Pretty Little Liars: Why Jason DiLaurentis Was Recast In Season 2

Drew Van Acker notably portrayed Jason DiLaurentis in Pretty Little Liars, but he wasn’t the first actor cast in the role. Parker Bagley was initially cast as Jason, appearing in a handful of episodes in Pretty Little Liars season 1 before Van Acker took over. Created by I. Marlene King, the series centers on the disappearance of Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) and the fallout that ensues among her group of friends when they start to be harassed by a Pretty Little Liars’ mysterious villain, “A.” Jason is Alison’s older brother who is thrust into the drama surrounding his sister and friends.

Based on the books by Sara Shepard, the story of a popular girl’s disappearance turned into a complicated web of lies. As Pretty Little Liars continued, the twists and turns became more mindblowing. When Alison was revealed to be alive, more secrets were unearthed. It turned out that Jason was the son of Peter Hastings (Nolan North), the father of Alison’s close friend and neighbor, Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario). This meant that Jason was actually Alison’s half-brother. Despite all of the secrets and lies within their family, Jason and Alison grew closer before the series came to a close.

Related: Why Pretty Little Liars Spin-Off The Perfectionists Was Canceled

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Bagley played Jason when the character was introduced in Pretty Little Liars season 1. He returned to his hometown to assist with his sister’s memorial before revealing that he was sent pictures from “A.” Bagley only appeared in two episodes in the debut season and when the character returned in season 2, Jason was played by Van Acker instead. The latter actor then held the gig until Pretty Little Liars ended with season 7 in 2017, appearing in a total of 35 episodes. King stated that the recast was necessary due to the direction of the role, and looking back, it does make sense.

Jason’s presence in Pretty Little Liars greatly increased in season 2. After appearing in just two episodes in season 1, the character was present for a total of 13 out of the 25 episodes that made up season 2. Jason continued to be a bigger piece of the puzzle surrounding A’s identity as he became involved in the lives of the core group of characters. The larger role meant that the demands were amplified so a recast was deemed necessary. Bagley didn’t have many acting credits to his name when he joined Pretty Little Liars prior to the show’s 2010 debut. Van Acker, on the other hand, had multiple TV credits to his name, including a leading role in Cartoon Network’s Tower Prep.

Likewise, Parker Bagley hasn’t done much screen work since leaving the cast of Pretty Little Liars, either, which even led to some rumors being circulated about his untimely death. Oddly enough, news sources haven’t been able to confirm or deny whether the Pretty Little Liars cast member is alive or not. An obituary that circulated in 2018 for a different, older Parker Bagley may have fueled the rumors to begin with. Then, in June of 2020, Indian film producer and fashion line owner Rhea Kapoor made an Instagram post mourning the loss of Bagley (who was apparently a friend of hers) at age 30. While the post itself appears to be genuine, no other official sources close to Bagley have corroborated his passing one way or the other.

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The decision to recast Jason may have greatly paid off for Van Acker, but the same probably couldn’t be said for Bagley – his possible death aside. His last acting credit came in 2011, the same year that marked his final appearance in Pretty Little Liars. In 2013, Bagley was charged with larceny charges after stealing money, jewelry, and electronics from a friend’s apartment in Manhattan, NY. Although Pretty Little Liars could have been his big break if he’d continued with the role of Jason, Parker Bagely has ultimately faded significantly out of the spotlight.

Next: Pretty Little Liars Season 8 Updates: Will It Ever Happen?

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