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Images: NBC, Howard Wise/JPI, John Paschal/JPI, Jill Johnson/JPI, Jennifer Graylock/JPI

You may have a future in casting, folks.

It’s been a rough week for Days of Our Lives fans. First, we had to say goodbye to Kristian Alfonso and Hope Brady — without anyone on air actually saying either “good” or “bye.” (At least the actress herself put together a lovely farewell video.) Then, just as we were getting our hopes up about James Scott returning EJ DiMera to the NBC soap when Alison Sweeney comes back as Sami Brady, the actor himself issued a reminder that he had left showbiz so far behind that he couldn’t even see it in his rear-view mirror anymore.

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Dang it, Sami, ya shoulda held on tighter!

After leaving the show in 2014 — rich and famous but unsatisfied and depressed — Scott went to an Indian meditation center and stayed for a year, he explained on Instagram. Having discovered a “newfound peace,” his goal in life now is to “inspire others to do the same.” Which means you’re likelier to see a snowman stand in hell than you are him back in Salem. “Please know,” he gently informed a fan from his time in daytime, “that I will never, never, never, never, never go back to Hollywood, let alone [Days of Our Lives]. There is nothing interesting there for me.”

That is one bitter pill to swallow, we know. But it doesn’t at all mean that the tortured love story of EJ and Sami has to come to an end. It just means — and this is going to be another bitter pill to swallow — that Scott’s role is going to have to be recast. Days of Our Lives has already gone to great lengths to make sure that we know that the character is alive and, well, recovering from his “death” off screen. Now, as reader Alaina Aubree wrote on Facebook, “it’s time to bring EJ home to [play head of the family to] his brooding brothers. How interesting that will be for Abby,” the ex-lover who’s now living in the DiMera mansion with husband Chad.

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“I’m sorry, sir, your HMO doesn’t cover manscaping.”

Most fans on Soaps.com’s social media even seemed open to the idea of recasting, thanks to the fact that Scott’s “message,” as Kay Marie put it, “gives closure” to those of us hoping against hope for his return; we now know for sure that nope, ain’t gonna happen. So “how long,” asked Chelsea Sternberg, “do we have to wait before we see this new EJ?”

Our guess — we’d even put money on it — is that when Sami returns to Salem, EJ will be with her. After all, could there be a doctor better equipped to treat a zombie than Rolf? So Days of Our Lives just needs to find an actor as charismatic as EJ’s previous portrayer to play him. Ha — we said “just” like it wasn’t an almost impossible feat!

We’ve already shared a few of our ideas about soap alumni who might be up to the daunting task. (If you haven’t scrolled through our photo gallery of A-OK possible EJs, you’ve missed out.) And since then, you’ve weighed in with your picks as well. Not to put too fine a point on it, but your ideas were probably even better than ours. (And we call ourselves professionals — hilarious!)

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Salem might be the perfect place for a veteran of True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.

Though some of you rather liked our notion of General Hospital alum Nathan Parsons (ex-Ethan) stepping in, he is tied up with his primetime series, Roswell, New Mexico. Aiden Turner, who like Scott got his start on All My Children (Turner was Aidan Devane; Scott, Ethan Cambias), might also work, suggested David Tabachnick, adding it’s almost a shame that Paul Telfer is so perfect as Days of Our Lives’ Xander. He “would have been a great recast” for EJ.

Phyllis Booker pointed out that the show has already chosen a new EJ — Trey Baxter played the part post-resurrection in 2018. “I thought he was too young for the role,” she wrote, “but where is he?” As far as we can tell from his Instagram page, the actor/model, who supplies the eye candy in Hailee Steinfeld’s “Capital Letters” music video, is focusing on the “model” part of his career at the moment. See below.

According to IMDb, however, Baxter does have a movie in pre-production: Due Justice, starring Sharknado survivor Tara Reid. (His character’s name is James Dean… as in the James Dean?) Joan Pittman Brewer recommended not Ingo Rademacher exactly — he’s kinda busy on General Hospital — “but someone like Jax could easily replace” Scott as EJ. Hey, we suspect she means someone like the actor put forth as an idea by Ann Ford Tucker — “the one who [was] with Lily on The Young and the Restless“… in other words, Cane’s former portrayer, Daniel Goddard.

While you contemplate the possibilities — and dread them if it’s original-flavor-or-bust for you — perhaps you can take consolation and inspiration from the below photo gallery, a glorious reminder that sometimes, recasts don’t just work, they work brilliantly. They’re our picks for soap’s all-time greatest replacements — ranked, no less.