Skyrim is populated by more than one thousand NPCs. Although the number can vary a bit depending on how you'd like to define what makes an "NPC" versus generic enemies and creatures, it's abundantly safe to say that there are an awful lot of people to meet and greet while you're resolving a civil war, slaying an ancient dragon, and stealing every wheel of cheese that you possibly can.
Meeting all of them, however, is quite an impossible task without a little console magic. Whether they only ever existed for testing purposes or were left on the cutting room floor for the game's final release, Skyrim's files are littered with acquaintances we'll never make. If you find yourself curious as to just what (or who, rather) you're missing out on, keep scrolling and check out ten of the most interesting people you'll never meet in Skyrim.
Whiterun's Breezehome is often the first house that most players end up buying. However, it was initially intended for the Dovahkiin to get just a little bit more than he bargained for upon purchasing it. Enter Terek.
Terek was supposed to be a vagrant that had taken up residence in the unoccupied home while it was between owners. After the Dragonborn purchases it and barges into his "home," Terek would've promptly invoked squatter's rights and refused to vacate. While the idea of being stuck with an obnoxious roommate is pretty hilarious, Bethesda obviously opted towards it being too much of an inconvenience for the player.
9 Sulvar the Steady
Although Windhelm is definitely one of the bigger and more well-developed cities in the game, apparently it was meant to be even bigger. It has more than its fair share of cut content, including Sulvar the Steady, a strange old fellow that was to spend most of his time in an unused and undeveloped area called the "Wheelhouse."
As to his specific purpose, well, it was to... "watch the wheel," as he says. His cut dialogue continues on to assure us that it's a much more complicated job than it seems to be and that he doesn't get many visitors "up here," wherever "up here" was supposed to be.
8 Drunk Cultist
The quest "A Night To Remember" is, as the name would imply, one of Skyrim's more memorable quests. Hoodwinked by none other than the Daedric prince Sanguine into a night of intoxicated debauchery, we engage in such wholesome activities as trashing a temple of Dibella and goat smuggling.
Apparently, "joining a cult" was intended to be added to our list of drunken escapades, as the existence of this particular cultist in the game's files would indicate. According to her UESP entry, she was meant to be stationed in Morvunskar, just outside the portal to Sanguine's Misty Grove.
7 Affable Gent
The Affable Gent's title is misleading on both counts. He's definitely not affable, and he's a lot less than gentlemanly. Although he certainly does look the part, being dressed from head to toe in fine attire.
He exists solely within a test area that's labeled "WarehouseAmbushes," which explains his behavior a bit more squarely than his name does. He, as you might've guessed, ambushes the player when approached, and likely only ever existed to test NPC hostility.
6 Spirit of the Ancient Traveler
The Spirit of the Ancient Traveler would've looked a lot like the Headless Horseman, only without a horse. So, it wouldn't be too off base to refer to him as the Headless and Horseless Horseman, if slightly confusing and totally unnecessary.
While his ghostly apparition didn't make it into the game, it would seem that his wayward head actually did. At the location of Wayward Pass, a peculiar item called the Ancient Traveler's Skull can be found, presumably in connection with the eponymous ghost and some sort of quest that would've involved the two.
5 Player Friend
Player Friend would have, as a wild guess, been someone quite positively predisposed towards the Dovahkiin. He was apparently allergic to the social convention of clothing, as well as tied to the Dark Brotherhood quest "With Friends Like These." His connection with the quest provides some interesting territory for speculation.
Since Astrid presents the player with a choice of three NPCs to kill, it's been mentioned that the original intent was to present the player with not just any three NPCs, but characters with which the Dovahkiin had a positive disposition. Needless to say, this would've been a pretty interesting turn of events.
This orc huntress was originally intended to be included in a quest originating from the orc stronghold at Narzulbur. It would've seen the Dragonborn attempting to rustle up a wife for lonely old chieftain Mauhulakh, and Uglarz, presumably, would've ended up being said wife.
This obviously went pretty far into development, as Uglarz has a full suite of dialogue attached to her, and the inhabitants of Narzulbur have unique dialogue concerning her arrival and residence at the fortress.
3 Herebane Sorenshield
Herebane Sorenshield was presumably going to be an Imperial officer or soldier of some kind, given that he's equipped with a full set of Imperial armor. Although his race is definitely set to Imperial, it's a bit peculiar because his name doesn't seem to fit in with their typically pseudo-Roman naming conventions.
Even stranger is the fact that he had two unique items associated with him, and both utilized the model for elven equipment. The first was Herebane's Fortress, a magical shield, and the other was Herebane's Courage, an enchanted sword.
2 Cow Hand
The Cow Hand, despite his relatively generic title, was actually supposed to be involved in a Civil War quest that wound up cut from the final game. It's been surmised that this quest somehow involved Giants.
While roaming the roads of Skyrim, it's possible to experience a random encounter in which a farmer is offering his painted cow to a nearby tribe of giants in order to convince them to leave his farm alone, offering a bit of context and insight into how this quest might've worked out.
One of Skyrim's biggest and most interesting pieces of cut content is the Windhelm Pit. It was originally supposed to be a fighting arena that was connected to Windhelm's prison. If the player was incarcerated there, they would be forced to fight for their freedom rather than simply wait out their sentence.
Benkum was the man in charge of the fighting pits. He was a sleazy and corrupt sort, and many of his cut dialogue entries imply that the player (or perhaps his foes) could pay him off to even the odds or "look the other way" should a combatant decide to break the rules.