With the announcement Sunday that the latest regeneration of Doctor Who is going to be actress Jodie Whittaker – the first woman to ever take on the role in the show’s 50-year history – it’s a good time to look at some of the other famous recastings in movie and TV history.
1. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe started with Ed Norton playing the Jade Giant (no, we’re not counting the Eric Bana turn in 2003). After one movie, though, Norton moved on and was replaced by Mark Ruffalo, whose Hulk has been prominently seen in two Avengers movies and will be seen again in this fall’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Norton’s film does win best cameo for Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk on the 1970s TV show.
2. Willie Mays Hayes
“Major League” is a classic sports comedy, and it was fueled by a terrific cast, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and an up-and-coming youngster named Wesley Snipes.
Snipes was on the fast road to superstardom and by the time the sequel rolled around, he was deep in making movies such as “New Jack City” and “White Men Can’t Jump.” He was replaced by Omar Epps in “Major League II.”
Like most of the original cast, the character didn’t appear in “Major League III: Back to the Minors.”
3. Albus Dumbledore
The most powerful wizard in the world was portrayed by Richard Harris in the first two “Harry Potter” movies. Sadly, Harris fell ill and died, forcing producers to replace him with Sir Michael Gambon, who played the role for the final six films.
In the prequel world started by “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the role is reportedly being played by Jude Law.
4. Rachel Dawes
Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Bat-films are widely considered some of the best takes on the superhero genre, particularly the first two.
A key character – Bruce Wayne’s longtime friend and moral compass, Rachel Dawes – was recast between “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” with Katie Holmes being replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Holmes decided to make “Mad Money” instead.
5. Col. James Rhodes
“Iron Man” set the world on fire in 2008, giving birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A key part of that was Col. James Rhodes, who would go on to become War Machine in “Iron Man 2” and continues to this day as a member of the Avengers.
The role was initially played by Terrence Howard, but after contract disagreements, the part was recast for “Iron Man 2” with Don Cheadle.
6. Clarice Starling
Jodie Foster had a career-defining turn as Agent Clarice Starling, a rookie FBI agent who had to negotiate with the epically menacing Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs.”
She decided to not reprise her role in “Hannibal,” and was replaced by Julianne Moore.
7. Jack Ryan
Tom Clancy’s mild-mannered CIA analyst has been cast and recast several times, starting with Alec Baldwin in “The Hunt for Red October.”
He was replaced by Harrison Ford for perhaps the highlights of the Jack Ryan series, “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.”
Ben Affleck took the role for “The Sum of All Fears,” and more recently, Chris Pine took the role in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”
8. Sarah Connor
While the Terminator franchise was nominally about preventing Skynet becoming self-aware and killing everyone, the first two movies were mostly about Linda Hamilton’s character morphing into a slightly psychotic gun-toting badass by the end of “Terminator 2.”
Emilia Clarke brought the character back to life on the big screen in 2015’s “Terminator: Genisys.” In between, Lena Headey (one of Clarke’s co-stars in “Game of Thrones”) brought the character to TV in “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”)
9. Meg Griffin
The always picked-on Meg was voiced by actress Lacey Chabert during the first season of “Family Guy.” The showrunners decided to go in a different direction for the second season and recruited actress Mila Kunis, who voices the role today.
10. Buffy Summers
The world’s favorite vampire slayer was originally played by Kristy Swanson in a somewhat forgettable movie version released in 1992.
When creator Joss Whedon brought his Slayer to TV, he cast Sarah Michelle Gellar, who owned the role for seven seasons.