At the 2018 Summer Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators and executive producers Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom announced to the room full of reporters that Pitch Perfect star Skyler Astin would be joining the series for season four as a “re-imagining” of Greg, last seen in the second season as he left West Covina for law school. This has apparently been in the works for a while, and the recasting is a major part of why the character is returning in the first place because of the message it’s sending. “It’s a plot point in the story that the character’s re-imagined, so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar,” McKenna said. “I think we all know that when you have these gaps in your life where you haven’t seen someone in a long time, they seem really different. Because our story is a first person show in a lot of ways, we play with perceptual issues of what somebody seems like when they come back. It’s part of the story.”
Bloom is excited for fans to see the “experimental” leap they’re taking by having a new actor play the beloved character. “It will be a great statement on how our perception of people changes,” Bloom explained. “Greg is a barometer of how Rebecca has changed, because she will not have seen him for two years.”
The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators have “tremendous love and respect” for Fontana, who brought Greg to life in the first two seasons of the series, and this recasting didn’t come about because of his desire to leave the series and go on to other projects. The creative opportunity to make a statement on how perceptions of people change allowed Bloom to cast her fellow NYU classmate and friend Astin in the role.
“In thinking about bringing him back, we knew right away that we were going to do it differently and that it would be a re-imagining,” McKenna said. “So the first thing that we did when we knew about that was we reached out to Santino to let him know that we were doing that. We obviously are huge, huge fans of him and incredibly grateful for what he contributed to the show.”
Because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is super meta, that allowed the creators to have fun with the recasting of Greg, who is an “almost mythic figure.” Bloom said, “Even though it’s a re-imagining, not a recasting, we truly see it as that. It is a fun comment and Rebecca will notice it as people in TV shows being recast and we are going to call it out.”
And before the panel wrapped up, Bloom had one last piece of news to share about the new and final season. “We have Patton Oswalt coming back, and he’s singing a song this time,” she said. Now that’s something to celebrate!
What do you think about Greg’s return as a different actor playing him? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images: The CW