From ‘Eclipse’ To ‘Spider-Man’: Top 10 Fan-Fascinating Hollywood Recastings

A pair of new faces cemented themselves as part of Hollywood’s premiere box office franchises this week, as Hollywood recastings continue to change the landscape of some fan favorite films.

Relative unknown Andrew Garfield was announced as the latest actor to web-sling his way into the role of “Spider-Man,” for the franchise’s upcoming fourth installment, slated for release in July 2012. The 26-year-old actor, whose film credits include “Lions for Lambs” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” will rely on his youthful looks to pull off the role of a teenage Peter Parker, stepping in for Tobey Maguire who held the title role in the saga’s first three chapters.

Meanwhile, Bryce Dallas Howard made her debut as vampire Victoria in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” this week, replacing the departed Rachelle Lefevre, and quickly earned herself a special place in the hearts of Twi-hards everywhere as the newest member of the cast.

However, Peter Parker and Victoria aren’t the only characters to be recast mid-series during their run – and they won’t be the last.

From James Bond to “Bewitched’s” Darrin Stephens, a host of actors have been swapped out for others, sometimes to the displeasure and confusion of, while at other times, to the delight of, fans. looks back at them as we count down our Top 10 Fan-Fascinating Hollywood Recastings.

10. “Back To The Future’s” Jennifer Parker: Originally played by Claudia Wells and recast with Elisabeth Shue

With her big brown eyes and supportive smile, Claudia Wells made a brief, but lasting impression as Jennifer Parker, the paramour of Michael J. Fox’s time-traveling Marty McFly in 1985’s “Back To The Future.” Following her Hill Valley residency, Wells joined “Fast Times,” a television offshoot of the slacker comedy film alongside a young Patrick Dempsey. Though her star was on the rise, Wells was unable to carry on as Jennifer when Marty traveled to 2015 in 1989’s “Back To The Future Part II,” due to the health of her mother, who reportedly had cancer. Instead, Elisabeth Shue, of “The Karate Kid” and “Adventures In Babysitting” fame, took over the role beginning with the franchise’s first sequel.

9. “Hope & Faith’s’” Sydney Shanowski: Originally played by Nicole Paggi and recast with Megan Fox

Long before she was battling giant robots bent on world domination, Megan Fox was simply a girl of “Faith.” In 2004, Megan stepped into the role of Sydney Shanowski on the ABC sitcom “Hope & Faith,” which co-starred Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford. But when she took on the role, she also brought her character a radical new hair color, as blonde actress Nicole Paggi had previously played the role during the show’s first season. Fox went on to keep the role until the series ended in 2006. No reason was ever given on why Paggi was recast.

8. “Bewitched’s” Darrin Stephens: Originally played by Dick York and recast with Dick Sargent

In what may have been the original controversial recasting, Dick York was forced to leave his Emmy-nominated role as Darrin Stephens on ‘60s TV classic “Bewitched” due to back problems. As one of the show’s two lead actors alongside Elizabeth Montgomery, his replacement after four seasons by Dick Sargent in the 1969-1970 season came as a shock to audiences, but the fantastical sitcom, which followed an ordinary man married to a witch, continued until 1972.

7. “Batman’s” Catwoman: Originally played by Julie Newmar and replaced with Eartha Kitt and later Lee Meriwether

Most fanboys will tell you that the “Batman” TV series starring Adam West is not their favorite on-screen portrayal of The Dark Knight, preferring Christopher Nolan’s more realistic, gritty 2008 big screen take. But many will agree that the three actresses who donned the skin-tight outfits of feline fatale Catwoman in the ‘60s classic were purr-fect! Julie Newmar originated the role in 1966, proving to be a sexy and sophisticated foil for the Caped Crusader, creating some heat with West’s Batman. After the show’s first season, producers capitalized on their success by taking the Dynamic Duo to the big screen. Since Newmar had a prior commitment, Lee Meriwether took over the role. Newmar returned for the second season on television but bowed out for the third to take a role in the 1969 western “MacKenna’s Gold.” Singer/actress Eartha Kitt stepped in and made the role her own. It became a milestone in pop culture, not only because she was the first African-American actress to play the role, but also because it became the place where Eartha first gave the world her trademark, and often imitated, Catwoman growl. Meow indeed!

6. “Roseanne’s” Becky Conner: Originally played by Alicia Goranson and replaced with Sarah Chalke

Alicia Goranson played Becky, the oldest daughter, in the 1988 family sitcom, “Roseanne.” In 1992, however, at the start of the show’s fifth season, Alicia (known as Lecy) left the series to enroll in Vassar College. For a while, she appeared via the telephone and the producers tried to work around her schedule, but ultimately they decided to recast her role in the beginning of the following season. The part went to future “Scrubs” star Sarah Chalke. Alicia returned to the role briefly in Season 8, but eventually left the role to Sarah for the final season of the show.

