While Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) is a fan-favorite character on Gilmore Girls, he wasn’t in the original pilot script for the series, and another character was in his place. Luke is an important Stars Hollow resident who runs a diner in the building that used to be his father’s hardware store and who begins dating Lorelai (Lauren Graham) in season 4. Luke is known for his gruff personality, for being begrudgingly kind to Kirk Gleason (Sean Gunn) and arguing with Taylor Doose (Michael Winters) over town rules and regulations, and he has created a cozy meeting spot for the community.
While there are many popular character arcs on Gilmore Girls, Luke experiences the most changes by the end of the series, from divorcing Nicole Leahy (Tricia O’Kelley) to discovering that he has a daughter named April Nardini (Vanessa Marano). It’s difficult to imagine him not being part of Lorelai and Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) charming small town life, but if the original pilot script was shot, he wouldn’t have been there.
A Character Named Daisy Was In The Original Gilmore Girls Pilot Instead
Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino shared that “Luke was originally a female character” named Daisy was in the original pilot (via EW). In the first episode, Lorelai begs Luke for coffee and although it pains him to say yes, she convinces him to pour her another cup of her favorite beverage. While it seems likely that this would still be funny if Daisy and Lorelai had this banter, Luke and Lorelai’s romantic chemistry is evident from their very first scene.
In some ways, the Gilmore Girls pilot is perfect, and if Daisy had remained a character, she and Lorelai might become friends, but she might not have had the dramatic arc that Luke did. Luke’s absence could have changed the trajectory of the series, including his rebellious nephew Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia) moving to Stars Hollow and falling in love with Rory in season 2. This storyline leads to meaningful change for both Jess and Luke, and losing it would have been a shame.
The WB Wanted A Male Character And Amy Sherman-Palladino Chose Luke
Sherman-Palladino said that The WB asked her to write a male character for the script, and she decided to change Daisy to Luke. Graham explained that it wasn’t clear that Luke and Lorelai would date from the very start: “It’s just this funny, weird chemistry that we had in terms of being complete opposites and also this built-in conflict of he has the thing she wants — which is coffee.”
Although Luke and Lorelai’s AYITL wedding doesn’t make sense as it’s strange that important characters aren’t there, if Luke was never on the series, it’s likely that she would have fallen in love with someone else. The couple balances each other out and it’s difficult to imagine someone else really understanding Lorelai’s goofy personality and confidence. From the pilot to the final episode of the Netflix revival, Luke has always been the right character to help flesh out Lorelai’s quirky world on Gilmore Girls.
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