9 Famous TV Characters Who Were Originally Much Smaller Roles
9. Jack Shepard - Lost
The Character: Jack Shepard (Matthew Fox) was the troubled doctor and the de facto leader of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. He is a rational man of science whose level-headed thinking was the direct opposite of the spiritual and faith-based view of John Locke (Terry O'Quinn). For many of the crisis and adventures on the mysterious island, the survivors turned to Jack for guidance and he would often put his life on the line to save his fellow island-dwellers.
What Almost Happened?: When the character of Jack was first conceived, he was not going to make it out of the pilot alive. The plan was for him to be the first victim of the island's dreaded Smoke Monster. His death was meant to raise the stakes for the rest of the survivors while pushing Kate (Evangeline Lilly) into the leader role. In fact, show-runners even initially cast Michael Keaton into the role to up the shock factor.
In the end, producers balked at the idea of killing off the lead character in the first episode and ordered the pilot rewritten. Not wanting to commit to a long-term television project, Keaton bailed and Fox was brought in as a replacement. He remained as one of the show's leads for all six seasons.
How'd It Turn Out? It's fair to say that Jack wasn't many people's favorite character on the show.
While Fox's performance was fine throughout the series, the character was never as interesting as Hurley, or Sawyer, and Kate would have probably made a more compelling leader. There's also no denying that the original plan would have been a bold and exciting way of kicking off the show.
All that said, Jack's relationship with Locke was one of the most intriguing aspects of the show, and he was a pivotal part of the show's mystery (along with his stupid tattoos). But Michael Keaton would have killed it!