Warning: SPOILERS below for Fuller House Season 4.
Michelle Tanner is still a no-show in Fuller House after four seasons, but she could be getting a replacement in season 5. Michelle's absence continues to become a glaring plot hole in the series despite the spinoff's attempt to explaining her current whereabouts, but Fuller House has a way to resolve the problem if it gets renewed for a fifth outing thanks to Stephanie's (Jodie Sweetin) newborn baby.
Alternately played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for 8 seasons of Full House, the youngest of the Tanner sisters is apparently now based in New York where she runs her fashion empire (a mirror of what the Olsen twins' real-life career). This explains why for four years, she hasn't come back to San Francisco like her whole family. Behind-the-scenes, the reason why Michelle isn't in Fuller House is much more simple. The role was offered to the Olsens before the spinoff show debuted in 2016, Ashley didn't want to do with the show from the get-go while Mary-Kate briefly considered the gig before ultimately deciding to turn it down. During the first couple of seasons of Fuller House, rumors continue to swirl that they may finally agree to do just a cameo but fans soon learned to accept that there will be no grown-up Michelle in the series.
However, the latest development in the offshoot series offers it the opportunity to fill the gap that Michelle's absence presents. The final episode of Fuller House season 4 ended with Kimmy (Andrea Barber) giving birth to Stephanie and Jimmy’s (Adam Hagenbuch) baby girl. The show held out on naming the kid and from how it was set-up, it seems like the reveal of her name will be a pretty big deal in season 5 (if they’re renewed). The first assumption is obviously to name her Pamela - after the Tanners' matriarch who tragically died in a car accident shortly after Michelle was born. However, the name is already used by Jesse (John Stamos) and Becky’s (Lori Loughlin) adopted daughter. That leaves Michelle as the only significant name in the series that can evoke nostalgia for fans.
Typically, naming kids after family members is a practice to commemorate those who are no longer around. While Michelle isn’t dead like Pam, it’s safe to say that at this point that she’ll never be around in Fuller House as the Olsen twins continue to refuse to appear in the show. For sure, Stephanie's naming her baby girl after her sister would be a great way to bring a new version of Michelle Tanner reminiscent of the kid that she was in Full House if the spinoff continues for a few more seasons on Netflix. Kimmy referring to her niece "squirt" in season 4 - the same nickname she used for Michelle in the original sitcom from the '80s/'90s is actually a good start in terms of possible parallels. Doing this also gives people behind-the-show fresh ways to poke fun at the Olsens' absence - something that they have been constantly doing in the last four years - without having to break the fourth wall.
Should the real Michelle Tanner finally decides to show up in Fuller House (whether it's anyone from the Olsen twins or Elizabeth Olsen who was reportedly approached for the role), the fact that there are two Michelles in the house can still be a great gag. Otherwise, just the idea that the new Michelle will be technically named Michelle Tanner-Gibbler will continue to the recurring joke from Full House to Fuller House that the Tanners will never really be able to get rid of the Gibblers.
Of course, this major narrative development hinges on whether or not Netflix will order one more season of Fuller House. A couple of months before season 4 dropped, rumors started swirling that the streaming giant has been contemplating on pulling the plug on the spinoff sequel. With no word whatsoever with regard to its future, fans would have to wait for an official announcement regarding the show's future.
Fuller House season 4 is available now on Netflix.