Boy Meets World: What The Cast Looked Like In The First Episode Vs Now

Boy Meets World was arguably the best (and most well loved) sitcom of the ‘90s. Each of us related to the characters-- creators Michael Jacobs and April Kelly effectively captured the tribulations of youths coming-of-age in the hallways of elementary school through college.

No other show spoke to the '90s generation like the syndicated Disney program. Ask anyone about Boy Meets World now and they will instantly get nostalgic, their memories drifting back to tube televisions, bright baggy clothes, and childhood antics.

Even the names illicit reactions: Cory, Feeny, Topanga, Eric, Shawn-- the names ascend the ethos of pop culture. Each episode provided a lesson, something lacking in this era of binge-watching streamed shows.

Twenty-five years later, we revisited the pilot, and paid a visit to how the actors are holding up these days. As an added bonus, we added characters that weren’t necessarily in the pilot, but played a pivotal role in the show.

Journey back to Philadelphia with us as we recap the first episode of the seven season run, with What The Cast Of Boy Meets World Looked Like In The First Episode Vs Now.

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15 Danielle Fishel as Topanga Lawrence

Topanga started out as a hippie girl whose father happened to be the bassist/keyboardist of The Monkees. Her introduction was in the fourth episode of the first season, where Corey’s bad hair forced him to sit with the weirdo kids.

Handcuffed to each other in protest of the librarian retiring, Corey and Topanga share their first kiss. Topanga later turned into a blonde bombshell who we all had crushes on.

Actress Danielle Fishel had a brief fling with tabloids at the turn of the century, when she took Lance Bass to her high school prom.

After losing 27 pounds by following the Nutrisystem diet, she became a spokeswoman for the company, serving as a nutrition correspondent on The Tyra Banks Show.

Fishel also reprised her role as Topanga in all 72 episodes of Girl Meets World.

14 Lily Gibson as Morgan Matthews

Morgan feels empathy for Corey not going to the Phillies game, and offers to keep her brother company with her doll. Corey, as the mean older brother, keeps rejecting her affection and refuses to use her offered doll as a weapon while he’s camping out in the treehouse.

Later, he makes amends by joining his sister for a tea party, during which his youngest sibling offers whacky ingredients like ketchup to his empty tea cup.

Lily Gibson portrayed the role of Morgan Matthews for two seasons before she was replaced.

Besides bit parts in movies and television shows, Gibson has earned an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Lead Actress for her role as May in See Rock City.

She has also done a lot of stage work and returned to the small screen as Morgan in Girl Meets World.

13 Ben Savage as Cory Matthews

Corey is introduced as a ne’er-do-well, listening to baseball in class. When Feeny discovers the ruse, Corey claims that he can’t hear because he just stole his hearing aid.

Later, in detention, all decked out in his Phillies gear, Corey admits to watching his teacher from his treehouse after he was rejected by Evelyn. He claims that they both had dinner last night -- Feeny abandoned at the table, and Corey from his tree.

You shrewd little observer of the human condition,” Feeny says, before imparting some serious wisdom about the strength of family and love, setting the groundwork for lessons learned in all seven seasons of the show.

Now, actor Ben Savage has kept busy with numerous television, TV movie, and film appearances. 

He also stared in the Disney Channel spin-off Girl Meets World in 2014.

He graduated from Stanford University in 2004 with a degree in Political Science, which makes his role as a teacher in Girl Meets World not that far fetched-- Feeny would be proud.

12 Will Friedle as Eric Matthews

Eric opts to go to the Phillies game with romantic prospect Heather, instead of his brother. Corey freaks out and tells his dad. Instead, his parents are happy that someone is interested in Eric. “I slept with you for 11 years!” Corey exclaims. Eric flubs his date with Heather and is a klutz around a beautiful lady, which was all of us in high school.

Actor Will Friedle became a prolific voice actor post-Boy Meets World.

He voiced the titular character in Batman Beyond, Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible, and Star-Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series.

Friedle has 70+ voice acting credits on his résumé.

Fellow Boy Meets World alum Jason Marsden is Friedle’s bestie in real life. As well as appearing as the best man at his wedding, the duo have also worked together on a dozen projects.

