Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, and Laurie Metcalf Keep It in 'The Conners' Family With First Joint Comments on Roseanne Barr Scandal

Four months after news broke that Roseanne had been canceled by ABC following Roseanne Barr's controversial tweets, The Conners stars Sarah Gilbert, John Goodman, and Laurie Metcalf released their first joint comments on the scandal.

While each learned of the tweet, a racist statement about former White House aide Valerie Jarrett, that started it all in different ways – Goodman recalled being in his kitchen, for Gilbert, the exact moment she learned of it is a bit foggy, and Metcalf was in New York City performing on Broadway – they each had a similar reaction: disbelief and a fear of what it meant for Roseanne.

"It just didn't seem true," Goodman, who will return to The Conners as Dan, told PEOPLE. "Then it got true. I was consciously trying to accept it."

For Gilbert, she had to take "things one step at a time as they came."

"I [first] thought, 'Oh, I wonder if we still have a show.' Because of how heavy everything became," Metcalf, returning as Jackie Harris, said.

Just days later, however, ABC President of Entertainment Channing Dungey announced that the alphabet network would no longer be moving forward with Roseanne's sophomore season, which had just seen writers beginning to meet to plan the season.

"It was so unbelievable to do this show and it was like easy come, easy go," Goodman said of the cancellation, which came as a direct result of Barr's controversial tweet, adding that he held onto "the hope of resurrecting it."

Goodman's hopes became reality on June 21, when it was announced that ABC had greenlit Roseanne spinoff series The Conners, a series that would be moving forward without any ties to Barr.

"Any sadness that we feel over what we've lost we're hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show," Gilbert, returning to the new spin-off series in her role of Darlene, said. "And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It's been kind of built into the mix."

The series will not stray far from Barr, however, with the loss of her character being a central theme of the spinoff series' first 10-episode run, which will follow the Conner family following a "sudden turn of events."

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"There was a debt owed to this fictional family," Goodman said of the series. "We want to finish telling this story."

The Conners premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.