Last week on Days of Our Lives, Dr. Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans) mentioned Salem's upcoming bicentennial to sister-in-law, Hope (Kristian Alfonso). The NBC soap is using the fictional event to kick-off a season-long celebration of DAYS' 50th anniversary. Here's what we know about #DAYS50 so far!
A Whole Lotta Vets Are Back
A slew of familiar faces will start descending upon Salem U.S.A. this late summer/fall, starting with Kayla's ex-husband, Steven Earl "Patch" Johnson (Stephen Nichols). The Aug. 3 issue of Soap Opera Digest reveals Patch returns to town with wayward (and now rapidly-aged) son Joey (James Lastovic) in tow.
When Patch learns his old Merchant Marine buddy, Bo Brady (Peter Reckell), has been on the longest assignment ever, he decides to find out what's really going on with his pal.
Thaao Penghlis (Andre), Jason Cook (Shawn Douglas), Martha Madison (Belle), Camila Banus (Gabi), Tamara Braun (Ava) and superstar Alison Sweeney (Sami) are also returning for #DAYS50. Speaking of Samantha Gene, we're hearing a shocking plot twist in the Ben/Abigail/Chad love triangle will factor into her homecoming.
Watch for long backburnered vets currently on the canvas to get much more airtime. Mary Beth Evans (Kayla), Wally Kurth (Justin) and Judi Evans (Adrienne) have been placed on contract. John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) are said to be front and center once again. Meanwhile, James Carver (Abe), Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie) will reportedly be more prominent.
Sweet SORAS High
As mentioned earlier in the article, Patch is bringing his runaway son Joey home next month. The tyke, who was born in 2008, will be a teenager when we next see him.
There must be something in the water in Salem, because Shawn and Belle's daughter Claire will also be a teen when she comes home played by Olivia Rose Keegan. "Shelle's" kiddo was born on screen in 2005.
Theo, the son of Abe (James Reynolds) and the late Lexi Carver (Renee Jones), is also being SORASed to his teen years. Though to be fair, Theo was born in 2003, so that won't be much of a stretch. Terrell Ransom, Jr. portrayed the adorable autistic youth from 2008–2015. Rumblings persist that Ciara Brady is also being aged. I sincerely hope note. Lauren Boles is EVERYTHING!
Big Names in New or Recast Roles
When DAYS decided they were finally ready to give the Hernandez family a patriarch, they went for quite the suds "A"-lister. Santa Barbara legend A Martinez will play the father of Rafe (Galen Gering) and Gabi (Camila Banus). SPOILER ALERT: We're hearing scuttlebutt Papa Hernandez has another child living in Salem.
Publishing scion and war veteran Philip Kiriakis will be making his way back to Salem for the 50th anniversary of Days of Our Lives, but he won't be played by Jay Kenneth Johnson or Kyle Brandt. One Life to Live alum John-Paul Lavoisier is recreating the role.
In a twist of soap operatic irony, JPL is also starring opposite Martha Madison in the highly-anticipated web series Winterthorne. On DAYS, their characters were once married.
Sal Stowers made quite a splash on the short-lived internet version of All My Children. She played a woman who was sold into the sex trade and garnered critical acclaim for her gritty performance. Look for Stowers as the newly-created character of Lani on DAYS.
Alexander Bruszt was the big winner of "Search for a Star", a competition DAYS held in Australia to fill the role of the mysterious Dr. Finn. Watch Bruszt talk about the "ruggedly handsome" character on an Aussie talk show below!
Major Cast Cuts
To make room for all of the returning or new stars, DAYS had to make a few strategic cast changes. Melissa Archer (Serena) was been let go. Daniel Cosgrove (Aiden), Paul Telfer (Xander) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) are all confirmed as out.
Additionally, I'm hearing Shawn Christian (Daniel) might leave on his own terms and Jason47.com is reporting True O'Brien (Paige) and James Read (Clyde) are goners.
*One seemingly-heroic male character will soon begin to exhibit qualities of instability.
*A shocking death will rock Salem and have a father seeking revenge and/or justice.
*The Bradys and Hortons are headed for a showdown with the DiMeras of endgame proportions.
Morale is Way Up
The DAYS cast isn't just blowing smoke in terms of how happy they seem with #DAYS50 scripts on social media. Everyone we talk to says the enthusiasm is legit and that the DAYS set is a happy, happy place to be right about now.
Are you ready to spend the next TV season celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Days of Our Lives? Sound off in the comments!
Additional reporting by Jillian Bowe