Credit: NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2)

Will the NBC soap kill off the character? Recast? Have everybody just receive occasional texts from her?

“Addie, it’s a girl. You have a perfect baby girl.”

With those words Days of Our Lives’ Dr. Tom Horton introduced Addie Williams to her daughter on January 14, 1974. Shortly thereafter, Julie’s mom and her babydaddy Doug arrived at the perfect name for their new arrival. He was marveling at his wife — her courage, her trust…

“But most of all,” he continued, “well… your hope.”

Was he suggesting that word as their newborn’s name? Indeed, he was. And why wouldn’t he? As Doug told Addie, “It’s something you’ve had all along for the three of us.”

“I can’t think of a more beautiful name,” she sighed. “Our little girl — Hope.”

“Which we’ll never lose,” he added.

No, “you’ll never lose Hope now, Doug,” Addie agreed. (You can watch the whole sweet scene play out below.)

That Was Then, This Is Now

As longtime viewers are well aware, Addie didn’t live long enough to see her Hope grow. Though the mother-to-be eschewed treatment for leukemia so that she could carry her baby to term, she died not long after the child was born when she pushed the tot’s baby carriage out of the way of an oncoming car.

More: Check out Kristian Alfonso’s sudsy new role 

Now, of course, Days of Our Lives is faced with another impossible scenario: How will it deal with the fact that Kristian Alfonso has left the role that she played off and on since 1983 and has expressed her intention never to return.

Exit Strategy

After the actress’ last episode aired, the audience was informed that Hope had left Salem in search of Ciara, the daughter she just can’t believe is that rarest of all soap-opera deads — you know, dead-dead. The detective’s hunt for clues can theoretically only go on for so long. 

“As my father said,” headwriter Ron Carlivati recently told Soaps.com, “’Where exactly is she looking for Ciara?’

“In the letter she left behind, Hope didn’t really give any indication of when or if she’d be back,” he added. “And we know she’s spoken to Shawn a few times, but she’s been very vague as to where she’s at or if she’s found any more information. So nobody really knows what’s going on with Hope.”

They Wouldn’t… Would They?

If Alfonso isn’t coming back — and she’s said unequivocally that neither is she returning to Days of Our Lives nor is she joining any other soap — that leaves NBC’s daytime drama with three choices. 1. It could just leave her out there, somewhere, searching in perpetuity for Ciara.

But that doesn’t seem like a great idea, considering how willing “the deceased’s” portrayer Victoria Konefal is to pop back into Salem, either as a vision or as a… Well, you must have read her wild idea for Ciara’s comeback, right?

Victoria Konefal, Kristian Alfonso "Days of our Lives" Set NBC Studios Burbank 11/21/19 © XJJohnson/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661 Episode # 13908 U.S.Airdate 08/03/20

Anyway, when Hope’s daughter someday winds up back in Salem with a pulse, there will remain no reason for Hope herself to be MIA. So the show could instead 2. kill her off. Hey, we don’t want that any more than you do, but you have to fill your plot holes, people.

Plus, even if Hope did meet her maker, there’s no reason to think that it would be any more of a passing acquaintance than the time that she “perished” in a vat of acid in 1990. (Our timeline of the character’s history tells the whole bonkers tale.)

The Trickiest Proposition

And then there’s option No. 3: recast. If the show went this route, it could play out the Hope/Navy SEAL romance for which it was said to be setting the stage when Alfonso walked. And it would be tough. Like, real tough to accept anyone but Alfonso as Hope.

But on the flip side, Cady McClain has been kicking ass and taking names as Jennifer. No one even bats an eye anymore when Marci Miller takes a turn as Abigail. And lest we forget, we did for the most part accept Robert Kelker-Kelly as Bo. (He even made our list of daytime’s best-ever recasts.)

In other words, recasts can succeed.

What do you think? Could you ever accept anyone but Alfonso as Hope? Sound off in the comments below, but only after you’ve perused the below photo gallery of soap vets who could conceivably take on the role and make it their own.