Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Conners' Season 3 finale!
Yes, Conners fans, those are wedding bells you're hearing after that topsy-turvy Season 3 finale, which ended with Katey Sagal's Louise and John Goodman's Dan engaging in post-engagement coitus (to other characters' grand dismay). Mixed in with those bells, unfortunately, are the death knell echoes for Sagal's legal drama Rebel, which was just recently cancelled by ABC after only five episodes aired. And while Louise's upcoming nuptials weren't at all tied to Rebel's fate, The Conners' showrunner confirmed to CinemaBlend that fans will get to see even more than expected from Sagal in Season 4.
CinemaBlend spoke with The Conners' showrunner and executive Bruce Helford and fellow EP Dave Caplan going into the Season 3 finale, and both were a bit torn between dismay over Rebel's fate and appreciation that Katey Sagal would have more time to spend in faux Lanford, Illinois.
BRUCE: I mean, this was such a mixed thing, because we were certainly rooting for Rebel to continue, you know? We didn't know what would happen there. And Katey had been so gracious in saying whatever happens, she'll make sure to make time for us and all that. Now we have the blessing of her availability. And so they're engaged, they're definitely engaged, and things will be happening next season with Katey, and we now have her to be able to explore that a little more fully.
DAVE: She's so good for us to open up Dan's character. It really takes him places that we couldn't ever envision the character going before. So the fact that she's going to be around is fantastic for us.
Bruce Helford and The Conners' creative team definitely knew when they were crafting the Season 3 finale that Katey Sagal wanted to make sure and return in some recurring capacity in Season 4, regardless of how the scheduling had to come together. Otherwise, that would have been a pretty ballsy move on the writers' part to just write a future wedding into the show without knowing if the bride would be around for it. Even so, though, it would have been strange for Louise to only be around every so often if she and Dan were aimed for full-on matrimony, barring another bout with COVID. So it's surely an advantage to not immediately need excuses for her absences.
With The Conners showrunner speaking so confidently about having the Sons of Anarchy vet around more for Season 4, I asked if he could confirm whether or not Katey Sagal was in it for the long haul, or if fans should worry about her taking on another Rebel-esque show in the next year. Luckily, Bruce Helford sounded just as confident when he answered that one, while still acknowledging how highly in-demand Sagal's talent is on the small screen. In his words:
No, it was always... I mean, she's a grown-up - she knows that shows don't always catch on and whatever. And so during all this, she said, 'Don't write me out. Make sure that I'm still part of everything,' and with Rebel not continuing... Who knows? She could develop [a new project]. Katey's a wonderful, gifted actress to lead a show, so I'm sure there's gonna be other shows that're going to try and get her to develop. But she made it clear that she will be available to us readily this season. Certainly the beginning of the season. So yeah, she's there.
If we could make some kind of a TV rule for the future that states Katey Sagal and John Goodman should co-star together in one show on every network and streaming service, that would be perfect, thank you. Or, alternately, every show on a single network or streaming service. To that end, Dave Caplan echoed the sentiment while also showing sympathy for Sagal, who was quite angry about Rebel's cancellation understandably.
We were rooting for her and Rebel. We absolutely absolutely adore Katey, and getting to lead a show is a special thing. So we were pulling for her, and are now kind of bummed when it didn't happen. But we'll look at the silver lining that The Conners gets more Katey.
While the timing of any TV cancellation is awful no matter when it comes, this was one definitely a blow to the cast, crew and viewers, considering how many Rebel episodes are still yet to air. But for every thorn, there's usually a pretty good looking rose on top, and in this case, that rose may one day go by the name Louise Conner.