Over the past year, the soap opera twists and turns haven’t all been on-screen as casting shockers dominated the news throughout 2017. From unexpected returns nobody saw coming to the surprising exits of fan-favorite characters mid-storyline, these are the comings and goings that kept viewers on the edge of their seats waiting to see what would happen next.
(Photo Credit: Howard Wise/jpistudios.com; XJJohnson/jpistudios.com; Howard Wise/jpistudios.com; ChrisD/jpistudios.com)
Which casting item left you reeling? Was it the shocking return of Steve Burton to GENERAL HOSPITAL as Patient Six (later revealed to be Jason Morgan), Emmy-winner Greg Rikaart leaving THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and being snatched up by DAYS OF OUR LIVES? Or perhaps it was popular GH star Ingo Rademacher being tapped by THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL to play the new Thorne? Or maybe it was Chandler Massey’s return from the dead as Will on DAYS?
Take a look through the gallery below to see some of the biggest casting shockers of 2017, and let us know which ones surprised you the most!
For more casting news from your favorite daytime dramas, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine!
Tyler Christopher Stephen Nichols
Tyler Christopher Joins DAYS!
GH fans were upset when Tyler Christopher revealed he would not be returning as Nikolas Cassadine, but they can see the actor in a new role since he's joined the cast of DAYS in a mysterious new role! (It also reunited the actor with his former GH on-screen dad, Stephen Nichols (ex-Stefan), who plays Patch on the NBC sudser!)
Kaye Lang Mc Cook Rademacher
B&B Casts Ingo Rademacher as the New Thorne!
For years, Ingo Rademacher has been popping back to GH for brief visits as Jasper Jacks, but now B&B has locked the popular actor into a contract as the newest recast of Thorne Forrester, replacing the beloved Winsor Harmon in the role. He's already hit the ground running and is making the role his own!
Gh Sonny Jason Britt
Britt Returned to Port Charles!
Kelly Thiebaud hadn't been seen as Dr. Britt Westbourne since she went on the run with her villainous father, Cesar Faison, but the scheming physician made a surprise appearance when Sonny and Jason tracked her down while searching for answers regarding Faison's involvement in the mystery of the Two Jasons!
Yr Kevin Chloe Rescue
Kevin and Chloe Went on the Run!
Elizabeth Hendrickson and Greg Rikaart were written off of Y&R in the spring of 2017 when Chloe faked her death to escape her crimes and Kevin decided to go along with her! Rikaart has made a couple more appearances in Genoa City but the Emmy-winning actor has been tapped by DAYS for a new role, so you can look for him over there very soon!
Gh Luke Tracy Goodbye
Jane Elliot Retired!
Longtime GH fans were devastated when Jane Elliot announced her retirement and Tracy Quartermaine was written off of the soap. But her send-off was made extra-special when Anthony Geary came out of retirement himself to cameo one more time as Luke Spencer to be part of her final scenes!
Pierson Fode Sad
Pierson Fodé Left B&B!
Thomas was right in the middle of a budding romance with Sally, so it was a surprise when B&B announced that portrayer Pierson Fodé was leaving the soap. "The decision to say goodbye didn't come easy," the actor admitted in a heartfelt message to fans. While there's been no word yet on a possible recast, with a major character like the Forrester heir, it seems more than likely one day another handsome hunk will step into those shoes!
Gh Hayden Finn
Rebecca Budig Left GH!
Over her time on the soap, Rebecca Budig had grown Hayden from a scheming con-artist into a fan-favorite character, and her romance with Michael Easton's Finn was finally taking off. But just after learning they were going to be parents and planning a wedding, Hayden skipped town and Budig was off the show! Fans still aren't over the abrupt exit, and hope she'll come back one day soon... hopefully with a beautiful baby in her arms!
Alison Sweeney Eileen Davidson
Alison Sweeney Returned to DAYS (and So Did Eileen Davidson!)
With Will's resurrection, it made sense that his mother, Sami, would be part of the big storyline, but it was still welcome news when Alison Sweeney confirmed her return to the soap she'd called home for decades. And as a bonus, Eileen Davidson also came back for a visit, doing double duty with her role as Ashley on Y&R to reprise her roles of Susan Banks and Kristen DiMera!
Gh Carly Jason Sam Six
Steve Burton Returned to GH!
