|Kyler Pettis as Theo Carver|
|Days of Our Lives|
|Portrayed by|| Terrell Ranson Jr (2008-15)|
Kyler Pettis (2015-18)
|Current status||Former; Regular|
|First appearance||May 29, 2003|
|Last appearance||January 17, 2018|
|Cause/reason||Left town to go to rehab.|
|Created by||Dena Higley|
|Introduced by||Ken Corday and Stephen Wyman|
|Fullname||Theordore Brandon Carver|
|Terrell Ransom Jr as Theo Carver|
The character was created by then head writer Dena Higley and introduced as the newborn son of Salem's mayor Abe Carver and his doctor wife, Lexie Carver. Child actors, Chase and Tyler Johnson appeared in the role from 2003 to 2004, Kavi Faquir from 2006 to 2007, and Amyrh Harris in 2007. In 2008, child actor Terrell Ranson Jr stepped into the role as the character was diagnosed with autism. Theo's autism diagnosis proved to be the character's most significant storyline as well as his close friendship with Ciara Brady. Ransom was beloved by fans and critics and also earned two Young Artist Award nominations for his portrayal of Theo.
In 2015, Kyler Pettis took over the role when the character was rapidly aged. The teenage Theo becomes romantically involved with his best friend Ciara which puts him at odds with Abe who feels Ciara will hurt him. After Ciara dumps Theo, he becomes involved with her niece Claire Brady and also struggles to except his father's budding romance with Valerie Grant as he starts college and tries to assert his independence. Pettis became quite popular with viewers and critics for his portrayal of the autistic character.
In the summer of 2002, Abe Carver (James Reynolds) announces his plans to divorce his wife Lexie Carver (Renee Jones) for her attempt at kidnapping a child and trying to pass it off as their own. On the rebound, Lexie sleeps with Brandon Walker (Matt Cedeno). Lexie later reveals she is pregnant and a paternity test proves Abe is the baby's father. Abe and Lexie reunite and as she gives birth to her baby on May 29, 2003, Brandon is revealed to be Abe's long lost son. Brandon's new wife and Lexie's rival Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) later reveals that she tampered with the baby's original paternity test to make sure Abe believes he is the child's father. Fortunately, a paternity test confirms Abe as the boy's father. On June 2, Lexie and Abe officially name their son Theodore Brandon, after Brandon and Abe's late brother Theo (Rusty Cundieff). In September 2003, Abe is presumed dead when he is shot on the day of Theo's christening. Fortunately, Abe is revealed to be alive in 2004 and the family is reunited. After Lexie's latest affair, in 2006, Abe wants to divorce her and sue for custody of Theo. However, Lexie is presumed dead in January 2007 before the divorce is final leaving Abe to raise Theo on his own. Fortunately, Lexie is revealed to be alive several months later. In early 2008, Lexie is appointed to the chief of staff position at the hospital. In June 2008, a 5 year old Theo (Ransom) is diagnosed with autism which puts a strain on the Carvers' marriage. Lexie later walks away from her position at the hospital to spend more time with Theo. In the fall of 2008, Abe decides to run for mayor and the parents struggle with the idea of forcing Theo to live a life in the public eye. In December 2008, Theo runs away from Lexie and gets lost. Fortunately Abe and Lexie's friend Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) tracks the boy down and brings him home. In 2009, Theo starts making progress with his condition when he acknowledges Abe and Lexie as his parents for the first time. Over the years, Theo forms bonds with his grandfather Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo) and his uncles EJ DiMera (James Scott), Chad DiMera ( Then Casey Deidrick) and Cameron Davis (Nathan Owens) as well as his cousins. He is also very close friends with Bo and Hope Brady (Kristian Alfonso)'s mischievous daughter Ciara Brady (Lauren Boles). In 2012, Lexie passes away leaving Abe to raise their son alone. Theo later reveals that he has been communicating with his late mother.
