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The Conner family returned to primetime earlier this year with the Roseanne revival, which was a smash hit that broke ratings records until it very suddenly came to an end. Most of the family will be back in The Conners spinoff, with the exception of Roseanne Barr herself. The biggest question about The Conners from as soon as rumors of a spinoff picked up is how it will write out the Conner matriarch. Well, the spinoff premiere is still a ways off, but John Goodman may have spilled the beans on what happens to his on-screen wife already. Here's how he described what's in store for Dan Conner on the new show:
It's an unknown. I guess he'll be mopey and sad because his wife's dead.
If we can take John Goodman's comments to The Sunday Times about the Roseanne character as fact, then we can expect The Conners to pick up with the reveal that Dan Conner is a widower! ABC hasn't confirmed what happened to Roseanne between the end of Roseanne and the beginning of The Conners, so we shouldn't 100% count on Roseanne having died. That said, the odds were always pretty good that The Conners would reveal Roseanne's death.
Roseanne's cancellation revolved around Roseanne Barr's actions on social media, and The Conners didn't receive a series order until Barr signed a deal that guaranteed a settlement that would cut off any further involvement and/or monetary gain from the franchise. The Conners will happen without Barr involved in any way, although I suppose it's possible that she could appear via flashback to scenes from Roseanne. Basically, ABC cut all ties with Barr in order to bring the rest of the cast (and the crew) back for the new show. I don't see the network bringing her back as a guest star to reveal that Roseanne left for some reason that didn't involve her death.
Roseanne's death wouldn't be entirely out of the blue. The first (and now only) season of the revival introduced some health problems for Roseanne. None of those problems had her on death's door or diagnosed with a fatal disease, but The Conners could establish that one of her problems was actually a symptom of a larger issue that resulted in her passing. Somehow I don't see The Conners going with such an over-the-top death as Two and a Half Men originally gave Charlie Sheen's character after Sheen's antics led to his firing from that show.
The description for The Conners only says that the spinoff will pick up after "a sudden turn of events," which now indicates more strongly than ever that the turn of events was Roseanne's death. We'll have to wait and see exactly what happened and what's in store for the rest of the Conner family when the spinoff premieres on Tuesday, October 16 at 8 p.m. ET ahead of new ABC series The Kids Are Alright. For more viewing options in the not-too-distant future, check out our fall TV premiere guide.