I've said it before, @KMan101, and I'll say it again: I don't believe JER enjoyed writing for DAYS. I think he just liked being a HW (instead of a Co-HW or associate/breakdown writer) of a soap opera, period. And yes, there is a difference, lol.
I've said (almost) all this before as well, but I think it's still do-able, even with their ages and DAYS' general craziness (and piss-poor budget):
1. Bring back WN as Roman. (WN has said he's willing to return -- but only as Roman, not as that godawful Alex North (who could easily be tossed into the sea of forgetfulness) or another new character). No elaborate explanations, justifications or motivations for the "un-casting" either. Just have him appear again as Roman during a normal episode and carry on.
2. Wait a month (or so) and have Josh Taylor return as Chris Kositchek. Again, no elaborate explanations or nudge-nudge-wink-wink allusions to the fact that he was Roman not too long ago. (JT could maybe change his hair color temporarily, like Judi Evans did when she first came back as Adrienne after playing Bonnie, but that's as far as anyone would need to go). Just have Chris walk through the door at the Brady Pub one afternoon; and have Abe, John, Marlena, Roman and whoever else glad to see him again.
3. Use Chris' reason for returning to Salem after all these years -- a new business venture, perhaps? Something to do with his background as an engineer -- as a way to put him and Kate in each other's orbit. (Maybe Kate could go to work for him, sparks fly, etc). Conflict can arise from two sources: Lucas, who never likes any of Kate's men (lol); and Chris' own reluctance to begin a new romance after the implosion of his marriage.
3a. Mary Frann's dead, and so I'm reluctant to bring back Amanda Howard; Mary Anderson was murdered ages ago; and as for Savannah Wilder...well, do we really need or want Shannon Tweed back, lol? So, let Chris' ex-wife be someone he met, married and divorced during his years away from Salem. Get a "name" actress to play the ex-wife. She doesn't have to be a permanent character, but she does have to be there to try and win back Chris and inadvertently learn/reveal the Big Secret That Will Tear Lucas and Kate Apart -- namely, that Curtis Reed, and NOT Bill Horton, was his biological father. Kate will turn to Chris, Lucas will turn to the bottle, Chris' ex-wife will turn to stone, etc.
4. Repair the damage JER and others have done to Roman over the years by allowing WN's natural qualities (his down-to-earth charm, his easy-going sense of humor, etc.) to shine again w/ others, especially in scenes with DH/Marlena. It's not like redeeming a serial killer (hi, Ben!), so just let Roman BE Roman for a change.
5. Throw in a healthy dose of Roman/Marlena flashbacks to remind (for older viewers) or explain (to newer ones) why the two were such a big deal BITD, as you tease the possibility of a Roman/Marlena reunion. (Perhaps, John and Marlena could be on the outs for some reason, with it looking like John MIGHT end up with Hope -- not Hope as Princess Gina, but Hope as Hope, or as some post-injection Gina/Hope hybrid). At the same time, leave open the possibility of Roman ending up with Hattie, with the conflict coming from Hattie's insecurities (she's still afraid that Roman's only interested in her because of her resemblance to "Doc" -- fears that are elevated, now that he and Marlena are growing closer again).
5a. Since a(nother) Bo Brady resurrection doesn't seem likely, there's a chance John/Hope, which DAYS has been threatening to pull the trigger on since the George W. Bush administration, could ignite, for lack of a better word. (I certainly believe "Jope" would go over better than "Rope," lol). True, "Jarlena" will always have their fans. If written properly, however, with no one's character assassinated all to hell, then a scenario where John ends up with Hope and Roman reunites with Marlena could work.
5b. Scenario #2 -- where (in my wildest dreams) "Marlena" turns out to be a resurrected, brainwashed Samantha and the REAL Marlena Evans turns up -- also could work. In this scenario, Marlena Samantha could remain with John, who knows a thing or two about living someone else's life. He helps her reconnect with herself, they fall in love in the process; and Roman gets back his Doc, who has been away since '87. Again, if written the right way -- and I do believe even okay writing can cover up a multitude of sins, such as the fact that Dee Hall has a tough time playing Marlena, let alone Marlena and her twin(s) -- it could satisfy the "Jarlena" fans as well as the Roman/Marlena ones.
5c. Scenario #2 also leaves "hope" for Hope to be reunited with Bo, who SHOULD be resurrected.
6. In both scenarios, therefore, Hattie becomes expendable...and dangerous. She attempts to murder Marlena and take her place, but ends up in the sanitarium, with Marlena (and Samantha) pledging to support their twin. BUT --
7. If Scenario #1 doesn't pan out, then John can just reunite with Marlena and Roman can find love again with Hattie (I believe Wayne and Dee could sell Roman/Hattie just as well as they sold Roman/Marlena), and Chris/Kate can continue unabated.