After it was announced in early February that Saved By the Bell actor Dustin Diamond, best known as Screech on the late '80s and '90s high school sitcom, had died following a battle with cancer, fans wondered if the new reboot series on Peacock would pay tribute to the beloved star and character, who died at 44. While chatting with his former co-star Mario Lopez, it was revealed the cast and crew have already discussed honoring their late friend in the sophomore season of Saved By the Bell.
During an interview with PopCulture.com, Lopez touted he's "happy" some kind of tribute will take place, potentially in the first episode. "Yeah, we've discussed it, and I think we're going to address it in the first episode, so I'm really happy," the 47-year-old revealed while noting his partnership with United Airlines and Chase. Diamond, who died with his girlfriend by his side, passed just weeks after he announced he had been diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma that began in another part of his body and metastasized in his lungs.
"We are saddened to confirm Dustin Diamond's passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," a statement read from his representative according to Entertainment Tonight. "He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. for that, we are grateful."
Lopez and Diamond starred in the hit series from 1989 to 1992 together. Lopez noted that because Diamond was a few years younger than him, he felt more like a little brother, disclosing they were able to chat just before he quickly passed. "I've always gotten along with him, and I've always been very cool with him. I was fortunate to speak with him the week before he passed. He was a couple [of] years younger and so he was just like a little brother," Lopez explained adding how their time together was "a lot of fun" because they were just "kids being kids."
Lopez now stars in the reboot, which was renewed for Season 2. In January, it was announced the cast would be coming back for a second season following a successful reboot and Lopez noted in an interview with PEOPLE, what the "best part" about his second-go is. "It was sort of a trip, stepping back into the Saved By the Bell set," he said. "The best part of this modern version is not having to rock that mullet that I had back in the day. And then seeing the old gang back together again, that's a lot of fun."