On the heels of the shocking news that cast member Michael Fishman (D.J. Conner) was not asked to return to The Conners for season 5, the power-that-be are apparently not done with surprises. Executive producers Bruce Helford and Dave Caplan let slip that a certain someone last seen on Roseanne is poised to make their first appearance on the ABC spinoff in Season 5. Helford teased:
“I can’t reveal it, but there is someone coming from years’ past. It was a very memorable appearance when this person was there, and this person is coming back. I think people are going to be very surprised and go, ‘Oh s–t!’ It’s someone who will very much be remembered from the previous show.”
He also suggested not to overthink his use of the word “appearance” while Caplan added:
“It’s one that the true fans are really going to appreciate.”
Helford did hint that this character first appeared on Roseanne “way back to the beginning.” It’s probably safe to say that whoever it is, it’s not someone who was introduced late in the series’ original 1988-1997 run. Since 2018’s Roseanne revival, there have been appearances made by Sarah Chalke (not as Becky No. 2, but as Andrea), Judy Prescott (as schoolteacher Ms. Crane), 94-year-old Estelle Parsons (as Bev), Sandra Bernhard (as Nancy), Natalie West (as Crystal), Adilah Barnes (as Anne Marie), The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki (as David), James Pickens Jr. (as Chuck), Meagan Fay (not as Kathy Bowman, but as the grandmother of Mark’s classmate Austin), Noel Fisher (who assumed the role of Ed Jr., last seen as a baby) and Danielle Harris (as Molly). It’s probably also safe to rule out Roseanne and Dan’s fourth child Jerry, and Jackie and Fred’s son Andy since neither was around “way back in the beginning.”
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Charlayne Woodard as Vonda Green, the ex-Wellman worker was last seen in Roseanne Season 2. Jared Rushton, who played Becky’s first boyfriend, Chip Lang, appeared in three episodes during Season 1. Stephen Dorff was cast as Jimmy Meltrigger, Becky’s second boyfriend, appearing in three episodes during season 2. However, there are at least two other actors whose return may cause jaws to drop.
Originally Roseanne’s manager at Rodbell’s Luncheonette, Martin Mull as Leon Carp went on to become co-owner of The Lunch Box. He was last seen in Season 9, when lottery winners Roseanne and Jackie turned their shares of The Lunch Box over to Leon and Nancy. And there’s Roseanne Barr’s then-husband, Tom Arnold as Arnie Thomas, who recurred in Seasons 2-5 and for a brief period was married to Sandra Bernhard’s Nancy.
Fans will have to wait and see who it will be when The Conners airs on September 21, 2022, on ABC.