The Real Reason These Stars Left Hamilton

On June 29, 2020, Broadway announced that, to protect both performers and audiences from COVID-19, the theatre district's doors will remain closed until at least Jan. 3, 2021. Yet, while this grim news has left the industry in limbo, the impending release of Hamilton on Disney+ on July 3, 2020 promises to offer musical fans the reprieve they've so desperately craved during the global pandemic.

For the #HamilFilm version of the Tony Award-winning musical, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original Broadway cast reconnected to commit their history-making roles to film for all to enjoy. While many fans have long lamented the fact that they'd never again be able to see these actors on the stage, Miranda knew he'd ultimately return to the role one day.

"For people who will say, 'But I'll never see Lin as Hamilton!' — yes, you will," Miranda told Los Angeles Daily News in 2016. "I have written this insane part that I can't seem to get tired of, that is new every night... I think this is a role I will be going back to again and again." But what exactly led Hamilton's biggest stars to leave the hit musical in the first place? For the now-famous leads, closing the door on Hamilton was the only way to embrace the vast opportunities that existed on the other side of its success.

Phillipa Soo could feel the show 'shifting and changing' before she exited her role

While actress Phillipa Soo, who played Elizabeth Schuyler, had been part of Hamilton since its workshop days, Alexander Hamilton's fictional wife could sense the end was near before exiting. "I feel like because we're all coming to this place where the show will be shifting and changing, we're all kind of thinking about that," Soo told Entertainment Tonight in 2016. "You have a little bit of sadness, because you're like, 'Oh, this means it's the end of something.' But it's the beginning of something else."

Soo — who ultimately left Hamilton to originate the title role in Broadway's rendition of Amélie — added that, since Hamilton was a "mentally difficult show," she discovered that such intensity wasn't sustainable in the long-term.

"If something feels strained vocally, I think that tells me that I'm not necessarily invested in the moment," she told Backstage in 2017 of the connection between her voice and her acting choices. "[In Hamilton], when I would have to scream every night and wail when I see my son dying, that was a lot. And it got to a point where I had to be honest with myself of where I was that day, because if I was really under, I didn't want to try to hit that mark that I had hit months ago when I was getting nine hours of sleep a night."

Soo has since become one of Broadway's biggest box-office draws.

Daveed Diggs realizes there will never be another 'Hamilton'

During his tenure as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson — dual roles that earned him the Tony for Featured Actor — Daveed Diggs recognized his time on the Hamilton stage was rare and precious. "I'm for sure not going to chase another Hamilton because there won't be another one," Diggs told Backstage in 2016. "I don't know. I ended up in this by just saying 'yes' to a thing that felt really good. That's sort of what I've always done in my life."

Diggs added that, in many cases, "we spend so much of our life waiting to make art," but he wants other aspiring actors to create as much as possible in order to find fulfillment. "Obviously it's a tricky business, it's a tricky industry, and finding ways to support yourself and still be fulfilled as an artist—that's not easy," he said. "But if you can do that, then the rest is going to come. All you can do is say 'yes' to the things that feel good. It will come."

Since exiting Hamilton, Diggs joined TNT's TV adaption of Snowpiercerplaying former police detective Andre Layton — a role that truly resonates in the midst of today's health crisis. "What resonates differently to me now [is] the feeling of loss for a different time," Diggs told USA Today in 2020. Might his nostalgia for Hamilton be partly to blame? Because his future certainly looks bright to us!

Leslie Odom, Jr. 'would clear [his] schedule' for 'Hamilton'

When actor Leslie Odom, Jr. decided to leave Hamilton, the Tony winner made his announcement via Facebook. "It has just been the most completely wonderful, totally healing and inspiring experience from beginning to end. I will never forget the people that I've met here. I will never forget all of you," he told his fans in 2016 (per The Hollywood Reporter). "I can't wait to see all the guys that come after me and show me [more] about Burr."

Odom — who won Best Actor for his turn as Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton's rival and eventual killer — has since written a book, Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning. "As you can imagine, there are so many open doors and opportunities after Hamilton," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. "My agent said, 'The publishers are interested in a book,' and I was like, 'There's no way I'm writing a book.'" But when the publishers learned about Odom's love for working with college kids, they agreed to approach the book like a commencement address.

Odom added that, when thinking about graduation as a metaphor, "it feels like the end of something, but also the beginning of something." And while leaving Hamilton was a sort of graduation for Odom, he told HuffPost in 2017 that he "would clear [his] schedule and go" if Lin-Manuel Miranda called him for a reunion. We would be there in a heartbeat, too!

Renée Elise Goldsberry returned to television after her 'Hamilton' run

Before Renée Elise Goldsberry joined Hamilton, she'd already found success on both screen and stage. However, her role as Angelica Schuyler launched her to superstardom, paving the way for greater opportunities. Like she told Theater Mania in 2016, Hamilton gave her the freedom to make decisions differently. While "there's all kinds of things that I've done in my life that I didn't think were gonna do anything that ended up being huge," Goldsberry added she's "going to have the faith to believe that I'll make choices that I won't regret later" — and that includes her decision to exit Hamilton.

She explained, "The pace at which new and exciting opportunities present themselves is like no other time in my life... and sometimes it feels like we're on the next ride before we really had a chance to process everything about the last one. Sometimes we just stare at each other like, Can you believe this? There's been like a lot of experiences that will, I think, keep me warm in my old age."

After Hamilton, Goldsberry played the title character in HBO's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and joined Netflix's sci-fi series Altered Carbon, which takes place "in a future world where the mind can be digitized and transferred from one human being to another (via Shadow and Act). Despite her continued success, Goldsberry told Town and Country she'll "be grateful for forever" for her part in Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda says leaving 'Hamilton' made his life 'a little easier'

For creator Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton was his baby. But once he and his wife welcomed their first son, Miranda recognized that he couldn't live his life on stage forever. "I was ready," he told GQ in 2016 about his decision to leave.

"My kid was born two weeks before rehearsals started," he continued. "So we went from a newborn child at the beginning of this to complete sentences by the time I was leaving the show. That's a hell of a thing, and that's a marker of how fast it goes. I had so much stuff I had to do that was not getting full expression, because my life was built around 8 p.m."

Miranda explained that, while his time on stage "was the most relaxing part of the day," he'd put his family on the back burner. He felt he needed to leave the show if he wanted to reclaim his identity. "It was like returning to myself, to me, who I've always been, after two years of wearing it," he said about chopping off his long locks. "Now that my hair is off, and I look less like The Guy in the Thing, my life's been a little easier."

While Miranda will miss the nightly feeling of contentment, as well as the cast and crew, he'll never be far removed from the show, because he's the original Hamilton and the musical wouldn't exist without his creative genius.