Why Did Elizabeth Perkins’ Role In ‘Preacher’ Mysteriously Disappear?

Through the first two episodes of AMC’s fantastic new series Preacher, showrunner Sam Catlin, along with co-creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, have left us with a lot of open questions, but the question that has nagged at me the most so far is this: What happened to Elizabeth Perkins and Lucas Neff?

Some of you may vaguely recall that the stars of Weeds and Raising Hope, respectively, were in the pilot episode, ever-so briefly. In fact, this is the only shot of them from the pilot:

I first noticed that Lucas Neff was no longer on the show because I’m a huge fan of Neff from his Raising Hope days. He was thrilled to be cast in the pilot, posted about the first table read, and then never mentioned it again. He was set to play J.J. Quincannon in the series, but there is no J.J. Quincannon in the source material. I assumed, initially, that he was going to play the brother of Odin Quincannon (played by Jackie Earle Haley).

Turns out, however, that the series had initially planned to make an even bigger departure from the comics than what we are seeing. Elizabeth Perkins has been cast as Vyla Quincannon, who was described as “an ambitious and terrifying businesswoman who owns the local slaughterhouse. The character has a mysterious past involving Jesse’s father.”

That character description will probably ring a few bells for comic readers, as it perfectly fits Odin Quincannon. In other words, as they originally conceived the series, Catlin, Rogen and Goldberg had plans to gender-flip the season one villain. I assume that J.J. Quincannon, played by Neff, was actually set to play the husband of Vyla.

So, what happened to Perkins? It took me a while, but I finally tracked down the reason for her departure in a Sam Catlin AMA from last month:

Vyla scrapped for now. Elizabeth Perkins amazing actor but we realized post pilot we wanted to go with more old school quincannon.

Mystery solved! I assume that gender-flipping Odin Quincannon might have been one step too far in departing from the comics, as Odin’s gender in the comics is important in one very respect (Spoilers): He has sex with a mannequin made out of meat.