11 Maitland Ward as Rachel McGuire

Rachel McGuire taught us that living with the opposite gender and maintaining friendships can be challenging. At first, roommates Eric and Jack climbed over each other to earn the opportunity to date Rachel.

Finally, Eric backed off to let Jack have a shot at romance, but both were eventually rejected when their competition was revealed. Rachel later moved in with Topanga and Angela in a dorm.

After her acting career fizzled out following White Chicks, Maitland Ward turned to professional cosplay, amassing a large social media following.

Ward told FHM that she has no plans to return to TV after Girl/Boy Meets World: “I was on a great show, but I just wanted to go in different directions that were fun and different and unusual for me, and since I’ve always loved this, and people never saw this side of me, I wanted to explore it.”

10 Betsy Randle as Amy Matthews

After getting excited for Eric’s date, Amy Matthews visits Corey mourning in a treehouse over his lost Phillies tickets, cheering him up with some takeout. She then proceeds to make him feel even worse by asking if he’ll be all right. Amy was always a sympathetic mom to Corey, doing whatever she thought would help.

Since the end of Boy Meets World, actress Betsy Randle’s stepped out of the spotlight in order to focus on being a real-life mom to her two kids.

However, she still had some appearances here and there. Randle played Mrs. Winterbourne in several episodes of Charmed and appeared on Adam Ruins Everything as Donna Rehm. She also reprised her role as Amy on Girl Meets World from 2014 to 2017.

9 Chauncey Leopardi as Nicholas

Nicholas is an insomniac, knife-wielding student who wants to commit real violence instead of pretending in a dramatic Romeo and Juliet sketch orchestrated by Feeny. Nicholas' character primarily plays for comic relief in Boy Meets World, which includes getting assaulted by fellow student Vanessa during the rehearsal.

Actor Chauncey Leopardi wasn’t long for the Boy Meets World universe, though.

Leopardi is renowned as Squint on The Sandlot and went on to be cast in Casper. 

He later peaked as conflicted bully Alan White in Paul Feig’s masterpiece Freaks and Geeks.

However, the turn of the century saw less work for the former child actor, and he currently makes appearances at baseball games to sign autographs as his famous Sandlot character.

8 Trina McGee as Angela Moore

Angela debuted on Boy Meets World in the latter parts of the series. Her relationship with Shawn was one of the first interracial couples on a major network, which prompted an LA Times article and reply by actress Trina McGee on racial tolerance.

McGee was already a decade older than Strong when she portrayed Angela on Boy Meets World and was a mother to three children.

After appearing in guest spots on television and in several movies, McGee boasts two director credits under her belt.

She also appeared in Girl Meets World, but didn’t end up with Shawn in the end. Instead, she married a military man four years prior.

McGee’s attentions are now on business and she helps brands with their social media accounts and content strategies.

7 Rider Strong as Shawn Hunter

Shawn isn’t given much to work with here: usually he’s in the background and serves as an accomplice to whatever shenanigans Cory gets into.

Most of his screentime is shared with Nicholas-- it’s almost as if the writers were deciding between Chauncey Leopardi and Rider Strong on who would be the better bestie for Cory. Fortunately, Shawn won out, and went on to become the emotional backbone for the show moving forward.

Following the Disney Channel stint, Strong went in the complete opposite genre direction, starring as the protagonist in Eli Roth’s horror flick Cabin in the Woods.

Strong currently makes movies with his brother and claims that he still keeps contact with the rest of the Boy Meets World cast, gathering everyone together twice a year for a reunion dinner.

6 William Daniels as George Feeny

George Feeny establishes himself as a strict disciplinary, often scolding Cory for his rambunctious behavior. Besides being a steadfast authority figure, the teacher serves as neighbor and mentor, teaching his protégés about life.

The best pilot scene to many fans involved Cory threatening to leave detention, even going so far as to walk down the hallway, before he returned to the classroom and collapsed in his chair without Feeny looking up from the bundle of papers that he was grading.

The 90-year old actor is still working.

Latest titles on William Daniel's résumé include Grey’s Anatomy, Touched By An Angel, and The Closer.

