Television: One Tree Hill Creator Mark Schwahn Talks to EM About the Return of Danneel Harris to Her Role as Rachel Gattina


Danneel Harris joined the cast of One Tree Hill in the hit show’s 3rd season when series creator Mark Schwahn added the character of sexy, vixeny red head Rachel Gattina to the high school based drama. Gattina’s character ran the gamut from being Brooke’s (Sophie Bush) rival on the cheerleading squad and for the affections of Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) one of Raven’s star basketball players, to becoming a friend who takes the sole fall for the theft of a calculus exam stolen by both she and Brooke. Rachel’s subsequent expulsion from Tree Hill High for this act has her convincing Mouth (Lee Norris) who has always been attracted to Rachel to run off with her. Yet Rachel abandons him after a few weeks and disappears without a trace. This was the character’s exit from the series in season 4. Danneel Harris moved forward in her career to take a role in the big screen movie, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

There were a lot of rumors swirling around last year before the beginning of season six of One Tree Hill that Danneel Harris would once more be returning to reprise her role of Rachel Gattina. Those rumors didn’t pan out but the good news for fans of the talented Ms. Harris is that Rachel Gattina is back to One Tree Hill for season seven to throw her own unique dynamic back into the mix.

Besides One Tree Hill fans that have been missing the sexy redhead excited to have her coming back to the show, both Mark Schwahn the creator/producer of the series and the lovely Danneel Harris, the actress behind the role are also excited to have Rachel coming back. EM caught up with both Mark Schwahn and the very busy Danneel Harris to do exclusive interviews with them on this exciting turn of events for th hit CW series. In this first installment, we talk to Schwahn and get all the scoop about the decisions to bring Rachel back to the show again and why season seven was the best time to do it.

“It’s interesting that you say it was rumored that Rachel might return last season,” Schwahn says when this is mentioned to him in our interview. “because one of the themes that is surfacing this season on the show is the dangers of rumor, gossip and innuendo.  He says that the reason her return for season six stayed only a rumor was because they had always had specific ideas on how and why Rachel would return to the world of One Tree Hill.  “Those stories wouldn’t have fit in Season 6.” He says was the bottom line.

This is not first time that the character and the actress have returned to the series. Both came back to One Tree Hill for a two episode arc in season 5 which took place four years after the characters had all graduated from Tree Hill High and moved on in their lives. In her dramatic return, fans and viewers find out that Rachel Gattina had been working for Brooke as model in her fashion design company but due to issues with drugs had been fired. Brooke then finds Rachel in a trashed out apartment overdosed on heroin and saves her friend, only to be seemingly repaid by Rachel once again disappearing only this time so has a large amount of cash belonging to Brooke leaving the question swirling around of did she or didn’t she take the money.

So we asked Mark Schwahn what prompted the idea for return of Rachel Gattina for season seven with a larger story arc that is currently set to span over seven episodes and how much influence, if any the fans who wanted Rachel/Danneel back on the show had in all of this.

“Although it’s always nice to be able to give our fans what they want,” he says speaking fondly of the loyal following that One Tree Hill has, “but the decision to have Rachel return was driven by story.  We had great stories to tell for her and a point of view for the character which is what predominantly led to the return of Rachel.”

Intrigued by this, I asked Mark if he could elaborate a little bit more on the storyline for Rachel Gattina in season seven and what dynamics the producers/writers were looking forward to her presence adding to the series again.

“We’ve talked about the different scenarios that might bring Rachel back to One Tree Hill and one in particular kept presenting itself,” Mark Schwahn says elaborating as much as possible while still remaining cryptic on what that exact scenario is.  “I pitched it to Danneel and she responded enthusiastically.  Fortunately she was available and excited to return and we’re excited to have her back”

We tried our best to get the whole scoop from Mark, but I guess fans and viewers are just going to have to wait to see what unfolds for the beautiful Ms. Gattina in season seven

One last thing was on our mind here at EM, as I think it is on the minds of fans and viewers who have been waiting for Rachel Gattina/Danneel Harris to come back to One Tree Hill: Is there a possibility that Rachel might be in season seven for more than just the seven episode arc that has been reported?

“It’s One Tree Hill so there’s always a possibility of ANYTHING happening,” Mark Schwahn told us with a laugh. Then continuing on with the whole being cryptic thing he adds, “we’ll see.  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s fairly likely, yes.”

Stay tuned EM readers as the next installment brings you our exclusive interview with the lovely and very busy Ms. Danneel Harris who talks to us about returning to One Tree Hill, working on The Back Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez, meeting back up with an old friend while working on The Roommate and who she has in her life right now that she thinks is ‘awesome’.


  1. Great article, decent writing, but does anyone really care about One Tree Hill now? Without Chad Michael Murray, the show is crap. Lucas was the driving focus behind One Tree Hill, and anything without him is just Cousin Oliver-ing it, as far as everyone is concerned.

    And as for Danneel Harris, as long as she isn't trying to portray a heroin addict, because she did a truly horrible job with that, I don't care what she does. Stick to acting like a slut, dressing like a tramp, and behaving like a bitch, because it's better to do what you know than pretend to be something you're not.

  2. I love that the first comment here is keeping it classy…

    Anyway, I'm not actually a OTH viewer but I'm thinking of watching just for Danneel 'cause I think she's a cutie/funny (judging by her Twitter account). I've been meaning to catch up on her older story lines just so I know what's going on this season.

  3. Great article, Marla. Interesting to read that the plan was always to bring Rachel back!

  4. TrueOTHFan, do you even hear yourself. oth hasnt been about chad in long time, and a lot of fans are excited to see it return. if you dont like it, than dont watch, but there still are plenty of "true" fans who will watch the show no matter what.

  5. Danneel is awesome so I'm glad to see her back. She's a great actress.

  6. i loved this first part. i have always been a fan of one tree hill and i am excited about this new season. Danneel is defininately one of the reasons why i will be tuning in and im more than ready to see familiar faces and rachel's comedic timing on the show. Can't wait for part two!

  7. I agree, Paula. The show hasn't been about Chad in a long time.

  8. Good luck to Danneel. Hope she has a great time playing Rachel.

  9. She Comes Back And Is Engaged To Dan FYI

  10. Loved the interview!

    Danneel is the only reason I'm gonna watch OTH again. I'm really excited about her return. Hopefully, she has an interesting storyline.

    Can't wait to read the other part of the article!

  11. I liked the article and the interview. I agree that One Tree Hill has definitely expanded beyond just Lucas, and it will be exciting to have Danneel and Rachel back. I always thought that her character was more complicated than anyone ever expected and that at the bottom of it, Rachel is a girl who wants to do the right thing but keeps making mistakes; like the "black sheep" of the Tree Hill gang that you can't help but love. I think Danneel does a wonderful job of portraying Rachel and as an OTH viewer and fan, I'm looking forward to having Danneel and Rachel back on the show!

  12. Though I'm upset that Chad will not return, I will continue to watch the show. There was a period, when I heard the news, when I absolutely refused to watch a single episode without Lucas but I think I will because I love Brooke, Nathan and Haley. Brooke most of all.
    I've always thought Rachel/Danneel is quirky, adds a lot of scandal to the show and is hilarious and fun to watch.
    So, so, so glad she's back.

  13. i love one tree hill and danneel

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