Things To Know About The ‘Roseanne’ Revival SeriesPublished on January 11, 2018. Updated October 2, 2019
From October 1988 to May 1997, Roseanne was one of the most beloved sitcoms on TV. Like all good things, however, the series had to eventually come to an end but with revivals and reboots being all the rage in Hollywood right now, the Conners are coming back to TV! The revival series offers all the things fans grew to know and love about the TV family, but also shakes things up to keep up with all the changes in the world since. Since it has now been 30 years since the show first began and 21 years since it came to an end, here is everything you need to know about the new Roseanne revival series:
12. Original Cast
First and foremost, fans should know that all of the original Roseanne cast that they love will be returning to the revival at least in some capacity. Roseanne Barr (Roseanne Conner), John Goodman (Dan Conner), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie Harris), Sara Gilbert (Darlene Conner), Michael Fishman (DJ Conner) and even both Beckys (Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke) will be in the revival! Additionally, Johnny Galecki has been confirmed to reprise his role as David, but due to his contract on The Big Bang Theory, he was only able to commit to one episode of Roseanne. Of course, everyone wants to know what about Jerry Garcia Conner, the youngest Conner child? Roseanne Barr confirmed the character will not be a part of the revival and his absence will be explained that he is “on a fishing boat in Alaska.” “We haven’t dealt with Andy, Laurie’s son, yet, either, but we had so many stories to tell over the arc of these nine episodes that we were hoping for another season to bring more clarity to those characters,” said Barr.
11. Dan is Alive
When the revival announcement was made and behind the scenes photos of the cast coming together for table reads was shared, fans were quick to point out that John Goodman was very much front and center for it all. While everyone is happy to have him back, many Roseanne fans are confused because Dan had a heart attack in season eight, and in the final season Roseanne revealed it had been fatal. Since no one wanted to do a revival without Goodman, Dan Conner is very much alive and well for the new series and his non-death will be addressed very early on in the revival’s first episode. At the TCA press panel in early 2018, Goodman didn’t say how his character being alive will be explained and said he “didn’t really care” either — he was just happy to be a part of the show and hinted that the way it is dealt with is “clever.” “I thought it was a clever way to do it, handle it and get it out of the way,” he said.
10. The Finale
With Dan being alive, the entire finale of Roseanne is being questioned. “I wouldn’t say that it is ignoring the events of the finale, but I can confirm that Dan is definitely still alive,” ABC president Channing Dungey said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. As fans will remember, season nine revealed that the series is actually a story about Roseanne’s life written by Roseanne herself and Roseanne Barr explained that the fact Dan isn’t really dead was planted into the original series very early on. “In the third episode of Roseanne, Dan builds Roseanne a writing room,” she said. “Roseanne is a writer, and I think that’s what I always wanted to do. That was always what I wanted to do,” hinting at the fact that Dan’s death is just a piece of fiction in Roseanne’s writing and calling into question many other events of the finale. Similarly, it will be explained that although it was revealed that Mark and Darlene ended up together while Becky and David were a couple, that will also be reversed in the revival.
9. New Cast
Along with the beloved original cast, audiences will be introduced to several new characters with the Conner family growing over the years. Emma Kenney, who is best known for her role on Shameless, will star as Harris Conner, the 14-year-old daughter of Darlene and David, who Darlene welcomed in season nine. In the revival, Harris is not happy about being removed from her life in Chicago to move to Lanford after Darlene and David’s split. Darlene and David’s second child, Mark, will be played by Ames McNamara. Another young actress, Jayden Rey, is also joining the show as Mary Conner, the young daughter of DJ Conner.
8. Gender-nonconforming Character
With all that has changed over the years since Roseanne came to an end in 1997, the crew has worked to incorporate the different lives people live today and the show will include its first gender-nonconforming character with 9-year-old Mark Conner. Mark is played by Ames McNamara, and likes to wear girls’ clothes but does not identify as gay or transgender. Sara Gilbert, who portrays Mark’s mother on-screen, explained that the character “represents the world” we live in today. “He’s a little boy… based on a few kids in my life that are boys who dress in more traditionally feminine clothing,” Gilbert explained. “He happens to dress that way [and] he’s an amazing, creative, brilliant kid, which you will see… I don’t want to pigeonhole him and say just because he dresses this way that’s the only thing about him,” she added. “[Roseanne] is a show that’s always been able to represent the world and talk about it without being so issue-heavy,” she continued. “We can do it through the dynamics of the family. I know kids like that and it seemed like a great character.”
7. The Kids’ Lives Now
With the original series being about the lives of Roseanne and Dan Conner as they raised their children Becky, Darlene, and DJ, the revival will be about them as grandparents and now their children as parents. The revival sees Darlene and David separate which causes Darlene and her two children with David, Harris and Mark, to move back in with Roseanne and Dan. Meanwhile, DJ has served a tour overseas after joining the army and while there is no mention of his wife, he did marry a black woman and he does have a biracial daughter, Mary, who will feature in the show. Additionally, Becky will be widowed, which is in honor of the actor Glen Quinn, who played her boyfriend Mark in the show and passed away in December 2002 after an accidental heroin overdose at the age of 32. It is assumed that Darlene and David’s son being named Mark is in honor of his late uncle on the show.
