Remember when Roseanne and Dan had four children? Or when Jackie was married with a kid of her own?
It’s no secret that The Conners — and before it, the Roseanne revival — have played fast and loose with continuity, specifically when it comes to which characters have been swept under the rug (along with Dan’s death and the family’s Season 9 lottery windfall). Some absences have been explained on screen — one of which had to be addressed due to a legacy cast member’s death — while others have been clarified only in conversation with producers. What follows is a list of those explanations.
To be clear, the following is not a complete inventory of Roseanne characters who haven’t appeared on The Conners. You won’t find out why Leon (Martin Mull) and Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) haven’t paid a visit to the recently reopened Lunch Box, or what ever happened to onetime Wellman Plastics foreman Booker Brooks (whose “resemblance” to George Clooney was addressed in The Conners‘ Season 3 premiere). What we have here is a list of characters whose absences have been directly addressed (or, in the case of one former spouse, indirectly addressed) since Roseanne was first revived by ABC in 2018.
Scroll down to learn more (or to refresh your memory), and be sure to check back throughout The Conners‘ continued run — which resumes with Season 4 on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 9/8c — for potential updates.
Though Mark’s death was referenced several times during Roseanne Season 10 — Darlene and David’s son was named in his honor — it was never revealed how he passed. (Portrayer Glenn Quinn suffered a fatal drug overdose in 2002, but The Conners never suggested that Mark met a similar fate.)
In The Conners Season 3, Episode 18, “Cheating, Revelations and a Box of Doll Heads,” Becky explained that Mark died in a freak accident. When her roommate Rachel surmised that her stint in rehab was a part of God’s plan, the widow scoffed and said, “The last time [God] helped me, she threw a deer in front of my husband’s motorcycle and he died.” What followed was a much-needed/cathartic discussion about Mark’s death between Becky and Dan — part of which you can watch above.
JERRY GARCIA CONNER
Despite being absent from Roseanne Season 10, Jerry’s existence was confirmed when the family matriarch mentioned him being holed up on a fishing boat in Alaska. But even after Mom’s death on The Conners, Jerry did not return to Lanford.
Two years later, in The Conners Season 3, Episode 2, “Halloween and the Election vs. the Pandemic,” Becky mentioned in passing that she was one of Dan and Roseanne’s three children (with Darlene and D.J. rounding out the trio), seemingly forgetting about her MIA younger brother born in Roseanne Season 8. But instead of correcting her, Dan confirmed her assertion, declaring that he and Roseanne “had one favorite and two backups.”
Even still, showrunner Bruce Helford maintained as late as October 2020 that Jerry could return in future seasons.
“Dan said he only had three children, but is he so angry at Jerry, for something we learn about later, that he denies him as a son?” Helford mused. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Unlike his cousin Jerry, Jackie’s son Andy has not made an appearance on the Roseanne spinoff because, well, he never actually existed.
“We made a conscious decision that certain years were going to be part of the dream that was revealed at the end of the run of the original Roseanne, and [Andy] was part of the dream,” Helford previously explained. “Andy fell into the same category for us as winning the lottery; [it’s] something we chose not to acknowledge.”
If Andy has been jettisoned along with the lottery season, it’s safe to assume that Jackie’s baby daddy (played by Michael O’Keefe, during Roseanne Seasons 6-8) has also been retconned.
Fred made his final appearance in Season 8, Episode 10, “Direct to Video,” following his divorce from Jackie. He was not mentioned during Roseanne Season 10 or The Conners Seasons 1-3.
Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor Ned Beatty appeared as Dan’s father in six episodes of the original run of Roseanne, between 1989 and 1994. But the traveling salesman was not referenced in 2018’s revival season — or the first season of The Conners, even when Crystal came over to grieve Roseanne with Dan, Jackie and the rest of the Conner clan.
Ed wasn’t mentioned until The Conners Season 2, Episode 13, “Brothers, Babies and Breakdowns,” when Dan came across Dad’s obituary in the local paper. The spinoff proceeded to reveal that Dan hadn’t spoken to his father in 20 years.
In that same episode, Dan was reacquainted with his half-brother “Little Ed” aka Ed Jr. (now played by Shameless‘ Noel Fisher), but neither Crystal nor her other son — Lonnie, from her first marriage to Sonny — were mentioned. Jr. did, however, mention a sister, which would have been Ed and Crystal’s daughter Angela.
Interestingly, Ed Sr.’s death predated Beatty’s passing; the veteran actor died in June at the age of 83.