The Conners are set to return to TV after “a sudden turn of events.” And based on the new photos released by ABC, the sudden turn isn’t a happy one.
With Roseanne Barr on a permanent hiatus from the spinoff of her iconic ABC sitcom, the smart money is on the rumor that her character has been killed off for The Conners. Barr herself said it, even spoiling the plotline by telling Brandon Straka’s Walk Away podcast that her character succumbed to an opioid overdose after last season’s knee surgery. John Goodman, who plays Dan Conner on the series, told The Sunday Times that his character will “be mopey and sad because his wife’s dead.”
So maybe that explains the sad faces in the photos released by ABC. While the spinoff series will not dwell on the untimely demise of Roseanne Conner—an insider told Closer Weekly that producers “don’t want to make Roseanne’s absence an ongoing storyline, they want a clean break”—it’s clear the first episode will provide the answers as to why the matriarch is missing.
“We have to react to what’s missing, but everything else is pretty much the same,” Goodman told People of the series’ first episode without Roseanne.
Laurie Metcalf, who plays Roseanne’s sister Jackie, added that the emotions seen in the first episode weren’t all acting.
“Sara [Gilbert] and I had this scene in the first show where we addressed the grief. Sometimes when you’re an actor and you have to go to that place, you substitute something, but in this case, there was no need to do that, because it was there, and it was real. And still makes me choke up, because that part of it’s been really hard.”
Indeed, a look at some of the photos from The Conners premiere episode “Keep On Truckin'” makes it clear there will be some sad moments for the usually happy Conner family.
In May, Roseanne Barr was fired and her ABC show canceled after she posted a racist tweet about former White House aide Valerie Jarrett. The 65-year-old actress later agreed to walk away from all creative and financial control of The Conners spinoff series in order to save the jobs of 200 cast and crew members.
The Conners stars John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Healy, Ames McNamara as Mark Healy, Maya Lynne Robinson as Geena Williams-Conner and Jayden Rey as Mary Conner.
The Conners premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.