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Role Reprisal / Live-Action TV

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  • The Addams Family had a 1977 Reunion Show called Halloween with the New Addams Family, which had most of the actors from the original show reprise their roles (they even have Ken Weatherwax and Lisa Loring play adult versions of Pugsley and Wednesday). The only actors who weren't able to reprise their roles were Blossom Rock and Margaret Hamilton, who played Gomez's mother Grandmama Addams and Morticia's mother Hester Frump respectively.
  • Naomi Grossman plays Pepper in the second season of American Horror Story, Asylum, and then again in the fourth, Freak Show. This is notable because the series is an anthology, and the actors play different characters each season (so far, three actors have shared scenes with Pepper in both seasons as different characters). This has led to speculation that each season takes place in a shared universe, notwithstanding the fact that there would currently be four identical Jessica Langes, Sarah Paulsons, Frances Conroys and Evan Peterses running around that universe.
    • This was confirmed in Episode 10 Orphans of Freak Show when it is shown that the two characters are within the same continuity.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead brings back Bruce Campbell as his iconic character Ash Williams. Ellen Sandweiss, who played Ash's sister Cheryl in the original film, reprises her role in the show's second season.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer pulled off a rather impressive string of actors reprising their characters in a single scene in the 7th season opener, with all previous Big Bads being impersonated by the new enemy who can take on the appearance of anyone dead or once dead. While one of them, Spike, had become a regular character on the series all of the others were reprised by the same actors.
    • "Something Blue" may hold the record for the shortest role reprisal, bringing back Elizabeth Anne Allen to play recurring character Amy Madison for less than 4 seconds in season 4 after accidentally turning herself into a rat in season 3. (She later got a proper reprisal in season 6.)
    Willow: I mean, first she's a perfectly normal girl... [Amy, behind her, becomes human again and looks overjoyed]...then POOF! — She's a rat. [Amy's a rat again] I could never do something like that.
  • Similar to the Buffy example, the climactic scene of the series finale of Desperate Housewives featured the spirits of almost every character who had died on Wisteria Lane, played by the original actors. The first to be seen was Mike Delfino (James Denton), who'd died in the final season, and the last was Mary Alice Walker (Brenda Strong), who'd committed suicide at the start of the first episode.
  • As a long-runner, Doctor Who has done this several times.
  • The Flash (2014) reboot has Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Trickster from the 1990 live-action show and Justice League Unlimited, while Amanda Pays reprises her role as Tina McGee. Vito D'Ambrosio also returns as Bellows, though this time, the character is the mayor, not a cop ("Elongated Journey into Night" establishes that he used to be a cop). Additionally, the Season 3 premiere, "Flashpoint", sees Alex Desert reprise the role of Julio Mendez.
    • The Italian dub has Giorgio Lopez reprising the role of Trickster (again from the dub of the 1990 show).
    • Mark Hamill also plays the Trickster of Earth-3, who is clearly an Expy of The Joker. Hamill is well-known for voicing the Joker in animated series.
    • Corinne Bohrer reprises her role as Zoey Clark (AKA Prank), the Trickster's partner-in-crime. In this version, she was also his lover and even gave him a son. The photo of the Trickster and Prank during their crime spree 20 years before is a still from the 90's show.
    • An interesting case with John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry Allen in the 90's show. In the 2014 show, he plays Henry Allen, Barry's dad. He later also plays Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-3, making it the second time Shipp has played a Flash (albeit a different one). A clip from the 90's show is also shown at one point, implying that the universe of the 90's show exists in the 2014 show's multiverse. Later it's revealed that this show takes place in Earth-90, and he once again plays the role of the 90s Barry Allen for the Elseworlds crossover.
  • Jon Lovitz reprised his guest role from Friends eight years after his first appearance, revealing that his drug habits had since cost him his job.
    • Likewise, after appearing as a Guy of the Week for Phoebe in Season 1, Hank Azaria reprised his role of David several times in the latter years of the show's run, first in a one-off appearance in Season 7, and then as a recurring character in Season 9 before losing out on Phoebe's affections to Mike.
