2019 saw a lot of familiar characters returning to Soapland. Many of the characters had previously been thought to be dead, some of them reclaimed their places on our screens with new faces, others appeared without knowing their own backstories, and a few even showed up with another familiar character's face in place of their own. Whether they are legacy characters, heroes, or villains, twelve of the returning characters made a big impact on those in their orbit, which landed them on our list of this year's biggest character returns.
Three years after he was believed to be dead in a cabin explosion caused by a vengeful Chloe Mitchell, Victor's prodigal son returned from the dead, recast with soap newcomer Mark Grossman. Found to have amnesia in Las Vegas by his father, Adam returned to town after some convincing by Sharon. When he was shot by Chloe Mitchell, who was still seeking revenge for his part in the death of her daughter Delia six years prior, the shock of the injury jolted Adam's memory, and he regained his sense of self. Once he recovered from his injury, Adam quickly reminded Genoa City why he's the black sheep of Victor Newman's offspring by going after control of the family-run companies and custody of his two sons.
Brook Lynn Ashton, General Hospital
The last time we saw her, Brook Lynn was taking her budding music career out on tour. She and Nikolas had begun to get close to one another, with him choosing Brook Lynn over Liz, but ultimately, he urged her to pursue her music dreams, and she left Port Charles. Now played by Amanda Setton, Brook Lynn has only been back a short while, but she's already grinding gears with the Quartermaines and setting off sparks with Julian.
Chad and Abigail DiMera, Days of our Lives
It's a Chabby two-for-one on this return. Not only did we get to see what Chad and Abby were up to in Paris with DAYS' digital series, but the pair was back in Salem after the time jump, having returned home after Abby's mom, Jennifer, slipped into a coma. Since being back in town, Chad reconnected with his thought-to-be-dead father, Stefano, via an online cat-and-mouse chess game, and Abby met with her ex-step-mom, Eve, who was convicted of pushing Jennifer off a balcony, while they both tried to unravel the truth.
Chelsea Lawson, The Young and the Restless
The last we saw of Chelsea, she was running off with money she swindled from Fenmore's and both of Adam's sons after whacking Sharon Newman in the head. She had a change of heart about taking Christian with her and left him on Nick's doorstep with a note. When a newly resurfaced Adam regained his memory, Chelsea came to town with Connor in tow, and her new Baton Rouge husband, Calvin Boudreau, hot on her heels. Calvin soon went to that big shrimp boil in the sky, with Chelsea inheriting millions and going into business with Abby Newman and Phyllis Summers, setting off a whole chain of events that had a host of characters coming to town, as a result, including her mother Anita, Calvin's lawyer, and a dubious old associate of Calvin who held Chelsea, Connor, Adam, and Abby hostage in the Grand Phoenix Hotel lobby.
Jack Deveraux, Days of our Lives
Yeah, yeah... we know Jack technically returned at the end of 2018, but it wasn't until 2019 that Jack... our Jack... really returned. After falling down an elevator shaft while saving his daughter, Abby's, life in 2012, Jack's return to Salem on New Year's Eve last year wasn't met by most Salemites with as much enthusiasm as his three previous back-from-the-dead moments. This time, Jack had amnesia and didn't remember his prior life in Salem. With new love Eve Donovan by his side, Amnesiac Jack did things that were out of character for the former Jack, to the disappointment of his family and friends. But when his former wife Jennifer was kidnapped and held hostage, Jack sprang to her rescue. In a true soap miracle, when faced with the prospect of losing Jennifer (and a good old-fashioned bump to the head), Jack's love for Jennifer shone through and melted away the memory loss, restoring the true Jack underneath and finally reuniting him with the love of his life, Jennifer.
Jordan Ridgeway, Days of our Lives
Returning with a bang -- or a blaze, that is -- Jordan popped back up when she kidnapped her brother Ben's girlfriend, Ciara Brady, and tied her up in a cabin, claiming that Ben was a threat to Ciara. The cabin later caught fire with Ciara still inside, and the main suspect was obviously Jordan. Adding to Jordan's list of misdeeds, she also kidnapped Chad and Abby DiMera's baby, Charlotte; stabbed Kate Roberts with a syringe; and drugged Ben. It was revealed that Jordan had killed her mother when she'd been younger, and the repressed memory resurfacing had caused her to suffer a psychotic break. She was eventually sent to Bayview Hospital for treatment, revealing to Rafe that she had a son named David that she trusted him to look after. Months later, Jordan returned from Bayview and nearly killed Rafe with a poison-laced cupcake intended for Ciara, only to be murdered shortly after, with Ben taking the fall.
J.T. Hellstrom, The Young and the Restless
After returning to town in 2017, J.T. and former flame Victoria were reunited, only for J.T. to become abusive toward her. During an altercation between J.T. and Victoria in 2018, Nikki, Phyllis, and Sharon rushed to Victoria's aid, which led to Nikki striking J.T. in the head with a fire poker. Thinking J.T. to be dead, the women wrapped him in a rug and buried him in Chancellor Park. It was only after the women were convicted earlier this year for his death and the disposal of his body that the audience and residents of Genoa City learned, in a shocking twist, that J.T. was alive.
