Skylar Astin will join the cast of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” in its fourth season as a “reimagined” version of Greg, showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna said Monday.
“When Rachel and I were conceiving the show we had always sort of intended that Greg and Rebecca’s romance would end sort of where it did,” McKenna told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.
But much like the show has continued to explore the character of Josh despite the end of his romance with Rebecca, McKenna and co-creator and star Rachel Bloom wanted to find new ways to incorporate Greg despite Santino Fontana’s departure at the beginning of season 2.
“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” she said. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”
Greg was written off the CW series in the fourth episode of the show’s second season, when the character got sober and chose to return to school. Brosh McKenna said at the time that the characters final goodbye was the natural culmination of his decision to break off his “unhealthy” relationship with Rebecca and leave West Covina.
Bloom said the choice to recast the character was keeping with the “experimental and playful” spirit of the show. The fact that Greg looks different will become part of his and Rebecca’s story.
“As you’ll see when the show airs, it’ll be a great statement on how our perception of people changes,” said Bloom. “Greg is sort of a barometer for how much Rebecca has changed, because she will have not seen him in 2 years. Skylar is lovely, and we’re so excited.”
“It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation, where suddenly it’s a different person,” she continued. “Rebecca’s going to call it out and be like, ‘This person’s different, what the f—?’”
The decision to recast the character came due to Fontana’s schedule starring in “Tootsie” on Broadway, but Bloom said the opportunity to revive an “almost mythic figure” from the show for its final season was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“With an actor leaving unexpectedly, it suddenly left this really exciting gap of his character’s almost become like lore on the show,” she said. “Every time we mention Greg [fans are] like, ‘Oh, is he coming back?’ So we have this really unique opportunity to bring back this almost mythic figure and look at it from a different angle.”
“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,” McKenna said.