  • Girl Meets World, the Sequel Series to Boy Meets World, features Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprising their roles as Cory and Topanga, now raising a family of their own. Additionally, characters from throughout the run of Boy Meets World have been brought back, always with the original actor playing them — with the sole exception of Cory's younger brother Josh, who is given The Other Darrin treatment (to be fair, he was a toddler at the end of the original show's run, and played by a non-actor to boot).
  • Season 2 of Gotham has Paul Reubens playing the Penguin's father, a role he originated in the 1992 movie Batman Returns, though the character has a different name — nor is that the only difference Elijah Van Dahl has from Tucker Cobblepot.
  • It's fairly common for past Kamen Rider characters to return in crossover movies and anniversary specials, though this is often done via Fake Shemps since many of the actors have moved on to other projects. The Kamen Rider Gaim film Kamen Rider Taisen is a notable exception, since it featured Hiroshi Fujioka reprising his role as the original Kamen Rider from way back in 1971, as well as Ryo Hayami reprising his role as Kamen Rider X. A number of the actors from more recent productions like Kamen Rider Faiz, Kamen Rider Decade, Kamen Rider W, and Kamen Rider Wizard returned as well.
  • Kim's Convenience is based on a play; two members of the main cast, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Mr. Kim) and Jean Yoon (Mrs. Kim), reprise their roles from the Toronto Fringe Festival and Soulpepper Theatre versions of the play for the TV show.
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: In the 1995 episode "Gunfighters", Clint Walker reprised his role of Sheriff Cheyenne Bodie from the 1955-1963 show Cheyenne. He had previously played Cheyenne in the 1991 film The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw.
  • After The Reveal of Chronos in Legends of Tomorrow, Steve Blum as the voice of the character is this, given he voiced a version of Heat Wave before.
  • Limitless has Bradley Cooper playing the recurring role of his character from the 2011 movie, acting as a sort-of mentor for the new protagonist.
  • In an episode of Mad About You Carl Reiner reprises his role of Alan Brady from The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • The 1980's revival of Mission: Impossible featured the return of Peter Graves as Jim Phelps. Additionally, Greg Morris reprised his role of Barney for a 2-part episode.
  • The 200th NCIS episode "Life Before His Eyes" featured cameos from main and minor characters from previous seasons, even the dead ones. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Whenever a series continuation is released on Netflix, the site has a policy to recruit as many of the original actors as possible. This is especially true with the foreign dubs, with a couple examples:
    • Excellently, the Italian dub of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life stayed at the same studio (PUMAISdue), with the main characters' voice actresses (Myriam Catania and Giuppy Izzo) appointing themselves as the dubbing directors and inviting all the original actors back after nine years.
  • Twenty years after he played Miser Smee in Hook, Bob Hoskins reprised the role in Neverland.
  • Now and Again: In the first act of the first episode John Goodman's character Michael Wiseman is killed in a subway accident and his brain is put into a new body, played by Eric Close. One episode of the series is told largely in Flashback and stars Goodman instead.
  • Once Frozen characters were introduced in Once Upon a Time, most foreign dubs had the voice actors from the local dubs of the movie reprise their roles.
  • Still Open All Hours has Granville, Mavis, Mrs Featherstone and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel all played by the original actors, nearly 20 years after the previous series.
  • Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale reprised their roles from the original Perry Mason series in the TV movies, 19 years later.
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai often has the previous years' cast reprise their roles for a crossover with the current Ranger. It also sometimes brings back older characters into later series as semi-regulars. For example:
  • Keiko Han voiced the cat version of Luna in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, reprising her role from the original anime.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Mac McDonald made three guest appearances as Captain Hollister in the first two series and then reprised his role as a Recurring Character in all but one episode of Series VIII, broadcast eleven years later. Clare Grogan also made numerous appearances in the first two series as the original Kochanski and then returned for a brief scene in Series VI five years later.
