james patrick stuart finola hughes ian buchanan anna valentin duke jpi abc gh
Credit: ABC, Howard Wise/JPI (2)

If they could do it once, they can do it again!

Duke was dead, to begin with. OK, OK, maybe we should start with something a bit less Dickensian. The General Hospital mobster turned hero was alive at one point, but he’d been gone for a long, long time by the time Ian Buchanan showed up on our screens once more on August 27, 2012.

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Anna’s true love (sorry, “Vanna” fans, but even James Patrick Stuart knows that relationship is a dead end) had died in a fire in 1989, risen from the grave with a new face, then died again in 1990. Except, well, it turns out that’s not quite what happened.

Duke had, it turns out, faked his first death back in 1989 to protect his loved ones and enter into witness protection. But the Jeromes snatched him along the way and tossed him into imprisonment with one Jonathan Paget, the man who, after pumping his cellmate for info headed to Port Charles to impersonate him. Without Duke’s face. Or his voice. Or his accent. Or, well, we feel like there should have been one or two other things that tipped at least Anna off after they reconnected, but sure, a few Duke stories did the trick.

Regardless, Jonathan/Duke eventually died at Julian’s hands and that was that for the next 22 years. Until, that is, Duke showed up once more in August of 2012. It was, to say the least, a shock. How was he alive? Where had he been? How did he have his face and accent back again??

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First, Duke had to travel back in time to the roaring ’20s and reset the timeline before he could return. It was all very complicated.

Credit: Paul Skipper/JPI

We had so many questions! And none of them mattered.

This man who returned to Port Charles wasn’t Duke, either. Instead, Cesar Faison decided to take a page out of Jonathan Paget’s page in order to woo Anna. But since everyone knew his face and voice, he couldn’t just play himself as Duke, he had to look and sound like Duke too, so he slipped on a hyper realistic mask and… whatever he did to his voice. That part’s a bit murky.

We didn’t learn the truth for a few months, and when we did, it was a crushing blow to realize Duke hadn’t really returned. But our disappointment was premature because Faison’s first appearance on August 27 was actually the moment we got the real Duke’s resurrection!

The criminal mastermind had been holding two people hostage who we’d thought dead. One was Robin, whom he’d intended “rescue” as Duke in order to be hailed as a hero. The other was… Duke! How else would Faison be able to convince people he was the real deal unless he had a direct line to the man and his memories?

So while the man we were first reunited with ten years ago wasn’t who we thought, it’s still worth celebrating as the day we got our Duke back. It wasn’t until the real Duke was finally freed and Cesar put down once again that we’d figure out all (more or less) that had befallen him in the decades since we’d last seen him.

Sadly, he died again just a few years later… but it was lovely while it lasted.

Now, it’s been another decade since Buchanan’s return and Duke’s (eventual) return, and there couldn’t be a better time for him to make a comeback once again! Dead? Please, how many times have we heard that about him before?

It’s fair to say fans felt more than a little cheated after going through all that elaborate plotting to bring the real Duke back and reunite him and Anna, only to kill him off again just a few years later. This could fix that debacle.

And bringing him back to reunite with his love just Anna and Valentin finally get their own relationship off the ground would be a story for the ages. A Cassadine versus one of Port Charles’ original mobsters who’s gone up against the Jeromes and Faison? Oh, Anna would have her work cut out for her keeping those two from each other’s throats!


Even if Stuart is correct (and there’s no guarantee he is) and Anna and Valentin are little more than infatuation, that doesn’t mean she won’t still be drawn to him, nor does it mean that her Cassadine beau would go down without a fight. But — and this is a big but — that doesn’t mean this should be a fight to the death!

The show’s worked hard to turn Valentin from an irredeemable monster to someone worthy of Anna’s love. No one wants to see him go, nor do they want to see him kill again. If Duke’s coming back (pretty please with icing on top?), it needs to be for good, regardless of how he and Anna end up.

Catch up on who and what Duke would be returning to with our photo guide to General Hospital.