‘Fuller House’ EPs on Olsen Twins Return: ‘We’re Still Hopeful’

TCA 2016: Jeff Franklin discusses “playful wink” to absence of Michelle Tanner actors in series premiere episode

The absence of Michelle Tanner from the first season of “Fuller House” is referenced in a “playful wink” in the series premiere episode, according to Jeff Franklin.

The “Full House” alum and “Fuller House” showrunner said during the Television Critics Association winter press tour that a joke in the series premiere episode is not meant to be a dig at Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s decision not to return for the spinoff series.

“We all tried to persuade them to come play,” he said. “They decided not to at this time. We’re hopeful at some point in the future they may change their minds and come back and reprise Michelle — we only need one of them! We’re still hopeful that will happen, but everybody else is back. I’m sure we’ve all had family reunions, and not everyone shows up. But we still love them and the door’s always open, and I hope it happens.”

While the series will focus on DJ (Candace Cameron-Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Kimmy (Andrea Barbor) living in the same house and raising their children, the first episode of “Fuller House” will also largely function to tie up “Full House” as a series finale of sorts as well.

“I wanted to create an episode that was for the fans,” said Franklin. “In essence, it was almost the last episode of ‘Full House’ that we never got to do. We wanted to do something that was going to make the fans happy, that was full of nostalgia. Those fans know the show inside and out, probably better than I do… So we wanted to combine that with setting up the new show. As the show goes on, it’s great to have the guys and Aunt Becky from the original show now and then, because it’s a big family and we want them there, but this is a show that’s centered around these three women. You’ll see as the episodes go on, the visits become more sporadic and it’s really about their lives and their children and what the next generation have become.”

“Fuller House” premieres on Netflix Feb. 26.