Television sets across the nation melted into piles of goo after the red-hot chemistry between Days of our Lives' Gabi Hernandez and Stefan DiMera exploded everything and everyone around them. The characters' steamy and passionate romance was one for the books, but it was unfortunately cut short when the powers that be suddenly killed off Stefan last fall. The NBC soap has since corrected its course, with Stefan's portrayer, Brandon Barash, returning to Salem last week as an auto mechanic named Jake. But why did the writers decide to kill Stefan in the first place?
In a new interview with Soap Opera Digest, DAYS' head writer Ron Carlivati explains some of the behind-the-scenes happenings that led to Stefan's doomed fate and why the show realized that letting Barash go was a big mistake.
"Brandon stepped in as a recast for Stefan and was a very different Stefan than the character Tyler [Christopher, ex-Stefan] created," Carlivati shares. "So when he first came on, we as a group, the writers and producers, were just not sure where that story was going to go... Unfortunately, and for story reasons, as well, we killed him off."
However, the writer reveals that "by the time it aired, we saw so much more for Gabi [Camila Banus] and Stefan as Brandon, and people seemed to really love the couple. We wondered if we could possibly recapture the magic with Gabi, so we decided to bring Brandon back, ultimately."
Carlivati teases that the writing staff discussed multiple ways in which Barash could return to Salem, but they eventually decided to stick with the classic, "Is this Stefan or is this not Stefan?" formula. Fans will just have to keep tuning in to Days of our Lives if they want to know the answer to that question!
The character of Stefan DiMera first hit the canvas at the end of 2017, with General Hospital alum Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas Cassadine) in the role of Stefano DiMera and Vivian Alamain's son. When Christopher left the soap for personal reasons, Barash took over the character and made his debut in March of 2019. Prior to joining DAYS, Barash played the role of GH's Johnny Zacchara. His other credits include Good Trouble, Major Crimes, 24, and Gilmore Girls.
How do you feel about having Brandon Barash back at DAYS? Do you think Jake is really Stefan? Why or why not? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.