There will be a different dynamic on the CW’s Dynasty next season. One of the stars of the reboot, Nathalie Kelley, who plays Cristal, has confirmed in an E! interview that she will not be returning for Season 2.
The development is not entirely shocking — Cristal, Alexis or Michael’s fates were left up in the air in the Season 1 finale cliffhanger, which ended with the three still trapped in a fire after Cristal also had been shot.
Still, Kelley’s exit changes the original setup of the reboot, in which the story of the feud between the Carringtons and the Colbys was to be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington (Elizabeth Gillies), daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington (Grant Show), and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal (Kelley), a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class.
Cristal was a version of the Krystle Jennings character in the original series, played by Linda Evans, which was considered a female lead. It also was the case on the CW’s Dynasty, whose Season 1 key art featured Gillies, Kelley and Show.
The dynamic on the show already changed with the introduction of Nicollette Sheridan as Alexis Carrington late in Season 1.
The decision to make the stepmom Hispanic was an effort to bring the 1980s soap to the 21st century and better reflect the diversity of America today as well as add a race/class dimension to the family conflicts, though fan reaction to the character has been somewhat mixed.
Asked about Cristal fate, Kelley, a Peruvian-born Australian actress, said, “Is it a coma? Is it death? … I actually don’t know. But I know that I’m not going to Atlanta in July, that I’m staying [in LA]…. I’ve got my life back.”