In just a few days, The Conners will premiere sans Roseanne Barr. The estranged actress’ hit sitcom reboot, Roseanne, was a cancelled back in May following her racist tweets, and this new spin-off will go on without her. In a new interview with People, the show’s stars, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and Sara Gilbert opened up about working on the series without Roseanne.
For starters, Sara, 43, and Laurie, 63, revealed they have not spoken to Roseanne since the controversy in May, but they did reach out to her and have not “yet” heard back. John, 66, on the other hand, was praised Roseanne for allowing the show to go on. “That was a very big deal,” he said. “To give us a chance.”
Roseanne has been very vocal about how the series will continue without her. When the spin-off was first announced, the 65-year-old shared a touching statement. “I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved,” she said at the time.
“I’m not going to curse it or bless it. I’m staying neutral. That’s what I do. I’m staying neutral. I’m staying away from it. Not wishing bad on anyone, and I don’t wish good for my enemies. I don’t. I can’t. I just stay neutral. That’s what I gotta do,” she continued. “I have some mental health issues of depression and stuff. I got to stay in the middle or I’ll go dark, and I don’t want to go dark again. I’ve done it. After all, I was married to Tom Arnold.”
Roseanne has also been open about how her character will be killed off the show. “They have her die of an opioid overdose,” she said in a previous interview. “I wanted to show [opioid struggle] in the show, but I was never going to have Roseanne die of an opioid overdose. It’s so cynical and horrible. She should have died as a hero or not at all… It wasn’t enough to [fire me], they had to so cruelly insult the people who loved that family and that show.”
During the sit-down with People, Laurie and Sara opened up about the TV death. “Sara and I had this scene in the first show where we addressed the grief,” Laurie shared. “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.”
Sara added that her emotions will be conveyed “in an honest way into the show.” She continued, “And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix.”
The Conners premieres on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC — and we can’t wait to watch!