5. Clarisse Starling: Originally played by Jodie Foster in “The Silence of the Lambs” and recast with Julianne Moore in “Hannibal”

Jodie Foster won an Oscar for her portrayal of Clarisse Starling in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” as the newbie FBI agent on the hunt for Dr. Hannibal Lecter – the serial killer with a penchant for human liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti. According to reports at the time, Foster refused to appear in the sequel — 2001’s “Hannibal” — despite the return of Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. Instead, Oscar nominee Julianne Moore stepped in to play the role and the sequel went on to make $30 million more at the box office than “Lambs,” although it garnered less critical acclaim.

4. “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s” Aunt Vivian: Originally played by Janet Hubert and recast with Daphne Reid

What happened to Will’s Aunt Viv on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”? If you ask the original actress, Janet Hubert, she’ll tell you that she was given an offer she had to refuse. For four seasons Janet played the smart and sassy Aunt Viv, but in 1993, Aunt Viv returned played by a completely different person — Daphne Reid. In a scathing tell-all, “Perfection Is Not A Sitcom Mom,” Janet claimed that the show’s producers were going to cut the episodes she appeared in by half, which meant a huge pay cut. In her place, Daphne was brought in as the smiling Banks matriarch.

3. James Bond: Played by a host of stars including Pierce Brosnan and later in a retooled reboot by Daniel Craig

After four James Bond movies, some of the most successful in the franchise’s history at the time, Pierce Brosnan had his license to kill revoked. Inspired by the success of 2005’s “Batman Begins,” a reboot of the caped crusader franchise, the Bond producers decided it was time to take their own long-running film series in a new direction for the 21st secret agent adventure. They returned to 007’s roots by finally filming a serious adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.” Following in the steps of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Brosnan, in 2006, Daniel Craig was cast as the British super spy. While fans were sad to see Brosnan go, a controversy erupted over Craig’s casting, not because of his acting abilities, but because he was blond! Previously, Bond had always been a brunette. The fan community was shaken and stirred! Once the film opened and fans saw Craig’s excellent performance (and abs), fears were allayed and he was finally accepted as Bond, James Bond. And for the franchise’s producers, the $596 million worldwide box office gross for “Casino Royale” didn’t hurt either.

2. Jack Ryan: Originally played by Alec Baldwin and recast with Harrison Ford

Back in 1990, Alec Baldwin was the dashing young star of “The Hunt for Red October,” the hit submarine thriller based on Tom Clancy’s bestseller. Baldwin’s A-list status should have been solidified with the follow-up, “Patriot Games,” but demands for more money and a commitment to star on Broadway in “A Streetcar Named Desire” kept him from reprising his role as CIA Analyst Jack Ryan. Enter Harrison Ford, a box office sure thing whose schedule was free after Paramount pulled the plug on another movie (“Night Ride Down”). Ford played Ryan again in 1994’s “Clear and Present Danger,” but was eventually replaced himself, by Ben Affleck, in 2002’s “The Sum of All Fears.”

1. “Iron Man’s” James “Rhodey” Rhodes: Originally played Terrence Howard in “Iron Man” and Don Cheadle in “Iron Man 2”

Terrence Howard was an original part of a blockbuster franchise when he initially signed on to “Iron Man” alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow — the 2008 film was an explosive summer hit. However, before he would have the chance to step into the War Machine armor in the 2010 sequel, he found himself replaced over salary disputes — a recasting decision Terrence told Parade magazine was “very, very bad.” Both Terrence and his cast mates have commented on his replacement, but at least for the actor, the person whom was cast in his place is a friend. “I want to see Don Cheadle… do better than me,” Terrence said. “I have a lot of love for him.”

HONORABLE MENTION: The Hulk: Played by Eric Bana in “Hulk” and redone by Edward Norton in “The Incredible Hulk”

Eric Bana first played the mean, green, temper tantrum machine and his human alter-ego, Bruce Banner, on the big screen in 2003’s Ang Lee-directed “Hulk.” Many critics and fanboys panned the first film incarnation of the Green Goliath for being too dark and not comic book-esque enough. Five years later, Marvel rebooted the franchise with Edward Norton as Bruce in “The Incredible Hulk,” but fans were still a bit lukewarm on the angry Jade Giant. Edward’s take on the radiation-riddled doctor only made a little over $2 million more than Bana’s. Because of the latter film’s lackluster success it remains unclear if the Hulk will join Marvel’s upcoming “The Avengers.” If the creature does, however, fans are already wondering if it will be recast yet again.

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