In November 2015, a 16-year old Theo (Pettis) attends Hope's wedding with his father and spends most of his time with Ciara (Vivian Jovanni). During the reception, Theo is with Joey Johnson (James Lastovic) when Joey passes out. Theo initially panics, but eventually calls Lani Price (Sal Stowers) for help, and Joey is rushed to the hospital. Later, during the fireworks for the Salem bicentennial, Ciara kisses Theo. Theo bonds with Lani over baseball and is quite shocked when Abe reveals that Lani is his half-sister. He confides in Joey because he doesn't know how to react and Ciara assures him that having a sister can be a good thing and Joey later accuses Theo of having a crush on Ciara. Theo comforts Ciara when her father Bo passes away from a brain tumor. Theo later starts receiving insulting text messages from an anonymous bully and he tries to hide it from Ciara. Lani later finds out and he swears her to secrecy. Theo then confides in Abe and Lani about his crush on Ciara. When the bullying continues, Lani lets it slip to Abe and demands answers from Theo. Theo pleads with Abe to leave it alone but questions why people are so cruel. Theo is shocked when Ciara reveals that her stepbrother Chase Jennings (Jonathon McClendon) is the one bullying him and he furiously confronts him. Ciara comforts him and encourages him to forgive Chase. In March 2016, Theo is shocked when Ciara confesses that Chase raped her and she swears him to secrecy. Theo, Joey and Claire Brady (Olivia Rose Keegan) later abduct Chase and force him to confess so he can be arrested. Ciara and Theo later attend his Uncle Chad's (Billy Flynn) wedding to her cousin Abigail Deveraux (Then Kate Mansi) where Theo serves as best man. A drunken Ciara later kisses Theo after her 18th birthday party. Meanwhile, Abe is uneasy about Theo and Ciara's growing intimacy fearing he will get hurt. While they are preparing for prom, Mark McNair (Connor Weil) forcibly kisses Ciara which leads to Theo attacking him. During the prom, Mark puts on a slide show to humiliate Theo and Ciara. Theo later defends Ciara and his friends after they spray paint Mark's car for revenge and get arrested. A furious Theo refuses to stop seeing Ciara despite Abe's pleas with him. Theo is devastated when Ciara agrees with Abe and breaks it off with him.
In the summer of 2016, Theo serves as a listening ear for Claire and also rekindles his friendship with Ciara. When Abby is killed in a plane crash, Theo and Claire find comfort with one another and begin dating. Theo temporarily moves into the DiMera mansion when a prison break puts the lives of several Salem citizens in danger and comforts Claire when her grandfather gets shot. Theo and Ciara console one another when Claire and Joey are kidnapped by the escaped prisoners and she inquires about his feelings for Claire. After his father is shot during a press conference, a distraught Theo pulls a gun on Abe's shooter, Clyde Weston (James Read) allowing Clyde to avoid getting arrested when Theo freezes up. Theo is unnerved by the sudden return of Abe's ex-girlfriend Doctor Valerie Grant (Vanessa A. Williams) and blames her when Abe's condition worsens after she operates. Fortunately, Abe recovers but Theo is not supportive when they rekindle their romance. To calm his fears, Claire helps Theo spy on Valerie and they plant on a recording device on Christmas. In early 2017, Valerie discovers the bug and confronts Theo—he apologizes and she agrees not to tell Abe. Valerie later offers Claire and Theo when they experience some social media backlash because of their interracial romance. Theo moves out on his own and shares an apartment with Claire, Ciara and Joey.
In 2008, Terrell Ransom, Jr. relocated to Los Angeles with his family so he could pursue his entertainment career. The family hadn't been living in California long when he signed with an agent and landed the role of Theo only a couple of months later. Ransom made his debut on May 20, 2008. While Ransom did not have a personal acting coach on set, his mother Katrina assisted him with reviewing his scripts. "His mannerisms that you see on-screen just comes naturally." Ransom also picked up a lot from his castmates. After seven years with the series, Ransom made his final appearance in the role of Theo July 9, 2015.