    • Selby and Chen, Lister's buddies seen twice in Series 1, also return eleven years later for the premiere of Series 8 with the same actors. Alas, Petersen wasn't there to complete the trio, but is referenced more than once.
    • Norman Lovett also returns as Holly, beginning with "Nanarchy", having not played the role since Series II.
    • The Dave era, beginning with Back to Earth, sees all the main actors (except either Holly - even Chloe Annett makes a cameo) return, a decade after the end of Series VIII.
    • The Series XII episode "Mechocracy" features the return of Talkie Toaster, still voiced by David Ross some 26 years after "White Hole".
  • And "Skipped" sees the return of Norman Lovett as Holly and Mac Macdonald as Hollister, 18 years after their last role reprisals.
  • Sam & Cat was a spin-off/crossover/sequel series to iCarly and Victorious, so it was only really a matter of time before some of the actors from the parent show reprised their characters in this series. This resulted in Eric Lange as Cat's odd improv teacher Sikowitz appearing in #MommaGoomer, Liz Gillies as Cat's close friend Jade West, Matt Bennett as Cat's friend and crush Robbie Shapiro, and Nathan Kress as Sam's close friend and ex boyfriend Freddie Benson in #TheKillerTunaJump, and Danielle Morrow as crazy ex-iCarly fan Nora Dershlit, Reed Alexander as blogger and long time iCarly enemy Nevel Papperman, and Noah Munck as the loveable but idiotic Gibby Gibson in #SuperPsycho.
  • Smallville: Michael Rosenbaum was brought back as Lex Luthor for the Grand Finale, despite having been Killed Off for Real several seasons earlier.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot "Encounter at Farpoint" featured a cameo of an elderly Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy played by DeForest Kelley under heavy makeup.
    • Zephram Cochrane was played by James Cromwell in Star Trek: First Contact, and reprised the role 5 years later in a video cameo that bridges the events of that movie with Star Trek: Enterprise. Recycled footage from First Contact was used in a later episode dealing with the Mirror Universe, with a Fake Shemp used for new scenes.
    • John Colicos reprised his Original Series role as Kor in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, decades after playing him in the original series, alongside William Campbell as Koloth and Michael Ansara as Kang. Kor would become a recurring character in DS9, and Kang would return in Voyager. The same Voyager episode, "Flashback," had George Takei return as Sulu re-enacting elements of Undiscovered Country, which includes Grace Lee Whitney as Lieutenant Rand and a one-off background character in a more pivotal role.
    • Carolyn McCormick playing a memorable holographic character named Minuet in a first season episode, then reprised the role in a very brief but pivotal cameo 2 years later.
    • Wife of Gene Rodenberry Majel Barrett voiced the ship computer in all series (including the original, where she also played Nurse Chapel).
    • The role of the Borg Queen was first played by Alice Krige in Star Trek: First Contact. When she was brought into Star Trek: Voyager she was played by Susanna Thompson. In the Series Finale, however, Krige returned to the role.
    • The DS9 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" begins with the Defiant picking up an apparent human in Cardassian space who turns out to be Arne Darvin, still played by Charlie Brill some 29 real-time years and 105 in-universe years after "The Trouble with Tribbles".
  • William Sadler actually played The Grim Reaper first in an obscure comedy sketch show called Assaulted Nuts. Then came the more famous portrayal in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, after which he played the Grim Reaper for a third time in the Tales from the Crypt episode The Assassin, this time as co-host with the Crypt Keeper.
  • The pilot of The X-Files featured alien abductees Billy and Theresa, who returned years later in "Requiem", and even had some appearances in the following season. FBI agent Jeffrey Spender, after having apparently died in Season 6, came back horribly disfigured in one of the last episodes of season 9. All were played by the same actors.
  • Dear White People: Brandon Bell and Marque Richardson reprise their roles playing Troy and Reggie.
  • Christopher Lee played Death in the Cosgrove Hall animations of the Discworld novels Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music and then reprised the role in Sky1's live action The Colour of Magic.
  • It's quite common for Ultra Series actors reappear as their characters in other series. Here some of the notable ones.


Example of: