For the first two seasons of Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix, the character of Gary was played by genre favorite Nathan Fillion, an actor who has the tendency to steal every scene he appears in.
Fans of the show know that he was a realtor that zombie Sheila (Drew Barrymore) killed for food. They then stored his head in their basement, and later their storage unit, and spoke to it on occasion.
Since Gary was killed by a zombie, he became one as well — or at least his head did.
Why did Santa Clarita Diet recast Gary?
Santa Clarita Diet season 3 changed the role of Gary, with Nathan Fillion out and Alan Tudyk in for the character.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Victor Fresco explained what happened with Fillion.
“We couldn’t get Nathan back, so our choices were get rid of that character or recast, and we just loved that character,” Fresco said.
The reason they were unable to get Fillion to return is unknown, but the actor is currently starring in The Rookie on ABC, which likely keeps him very busy.
The good news is that Gary is just a decapitated head, so if it started to deteriorate more, they could have anyone play the role.
“So really all of these characters that we don’t have a hold on, when we end up losing them — like five of them have pilots this year because they’re all really talented — then it’s just a challenge for us to figure out what we can do,” Fresco said.
Zach Knighton had to leave but gave Santa Clarita Diet one day of work so they could transition his character of the Knight of Serbia over to Ethan Suplee. Natalie Morales also left but was able to shoot three episodes for season 3.
Whoever they are…they're back. pic.twitter.com/xD25bwmxoR
— Santa Clarita Diet (@SCDiet) March 29, 2019
Who plays Gary on Santa Clarita Diet season 3?
The new actor playing Gary is Alan Tudyk, and that is very ironic for fans of Nathan Fillion. See, Fillion broke out with the role of Mal Reynolds on Joss Whedon’s Firefly television series.
The pilot on Mal’s Serenity spaceship was Wash, played by Alan Tudyk, making the change a huge treat for fans of Firefly.
Movie fans know Tudyk from movies such as DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story as Steve “the Pirate” and from A Knight’s Tale, as the very angry Wat.
Santa Clarita Diet is currently streaming on Netflix.