5 Famous Characters that Changed Drastically Over the Years

Dec. 8 2:47 PM by Brady Sullivan

Sometimes a character immediately springs onto the screen as a fully formed version of what viewers desire. However, many times there has to be an evolutionary process that leads to a character becoming what we know and love years later. Here are 5 examples of characters that first appeared in a very different form than what we all remember.

5- George Costanza

Sure, George Costanza has always been neurotic and slightly annoying (not Kramer annoying, just slightly annoying), but the way that Jason Alexander chose to play him changed dramatically between the first episode and the last. In the first season of Seinfeld, George is basically a fatter, balder version of Woody Allen. Alexander even admit that he went with a Woody Allen impression for the voice and demeanor because apparently Woody has the "Jewish and neurotic" market cornered pretty well. However, once the show started progressing and Alexander grew to know the creators, he realized that George was essentially Larry David. So he switched his voice and expressions completely and began to play George as the perpetually annoyed and awkward Larry David. And that's how we got one of the best sitcom characters ever.

4- Kelly Kapoor

The only reason that Kelly Kapoor even exists as a character on The Office is because an ethnic female was needed for a scene and Indian writer (not to mention hilarious comedian) Mindy Kaling was the only one around to fit the bill. And so began the first incarnation of Kelly: a quiet, proper Indian woman who only existed on the show as a way for Michael and Dwight to make insensitive comments about Indian people at her expense. However, she soon began to emerge as a strong comedic presence and the Kelly that has become a central part of The Office took form. No longer quiet or even proud of her heritage, Kelly became a shallow, vain, materially obsessed airhead who cares more about guys and celebrities than her cultural history. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

3- Captain Planet

No, Captain Planet didn't start out as a crusader for pollution on behalf of oil companies or anything quite so extreme. However, the original appearance of Captain Planet in the pilot episode of his cartoon is marked by a rather noticeable difference: the voice. But why is it that the original Captain Planet's voice is so familiar? And has a tinge of "bound to go insane eventually" in it? Because it was none other than Tom Cruise that provided the original voice to the environmental hero. Perhaps it was a failed attempt to hijack the cartoon and use it as a means of inseminating Scientology propaganda into the youth of our country? We will never know since Tom never made it past the first episode and was replaced with a more masculine voice. However, we can still hold out for a live action version starring everyone's favorite crazy person. Make it happen Hollywood!

2- Boba Fett

Boba Fett's enduring popularity is a bit of a mystery. He speaks only a few lines in the original Star Wars saga and gets his ass kicked on accident by a blind Han Solo and then swallowed by the Sarlaac Pit. Yet he still remains one of the most popular Star Wars characters, just because he looks so badass. However, how badass can a character be when his first appearance was in the infamously terrible Star Wars Holiday Special? In it we get a much different Boba Fett. He talks quite a bit and instead of flying Slave-1 (that's his spaceship for non-nerds) he rides some giant creature that looks like a cross between the Loch Ness Monster and a slug. Oh and he carries around what looks like a giant tuning fork. And his armor is painted in lovely pastels. Decidedly less bad-ass.

1- Waylon Smithers

Smithers has grown into one of the strangest characters on network TV. As Mr. Burns' personal assistant he has grown obsessed with the man, turning his subservient role in his life into a bizarre series of sexual fantasies and unparalleled loyalty. But did you know that Smithers was originally black? That's right, there could have been yet another layer to their relationship if the Simpsons writers had decided to keep Smithers black. With the sexual orientation and age issues already out there, the interracial thing would have really added a bit more spice! Too bad it wasn't a matter of keeping Smithers black. It was simply a matter of scolding the colorist who screwed up the animation and made Smithers African-American all on his own. So back to white it was. Well, yellow actually.

Want more crazy fictional character-themed lists? Check these out!

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Hmm..another you could have mentioned was Kelly Bundy from Married With Children.

In the beginning, she was clever and witty and seemed normal, but as the series progressed she was almost mentally retarded.


Most sitcom characters morph into something completely different. But two come to mind. From Night Court- Bull was feared as so big tough guard- maybe mistakenly so but feared never the less. And became this big soft marshmallow at the end.


Rader on M*a*s*h was a smart intelligent and devious young private and turned into a soft weak "yes company man." Early in the show he was two steps ahead of everyone and was mailing a jeep home to his uncle in Iowa, part by part.


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