In the era of reboots, remakes and sequels, you should never be surprised to see a classic property brought back for another try. Even TV shows are getting their own prequels and sequels these days. Fred Savage starred in the much-loved The Wonder Years in the late 80s and early 90s and was recently asked if we might one day see Kevin and Winnie all grown up on TV. While many would equivocate, because anything is possible, Savage did not. In a word: “Never.”
Savage was speaking to People at the ATX Festival to promote his upcoming show with Rob Lowe, The Grinder, when he was asked the chances of a follow-up project ever happening.
Zero. Never. The show was about a time in your life. The show was about this finite moment in your life that has a beginning and an end, and I think that's what makes people long for that time in your life...You can't really go back to it. You can't all be 12 again, and that's why that time in our life is so special and why all the memories still stay with us and warm us and haunt us and all those things – because we can't go back to it.
It’s an obvious question to ask, since his brother Ben is currently reprising the role that put him on TV, Cory Matthews, in Girl Meets World for The Disney Channel. Savage says that what made the show special was that it captured a unique time in people’s lives, being young and finding first love that you can’t return to, so there’s no point in bringing it back.
The Wonder Years starred Savage as Kevin Arnold, a kid growing up in the 1960s that was primarily focused on his love for his neighbor Winnie Cooper, played by Danica McKeller. Each episode was told as a flashback with the narrator (Daniel Stern) looking back on his childhood.
It’s that last part that would make any sort of return a hard sell. As Savage says, the period the show deals with is special, which is why the narrator “remembering” each episode works. In addition, the era the show took place in was a unique time in American history, and the upheaval in society matched well with the upheaval in Kevin’s life. Any return would have to be set in the 1980s. Do fans really want to see a 35-year-old Kevin Arnold navigating the Reagan years? What elderly narrator is going to look back on that fondly? Besides, a grown-up Fred Savage sounds nothing like Daniel Stern, so the continuity would be a mess.
However, with the return of the Nintendo World Championships, a sequel to Savage's The Wizard is an entirely different story. That one needs to happen.