The “Wonder Years” torch has officially been passed.
ABC last year announced plans for a reboot of the beloved dramedy, which aired from 1988 to 1993. On Monday, original series star Fred Savage virtually broke the news to actor Elisha “E.J.” Williams that he’d landed the lead role of 12-year-old Dean, who comes of age in the late 1960s.
Williams, whose credits include Nickelodeon’s “Danger Force” and “Henry Danger,” captured the moment with a short video posted to his Instagram.
“Super excited to be apart of such an iconic show,” he wrote in the accompanying caption. “I want everyone out there to DARE2DREAM.”
The new “Wonder Years” will be written by Saladin K. Patterson and will focus on a Black family in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to Williams, the confirmed cast includes Saycon Sengbloh as Lillian, Dean’s mother. Savage will direct the show’s pilot and serve as an executive producer with “Empire” creator Lee Daniels. No release date has been announced yet.
The original series takes place from 1968 to 1973 and was filmed in Los Angeles, though its setting was deliberately never specified on-screen. Setting the reboot in Alabama will provide Patterson with plenty of material to dramatize, given the state’s historic ties to major events of the civil rights movement.
Fans have been vocal for a while about their hopes for a “Wonder Years” reboot, though Savage himself notably shrugged off the suggestion in a 2019 New York Post interview.
“To take nothing away from ‘The Brady Bunch’ — I’m an avid fan — but nostalgia was kind of built into the identity of ‘The Wonder Years,’ at the heart of the show, and you would violate that by going back,” he said at the time. “I love all the reboots and revisitations and reimaginings of all these shows, but I don’t think it works, conceptually, for ‘The Wonder Years.’”
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