Kristian Alfonso looks out of the corner of her eye on Days of Our Lives

T Arroyo/JPI

Kristian Alfonso’s beloved character can’t just be “away” forever.

She might not currently be in Salem, but 48 years ago today, Hope Williams was first seen on Days of Our Lives. However, despite Addie giving birth to Hope on screen on January 14, the character’s birthday would later be changed to December 24.

Regardless of the soap opera heroine’s actual birthday, Hope’s drama-filled birth was just the beginning of the adventure, love and heartache the character would encounter over the next couple of decades. But now, more than a year after her departure, we’re still trying to figure out why the NBC soap opera hasn’t brought her home.

For those who may not know, or remember, Addie had leukemia while pregnant with Hope. In fact, she was in a coma but awakened in time to give birth. Thankfully, she went into remission, but her story wouldn’t get a happy ending. That same year, Addie died after getting hit by a car.

In the soapiest of moves, Hope’s father, Doug eventually married his stepdaughter, aka Hope’s sister, Julie, and despite the devil’s recent efforts, they’re still thriving as a happy couple in Salem. As for Hope, she was sent off to boarding school when she was old enough, but returned a rebellious teen, in the form of Kristian Alfonso, who helped create one of the ’80s most iconic supercouples with Peter Reckell’s Bo.

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Hope in her wedding dress and dramatic veil and Bo in a tux. Days of Our Lives

Hope was deeply entrenched in Salem’s fabric for many years, but when Alfonso decided to leave the role in 2020, the character went off camera in search of her presumed-dead daughter Ciara. Now, she’s just hanging out in Johannesburg with no real explanation as to why. Sure, she went to be with Ciara after she came back from the dead, but Ciara’s home in Salem now — and pregnant. She was also just hounded by the devil for said baby. Meanwhile, Hope’s son Shawn and father Doug had their own run-ins with Satan, who possessed Hope’s good friend Marlena.

If there was ever a time Hope was needed at home, it was then. Yet, she stayed away. There are only so many times the audience will accept Hope’s plane having mechanical difficulties as a reason for her not returning. The show hasn’t even given viewers insight into her life in Johannesburg. Does she have a fulfilling career, hobby or love affair that trumps being around the people she loves?

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Ciara wears her wedding dress and veil, while holding a bouquet in the church. Hope in a gold dress faces her. Days of Our Lives

Sending detective Hope deep undercover always seemed like an obvious and credible way to keep her off the canvas. The twist would also lend itself to the unthinkable, which is to kill her off. We don’t love the idea of a dead Hope, but at least it would be a valid reason for her not being around when her family needs her most.

Then, since no one’s ever really dead on Days of Our Lives, when the soap is ready, something could trigger the reveal that Hope isn’t is as deceased as everyone thinks. A search could kick off a new adventure story, with Black Patch investigating her actual whereabouts. Kayla and Marlena, Ben and Ciara, Eli and Lani, and Belle and Shawn could join John and Steve, making it a massive umbrella story.

Since Alfonso has said she doesn’t want to return to the NBC soap opera, Hope would have to be recast. It’s a beloved role, so it’d be tough to do, but Days of Our Lives just successfully did it with Dan Feuerriegel replacing James Scott as EJ. Not to mention, the other half of “Bope” was recast for a time with Robert Kelker-Kelly in the ’90s.

Posed photo of Krisitian Alfonso, Robert Kelker Kelly and Lisa Rinna. Days of Our Lives

It can be done. We even have a few suggestions for actresses who could take over as Hope. Take a look through our photo gallery below to see if you agree with our choices and tell us what you think Days of Our Lives should do about Hope in the comments.