When Roseanne returns to ABC for nine new episodes this spring, just about every major character from the original series will return along with it, including Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke, the two actresses who played Becky Conner. Sadly, there will be one glaring omission in the Roseanne revival cast.
As Roseanne fans know, actor Glenn Quinn, the Irish actor who played Becky’s husband Mark Healy, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Quinn’s bad boy character was a big part of the original Roseanne series, first appearing in the Season 3 episode “Becky, Beds, and Boys” in 1990, according to IMDB. When teen Becky Conner began dating the rebellions Mark, the Conner house was turned upside down. Glenn Quinn’s guest role as bad boy Mark was only supposed to be for one episode, but it turned into a 74-episode stint.
In an interview with The Independent, Roseanne star Michael Fishman, who played youngest Conner kid, DJ, on the show, said Glenn Quinn turned the guest role of Mark Healy into a permanent part of the Roseanne family.
“If Glenn hadn’t got that role it would’ve been a fleeting character,” Fishman revealed. “Mark was a harder character to play than people realize.”
In the upcoming Roseanne reboot, the Conner family will have seen many changes in the 20 years since the original show wrapped, but one of the biggest changes will be that Becky Conner (Goranson) is now a widow. Fans may recall that when Roseanne’s original run ended in 1997, Becky (who was being played by Sarah Chalke in the final season) was pregnant with her first child with her husband Mark.
According to Popsugar, at the Television Critic’s Winter press tour, Roseanne executive producer Bruce Helford confirmed that Glenn Quinn’s Mark Healy character dies off-screen sometime in the past 20 years. But while Glenn Quinn won’t be seen on the show, his character will still be a big part of the Roseanne reboot.
“From the writing standpoint… when you have a show that’s so naturalistic, we had to deal with that and that Becky was going to be single,” Helford told TCA reporters.
“We all had great affection for Glenn. We really wanted to say something. He comes up a couple times. It isn’t just [the premiere episode]. He comes up a couple times in the course of the nine episodes.”
Roseanne star Roseanne Barr added that everyone on the show misses Glenn Quinn.
“We all missed Glenn so much, because he was just a great part of the show, and it’s not something we wanted to just gloss over,” the Roseanne star explained.
In the Roseanne reboot, Becky’s like as a single mom will be explored (she will even be a surrogate for her TV twin Sarah Chalke’s new character), and in a poignant twist, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) will name her son after his late uncle Mark. The Mark Jr. character, played by Ames McNamara, is about nine years old, so that means Glenn Quinn’s Mark died at least a decade ago.
The Roseanne revival will stray far away from the show’s finale in 1997. The original series ended with several twists, including the revelation that Dan Conner (John Goodman) was dead, and the idea that Becky was actually in a relationship with Mark’s brother David (Johnny Galecki) instead of Mark.
In an interview with the Today show, Lecy Goranson admitted she did not watch the final season of Roseanne after she quit the show to go to college. When she later heard that her character was really with David and not husband Mark, Goranson was shocked.
“Oooh… wow,” the Roseanne star told Today. “I don’t know. I’d probably hook up with Johnny. He’s cute! Nice Chicago boy. But I don’t know. Giving up Glenn, I don’t know I would’ve done that!”
The nine-episode Roseanne revival premieres on March 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.