In March 2015, it was reported that Days of Our Lives had released a casting call for the role of Elijah, a 16 year old "sweet" and "gorgeous, African American male". Jamey Giddens of Daytime Confidential reported that Dena Higley who had just been rehired to write the show's 50th anniversary wanted to continue telling Theo's story. On August 12, 2015, it was reported that actor and model Kyler Pettis had joined the cast of Days of Our Lives as a recast of Theo Carver. Pettis had recently made a guest appearance on Showtime's Ray Donovan and also appeared in the web series, Old Dogs & New Tricks. Pettis made his debut on November 3, 2015. Pettis auditioned for another Days role months earlier. The actor described the character as "motorcycle dude" and assumed it was a just a "guest spot." His manager kept in touch with the casting director which led to Pettis being brought back to audition for Theo. Pettis competed against several other actors for the role. Pettis, who had also previously auditioned for CBS's The Young and the Restless, tested for the role of Theo opposite his on-screen dad, James Reynolds. He got a little bit of information about the character, specifically Theo's autism to prepare for the screen test. Pettis revealed that he was a bit nervous when he first booked the role but has since settled into his job. "It's awesome to be one of the new youngsters on the show" Pettis remarked to Soap Opera Digest. At the time, Pettis was also auditioning for The Bold and the Beautiful and it had come down to him and one other actor. Pettis was approached about meeting the producers of Bold when he finally booked Theo.
During the casting process in 2015, Theo was described as a high-functioning autistic. Pettis later said Theo has "relatable likeness to him" that would make viewers want to know him. Though Theo definitely has a mind of his own, "I don't think Theo is much of a manipulator" Pettis said of the character. "Theo's moral compass is pretty high" the actor stated. Pettis later described Theo as the "White knight" of Salem. While his actions may not always reflect it, Theo is "always coming from a loving place." He continued that "Theo is a fully rounded character I could see a lot of myself in." Pettis said he can sympathize with Theo's "social discomfort."
In June 2008, Days of Our Lives announced a partnership with Autism Speaks for a storyline in which young Theo—aged 3 -- is diagnosed with Autism. The actor's mother, Katrina Ransom explained that she wasn't aware that her son would portray an autistic character until after Terrell was hired. The plot was actually the network's idea. Executives were pitching potential storylines ideas and when the subject of autism came up, head writer Dena Higley discussed her personal experiences with her son Connor, then aged 20, who like Theo, was also diagnosed at an age 3. The network bosses were immediately sold. "I never would have pushed the story uninvited" Higley admitted of how painful it would be for her family to discuss. NBC's Senior Vice President Bruce Evans praised the decision and said "We are hopeful that this storyline will serve as a resource for our viewers." Alison Singer, Executive Vice President of Communications and Awareness for Autism Speaks said the story "realistically portrays the emotional trauma every family faces when a child is diagnosed with autism." Singer also praised the show for its commitment to raising awareness about the "autism crisis." The plan was to have the story play out long term, with viewers seeing Theo and his parents deal with his condition throughout his life. To help with craft the story, the producers brought in a researcher from UCLA to help out on set. Days would become only the second soap to address the issue of autism after ABC Daytime's All My Children which introduced the character of Lily Montgomery (Leven Rambin) in 1993. However, it was the first time a soap had featured a diagnosis and the effects of said diagnosis.
Higley said "We're telling the profound and life-altering story of a child with autism from his parents' point of view." The story focuses on Abe and Lexie's struggle to accept Theo's diagnoses "and ultimately, their ability to find life-affirming hope in the midst of learning how to live day to day with this disability." In an interview on NBC's Today, Higley revealed that she used dialogue from her real conversations with her husband Mark about their son. Renée Jones (Lexie), admitted she didn't know much about the condition or "the emotional toll that it takes on a family." James Reynolds (Abe), welcomed the story seeing it as chance to "showcase" what so many families go through. Jones said it also gives those viewers who have personal experience with autism the chance "to have what they're going through validated in some way."
The producers wanted to tell the story from the diagnosis, to the reaction, and how Theo could eventually live a normal life. In story, Abe and Lexie notice Theo's lack of verbal communication and small vocabulary. Reynolds later explained, "Theo had 30 or 40 words in his vocabulary, where a child at that age should have 500 words or so." The parents also notice Theo doesn't make eye contact with them and doesn't interact with other children. The very outgoing Ransom loved to smile and interact with his cast mates, something that the character would have to keep to a minimum. However, the young actor was able to take direction very well.
