It came as a shock to all of us when the actor playing Alexis Carrington was changed in Dynasty. Fans have been on the fence about this for long. Nicolette Sheridan played Alexis in the first two seasons of the show, after which she was first replaced by Elizabeth Gillies and later by Elaine Hendrix.
I could not help but wonder why the makers would take such a huge decision but it seems like it was inevitable, considering Sheridan had to leave the series for personal reasons pertaining to health. Makers tried to write her sudden departure into the series by casting Elizabeth Gillies, but later, she was replaced by Elaine Hendrix as a series regular.
Why was Alexis replaced in Dynasty?
Alexis Carrington was replaced in the show as the actress who used to play her role, Nicolette Sheridan, had to leave the series due to the failing health conditions of her terminally ill mother. After her departure, the makers tried to write the replacement into the plot of the series.
In the final episode where Nicolette was seen as Alexis, her son in the series, Adam, pushed her face-first into the fireplace, causing several severe burns. Alexis’ burns were so bad that she had to get plastic surgery.
Adam, the son who was responsible for this fate of hers, decided that she should get a completely different face, and it was none other than that of her own daughter, Fallon.
This meant Elizabeth Gillies, the actress who plays Fallon in the series, then played her own mother, Alexis as well. This was basically the writers’ way of writing Sheridan’s departure into the show and integrating it into the storyline itself.
Alexis’ character was too iconic and interesting to be completely written off. So, the makers decided to keep it in the show, even after Sheridan left.
Though fans had pretty mixed views about the swap, the makers explained this decision by saying that they did not want to recast such an iconic character in a hurry. So, making Gillies play the role for a short period of time (to be precise, three episodes) was just a temporary measure to cover up Sheridan’s sudden departure.
Why was the new Alexis changed?
But the makers didn’t stop there. After Gillies played Alexis for three episodes, the character was recast with Elaine Hendrix, who then became a series regular.
Apparently, Alexis was now back with a ‘new look’ and lots of scores to settle. At the end of Season 2, Alexis was disgusted to realize that she now has Fallon’s face because of Adam and decided to get a completely new face constructed for herself.
There’s no particular reason why she was replaced again apart from the fact that Gillies was not their permanent choice to replace Sheridan in the first place.
Since Gillies was playing the role just temporarily and she was already a series regular as Fallon, it was a difficult bet to continue for a long time in terms of production. So, naturally, Alexis had to be recast with a suitable replacement.
Elaine Hendrix was chosen as the replacement and she debuted in the episode titled, “The Sensational Blake Carrington Trial.” This marked Alexis’ return with her new face.
How is the new Alexis?
Now, that is a question that none of us can answer for sure. Fans have mixed reactions to these sudden changes, but I guess the makers did not have any other option.
Now, it is completely up to us to decide whether we like the new Alexis or not. I personally felt Gillies did not do a bad job, but she was not really the best choice. Her sudden change looked extremely forced and made little sense.
But Gillies and Hendrix both tried to do their best when it came to performance. Sometimes, makers can’t help but make these changes. After all, it’s part of showbiz, guys!
Dynasty is a prime-time television soap opera based on the 1980s series of the same name. It follows the lives of the Colbys and the Carringtons, two of the richest families in America. Their children fight for control over the company’s fortune, and the show reveals the dark underbelly of backroom deals that shape corporations.
The story unfolds primarily through two women at war, Fallon and Cristal, who are the daughter and fiancée respectively of Blake Carrington, owner of the Carrington Atlantic.
Dynasty was developed for The CW by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick.