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14 Popular TV Characters Who Weren’t Even Supposed To Exist

December 8, 2020 1.2k votes 249 voters 14.3k views14 items

List RulesVote up the TV characters you can't believe were created as an afterthought.

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.

  • Daryl Dixon From ‘Walking Dead’ Was Created Specifically For Norman Reedus Because He Auditioned After Every Role Was Already Cast
    Photo: 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 will never be the same without him.

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  • Oh, what could have been. According to E!, James Marsters' ever-complicated Buffy The Vampire Slayer character, Spike, was supposed to be just some other villain Buffy annihilated over the course of an episode. Instead, he was highly developed, becoming her nemesis, her lover, her friend, and eventually a character in the spinoff, Angel

    Whether you were Team Angel or Spike, you can't deny that the Buffy-verse is better off with him around. 

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  • Castiel From ‘Supernatural’ Was Created For A Three-Episode Arc, Then Lasted For 12 Years
    Photo: 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.

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  • Mike Ehrmantraut From ‘Breaking Bad’ Was Created Because Bob Odenkirk Had A Scheduling Conflict On One Day Of Shooting
    Photo: 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.

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