Rowan Blanchard, 11, will play Riley Matthews on "Girl Meets World"
Riley's best friend Maya will be played by Sabrina Carpenter
Jacobs says he hopes the "Girl Meets World" pilot captures "the confusions about growing up"
After months of speculation surrounding the “Boy Meets World” reboot, “Girl Meets World,” it seems like the pieces are finally starting to come together.
Early last week, EW broke the news that 11-year-old Rowan Blanchard was cast to play the series’ Girl, Riley Matthews. Since then, producers have also filled the spot of Riley’s best friend, Maya (Sabrina Carpenter), and announced the addition of two more roles (including one, Shamus Farkle, who sounds a whole lot like “BMW’s” resident geek Minkus).
So, who else can we expect to see on Girl Meets World? And what will Cory and Topanga be like now that they’re all grown up? Entertainment Weekly spoke to “Boy Meets World” creator Michael Jacobs, who is exec producing the “Girl Meets World” pilot for Disney, to get the scoop on what fans of the coming-of-age classic should expect.
On why “Girl Meets World” almost didn’t happen: When execs at Disney first approached Jacobs with the idea of revisiting Boy Meets World, he promptly nixed the idea. “There’s a natural reticence to want to try and attempt something that you’ve been really lucky enough to do once,” explains Jacobs. But after mulling it over, Jacobs decided that he wanted to create a show for the “new generation of kids that live in a much more difficult world.” The only catch? Jacobs was dead set against doing a sequel, which he felt would amount to nothing more than a reunion show. “A reunion show that’s one and done,” says Jacobs, who instead suggested centering the pilot on Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley. “But to actually take the children of Cory and Topanga and watch on two levels [as they] grow up and as Cory and Topanga keep growing up, I can’t resist that. I can’t resist that and I’m very hopeful the audience won’t resist it either.”
On his vision for Girl Meets World: Like its predecessor, Jacobs says he hopes the pilot for “Girl Meets World” captures “the confusions about growing up and what we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to aspire to be.” As for Jacobs’ own aspirations for the show, he says, “There’s a column that I want to play in and that column contains The Wonder Years and Happy Days. That was always the column that I wanted Boy Meets World to be included in and I want Girl Meets World to be in that column as well.”
On Cory and Topanga as parents: They may have two kids, but don’t expect Cory and Topanga to have it all figured out. “Topanga has always been much more certain that Cory. Cory has always been confused. That would never stop,” says Jacobs, who explains that the long-time sweethearts will have differing points of views on parenting. “Now he’s a father. Cory Matthews doesn’t know how to be a father.” Cory will also be grappling with his decision to become a teacher. “He’s following in the footsteps of [Mr. Feeney], the most influential character in his life,” says Jacobs. “Should he be? Will he succeed? Can he influence children like Feeney influenced children? What is Topanga’s observation of that? How does she help? And what is Topanga’s life? And what has she become? You’ll remember we left the series and they were in Philly and they were going on an adventure to go to New York. Did they succeed? Did it work? All of that will be answered in the pilot.”
On Riley’s personality: Will the youngest Matthews be more like her dad or her mom? Jacobs won’t say, though he will reveal that “she is going to be much more like one than the other but that second parent will pop up in ridiculously unexpected times and places and add to the confusion of who this character is.” As for who she’s isn’t? Jacobs says that Riley will not aspire to be an actress, singer, or dancer as many fans have speculated. “That was never Boy Meets World and it’s the farthest thing that this show will be.”
On whether or not other Boy Meets World cast-members will make an appearance: While Jacobs says many of the supporting characters, including Riley’s brother and her rebellious best friend, will be reminiscent of old favorites like Shawn, Eric, and Minkus, he also adds that the door is “wide open” for those originals to make an appearance on the series if the pilot gets picked up. “I think there’s more than a chance,” says Jacobs, who explains that he’s spoken to many of the former cast members and that they’ve all expressed interest in being apart of the project in some capacity. “I think there’s a strong chance,” he says.
On reuniting with Savage and Fishel: Though Jacobs has stayed in touch with both Savage and Fishel, he says reuniting with them for Girl Meets World has been “the greatest possible thing that can happen.” Jacobs, who refers to the actors as his surrogate children, is hoping fans will feel the same. “[Hanging out with them] is gratifying and rewarding and what I’m hopeful for is that there will be a vast audience who wants to hangout with them again as well.”