Given that so much work and planning goes into creating some of our favorite television series, it's always surprising to learn how many things, especially characters, we take for granted. So many iconic characters - the kind of characters that have lived on in memes, GIFs, and our hearts - actually came about as a result of chance or some offhand decision, even on intricately detailed shows like Breaking Bad or Lost.
Whether it's a scheduling conflict or a marketing decision after getting feedback from viewers or just the creators falling in love with an actor's performance, there are so many TV characters who were never supposed to exist at all or were supposed to show up for a guest appearance and leave, who ended up becoming integral parts of the shows they're on. These are some of the most popular characters that you might be surprised to know weren't supposed to be in their shows at all.
- 15,706 VOTESPhoto: AMC
Every true Walking Dead fan knows that Daryl Dixon from the AMC series was never in the comics. But many people incorrectly think that Norman Reedus auditioned to play Merle. In reality, Reedus read the script, loved it, and insisted on auditioning, even though every role on the show had already been cast (including Merle). The producers gave him some lines of Merle's to read anyway. He knocked it out of the park, but instead of re-casting the character, they created Merle's tortured younger brother, Daryl, so they could get Reedus onto the show.
Daryl became the most popular character on one of the biggest series in cable history, and the ever-expanding Walking Dead universe wouldn't be the same without him.
- 24,948 VOTESPhoto: The CW
Misha Collins' fan-favorite character Castiel was brought onto the show in Season 4 to introduce the beginning of the end - and we're not just talking about the impending apocalypse story arc. As diehard fans of the series know, Supernatural was only supposed to have just five measly seasons. In a way, nothing that happens on the show after the Season 5 finale was ever meant to be.
Well, the world didn't end, and neither did Supernatural - instead of being a guest star in the show's waning moments, Castiel became a beloved protagonist at the center of the action for 12 seasons.
- 33,200 VOTESPhoto: NBC
Ice-T, who plays Fin on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, said that he was brought in as a replacement star for four episodes in Season 2 but ended up staying on for another 20 whole years. And he's not planning on quitting anytime soon. In the same interview, he said he doesn't plan on leaving the series until co-star Mariska Hargitay departs, which is likely never.
- 42,392 VOTESPhoto: AMC
One of the greatest stories about how a TV character came to be has to be Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The now-iconic fixer character wasn't originally in the script, but was created on a whim to fill in for Bob Odenkirk's character, Saul Goodman. Apparently, they wanted Odenkirk to film a four-episode arc to introduce the character, but because he was busy filming a guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother, he could only commit to filming three of the four episodes AMC had requested. In the other episode, they brought in veteran character actor Jonathan Banks and created the henchman Mike so they could still relay some necessary story information even without Odenkirk's character present.
It's pretty wild to think that there were only supposed to be four Saul episodes in Breaking Bad, and that Mike's entire existence was merely a fluke of storytelling. Jonathan Banks would go on to be a series regular for the next three seasons of Breaking Bad and the entirety of Better Call Saul. He's been nominated for five Emmys for the role.