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Five (And More) TV Characters Who Were Meant to Die

Death comes for us all eventually. Unless you're a new character on a popular TV show and the producers take a shine to you and decide to keep you around, in which case Death is told to get lost and only come back when the actor asks for a pay bump or time off so they can make some movies.

Warning: This list contains spoilers! Old spoilers, but spoilers nonetheless. 


It is well known fact that Jack was originally meant to be played by Michael Keaton and die at the end of the pilot. This changed when the show's creators got cold feet about killing their leading man so soon. Keaton, who only agreed to the pilot because he thought it was a one-off gig, stepped aside and was replaced by Matthew Fox, who remained with the show until the very end. I'll let you decide whether or not that was a good thing.


The mischievous Nebari was meant to perish in her very first episode, shot and killed by the villainous Durka. But after Gigi Edgley impressed the producers with her performance, it was decided that Chiana would live and join the crew full time.


In the original short story that inspired this series, Raylan Givens shot and killed Boyd, his old coal mining buddy. He was meant to share the same fate on the show, but the producers were so taken with Walton Goggins' performance that they decided to keep Boyd around instead.


Towards the end of Voyager’s third season the powers that be decided to shake up the cast. Seven of Nine was coming in and someone was going out. That someone was originally going to be Harry Kim, the eternal ensign. He was mortally wounded in the season finale and was meant to die at the beginning of season four. But after Garret Wang was voted by People Magazine as one of the sexist men on TV, the producers decided to keep Kim and write out Kes instead.


When Helo was left behind on Caprica in the miniseries that launched the reboot, that was meant to be the last we ever saw of him. He was to perish along with everyone else left behind on the planet. But the producers really liked Tahmoh Penikett’s performance so Helo got a stay of execution.


When Carol was brought into the emergency room of County General in the series’ pilot, having overdosed on pills, she wasn’t supposed to come out again. Her fate was changed after her character scored well with test audiences.


Crazy as it might seem now, but Walter White’s partner in crime wasn’t meant to make it out of season 1 alive. It was planned for Jesse to die in the ninth episode, killed by a drug dealer. Vince Gilligan scrapped those plans when he realised letting Aaron Paul go would've been a colossal mistake.


It was originally planned for Spike to die at the end of ‘What’s My Line’ with the rejuvenated Drusilla replacing him as the season’s main antagonist. Those plans were scrapped, however, after he quickly became one of the show’s most popular characters.


Remember when the prison was overrun by zombies in season three and it looked as if Carol had died? That’s because she was supposed to. The writers had decided to kill off Carol early in that season, but after Melissa McBride had a good talk with them it was eventually decided that Carol would live.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. Not meant to die, but Topanga from Boy Meets World wasn't supposed to be a recurring character until the writers and producers realized how much her character clicked with the rest of the cast and the audience. She became a main character for the rest of the series' run.

  2. Faith was another Buffy character that was supposed to die but thankfully they let her continue on to have a real great arc.

  3. Great article! It was a really interesting read. It was fun to see which ones I knew and learn about the new ones. I really like hearing behind the scenes stuff.

    This is about a newer show, so continue reading at your own peril. And please feel free to delete my comment, if it's too spoilery.

    Another character is Jasper from The 100. He was supposed to die at the end of the pilot, but the show runner liked the actor, so he was spared.

  4. Castiel was also supposed to die in Season 4! I'm fairly certain that Anna was supposed to take over his role. But Cas was popular and Sera Gamble loved him, so he got to stay.


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