6. It Will Be The Roseanne You Love
Although the Roseanne revival will include many changes from new characters to new storylines, it will have the same comedy and feel of the original series that everyone loved. Returning executive producer Bruce Helford confirmed that the Conners and their iconic house haven’t changed too much. “You will feel the emotion from seeing that set again. It will be an extra-special experience.” He added that the Conners are still the same blue-collar middle-class working family that made them so relatable in the first place. “We want everybody to see something that doesn’t really exist on TV anymore — an honest family,” Helford said. “These people are very much the core of what’s going on in the country right now.” Co-executive producer Tom Werner added, “As people know, this is a show about female empowerment and people speaking their minds. It was very important for us to come back and honor that and we felt like the bar was high… We’re extremely proud of the fact that we’re dealing with relevant issues now that were just like the issues we were dealing with before [like] opioids and an aging parent and health care. We felt like the bar was high, but it was our duty to honor the original show and make nine or 10 episodes that would make the audience feel a little nostalgia and also feel fresh.”
One thing that longtime fans might find a little different is how political the revival season. With the political climate in America being tumultuous right now, Roseanne will tackle the topic head-on as Roseanne the character is a Donald Trump supporter as Roseanne Barr is in real life. Bruce Helford added, “It hasn’t been established that Dan voted for Trump — I don’t think he voted. We wanted to find a way for this particular family, which represents a full cross-section of values and beliefs, to get that debate going in a very honest way.” “I always tried to have [the show] be a true reflection of the society we live in,” Barr said. “Half the people voted for Trump and half didn’t, so it’s just realistic. I’ve always tried to portray a realistic picture of American working class people, and it was working class people who elected Trump, so I felt that was very real.” Meanwhile, photos from the revival show that Jackie is donning a “Nasty Woman” shirt and is most likely a Hillary Clinton supporter which will factor in that political view as well. Sara Gilbert explained that talking about the real-life politics in America right now was important to the show. “This is a time, as we all know, where our country is very divided,” she said. “We did have a wonderful opportunity to talk about this in the context of family. I think what’s going on is, people feel like they can’t disagree and still love each other or still talk to each other. To me, it was a great opportunity to have a family that can be divided by politics and still is filled with love.”
4. Going Forward
With how iconic and successful the original series was, there was really no question whether or not a revival would be successful, but there was always a question whether Roseanne would just be coming back for the tenth season. “In the original series, I always wanted to have a tenth year so that I could do exactly what I did with these nine [episodes] to finish and complete the story of this family,” Roseanne Barr explained. “I’m very happy that we got a tenth season.” For those hoping Roseanne returns for more than just the one season, there is already hope as ABC already extended the tenth season by one episode because they were so happy with what they saw. Between ABC’s excitement over the revival season and the cast’s excitement about being back, it seems all the more possible that the revival will be granted at least another season, but there will be no word of a renewal until after the new season begins airing.
3. Two Beckys
Along with Dan Conner seemingly being back from the dead, it has been confirmed that both Becky actresses will be in the revival. Fans will remember that actress Sarah Chalke took over the role of Becky after the original actress Lecy Goranson left to attend college in real life. For the revival, it is simply going to be ignored that Chalke once played Becky and instead will be given the role of Andrea, a middle-class married woman who hires Becky to be her surrogate. Chalke explained that she did not care about not getting the role of Becky back and was simply excited just to be asked to join the revival in any capacity. “I was so excited to hear that it was coming back. I think the timing is perfect,” she said. “I think it’s exactly what is needed right now. Right now when the country is so divided, I really think it’s a show that brings people together. The writing is so unbelievable. It’s so funny.” Roseanne‘s showrunner and the executive producers added that it was important to them to incorporate both women into the show because of how important they were to the original, even if it will be strange to have Chalke in a brand new role.
2. Minds Behind
Along with all the favorite stars who are returning to the series, the Roseanne revival is sure to have the same feel because of all the behind-the-scenes crew who are also coming back. Tom Werner, Bruce Helford, and Roseanne Barr will all be teaming up again to be executive producers. In addition to reprising her role as Darlene, Sara Gilbert who is credited with spearheading the revival, is also writing and executive producing. Some newcomers are also being added as producers including Whitney Cummings and Jax Media’s Tony Hernandez.
1. Premiere Date
Out of it all, the most important information fans need is when exactly Roseanne will be back! The Roseanne revival will begin with a special hour-long premiere on Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Following the extended premiere, it will move back to half-hour episodes and will air in its regular time slot of Tuesdays from 8-8:30 p.m.