‘Fuller House’ Creator on How Michelle Will Appear Without the Olsen Twins

Mary-Kate and Ashley’s character “is very much a part of the series,” Jeff Franklin says, teasing of new Netflix spinoff series

It’s been 21 years since “Full House” was on the air, but the Tanners are about to be back at the family-friendly sitcom game.

Netflix greenlighted 13 episodes of “Fuller House,” a spinoff series featuring oldest daughters DJ (Candace Cameron-Bure) and Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) as well as DJ’s best friend Kimmy Gibler (Andrea Barber) all living in the same house, raising their children together.

It’s the exact same premise of “Full House,” which debuted in 1987 on ABC and ran for eight seasons, and most of the familiar faces, including Bob Saget’s Danny Tanner, John Stamos‘ Uncle Jesse and Dave Coulier’s Joey, are back for the spinoff series’ first episode.

Below, “Full House” and “Fuller House” creator Jeff Franklin talked to TheWrap about having everyone back for the first episode, the Olsen twins’ decision not to return, and how he modernized the 90s sitcom for a much more cynical TV-viewing audience.

TheWrap: How important was it to get everyone back for the first episode?
 Jeff Franklin: This show is designed to be about the three women, all grown up, as mothers and adults with their own lives, but I really wanted to have a reunion at the same time. I wanted everyone back. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but that was always the plan … to have the original cast drop by now and then and be a part of the show. Not series regulars, but this is a family, and I want that family feeling to be there. I’m thrilled that everyone, with one exception, decided to come back and be a part of this.

At what point did you realize this wouldn’t be a full reunion show, and would only focus on the girls?
I don’t think the guys would have come back, honestly, as series regulars. John, Bob, they all have their own projects going on and I don’t think there was an appetite from them to come back on a full time basis. But I was thrilled they were happy to step back into those characters to bring “Full House” back to life. Even if it’s not every episode, they’re very much a part of the show. That made me really happy.

It was always intended to be about the next generation. I can’t take much credit for having the idea to just flip the original premise. It’s so simple. The truth is, we had three guys raising three girls, now those three girls are grown up, so let’s have three girls raise three boys, and that just seemed like such a no brainer.

You mentioned the whole cast is back with one exception, so was the original concept that it would be DJ, Stephanie and Michelle?
No, I don’t think I ever thought the Olsen twins would come back and be on the show full time, but I was very hopeful that they would come back and visit. I’m still hoping that happens sometime.

Any movement on that front?
No news on that front. Michelle [Mary-Kate and Ashley’s character] is very much a part of the series though. You’ll see Michelle on the show, you’ll just see an earlier version of Michelle.

How often can we expect to see the “adults” appear?
The first season, they’re in about half the shows. And I hope that continues. I hope the show gets picked up and then my expectation is that they’ll continue to pop in.

Could we see them show up for extended arcs or just mostly fun cameos?
That’s a good question. I don’t know because I haven’t started thinking about Season 2 yet. Season 1 hasn’t even gone on the air. But I think that’s a good idea!

How did you modernize the show for 2016?
Well it takes place in 2016, there’s cellphones and computers and we didn’t have any of that back then. The kids have grown up in modern times. It’s a very contemporary show, but it has that “Full House” vibe for sure. It’s got heart, it’s about family values, it’s a traditional sitcom. So in a way it’s a throwback, but it clearly takes place today. It seems unique to me because there’s nothing else like it out there. The world has changed since 1987. Kids are more sophisticated, audiences are more sophisticated, so we’re rolling with the times.

How does being on Netflix change things?
It’s been interesting. We don’t have any time restraints, they said make the shows as long as they need to be or as short as they need to be. So they range from 23 minutes to 35 minutes … that’s been refreshing. There are no act breaks, we never go to black. There are no commercials. That’s really cool. We’re telling stories that are more serialize than we used to. There are plotlines that move from episode to episode in a way that we didn’t do before.

Do you see “Fuller House” running for as long as “Full House” did?
I don’t see why the show couldn’t run for eight years. We need a full run so that in 20 years, we can do “Fullest House.” The kids can grow up and have their own kids. I know there won’t be many people doing that.

“Fuller House” premieres on Netflix on Friday, Feb. 26.

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