The biggest question on everyone's mind when ABC announced they would be reviving their beloved family comedy Roseanne was: How will John Goodman return if Dan died in the original series finale?
Make no mistake, the first new episode of the sitcom touches on the bizarre circumstances surrounding the last original episode to air back in 1997, but for the actor himself, he wasn't too worried about how the writers would explain it away. Fielding questions from journalists during the show's panel at the 2018 TCA Winter Press Tour, Goodman was hilariously terse when asked his thoughts about his first scene.
"I didn't really care," he said as the room burst into laughter. "I thought it was a clever way to do it, handle it and get it out of the way."
While the revival will address Dan's mortality right off the bat, that won't be the only instance where it's referenced and, as Roseanne hinted during the panel, it may become something of a puzzle as to what's real and what's a piece of fiction in the revival, as this new batch of episodes finally gave her the opportunity to finish the story she wanted to tell that began with that polarizing series finale. According to the comedienne, that audacious episode that undid nearly everything we thought was true about the series was merely the beginning of something bigger, something that she'd planted the seeds for way back in the show's third episode ever.
"In the original series, I always wanted to have the tenth year so I could do exactly what I did in these nine [episodes,] which was to finish and complete the story of this family," she admitted. "So, I always had that in my head that that was how it would go, and so I'm very happy we got a tenth season and we got to do that."
When pressed on the fact that the original finale did, however, make clear that Dan had died following his heart attack at Darlene's (Sara Gilbert) wedding in season eight, she challenged that assertion: "Did it?"
"In the third episode of Roseanne, Dan builds Roseanne a writing room and Roseanne is a writer," she added. "So that's always what I wanted to do and what I had in mind for the completion of the tenth season."
Later in the panel, she was asked to clarify whether the upcoming revival was the season that Roseanne was writing in her writing room or if it was all of season nine, she maddeningly replied, "Yes."
While we'll have to wait until March to see how this all unfolds, executive producer Bruce Helford admitted that there will be little hints about the truth here and there throughout the revival's run. "One thing I was going to add earlier was, like the Paul McCartney death thing, the death of Dan, there are little clues and openings as we go along that explain certain things as much as possible to jibe with the original ending," he said, referring to the pervasive hoax surrounding the mortality of the Beatles legend. "There was a lot of dream sequence to it because Roseanne was coming out of a dream and that affected certain things. And then Roseanne's writing is acknowledged as well…and how that affected things."
Confused? We are too.
But all will, hopefully, become clear when Roseanne returns with a special one-hour premiere on Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. on ABC.