The cast of The Conners has promised that the new series won't ignore or side-step the absence of its former star, Roseanne Barr.
The Roseanne spin-off has its work cut out for it, as it tries to recapture the success of the recent reboot season without its original creator and protagonist. However, on Tuesday, the main cast told Entertainment Tonight that the show would be tackling this problem head on. Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Maya Lynne Robinson and Ames McNamara sat down with the outlet in a video published just hours before the series premiere.
"We have been through so much this spring and summer," Goranson said, "so to be back together again is such a blessing."
Goranson, who plays the Conner family's eldest daughter, was likely referring to the roller coaster ride of Barr's racist tweets, which got their show canceled. Not long after that, ABC approved a spin-off series featuring everyone except for Barr herself, keeping many contracts intact and hopefully maintaining the series' wild success.
"The cast, certainly, and then a lot of the crew are people that are from the very original run, starting 30 years ago," said Gilbert, who is also an executive producer on the new series. "We felt like we had so many more stories to tell, that I felt like it would be a shame to not give that to people."
Still, for many fans, the main focus of the first episode will be how the show deals with Roseanne Conner herself. Various reports have suggested that the Conner matriarch will be dead in the new series, and her family will have to grapple with their grief. While this may not sound like ideal comedy fuel, the cast agreed that it was essential to telling an authentic story.
"I'm assuming that people will be curious about the first one," Metcalf said. "And then hopefully they'll feel like they're in good hands with the family."
"The show is not ignoring the past at all," added Kenney, who publicly condemned Barr online for the tweet that ultimately got their show canceled. "It's just moving forward and continuing to evolve."0comments
"There's definitely things we're doing that we obviously haven't explored before, because the dynamics are shifting this time," Gilbert added. "So different characters step into different roles."
The Conners premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.