Outside of Feeny, Daniels is renowned for his voice work on Knight Rider as K.I.T.T. the artificial intelligence supercar -- a role he’s reprised in recent years on Lego games and The Simpsons.

5 Matthew Lawrence as Jack Hunter

As another character who appeared later in the show, Shawn’s half-brother Jack quickly sparked a bromance with Eric, played the straight-man to his buddy’s wild antics, and delivered brilliantly dry one-liners.

The two most important Jack moments that stood out in most fans' memories involved Jack flashing his abs to the shrieking studio audience, which created a crazy reaction, and Shawn descending into a drunken stupor after his suspected mother dumped his father and Jack staged an intervention.

Matthew Lawrence was easily recognizable on the Disney Channel at the time as Matt Roman in Brotherly Love. Since Boy Meets World, Lawrence has appeared on CSI: Miami, Workaholics, and Melissa and Joey.

Lawrence is now more renowned for his relationship with Dancing With the Stars dancer Cheryl Burke.

4 William Russ as Alan Matthews

Corey suspects that his father is saddened that they never play catch anymore, since his middle son reached an age where he was “dumped for his friends.” His dad later admits that he’s glad that his son has friends and accepts him back into the family after Corey’s self-inflicted exile.

As arguably one of the busiest actors of the Boy Meets World clan, William Russ has 135 acting credits to his name.

Some of the roles he has done include a racist father in American History X, a serial assaulter in Scandal, and a billionaire on soap The Young and the Restless.

As well as trying his hand in directing on Boy Meets World, he did the same on Girl Meets World -- he is the only cast member to do so on both shows.

3 Lindsay Ridgeway as Morgan Matthews II

After television's longest timeout, Morgan Matthews emerged from her punishment mid-way through season three. Fans of the show immediately picked up that Lindsay Ridgeway was not Lily Gibson and there is still no explanation for the switcharoo.

Ridgeway ended up playing the character for the final five seasons of the show.

After Boy Meets World wrapped up, Ridgeway remained beneath the Disney umbrella, appearing in the original video introduction of the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror ride at Disneyworld and playing the character Sally Shine in the Tower Of Terror movie.

Ridgeway went on to earn her Master's in Counseling at the University of Redlands.

As a talented singer, Ridgeway usually makes her rounds through the professional sports circuit of Los Angeles to sing out the national anthem.

Also, both Gibson and Ridgeway returned to play Morgan, immediately transforming Girl Meets World into a paradoxical sci-fi.

2 Lee Norris as Stuart Minkus

As the most appropriately named character in all of the Boy Meets World cannon, Minkus was a goody-good who sucked up to Feeny. After a full season of his overbearing intelligence, both Cory and Shawn wished him away, and the poor bookworm vanished for four season.

Later, Minkus made his return. When prompted about where he had gone, he replied “just the other part of school... over there.” The Minkus name was much more prevalent in Girl Meets World, where Stuart’s son Farkle was one of the main characters.

Lee Norris went on to work with acclaimed director David Fincher in a several movies and portrayed Marvin McFadden in 171 episodes of One Tree Hill.

Recently, a meme of the actor went viral claiming that he underwent a gender change operation and became actress Chanel West Coast. Norris came forward to confirm that he is still a man and hasn’t assumed another identity.

1 Cynthia Mace as Evelyn

Feeny admits that he’s tired of being around little people and opts instead to put the moves on teacher Evelyn, shooing Corey away so that she can sit with him.

Evelyn later apparently rejects her suitor during a date night. After Feeny removes the dinner spread, Corey is a peeping tom in this scene, watching his teacher neighbor dejectedly eat by himself. It turns out that it was Feeny’s sister who cancelled on dinner, and the two educators hook-up at the end of the episode.

However, we’re guessing the relationship didn’t work out, as Evelyn only appears in the pilot.

Actress Cynthia Mace went on to have an illustrious career. She landed two roles in Netflix shows Mindhunter and The OA. She also garnered theater awards for her work in Angels in America and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?


What Boy Meets World character do you miss most? Sound off in the comments!

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