As you may have heard, the CW network has hired Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars, to pen a pilot script for a sequel series to the primetime teen-soap Beverly Hills, 90210. Once the pilot has been filmed, the network will take a look and decide if they want to order a series. The original 90210 series helped to put the FOX network on the map 18 years ago and the ratings-challenged CW is likely hoping that a new version will help them in a similar way.
Though original series creator Darren Star isn’t involved with the new project, Thomas maintains the new 90210 will have connections to its famous predecessor. Will any of the old characters be returning? Here’s what we know so far.
The new series will revolve, at least in part, around teenage siblings from the midwest who have recently moved to Beverly Hills — much like Brandon (Jason Priestly) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) did in the original.
The patriarch of the family, Harrison “Harry” Mills, has a mother named Tabitha Mills who was a sexy movie star in the 1970s. She has a long-standing alcohol problem and, after another unsuccessful visit to the Betty Ford clinic, decides to deal with the addiction herself at her Beverly Hills mansion. A 1980s West Beverly Hills High graduate, good son Harry decides to move his family back to his old home to help take care of his mother
Harry is a school administrator and is married to Celia, a former Olympic cyclist turned personal trainer. The two met while working in the Peace Corps. Their two 16-year-old children are daughter Annie and adopted son Dixon. Annie’s an awkward theatre kid who wants to fit in with the cool crowd. Adopted at age 10, Dixon is very bright and cool but has some behavioral hang-ups. Based on casting information, it looks like producers are open to casting Dixon with a non-white male.
Annie’s best friend was born Daphne Silver but now simply goes by “Silver.” She has a crush on Dixon and is the only Jewish girl in school. She also hosts her own YouTube series.
Daphne’s brother is 24-year-old Max. He manages the family-owned movie theater at the Century City Mall. Max is a bit emotionally unstable and appears to be harboring some deep secrets. The script indicates that the Silver parents have been on a cruise for a long time and casting info hints they may actually have died at the hands of their children.
Though Max and Daphne’s family name will certainly remind you of David Silver (Brian Austin Green) from the original series, it’s unclear what relation the kids may have to the 1990s show. In the original series’ finale in 2000, David married Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) but Daphne and Max are too old to be the couple’s natural off-spring.
Dixon’s best friend is Navid Shirazi, a fledgling politician of Middle Eastern descent who runs the high school’s TV newscast. A minor character, Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez, is the young host of the West Beverly Blaze news show and is apparently the offspring of Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris) and Jesse Vasquez (Mark Damon Espinoza) from the original show.
Naomi Bennett is a very wealthy and super-sexy brat who has an on-again/off-again relationship with likable, brainy, and attractive jock Ethan Ward. Ethan has a falling out with the “in crowd” so he starts to hang out with the 90210 crowd. It seems likely that a love triangle with Annie, Naomi and Ethan will mirror the one by original characters Brenda, Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry). CW Runaway veteran Dustin Milligan has been signed to play Ethan.
Who among the original 90210 castmembers will be involved? If Thomas has his way, Garth will reprise her role in the pilot. In the script, Kelly’s a fashion design teacher at West Beverly Hills High. Garth is committed to shoot a pilot for CBS so it remains to be seen if this will happen or if she even wants to do it.
One would suspect that Carteris and Espinoza will also be asked to make an appearance or two if the show goes to series. And the others?
When asked by USA Today if he’d be interested in reprising his role as Steve Sanders, Ian Ziering said, “Probably not. That would seem like going back, and I want to move forward into other things.” Tiffani Thiessen feels the same way. The actress who played Valerie Malone, is planning on starting a family and of the new series said, ” I wish them all the best, but it’s not something I will be a part of.”
On the other hand, new mom Tori Spelling is ready and willing to head back to her favorite zip code. 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 jokes that she’d be willing to reprise her role as Donna as the school’s sex education teacher — a nod to the fact that Donna was a long-time and proud virgin.
And what of the landmark location of the original series? The Peach Pit, the ’50s-style diner hangout, isn’t featured in the pilot but if there’s a new series Thomas hopes to work it into the show. Stay tuned!
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