Are you ready to return to Roswell? Before you answer, let us clarify— Shiri Appleby is nowhere in sight. There's a new leading lady in town, and she is taking up the baton of becoming enmeshed in a mothership full of alien romance.
What we're talking about is the reboot of Roswell, titled Roswell, New Mexico. It's set to premiere on The CW at midseason, but we got a sneak peek of the premiere (and a panel) at New York Comic Con 2018. How does the reboot stand up to the (oh so romantic) original? (swoons) We're here to tell you exactly that.
Like its predecessor, the show is also based on the Roswell High books by Melinda Metz. The audience went mad for it. Jeanine Mason stars as Liz Ortecho, who returns to her hometown of Roswell after she is forced to leave her former residence due to someone wanting to "put up a wall." The re-appearance of known characters brought cheers from many, and it was clear right away that the room was packed with fans of the books as well as fans of the former series. Liz wasn't back in Roswell for long before the alien drama began, as should be expected— several main characters are actually (secretly) aliens. This causes more trouble for them than they'd like, especially after Liz becomes ensnared in their drama.
Tonally, the show mixes humor and drama pretty well. There's plenty of romance, of course, but who knows how hot, hot, HOT things will actually get. It's hard to tell at the moment, but it looks like this show will keep the Roswell spirit alive. It bears repeating— the audience went wild for it, cheering for almost every character. One moment in particular brought the house down— we're not going to spoil it.
The panel came next, and included cast members Mason, Nathan Dean Parsons, creator/executive producer Carina Adly MacKenzie, executive producer (and pilot director) Julie Plec, and producer Chris Hollier.
MacKenzie said that she is fully aware that she's dealing with material that people take very seriously, and that she's not taking the responsibility lightly. Her goal for this re-imagination of the property was that it has to feel grounded in terms of 2018. "There wasn't any reason to update it unless we made it current," she said. She definitely wanted to take Liz Parker back to Liz Ortecho, and create a strong Latina leading character. She praises the original show, but also says that it was "really, really white." The metaphor of aliens living in a border state will definitely be addressed here.
The show definitely has a responsibility to diversity, as MacKenzie said, talking about "lifting the barrier" of privilege. She aims for this to happen in front of the camera as well as behind, from actors to directors to the writers. "The way the show came together... there are seven white EPs on the show. We made a conscious decision to counteract that," MacKenzie said. They are definitely interested in telling stories about immigrants, based on the notion of progress.
Mason recounts how there was a far greater push for diversity this past pilot season than ever before, but it was the sides for this show that really grabbed her immediately. She wanted to say those words, and she wanted "that fearlessness to rub off on her." Liz reminds her to "speak what she feels is true."
Parsons then came into the conversation, in terms of his romantic chemistry with Mason. They had already worked with each other on a show called Bunheads, so there was a certain familiarity. "It just really clicked right away," Parsons said. Based on what we saw in the pilot, he's not wrong. Going through the process of so many "chemistry reads," Mason was hoping for Parsons to get the part, and she got her wish.
Did Plec have any particular challenges directing the pilot? She definitely said that she was proud of it, even though she only had one "controllable" street corner to use in order to create Roswell itself. "That was a lesson learned in terms of location choices," she says, saying that they've now moved filming to Santa Fe.
One very exciting thing that was revealed? Original series star Shiri Appleby will direct an episode of this new show. We didn't lie, she's not in sight— she'll be behind the camera. The audience really lost their minds when this was announced.
Roswell, New Mexico will premiere on The CW sometime in 2019.
Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.