There have been several cast changes on Days of our Lives in 2019, especially after the time-jump. Shocking recasts, the loss of a beloved character, and several returns have made life in Salem a bit crazy the past year.
The NBC soap opera gave fans plenty of comings and goings this year. However, these left a lasting impression on viewers
The return of Stephen Nichols had fans jumping for joy. It was assumed he would play Steve “Patch” Johnson, the role he originated decades ago.
After months of anticipation, Stephen was back on-screen, but it was not as Steve. Nope, Days recast the talented actor as Stefano DiMera, a recast that fans never thought would happen.
When Joseph Mascolo, who originated the role of The Phoenix, died in 2016, most assumed the character would never be back on-screen.
Stephen playing Stefano is a twist that is good and bad. It is great the actor is back on the canvas, but viewers are not happy he is Stefano. The actor is doing a fantastic job in the role. He clearly did his research.
However, fans still take issue with another actor playing Stefano and Stephen not playing Steve Johnson. It is so confusing, which is why the jury is still out on this unexpected cast change.
— Steve&KaylaFans (@SteveKaylaGroup) December 20, 2019
Vivian Alamain recast
No disrespect to the talented Robin Strasser but casting her as Vivian Alamain was a bust for the NBC soap opera. It is not that Robin did a horrible job. She did just fine. The casting simply didn’t sit well with viewers, who were unimpressed with Robin as the character.
Louise Sorel originated the role. She was unavailable during the time frame Days needed her to film. The actress managed to bring out Vivian’s dramatic side, without overacting.
That complaint was something fans accused Robin of doing in every scene. It was almost as though Robin’s version of Vivian was more of a clown or a joke.
The character is not one that is easy to love. Vivian either has to be portrayed with a certain flair and likeability, or she is annoying. Louise can do that with ease. She will forever be Vivian.
The recent recast proved that if Louise is not available to film, Vivian is not needed in Salem.
Brandon Barash and Tyler Christopher shake-up
Off-screen, fans knew for months that Brandon Barash was taking over the role of Stefan DiMera from Tyler Christopher. It was an abrupt change. Tyler exited without much notice. Brandon stepped in without hesitation and starting filming in late 2018.
The swap happened on screen earlier this year. It is always hard for fans to adjust to a new actor in a role. In the case of Brandon replacing Tyler, the switcheroo was accepted pretty quickly by fans.
It helped that the two men knew each other from their time working on General Hospital and were incredibly supportive of the swap. They both used social media to help fans with the transition.
Brandon knew it was a tall order replacing Tyler in a relatively new role in the daytime drama. Tyler even earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Stefan.
Brandon quickly proved that he had the chops to bring new layers to the complicated character. The change was shocking but ended up being an excellent move for Days — until the show killed off Stefan.
Thank you all for the kind farewell’s. My time on @daysofourlives was notning short of pure fun. Such a great group of people to work for and be around every day. Please welcome @BrandonBarash into the roll. Such a solid actor and an even better person. #nbcdays #stefandimera
— Tyler Christopher (@Tyler2929) March 20, 2019
Chad and Abigail
Sending Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) and Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi) to Paris proved to be the best thing for those two characters. Even though they still appeared in the digital series, Chad & Abby in Paris, it was their Salem return that earned the duo a spot on this list.
After the time-jump, Chad and Abigail were back on the NBC soap opera, and it was a good thing. Abigail morphed from Paris as a much wiser, stronger woman who is no longer apologetic or playing the victim.
Seriously it is the version of Jack (Matthew Ashford) and Jennifer’s (Melissa Reeves) daughter that fans dreamed would appear for years.
Plus, as a couple, the time away from Salem did Chad and Abigail some good. They are more open and honest and have each other’s backs. It is as though they finally started having an adult relationship.
Judi Evans short stint
The actress spent most of the year MIA on-screen. Then in the fall, Adrienne became more of a fixture in Salem. She and Justin even got married again. Fans were thrilled to have the blonde beauty back in action and, of course, reunited with her one true love.
Everything changed after the time-jump, though when it was revealed, Will (Chandler Massey) was in prison for killing Adrienne. Judi Evans has not appeared since before the flash-forward.
Hopefully, she will appear in flashbacks at some point because Judi’s presence is certainly missed.
The loss of Judi, as well as her rarely being used before, is a waste of her acting talent. Hopefully, at some point, fans will understand why the soap opera chose to kill Adrienne and lose Judi.
— Jennifer DePaul (@singlegirl66) June 12, 2016
Caroline Brady’s death
Legendary soap actress Peggy McCay, who played the beloved Caroline Brady, passed away in October 2018.
The NBC soap opera paid tribute to Peggy, with the passing of Caroline in June. Due to the production schedule of the show, it took months for the farewell to air on-screen.
It was well worth the wait, though. Caroline’s death, as well as the “Irish wake,” were the biggest tearjerkers of the entire year. The show could have easily had Caroline’s death playout off-screen, but that would have been an injustice to Peggy.
Thankfully it never even occurred to Days to do anything other than giving Peggy and Caroline a proper send-off.
Everyone brought their A-game to say good-bye to Caroline Brady, especially Josh Taylor (Roman) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla).
The Brady matriarch was everything to so many people, including Victor (John Aniston). Fans were once again reminded Caroline was the great love of Victor’s life.
Caroline’s death was heartbreaking, but it was necessary to give fans, as well as the cast, closure following the loss of Peggy McCay.
Caroline Brady’s memorial today!
Caroline had 6 children, 23 grandchildren & 9 great grandchildren. She was also a mother figure for Hope, John, Marlena & Abe.#PeggyMcCay debuted on #Days in Feb 1983 & was a 5 time Daytime Emmy nominee. Her last episode aired Aug 2016. pic.twitter.com/Yy9K4Juntm
— Aɴɢɪᴇ (@marino_angie) June 20, 2019
Kristen and Xander
The return of Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) and Xander Kiriakis (Paul Telfer) brought new life to the villains of Salem in the best possible way. They are characters fans love to hate but also secretly root for at the same time.
Kristen has done unspeakable things this year, especially kidnapping and impersonating Nicole (Arianne Zucker). There is no question Kristen does not deserve remorse.
Yet fans couldn’t help but feel sorry for Kristen after she lost her baby. It devastated Kristen, who was desperate for a child and to win her true love, Brady (Eric Martsolf). Even bad girls want to be loved.
Xander, like Kristen, is not a good person. He is Victor’s henchman and is generally up to no good. In all likelihood, he killed Jordan (Chrishell Stause Hartley) for his uncle, then set up Ben (Robert Scott Wilson).
Xander also had a vulnerable side that makes fans want to like him. This year he agreed to say he was Sarah’s (Linsey Godfrey) baby daddy. It was an easy choice for him because he loves Sarah.
Paul does a great job of showing a heartbroken Xander now that is girls left town in one scene then reminds fans of the evil inside of Xander in the next scene.
Days of our Lives airs weekdays on NBC.