vocals were erased and HR wrote new lyrics and melodies for the already completed music. Jayson's original drum tracks remained on the album, but he was left uncredited and the group photo used for the cover art featured Earl Hudson instead of him.
  • Original Dead Cross vocalist Gabe Serbian left the band shortly after they finished recording their debut album. Mike Patton took over as vocalist, recording new vocals and lyrics for the music the band already finished.
  • The Italo Disco song "Mad Desire" by Den Harrow (a model who lip-synced to recordings by session singers) was originally sung by Silvio Pozzolli. However, Pozzolli's English wasn't that good (he pronounced "Here I am" as "Ear I am"). When "Mad Desire" was released on the Den Harrow album Overpower, Tom Hooker (an American expat) re-recorded the vocals.
  • The Offspring twice lost a drummer departure before recording an album (a dismissal with Splinter, a departure with Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace), leading session musician Josh Freese to take over. Freese also ended up a tour drummer for them in 2021.
  • Once David Ellefson was fired for a sexual misconduct, Megadeth announced the yet to be released album The Sick, the Dying... and the Dead! would have his bass tracks re-recorded by a session musician.

  • Cats: The London cast originally had Judi Dench double-cast as Jennyanydots and Grizabella. Dench tore an Achilles tendon during rehearsals, then compounded it by falling off stage. Her roles were later split, Jennyanydots with Myra Sands and Grizabella with Elaine Page.
  • In one of his earliest roles, Marlon Brando was cast as Stanislas in the English-language production of The Eagle with Two Heads. He did not get along, at all, with co-star and producer Tallulah Bankhead, and his unprofessional conduct during previews led to Helmut Dantine replacing him for the short Broadway run.
  • Company initially starred Dean Jones in the role of Bobby Baby, and he even recorded the role on the cast album. However, right after opening night, Jones departed due to suffering a nervous breakdown from his divorce. He was replaced by Larry Kert, best known for originating the role of Tony in West Side Story. As a result, Kert was nominated for a Tony, making it a rare case for a replacement receiving a nomination.
  • In the world premiere of the musical First Date at Seattle's ACT Theatre, Casey was originally supposed to be played by Kendra Kassebaum (one of the many Glindas in Wicked), but she got called back to NYC for a different show and was replaced by Kelly Karbacz.
  • With The Phantom of the Opera Steve Harley, a UK singer trying to make a comeback, was in running for the role of the Phantom — so much so that he recorded the original single of the "Phantom of the Opera" title song. However, the tone and the musical style of the show changed considerably after this, and he was sacked just before rehearsals began and replaced with Michael Crawford. Needless to say, the comeback never happened.
  • A third Lloyd Webber example came in the form of Roger Moore, who was going to play the character of George in Aspects of Love, but dropped out after deciding his voice wasn't up to the job. His understudy, Kevin Colson, took the part instead.
  • For Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Sunset Boulevard, Broadway star Patti LuPone was promised the lead in the original Broadway production, but was ultimately replaced by Glenn Close from the LA production. The ensuing lawsuit crippled the Broadway production, which closed after two years at a huge loss despite high ticket sales. Similarly, Close's replacement in LA was meant to be Faye Dunaway. During rehearsals, it was decided that her voice wasn't what they wanted and they elected to shut down instead of recasting. Dunaway sued and settled for an undisclosed sum.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark cycled through many principal actors because of its constant delays and unfortunate production mishaps. At one point, Jim Sturgess was attached to play Spider-Man, with Evan Rachel Wood as Mary-Jane and Alan Cumming as the Green Goblin.

