Embattled sitcom star Roseanne Barr reveals that ABC's upcoming spinoff The Conners will kill off her character via an opioid overdose. While it doesn't happen all that often, one of the hardest hits for a popular show to try and recover from is losing its lead character. For example, ask fans how fondly they tend to remember The X-Files seasons without Mulder, or Sliders without Quinn Mallory, or The Office without Michael Scott. Viewers naturally grow attached to protagonists they come to know over the course of years, and losing that bond can prove impossible for a series to overcome.
This is the hurdle ABC's upcoming Roseanne spinoff The Conners will have to try and jump right out of the gate, as - for obvious reasons - former star Barr won't even be able to make a guest appearance or two to try and streamline the transition. After two decades off the air, Roseanne of course returned to ABC earlier this year, to excellent ratings and mostly good reviews. The network quickly picked up another season, only to reverse course and cancel the comedy after Barr unleashed a racially-charged Tweet that drew a firestorm of criticism.
Barr's longtime co-star John Goodman recently confirmed that The Conners would likely kill off the Roseanne character, and during a recent appearance on a politically conservative Youtube show hosted by Brandon Straka (via IndieWire) Barr herself revealed how Roseanne Conner will die. According to Barr, "They have her die of an opioid overdose." Despite previously promising to remain neutral concerning The Conners, Barr also said that her character's death is an insult to fans of her former show, stressing that the decision has been made, and she has no say in things at this point.
Roseanne fans will recall that during the series' brief revival, the titular character was revealed to have developed an addiction to opioids in the form of various medications she had been taking to ease the pain in her injured knee. Roseanne and Dan had been putting off her surgery due to the fact that having it done would come with a $3,000 insurance co-pay. Roseanne had been keeping her addiction a secret from Dan, who when he found out, insisted that she have the surgery, regardless of what they had to do to pay for it.
Since very, very little is still known about The Conners going into the spinoff's October premiere, it's unknown whether Roseanne Conner's deadly overdose will take place before or after the surgery was scheduled to happen. While one would logically assume that she'd stop taking the pain meds once her knee issues had been resolved, an addiction like that can't simply be defeated by will power, and Roseanne could easily have continued struggling with her problem after the surgery was a success. Whatever the exact circumstances end up being, it'll be interesting to see how The Conners' writers manage to pivot from such a tragic death back to sitcom-style jokes.
The Conners premieres October 16 on ABC.