Nicole Walker, Days of our Lives
Thought to have died in a warehouse fire -- with Eric nearly dying while trying to save her -- Nicole was later discovered to be alive, except it wasn't Nicole; it was Kristen, wearing a very convincing mask and pretending to be Nicole to win back Brady. Thinking that Nicole blamed him for her daughter Holly's death, Eric believed that Nicole had chosen Brady over him, and he turned to Sarah. When Kristen was later unmasked at John and Marlena's anniversary party, the real Nicole was found, along with a very much alive Holly. Kristen had faked Holly's death in order to push Eric away while she was disguised as Nicole. Nicole, Eric, and Holly were reunited, and Nicole reclaimed her place in Salem.
When Nikolas tried to fake his own death back in 2016, he set off a chain of events that led to him being shot by his uncle Valentin Cassadine just after having given Valentin his private island estate, Wyndemere. Viewers last saw Nikolas as he was tumbling off Cassadine Island into the waves below. Or so they thought. Nikolas reemerged this fall, played by Marcus Coloma, and has been scheming with Jax, helping Cassandra Pierce escape Pentonville, gaslighting Ava to the point of her being committed to a psych ward, and going toe to toe with young Charlotte Cassadine.
Ruthless, calculating, and impossible to kill, Stefano rose from the ashes every time. So, when Hope, avenging her beloved Bo, shot him to death in 2016, everyone made wagers on when we'd see his face again. It's no surprise that Stefano is back once more, as predicted. What's surprising about the Phoenix's return this time, however, is that he has Steve Johnson's face, thanks to Princess Gina and Doctor Rolf. It turned out that Stefano manipulated those in Steve's life to believe he'd abandoned them, including Steve's ex-wife, Kayla, who he served with divorce papers; his brother Jack, who had no support during his wife's year-long coma; and his brother-in-law Justin, who only received a card from "Steve" when Steve's sister Adrienne died. It's been revealed that Stefano and Princess Gina have designs on Marlena and John, with a plot in place to separate the couple.
From finding out the truth about Beth and using it to his advantage, to falling (or being pushed) off a cliff, to tailgating Emma before and not helping her after she drove off a cliff, to falling into a vat of turns-out-to-not-be acid, Thomas was a driving force of much of the action on The Bold and the Beautiful this year, with Matthew Atkinson slipping into the role. Thomas was also a leading factor in Liam and Hope being apart while they thought their daughter was dead, as well as a point of contention between Ridge and Brooke that helped lead to their divorce. Not only was Thomas a huge part of the canvas this year, but he also brought Douglas back into the fold to blurt out secrets and create tugs-of-war between the Forresters and the Logans.
Tony DiMera, Days of our Lives
Ten years after being impaled during a scuffle with Philip and then dying, Tony was revealed to be alive, as yet another patient to benefit from Doctor Rolf's life-restoring serum. While he recuperated in Chicago, Kristen visited Tony and blackmailed him to pretend to be his look-alike half-brother, Andre. Kristen wanted to marry Tony, who was pretending to be Andre, while she was disguised as Nicole, in order to regain control of the family company DiMera Enterprises. When Andre and Nicole's identities were revealed to be none other than Tony and Kristen DiMera, everyone in Salem was shocked, but none as much as the object of Kristen's affection, Brady, and Tony's ex-wife, Anna, who wasn't shy about her disgust that the masquerading brother and sister had tied the knot and that the love of her life was alive without her knowledge.
BONUS: Notable Actor Returns
In addition to the return of several popular daytime characters, some daytime players made their way back onto our screens, as well. While beloved actors returning is always cause for celebration, there were three much-buzzed-about returns that require recognition.
Michelle Stafford stepped back into the role of The Young and the Restless' Phyllis Summers, which had been embodied by Gina Tognoni since 2014. Stafford had previously occupied the role of Nina Reeves on General Hospital, starting in 2014, a role that Cynthia Watros took over this year. Watros was formerly Annie Dutton on Guiding Light from 1994 to 1998 and Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless from 2013 to 2014.
Michael E. Knight, most known as Tad Martin on All My Children, joined General Hospital as lawyer Martin Gray, who represented Nelle during her parole hearing and later served as counsel to Kim and Drew-in-Franco's-body during their fight against Elizabeth for the rights to Franco's body and for Drew's competence to make decisions for himself.
Mishael Morgan, who portrayed the acerbic Hilary Curtis from the character's introduction in 2013 until her death in 2018, rejoined The Young and the Restless this year as a new character, lawyer Amanda Sinclair. Hilary also popped up in 2019 as both a ghost and a dream for former husband Devon Hamilton.
What do you think about our list of this year's returns? Is there someone you would add to our list? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.