Re: Why didn't they just keep their characters?
I believe it, too. Reality, unlike fiction, isn't constrained by the need to be plausible.
Because the only requirement of plausibility that something happens or can happen. Fiction has to meet the reader's expectations by keeping to established ideas and themes. Hypothetical scenarios are interesting, but only if they don't require extreme suspension of disbelief.
"He clapped his captain—his friend—on the shoulder. Yes, this man was very much like James Kirk, in all the ways that mattered." --Christopher L. Bennett-- Star Trek: Mere Anarachy, The Darkness Drops Again