Charmed

Before The Reboot: 21 Little-Known Details About The Original Charmed Ones

We're remembering the original Charmed sisters, and diving deep into some details that even the most devoted fans may have missed.

It’s been twelve years since the last season of Charmed graced our screens, and there’s a reboot in the works. Though we appreciate any attempts to recreate the powerful story of three good witches fighting against darkness, nothing will stop us from missing the original.

Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige touched our hearts for eight seasons as they fought against the bad guys and saved the lives of innocents around San Francisco. Sometimes they made us believe in magic, but more importantly, they showed us the power of sisterhood and the potential that women have to do good when they come together. We are honored to say we grew up with these women leading us by setting the right example.

Even the most hardcore Charmed fans might have missed a few details that emerged while the show was running. From what went on behind the scenes in the creation of the show to the little patterns subtly included on screen, there might be some things fans can still learn about the Halliwell sisters. And since it has been so long since the show aired, maybe there are a few details most fans have totally forgotten?

Keep reading to find out twenty little-known details about Charmed.

21The Pilot Started Out With Another Phoebe

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Alyssa Milano playing youngest-turned-middle sister, Phoebe Halliwell. Thanks to her character’s exciting romantic storylines, powerful ability to see into the future and undeniable sense of style, Milano was one of the biggest attractions on the show by the series finale.

But originally, a different actress was cast as Phoebe.

Lori Rom first won the part of Phoebe and even filmed an unaired pilot, scenes of which you can check out on YouTube. It was reported that Rom then left for personal reasons, and so Aaron Spelling contacted Milano to take her place on the show.

20The Book Of Shadows Was Seriously Authentic

Out of all the magical props used through the show’s eight-year run, none was as impressive as the mega Book of Shadows. The book was illustrated by hand and created by three different artists to make it as authentic as possible. As the show’s makers confirmed, this really was the most important item in the Halliwell manor, so they didn’t want it to look fake or cheap. Not only was it used as a reference for all the demons in existence, but it was also the source of the sisters’ powers and almost like another member of the family (and cast).

19Following Shannen Doherty’s Departure, Several Famous Actresses Auditioned For The Role Of Paige

Paige Matthews first arrived on the Charmed scene as the long-lost half-sister of the Halliwells after Shannen Doherty left the show at the end of the third season. Though there’d been no mention of a fourth sister before, the writers had to reintroduce the concept of the Power of Three without Prue.

By this time, the show was big enough for a string of famous actresses to desire a role.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Brown, Tiffani Thiessen, Susan Ward, and Soleil Moon Frye all auditioned for the coveted role of Paige, which eventually went to Rose McGowan.

18Holly Marie Combs Met Ex-Husband David On Set

The relationship between Piper and Leo was the strongest of the series, and though these characters experienced many ups and downs in their love story, the series finale showed them growing old together the way fans had always wanted. But did you know that Holly Marie Combs, who played Piper, actually met her real-life husband on the set of the show? In 2004, she married David Donoho, who was working as a key-grip on Charmed at the time. Though Combs filed for divorce five years after the completion of the show in 2011, the two share three sons together.

17Kaley Cuoco Took On The Role Of Billie Jenkins

Kaley joined the cast of Charmed during their 8th and final season.

The WB was hoping to create a spinoff featuring Cuoco, but that didn’t end up panning out.

Her character, Billie Jenkins, was actually Cuoco’s first role in a television drama series. Kaley didn’t seem too fond of the fact that the character basically revolved around her looks, saying, “I think they just wanted a blonde on the show”. After the show was canceled, Kaley made it clear she preferred working on sitcoms and took on the role of Penny in The Big Bang Theory.

16The Character Of Cole Turner Almost Didn’t Exist

Now, this is a scary thought! Cole Turner might have had a few bad moments—trying to kill the sisters multiple times, lying to them about secretly being the Source of all evil, and trying to turn Phoebe against them all spring to mind.

But his undying love for Phoebe totally redeems him in our opinion, and we wish they would have worked it out.