    Video Games 
  • Marlon Brando reprised his role as Don Corleone and recorded new dialogue for EA's 2006 video game The Godfather. Due to his failing health, the studio was forced to turn to a soundalike. As courtesy to Brando, however, they did use some of the lines from his recordings, specifically the scene where Corleone was recuperating at a hospital (where the muddled quality of Brando's voice due to the breathing apparatus he was using at the time made sense).
  • Al Pacino was set to reprise his role as Tony Montana for Scarface: The World Is Yours. However, when it was discovered that years of smoking had damaged his vocal cords to the point where he could no longer sound like Montana, Pacino personally handpicked André Sogliuzzo to replace him.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: The game's original premise had the hero as a tattooed, muscle-bound shaman versed in the ancient arts. When Clive Barker came aboard, the first thing he had the development team do was overhaul the hero into Irish paranormal investigator Patrick Galloway, wisely deciding that an everyman hero would work much better for the story (not to mention the Author Appeal factor). The hero's original design didn't go to waste, however: he can be seen as the Trsanti shaman wielding the Gel'ziabar Stone in the flashback cutscene.
  • In Borderlands 2, Gaige the Mechromancer is a pretty unique example, as she has two voices in the final version. The first is Luci Christian, who is also credited for the role in the main game's end credits, and the second is Cherami Leigh. Originally, Christian was to voice the character entirely. However, after she had recorded most of her lines, Gearbox Software decided to recast the role. When Gaige was released as a DLC character, all of Christian's original lines were left in by mistake, along with all the lines written and recorded after Leigh had been cast. Players have to spec into Anarchy to heard much of Leigh-as-Gaige, though.
  • Destiny managed to pull a retroactive version of this. Peter Dinklage's voicing of the player's Ghost companion was poorly received by fans. When the character required new dialogue for expansion packs, the developers used Nolan North instead. They then had him re-record all of the original dialogue as well so that Dinklage's performance could be patched out of the game completely. Word of God claims that Dinklage was replaced because his busy Hollywood schedule made it extremely difficult to get him for the short notice work that video game voice acting requires (especially a "live" game like Destiny).
  • Destiny 2 repeated the phenomenon with Anastasia Bray, originally introduced to the game in the Warmind expansion in 2018. Ana's original voice actress, Jamie Chung, was replaced by Erika Ishii in 2020 with D2's Season of the Worthy update. At the same time, Bungie patched all of the Warmind content to include Ishii's performance for Ana, in much the same fashion as the first game's Dinklage-to-North switch for the player's Ghost.
  • In Far Cry 3, Jason was originally going to be voiced by Elias Toufexis, who ended up doing two years worth of voice work for the game. After the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where Toufexis voiced protagonist Adam Jensen, Ubisoft replaced Toufexis with Gianpaolo Venuta since, in the words of the former, "they didn't want people playing this game and thinking of another game". Toufexis would later voice the lead in the spinoff title Far Cry Primal.
  • For Gears of War 2, due to the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike, Marcus Fenix was briefly recast to the Texas-based Christopher Sabat, who has confirmed that he did some recording for the game. Once the strike was resolved, John DiMaggio was free to reprise his role, and Sabat's performance went unused.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo 4, David Anthony Pizzuto was the original voice of Ur-Didact, but he sadly passed away before he finished recording all of his lines. Keith Szarabajka voices the character in the final game.
    • Mike Colter played Jameson Locke in Halo: Nightfall and Halo 2: Anniversary, and performed motion capture for the character in Halo 5: Guardians. He was also set to voice him again, but due to scheduling conflicts with Luke Cage, Ike Amadi stepped in to voice Locke in the final game.
    • For Halo Infinite, actor Verlon Roberts announced pre-release that he was due to play the character of Spartan Griffin. In the final game he is still credited for a motion capture performance, but Griffin is voiced by Andrew Kishino instead. Given the circumstances, it is possible an NDA breach on Roberts' part is to blame.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • The Like a Dragon series had this happen two times retroactively due to Japan's culture of companies summarily axing and distancing themselves from talent that get into trouble with the law on drug charges:
    • Pierre Taki originally portrayed Kyohei Hamura in Judgment, but after an arrest on suspicion of drug possession, Sega pulled the game from shelves for a time until they could change the character so that he no longer bore Taki's likeness.
    • One of the main protagonists of Yakuza 4, Masayoshi Tanimura, was recast for the PlayStation 4 re-release after his original voice actor and model, Hiroki Narimiya, left the industry to return to his fashion design career after being framed for drug abuse allegations. Toshiki Masuda being brought on to provide Tanimura's voice and likeness.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy (2015), outsourced to a different company with a different art team to the previous Dissidia games, reportedly had serious problems getting Cloud to look right. Early trailers for the game showed a somewhat shiny, elfin-looking Cloud which met with negative reception amongst members of staff, who complained that "something was off" about him and that he looked creepy. One person from Team Ninja complained in an interview with Famitsu that they 'must have remade Cloud's face a hundred times' due to inability to get him to look like the character.
    • Final Fantasy XV's lengthy Troubled Production and numerous rewrites resulted in a lot of these:
