Dan Conner lives — and no, not because he faked his own death. According to TVLine, the Roseanne reboot is ignoring the series finale and its string of unexpected revelations about the Conner family, including Dan's death by heart attack. While I fully respect Roseanne Barr's desire to do something different for the show's final moments, I think it's also safe to say that in 1997, she probably wasn't anticipating that the sitcom would ever return for new episodes.
In the '90s, TV had yet to commit as fully to the reboot craze as the medium has today. There was no reason for Roseanne to have an open-ended finale, and as a result, Barr revealed in the show's final moments that Season 9 was nothing more than a therapeutic fantasy for her character. Among the bombshells dropped in the last scene: Becky is married to David, Darlene is married to Mark, the Conners never won the lottery, and, the most heartbreaking revelation of them all, Dan had actually died of the heart attack he suffered from in Season 8.
The ending felt definitive, and it had its share of detractors. No matter what you thought of the original story's conclusion, there's no denying it didn't leave much room for a return — especially not for one that would include John Goodman's iconic Dan. And who could possibly imagine a return to the world of Roseanne without the show's central couple in place?
The best part about this news is whether you loved or hated the original finale, it doesn't have to change how you watch the new installments. If you choose to believe Roseanne became a successful writer and continued to use her family as inspiration, then you can imagine these new episodes are more stories set in the world Roseanne invented. In that way, the powerful feminist message the character delivered about the strength of women and moving on from the loss of a spouse can stay intact.
However, if you were put off by the show's sudden revelation that so many of the stories it had told over the years were simply made up by the lead character, then you can ignore the ending, just as the reboot will. Honestly, this feels like the best creative solution for the show. Otherwise, precious episodes would have to be spent on establishing the reality Roseanne describes in the last scene. By simply moving forward without acknowledging the ending, the reboot can get straight down to the business of exploring blue-collar life in a modern day setting, catching fans up on the Conners, and commenting on the political reality of the world.
Roseanne still has plenty to say, and it's going to be so much easier for her to say it without having to explain the massive twists the show delivered way back in '97.