As it happens, Constance M. Burge, who created the show, didn’t want to develop the Cole character because she believed Piper and Leo’s relationship was complicated enough. Can you imagine if Cole had never been written into the show?

15It Brought The Wiccan Religion Into The Public Eye

Though there’s a fair amount of fiction involved in the Charmed storyline, there are also several real elements taken from the Wiccan religion which feature on the show and helped to inspire the sisters’ characters and family background. Some of the Wiccan traditions we can see on the show include casting spells, using sacred objects, solstice celebrations, the use of the Book of Shadows, and handfastings. Many Wiccan viewers have admitted that the show brought their religion into the public eye in a good way, while some have argued that some of the concepts have been seriously twisted and don’t reflect their true religion at all.

14Holly Marie Combs’s Pregnancy Was Written Into The Show

In 2004, Combs married show key-grip David Donoho.

When she fell pregnant during the sixth season, the writers decided to add a pregnancy into Piper’s storyline.

They chose this rather than opting to send her away on a mysterious leave until she was no longer showing. This season revolves heavily around newly arrived whitelighter Chris, who came from the future to stop Wyatt from turning evil. Tying in with Combs’s real-life situation, Chris actually turns out to be the second son of Piper and Leo, whose conception then takes place when the two reunite for one episode in the middle of the sixth season.

13There’s A Reason We Don’t See Many Flashbacks Of Prue

After Prue’s death at the end of the third season, we don’t really see her again at all. When the sisters travel back in time, we only see the back of her head or her in non-human form (like the time she turned into a dog). And though the sisters can conjure ghosts and spirits, they are never able to reconnect with the one soul they probably want to more than any other. The real reason for this is because the producers had to pay Doherty a sum of money every time they showed a flashback with her in it.

12Quite A Few Famous Faces Appeared As Guest Stars

When watching a show like Charmed, it’s easy to get so lost in the story that you don’t even realize when a super famous face guest stars.

Throughout the show’s run, quite a few celebrities appeared as both humans and supernatural beings.

Some of them weren’t stars at the time, but have since made it big in Hollywood. Phoebe’s love interests included the likes of Nick Lachey, Eric Dane and, briefly, Billy Zane. Zachary Quinto appeared as a warlock, while Norman Reedus played Paige’s boyfriend Nate. Of course, Kaley Cuoco was also a regular on the show before getting her break on The Big Bang Theory.

11Shannen Doherty Insisted That Holly Marie Combs Be Cast As Piper

Though there have been rumors of bad blood on the set for years, the truth is Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs were actually good friends in real life, even before they started working on the show. In fact, it was Doherty who insisted that her friend be cast as Piper. Some sources reported that Doherty wouldn’t agree to sign on unless the producers signed Combs on too. The two friends got to star side by side for three seasons before Doherty left the show after her character Prue was killed at the end of the third season.

10The Studio Didn’t Always Support The Show

While an episode of Charmed is always enough to make us smile, the actresses involved didn’t always find the experience of making the show completely positive.

After the series finished filming, Combs revealed in an interview, “The WB never treated us well, so we didn’t expect a lot of farewell wishes and flowers or cards.”

When asked to explain, she confessed that the show was never promoted in the press, the way other WB shows were. McGowan also wrote in her 2018 autobiography that working on Charmed was “soul crushing” thanks to a predominately male crew and a lack of female directors.

9The Sisters Took Care Of Quite A Lot Of Bad Guys In Their Time

Every episode of Charmed follows its own storyline, but almost all of them revolve around the sisters hunting one bad guy. From their first day as witches until they signed off and passed the duties along to the next generation, the Halliwell sisters managed to vanquish a total of 374 evil beings. Cole managed to vanquish 23, Leo vanquished 25, Billie and Christy vanquished 27, and another 161 were killed by unidentified good guys and bad guys. Overall, 610 evil beings were exterminated. This includes 466 demons, 26 warlocks, 39 vampires, 18 darklighters, 11 mortals and 50 uncategorized others.

