Emily O'Brien Becomes The New Theresa In Bizarre Days Of Our Lives Casting Switch

The heads of "Days of Our Lives" fans have been spinning over the turbulent drama surrounding Jen Lilley's return on September 1 as Theresa Donovan, then her subsequent firing. In an interview with Soaps, Lilley dropped the bombshell recasting news about her character. She explained that near the end of 2022, she contacted co-executive producer, Albert Alaar (who has since been fired following a backstage harassment scandal) to see if Theresa could return for Victor Kiriakis' (John Aniston) funeral. Alaar loved the idea and promised she could do 12 weeks' worth of scripts in only four because of her schedule. However, by the end of week two, she only had one script, and when she asked him for the rest, he begrudgingly explained that she was being replaced. In the interview, Lilley was polite enough not to mention that Emily O'Brien — who currently plays Gwen Rizczech — would be taking over.

Now, Lilley's departure has become all too real as keen-eyed viewers noticed that, although Theresa didn't appear in the October 2 episode, Emily O'Brien was listed in the credits twice: once as Gwen, and again as Theresa. Deadline reported on the credit mentions, noting that Lilley's final episode was September 22 and that O'Brien will be pulling double duty as both characters for the foreseeable future.

Days fans are incredibly outraged

Repulsed by the way Jen Lilley was treated by "Days of Our Lives," fans took to X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that the show has become a "dumpster fire" and "train wreck." One angered fan asked why the show favored Emily O'Brien, adding, "You screw over Jen and then replace her with someone who is synonymous with a character [that's] pretty much hated," referring to the fact that Gwen is known for her numerous misdeeds. Still, another viewer countered that, stating, "I'm stoked for EOB to take over as Theresa. Love Jen Lilley, but she's totally replaceable and it's been so nice having Theresa back on canvas." The "DOOL" fan argued that Gwen's storyline isn't really critical to the show right now and that this way, at least, Emily O'Brien can remain on the show. 

The rest of the cast knew before Lilley that O'Brien was going to replace her, but the actress was gracious about it, not only telling Soaps, "That poor girl [O'Brien] has had to have conversations with me. How horrible she must have felt!" but also posting a heartfelt thank you to the show and fans on Instagram on September 19. Despite that, fans are still outraged. "[O'Brien's] an extraordinary actress but why Theresa, who could be played by anyone[?]," posted one follower on X, adding, "Feel like it's a waste of her talents and Gwen could have been a far more complex character but they did nothing with her."