By the time Kyler Pettis took over the role, Theo has been living with autism for more than half his life. While Pettis keeps Theo's condition in mind, he made an effort to see "Theo as a person first" instead of some "autistic kid." This allowed Pettis portray Theo with "more humanity." Pettis described stepping into the role as a bit intimidating. "It was a scary process when I started filming because you can totally play this character so over-the-top, and get backlash for it." He further explained, "I didn’t look at Theo that way. I approached his story line, and got an understanding of autism as a social awkwardness and the social not connecting. I get that way in my day-to-day life so I make sure to pay attention, and figure out if Theo would feel that way, and play more onto that." The actor also did his own research to prepare for the role -- "I talked to people who interacted with autistic people," specifically Higley. He stated "It was challenging to step into, but it's something I look forward to as an actor and it's fun."
Relationship with AbeEdit
After Lexie's death, Theo's relationship with Abe becomes the most important connection in his life. According to Kyler Pettis, "Theo has gotten comfortable with that he and his dad are buddies, and it's just the two of them." Of his co-star James Reynolds, Pettis said "He has the qualities that remind me of my own dad. So, it's easy to sink into that father/son relationship." On the father-son dynamic, Reynolds described Abe as being rather "strict" and protective of Theo not only because of Theo's autism, but also because Theo is coming of age. That dynamic becomes strained when Abe reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Valerie Grant (Vanessa A. Williams) and Theo becomes very protective. Theo feels like Valerie threatens his relationship with Abe. Pettis explained that "I think not only is it about a new person coming in and intruding on what Theo and Abe have, but Theo also sees it as intruding on what [Abe] and his mom had."
That protectiveness goes into overdrive when Abe is shot in the fall of 2016 and Theo feels a responsibility to take care of Abe on his own. Theo is thinking to himself, "What am I going to do if the doctor asks me a question." According to Pettis, it's a "scary" situation for Theo, especially without any real support. Theo even goes so far as to threaten Abe's shooter, Clyde Weston (James Read) with gun. Despite ample time to pull the trigger, "this is Theo Carver we are talking about here" Pettis declared as if such a thing couldn't be in Theo's nature. "I think the idea was stronger than the action in his mind." Pettis had a lot of fun with these scenes—initially too much fun for Theo. "I came running on set, and in my mind I was in a Bad Boys movie. I was yelling at [Clyde] all confident and everything." While it was good, a director reminded Pettis that Theo wouldn't be very tough in that situation, "so I had to turn that around" Pettis explained.
Outside of his family, Theo's (Ransom) relationship with Ciara Brady (Lauren Boles) is his most significant. The two have grown up together and are best friends. In addition, their parents have always been very close. In November 2015 the teen aged Ciara (Vivian Jovanni) seems to take a romantic interest Theo (Pettis). The two attend prom together and Theo even professes his love for her. But when Ciara tells Theo she wants nothing more than friendship, he finds comfort with Ciara's niece, Claire Brady (Keegan). Ciara soon pursues Theo again and a triangle develops. Kyler Pettis described Ciara as "Theo's one true love." And though he still loves her, at the moment, "it's more as a friend" and a romance isn't imminent. At his age, Theo would welcome that sort of attention from girls and "That's when Claire comes into the picture." According to Pettis, Theo is "intimidated by Claire." Things move a bit faster for the two of them but it's "what [Theo] has been looking for" at the time. However, Pettis suspected that Theo and Ciara would eventually end up together. Pettis described the triangle as one of the most challenging aspects of his portrayal of Theo because he'd never been in a situation like that. Pettis reveled in the Theo-Ciara breakup scenes. "I felt like me and Vivian [...], who is a good friend of mine, dropped into a very real place, and it's always great to get there as an actor."
Maladies and InjuriesEdit
- Diagnosed with autism (2008)
- Shot By JJ (November 2017)
- Stroke During Surgery (November 2017)
- In a coma (November-December 2017)