8It’s Been Revived In Comic Book Form

Lately, the show’s reboot has been making headlines around the world, but this isn’t the first attempt at a revival of Charmed.

While it is the first time the show is coming back to our television screens, the story of the Halliwell sisters actually continued on after the eighth and final season in comic book form.

In 2010, Season Nine was published by Zeonoscope Entertainment. In 2014, Season Ten was published. Though the comics haven’t been nearly as popular as the television show, hardcore fans relished the opportunity to see what else happened to the sisters and their family.

7Every Season Ended The Same Way

Perhaps true fans would have picked this one up! The end of every season of the show finished in the same way: with a door being closed onto the camera. For all the seasons but one, it was the manor door being closed. And most of the time, it was a member of the family closing it. The exception was at the end of the sixth season when the door being closed was actually at the hospital since Piper had just given birth to her second son Chris. In the series finale, it is Piper’s granddaughter who uses her power to close the manor door.

6Despite Playing The Older Sister, Holly Marie Combs Was Actually The Youngest

For the first three seasons, Piper is the middle sister, with Prue being the oldest Halliwell and Phoebe being the youngest. But with the departure of Prue and the arrival of Paige in the fourth season, Piper shifted from being the middle sister to the oldest. And whether she was the oldest or the middle sister, it was often Piper who was the voice of reason.

But in real life, Holly Marie Combs is actually the youngest of the main actresses.

Alyssa Milano is just one year older than her, while Doherty is two years older. Rose McGowan is a few months older.

5A Special Tribute Was Paid To Julian McMahon When He Left

By the middle of the fifth season, Cole Turner had caused so much destruction to the Halliwells that it was time the sisters found a way to vanquish him for good. But because Julian McMahon’s character had captivated so many fans and was such a special part of the show for so long, they made sure to send him off with a proper goodbye. In the episode where he is vanquished for good, Michelle Branch plays Goodbye To You at P3. This is a subtle nod to McMahon’s work on the show, and a tribute before he left the cast.

4Several Characters Were Written Out Due To Budget Cuts

You probably noticed that toward the end of the show, a few characters who were once regulars were written out. In the final season, Inspector Darryl Morris, played by Dorian Gregory, was missing after being a part of the show for so long.

Also, Leo Wyatt disappeared from many episodes in an effort to save funds.

Thankfully, Leo wasn’t completely written out, and still appeared to unite with Piper in the end. After all, he was probably the most important character in the show after the sisters themselves, so they must have been in some strife to cut his storyline down like that.

3The Show Was Incredibly Expensive To Shoot For Its Time

Some of the biggest shows out there today have huge budgets with which they are able to produce the best effects on television. But in the era that Charmed aired, it was one of the most expensive shows to shoot, which is what led it to outgrowing its budget by the final season. Phoebe’s levitation power was replaced with the power of empathy since that was considerably less expensive to portray, but the show had other effects to get across, including exploding potions and flying creatures and objects. In order for the show to be picked up for its final season, the studio demanded a massive budget cut.

2Maybe Phoebe Didn’t Want To Divorce Cole After All

Only eagle-eyed fans would have picked up on this one! The fifth season begins with Phoebe divorcing her demon husband Cole, who has returned from the demonic wasteland with some new, scary powers.

But as we get a shot of her signing her divorce papers, you can see that she actually misspells her own name, writing “Pheobe” instead of “Phoebe.”

Was this a subtle hint that her heart wasn’t in her divorce from Cole, or was it just lazy editing? There’s some evidence to believe that Phoebe really did still love Cole since she admitted it to him herself after becoming a mermaid.

1The Prophecy About Phoebe’s Love Life Came True

When the sisters travel back to the time of Melinda Warren, Phoebe discovers that the first letter of her true love’s name is a C. Now, for the majority of the series, many fans were assuming that her true love was Cole Turner. But just because that relationship didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that the prophecy she foresaw by way of the apple peel was all hogwash. In the end, Phoebe ends up with Coop. The writers were sure to honor the prophecy that was revealed seasons earlier by creating a love interest for Phoebe whose name started with a C.

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