      • Early promo material focused heavily on Noctis's girlfriend, Stella Nox Fleuret, who was hyped up as having a strong, Silk Hiding Steel personality and the most important role in the story. Her charismatic design and comparisons to previous fan favorite Celes from Final Fantasy VI led to the fanbase getting attached to her. As XV's Development Hell creaked on, it was Retooled into a game about four guys on a road trip, and Stella's role became ancillary. Feeling that it would be disrespectful to Stella and the fans to use her in a drastically diminished role, she was replaced with a new character called Lunafreya Nox Fleuret.
      • Emperor Iedolas Aldercapt was originally going to be voiced by Shinji Ogawa. After Ogawa's death during the game's development, his dialogue was rerecorded by Shōzō Iizuka.
      • The game also ran into problems where Ink-Suit Actor child actors would age out of being able to perform their roles by the time rewrites necessitated new recordings, requiring recasts.
  • Jason Marsden recorded lines for the Dead/Party Juju in Tak and the Power of Juju before he was replaced by Rob Paulsen late in development in the first game. Marsden's version of "Nice job, little dude!" was left in a commercial.
  • In the beta release of Star Wars Battlefront II (2017), Rey was voiced by Helen Sadler. By the time the game hit stores, she was replaced by Rey's original actress, Daisy Ridley.
  • Overwatch:
    • The French dub had Marie Vincent dub Ana Amari from her addition to the game up to September 2017, where she was replaced by Isabelle Leprince, with all her lines redone.
    • In the Italian dub Paolo Marchese originally voiced Reinhardt until April 2017, when he was replaced by Pietro Ubaldi who redid all his lines.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • In the E3 2018 reveal trailer, Edelgard was voiced by Cristina Valenzuela. By the time Nintendo's Fire Emblem Direct aired in early February 2019, she had been replaced by Tara Platt for unknown reasons. For a long time, it was speculated that this was due to Valenzuela breaking the NDA. note  However, it was later revealed that the recasting was amicable; something changed Nintendo's mind on the story direction and thought a change of English voice actress was needed for it.
    • Male Byleth was voiced by Chris Niosi in both Three Houses and Fire Emblem Heroes. After his own indiscretions with the NDA, his lines were scrubbed from Heroes and he was replaced by Zach Aguilar, with his replacement voicelines included in Update 3.7.1 in Heroes, and Patch 1.0.2 in Three Houses. Aguliar's lines were also used when Byleth appeared as a DLC character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • In Half-Life: Alyx, Merle Dandrige reprised her role as Alyx for most of the game's production, recording dialogue all the way up to the ending. However, midway through the writers decided that, given the game's status as a prequel set while Alyx is a teenager, they should go with a younger-sounding voice actor and swapped her for Ozioma Akagha.
  • Hwang in Soulcalibur VI was originally voiced by Lucien Dodge for his appearance as a NPC in Seong Mi-na's Soul Chronicle. Once he became a DLC character, however, the role was recast to SungWon Cho, who also re-recorded all of Dodge's lines for the character's aforementioned story appearances.
  • In the Professor Layton series, the UK releases of the games replace Lani Minella's portrayal of Luke Triton from the US release with British actor Maria Darling.
  • The original Mortal Kombat had an actor named Eric Kincaid playing the role of Shang Tsung. When the developers realized that Shang Tsung had fewer moves and animations than they needed for the final boss, Ho-Sung Pak, who played the protagonist Liu Kang, was brought in to recording additional frames in the same outfit. Since Ho-Sung Pak posed for the majority of the animation frames, only he was credited in the final version, but some of Kincaid's poses were still used.
  • Disco Elysium:
    • The Horrific Necktie as seen in the game is multicoloured, mostly green and blue with red accents, and has a mixture of paisley and floral prints in clashing colour schemes. However, at one point, it was orange. This can be seen in the portrait for the "Sensitive" prebuilt archetype, which shows the detective caressing the Necktie (as it tends to become a prominent character in builds prioritising PSY), with it being bright orange and having a consistent paisley print. Kim also references the tie being orange in one specific line of dialogue in his Debriefing scene at the end of the first day, when complimenting the player on their shoes - "I like the green. Goes with the orange."
    • It seems very likely that the role of the Scab Leader/Kortenaer was written with his original voice actor, Chapo Trap House's Felix Biederman, in mind; Korty's incompetent failson Sociopathic Soldier personality is in line with Felix's comic persona and obsession with modern military culture, and he's a Comic-Book Fantasy Casting of longtime Chapo enemy Peter Daou. In the Final Cut dub, where Korty is voiced by Mack McGuire, he still keeps his resemblance to Daou without the Casting Gag to make sense of it, making it seem like a weird detail.
  • Originally Dead by Daylight had Pinhead voiced by an unknown actor before being removed and later replaced by a returning Doug Bradley.

    Web Original 
  • When the trailer for Stupid Mario Brothers Animated was released, all the voices were done by Rich Alvarez. When the first episode was released, the very same scene instead had Chris Muller reprising his role as Luigi, and Rich's wife Jackie voicing Peach.
  • A parody example is Homestar Runner / Strong Bad Email #177 Original, where Strong Bad retcons casting changes for Bubs and fabricates various behind the scenes conflicts and fan reactions. Pummeling Ensues when Bubs finds out.
  • Fans were allowed to watch the first episode of Red vs. Blue: Zero during RTX at Home 2020, in which the henchman Diesel was voiced by Ryan Haywood. Due to the controversial circumstances around him that led to his subsequent departure from Rooster Teeth, he was replaced by Daman Mills by the time the season actually came out. The only way to hear Haywood's performance is through reaction videos recorded during that early showing.

Alternative Title(s): Orwellian Recasting


The Other Marty

The Trope Namer: Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly

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