It’s that time again, when TV lovers anxiously await the return of their favorite series. In addition to catching up with the characters we have come to know, love, and maybe even loathe, a few familiar faces will be joining the casts of top series. From a Friends alumnus to an ‘80s cult film star, here are 12 of the most exciting casting additions coming this fall.
Lisa Kudrow, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Gearing up for its fourth season, this hilarious comedy stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as women who are blindsided by a decades-long affair between their respective husbands. The upcoming season adds the former Friends star as recurring character Sheree, Grace’s long-time manicurist who builds a deeper friendship with her, causing Frankie to get jealous. The role marks a reunion of sorts between Kudrow and Marta Kauffman, who is co-creator of both this series and Friends.
Forest Whitaker, Empire (Fox)
The Academy and Golden Globe winning actor seems to be everywhere these days. For Empire he’ll take on a recurring role in a multi-episode arc as Uncle Eddie, a music icon and the man credited with giving Lucious (Terrence Howard) his first radio play. He joins another veteran actor, Demi Moore, who will also have a recurring role this season, following her first appearance in the season 3 finale as Lucious’ private nurse.
Danny Trejo, The Flash (The CW)
Trejo has a long list of movie credits to his name including Heat, Desperado, and of course, Machete. The actor plays tough, gritty characters almost exclusively. He’ll be adding another TV credit to his resume starring as in this DC Comics series as Breacher, father of Earth-19 bounty hunter Gypsy (Jessica Camacho). It’s unclear if the role will be recurring, permanent, or a single appearance.
Sean Astin, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Stranger Things doubles down on the nostalgia factor with the addition of Astin, known for his iconic roles in Rudy, The Goonies, and of course, as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s a natural fit given the comparisons that have been made between Spielberg fare like The Goonies, which also focuses on a group of school-aged boys in the ‘80s encountering mysterious happenings. Astin will play Bob Newby, a former nerd who attended high school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) now managing the local RadioShack.
Paul Reiser, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Best known for his role in ‘90s sitcom Mad About You, this veteran actor and comedian will also be joining the cast of Stranger Things. He will play the Department of Energy’s Dr. Owens, who’s responsible for keeping the creepy happenings of the previous year under wraps. No one needs to know there’s a demon-like being from another dimension who murders people, right?
Mark Hamill, Trollhunters (Netflix)
Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, will be lending his voice to the cast for season 2 of Guillermo del Toro’s Emmy-winning animated series, DreamWorks Trollhunters, which follows a battle between good and bad trolls in two fantasy worlds. Hamill will play the older brother of one of the Trollhunting team members who has pledged his loyalty to the evil Gunmar. He joins an already star-filled cast that includes Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, Anjelica Huston, and the late Anton Yelchin, who recorded for the lead role through the first two seasons. Lena Headey has also signed on to voice a powerful and evil sorceress. Season two premieres later this year with 13 episodes – half that of season one.
Jimmy Smits, How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
Smits’ role on the fourth season of this Shondaland series is a guest arc, though the network is tight-lipped about the role. We do know, however, that he will be a “prominent figure” in Annalise’s life (Viola Davis). Smits most recently appeared in the now cancelled Fox spin-off 24: Legacy, but he’s been in a string of successful series throughout his career, including Dexter, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and Sons of Anarchy.
John Cho, The Exorcist (Fox)
Having fully shed his reputation as one half of the Harold & Kumar movie duo (not to mention the guy who popularized the term “MILF” from American Pie), Cho has been taking on more serious acting roles, like Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot franchise. He’ll delve deeper beyond comedy in the second season of The Exorcist as former child psychologist Andrew Kim, who runs a group home for at-risk foster children on a private island.
Anna Chlumsky, Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Chlumsky will reprise her role of Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer for the Emmy-winning HBO series VEEP’s upcoming final season, but she’ll also appear in a recurring role for the fourth season of this AMC series, which is also its last. She’ll pivot from politics to medicine, playing Dr. Katie Herman, Chief Ontologist, who has a crucial role in the plot.
Brooke Shields, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Actress and model Brooke Shields will add spark to the upcoming 19th season of this crime drama in a major recurring role. There aren’t any details about who she’ll play, other than that she’ll “shake up Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) world.” Her most recent TV appearances include stints on Scream Queens and Nightcap.
Marlee Maitlin, Quantico (ABC)
The Academy Award-winning actor will lend her talents to Quantico’s third season, coming January 2018, which stars Priyanka Chopra as an FBI recruit/terrorist suspect. Maitlin will play ex-FBI agent Jocelyn Turner who became deaf after a bomb blew up nearby. Having had a reputation as being one of the best undercover agents, she’s called upon once again to join a special unit.
Ron Perlman, StartUp (Crackle/Amazon Prime)
He made us cringe as the deplorable Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy, most recently appeared in Amazon original Hand of God, and is perhaps best known for playing Hellboy in Guillermo Del Toro’s comic adaptation. In the second season of Crackle series StartUp, Perlman will join Martin Freeman and Adam Brody as Wes Chandler, a multi-millionaire businessman with “level-headed grit.”