GH fans were shocked when news broke that Steve Burton was coming back to GH, and the buzz grew to deafening levels as everyone wondered if he would be playing Jason, considering Billy Miller was still playing that character and had reportedly signed a new contract! The mystery of the two Jasons created much debate among fans until it was finally revealed that Burton was playing Jason Morgan again, and Miller's character was really his twin brother, Andrew Cain!
Marla Adams Returned to Y&R as Dina Mergeron!
The Abbott family was thrown into chaos by the return of matriarch Dina, and not just because of her scheming boy toy, Graham! With veteran Actress Marla Adams reprising her role after years away, history was used to maximum effect as the soap used Dina to tell a heartbreaking tale of how Alzheimer's Disease can affect a family.
Gh Kristina Parker Alexis
Parker and Kristina Abruptly Written off GH!
Ashley Jones returned for another stint as Parker, but just as it seemed that the teacher's romance with former student Kristina was beginning to take off, it was going to have to happen off-camera, because the pair suddenly announced they were leaving town! Hopefully once Jones and co-star Lexi Ainsworth are done moonlighting in primetime TV and movies, GH can follow up on its promise to continue their story!
Days Deimos Dead
Deimos Died on DAYS!
Daytime vet Vincent Irizarry's contract with DAYS had come to an end, and since he was playing the dastardly Deimos Kiriakis, the stage was set for a murder mystery! Deimos was stabbed to death during a lavish party, and seemingly half of Salem were suspects!
Gh Olivia Robin
Tonja Walker Returned to GH as Olivia Jerome!
The reveal that the puppetmaster behind Julian's recent crimes was really his presumed-dead sister, Olivia, shocked longtime GH fans. But those same fans were just as delighted that the character's original portrayer, Tonja Walker, was reprising her role! Although some were also a little disappointed that her reign of terror over Port Charles didn't last as long as they might have liked!
Sonny Serena Gh Returns
Stone and Serena Returned to Port Charles!
Longtime viewers of GH were given a special treat when Michael Sutton made another ghostly appearance as the beloved Stone Cates when a dying Sonny needed him most. But it was the tragic death of Port Charles icon Lee Baldwin that brought Carly Schroeder back for a brief visit as Serena.
Spectra Next Generation
B&B Brought Back the Spectras!
In need of some fresh blood, B&B revived the Forrester/Spectra feud by introducing the next generation of Spectras! With Courtney Hope as Sally, Patrika Darbo as Shirley, Alex Wyse as Saul, and Danube Hermosillo as Darlita, the stage was set for a fashion showdown!
Yr Victoria Jt
Thad Luckinbill Returned to Y&R!
J.T. Hellstrom hadn't been seen in Genoa City since 2010, so it came as quite a surprise to Y&R fans when the soap announced that Thad Luckibill would be returning to the popular role! Of course, that's nothing compared to the reactions of J.T.'s friends and family in Genoa City when he popped back unexpectedly! (Especially his ex, Victoria!)
Gh Oscar Kim
Tamara Braun Returned to GH in a New Role!
When rumors began circulating that former Carly Tamara Braun was returning to GH, some fans wondered what that meant for Laura Wright, who was now playing the role! Thankfully, Braun was cast in a brand new role, that of Dr. Kim Nero, who has a mysterious past that is only just beginning to be revealed. The fact that she and Drew are Oscar's parents is just the beginning!
Days Sonny Will
Will Horton Came Back From the Dead!
Will Horton's brutal murder left a bad taste in the mouths of many a DAYS fan, so they were overjoyed to hear that Chandler Massey would be coming back to the soap. While DAYS teased fans with a couple of ghostly appearances as a drunken Lucas hallucinated his son, they eventually revealed that Will, in fact, had been brought back to life immediately after Ben killed him! Unfortunately, he has amnesia, so Will has no memories of his family or his true love, Sonny!
Gh Cassandra Bensch
GH Casts Two OLTL Vets!
OLTL was home to plenty of talented actors, two of which have joined the cast of GH! James DePaiva, best known as Max on OLTL, is now playing Dr. David Bensch, a new potential love interest for Alexis. And Jessica Tuck, who played the beloved Megan, is now the villainous Cassandra Pierce!
Bb Nicole Zende
Rome Flynn Leaves B&B!
Nicole and Zende had finally found their way back to each other and enjoyed a romantic Valentine's Day wedding, but the honeymoon was over by the summertime as Rome Flynn exited the soap. The couple moved to Paris, but only Nicole has made the occasional visit back to Los Angeles.