Benedict Cumberbatch was almost the star of vampire drama True Blood

And Jennifer Lawrence was in the running at one point as well…

Benedict Cumberbatch (Getty, EH)

We love TV “what-ifs,” the almost-castings that never quite came off that could have left your favourite shows with completely different lead actors – and now we can add HBO’s vampire drama True Blood to the list of series that almost had surprising stars front and centre.

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You see, series creator Alan Ball has now revealed that he auditioned Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch for the lead role of Bill Compton, a “good” vampire who resisted his bloodsucking urges to be the romantic interest for Anna Paquin’s Sookie, and who ended up as a role that eventually went to fellow brunette Brit Stephen Moyer instead.

“I read Benedict Cumberbatch,” Ball said at an event to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the supernatural drama (which aired on Channel 4 in the UK).

“He came and read for Bill.”

And the future Doctor Strange wasn’t the only famous face to almost make an appearance in True Blood…

“Jessica Chastain read for Sookie,” Ball went on (via Hollywood Reporter).

“Jennifer Lawrence read for, in season 3 there’s this werepanther girl, and she was great.”

So there you have it – once upon a time Bon Temps, Louisiana could have been populated by Sherlock Holmes, Katniss Everdeen and, er, Jessica Chastain (look, the woman’s a chameleon, she disappears into her roles, how could we define her by just one?).

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And if that happened, who knows? Maybe some very different people would have ended up solving crimes in Baker Street and battling Thanos on the planet Titan as well…