Beverly Hills, 90210: Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) Finally Returns

Tori Spelling and Jennie GarthFans of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 have been treated to appearances by several original castmembers — Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, Joe E. Tata, and Ann Gillespie — and last night, another alumna returned home. It’s been a long time in coming.

When plans for the new 90210 were first announced, it seemed like Tori Spelling was ready and willing to take part. Aside from being one of the few actors to stay with the original for its entire 10 year run, she has a familial bond to the series as well. She told People, “My dad [the original show’s producer, Aaron Spelling] always wanted to do a new version of 90210, so I’m sure he will be beaming from above! And I’d love to somehow be a part of it. That as well would make my dad proud!” She joked that perhaps Donna could be the school’s sex education teacher — a nod to the fact that Donna was a long-time and proud virgin.

Spelling was supposed to appear in the pilot but had to bow out for family reasons — she was giving birth via C-section. She was then going to appear in a few early episodes but those plans fell apart prior to the show’s debut — supposedly over salary issues. A spokesman for the network said, “The CW has no deal with Tori Spelling to appear on 90210 at this time.”

In September, the network expanded its 90210 season order to 22 episodes. Spelling said that she was still interested in appearing but wasn’t actively pursuing it. She’s a big believer in “whatever happens, will happen.”

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Then, in January, rumors emerged that Spelling was talking with producers once again about returning to the zip code. Supposedly one of the caveats was that she didn’t want to cross paths with former co-star Doherty. The actress formerly known as Brenda Walsh had already wrapped her second round of episodes so that wasn’t much of an issue. The two-episode deal was signed and she shot her scenes in February.

The actress says that last Summer’s negotiations were blown way out of proportion. She told Entertainment Weekly, “I don’t know what the other girls (Garth and Doherty) make. I was really sorry for the fans — I don’t want them to think this would ever be a money issue between the girls.”

Spelling is excited to finally reprise her character. She said, “What I love about Donna is she’s never jaded. Donna can kind of go through anything and she still has that girlish quality about her. I think that’s something she’d have at any age… That’s Donna to me.”

Jessica Stroup’s Silver character has been through the emotional wringer lately and is Donna’s husband’s half-sister. Stroup was excited about having Spelling on the set as well, as were many others on the show. She told the LA Times, “I just remember thinking she’s everything I thought and more. She’s such an incredible woman… The girls on our crew are all really young, and we all knew the importance of having Donna Martin back. I met her in the makeup trailer, and she’s got her reality show filming, and I met her husband and her kid. It was awesome. I so admire her. I mean, she’s really got a million things going on. She’s got the show, a book, a jewelry line… kids! And she still came back! We shot a scene in a car riding around Beverly Hills, and paparazzi was everywhere. That was wild, but she was an old pro handling all that.”

Donna returns from Japan as a famous fashion designer, with her baby, Ruby, in tow. Part of that isn’t much of a stretch for the actress who’s married to Dean McDermott and is the mother of two children of her own. She says, “I get to be a mom, which is fun. It’s so crazy to think of Donna as a mother. Sometimes, I can’t believe that I’m a momma, too.”

Unfortunately, Donna’s marriage isn’t in as good shape. We learn that she and David, now a successful music producer in Japan, are separated. By the end of the next episode, it seems likely that Donna will be heading back to Asia to try to work things out with her hubby but the door is being left open for her return.

Brian Austin Green, who played David on the original series, has said that he’s open to making an appearance on 90210. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is almost certainly finished so he won’t have that conflict. Could we see both characters return next season? Prospects are looking a lot better.

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