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Jeff Franklin Talks ‘Fuller House’ Season 2, Returning Characters & the Olsen Twins

Variety logo Variety 12/7/2016 Sarah Ahern
© Provided by Variety

Two decades after “Full House” went off the air, creator Jeff Franklin brought the beloved family sitcom back with a reboot in Netflix’s “Fuller House.”

Turns out, there was still an appetite for the Tanner family. The first season of the modern-day revival pulled in an average audience of 7.33 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic in the first three days in which it was available, according to measurement company Symphony Advanced Media.

“Fuller House” follows the all-grown-up Tanner sisters, D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) and Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), who live together in their San Francisco childhood home with D.J.’s three children, her best childhood friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) and her 13-year-old daughter, following a similar storyline to that of the original series with Stephanie and Kimmy moving in with the widowed D.J. to help her raise her children.

The first season left off with many cliffhangers — D.J.’s love triangle, tension between Kimmy and Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and even tension between the kids — and Franklin promises those storylines will be touched upon in the new season, especially D.J.’s love life.

“The D.J. triangle takes an unexpected turn in the beginning of the season,” Franklin says. “We come back and find out both Steve and Matt have gotten into other relationships while waiting for D.J. to make up her mind, so that’s how it starts. There are a couple twists and turns and things happen, it’s a pretty interesting storyline that we have there.”

Here, Franklin talks to Variety more about what to expect in Season 2, which launches Friday, Dec. 9 on Netflix…

What do you think has garnered “Fuller House” such huge success in its first season?

Well, “Full House” has been on the air now for 29 years. It has become an incredible success in syndication. We have literally hundreds of millions of fans all over the world. I think that they have been so loyal to the show. The ratings in syndication have been incredible. I always suspected that there would be incredible interest in seeing these characters again.

I know that you are quite close with the cast and have remained close with them since the wrap of “Full House.” When you came up with the idea for “Fuller House,” did any of the actors weigh in?

John Stamos and I had lunch one day and we were talking about how at that point, back in 2007, we talked about how sitcoms that the whole family could watch together had seemingly disappeared…The kinds of shows that we had loved growing up and that we had worked on, including “Full House” had just sort of disappeared. And we were thinking about ideas to bring a family show back, and we sort of looked at each other and said, “Well, why don’t we bring ‘Full House’ back?” And that’s sort of how it started. And then I wanted to focus on the three girls, all grown up with kids of their own. The first thing I did was go to Candace and Jodie and make sure that they were interested in this because if they weren’t, then there was really no point in pursuing it. They thought it was a great idea, and were on board and so that began a six-year process of trying to get this show set up.

What has it been like working with a new cast of kids?

We think we have gotten extremely lucky again. I really think we have a big group of special kids. The first season was figuring out who our actors were as people, sort of making the characters the actors. In Season 2, we sort of know who they are now and have hit our stride with writing for our kids. Elias [Harger] in particular is a really special kid. He brings so much comedy to the show. They are all great, but Elias is in a world on his own. I can’t believe we found another great group of kids. The show has been so lucky.

What can you tease about Kimmy and Fernando, and the kids’ storylines coming up in Season 2?

Kimmy and Fernando, the first season it was really sort of rebuilding the trust between them and their relationship, and then in Season 2, we take them much further and learn a whole lot of new things about their relationship. So Kimmy and Fernando will definitely be together in Season 2. Jackson makes some more progress with Lola. Ramona gets her first kiss, Max even meets a fun special little girl, and Stephanie gets involved with a Gibbler.

Will we be seeing the return of any other original characters from “Full House” in the new season?

We will see some fun faces from the past. Gia will make an appearance — Stephanie’s trouble-making friend from her childhood, she’s coming back. There is a high school reunion episode where we will see Nelson and Viper and Kathy Santoni again. Also, New Kids in the Block are in an episode. They are the Beach Boys of “Fuller House” — they were always Candace and Andrea’s favorite band when they were growing up, so they were so happy to have their favorite band come on the show and play. There are a lot of fun faces from the past and some new characters, as well.

You’ve gotten this question many times, but can we expect any appearance from the Olsen twins?

Well, not in Season 2, but I’m not sure about future seasons. The door is still open and I’m sure we will ask and keep trying. Hopefully one of these days, that will happen. It’s something we would all like to see.

Have you received any response from fans or other cast members that they feel there is some sort of void without Michelle’s (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) presence in the house at all?

Well, we’re used to it by now. The show has been really well received so I think that the fans have made their peace with the fact that Michelle is not a big part of the series, although we certainly refer to her now and then. We miss the Olsen twins and miss the character of Michelle, but there is so much going on in the series, I think it’s something that we would like to see, but I don’t think it’s critical to the success of the series.

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