The cast of Boy Meets World reunited for the first time on Friday at the Austin Television Festival in Austin, Texas to reminisce about the fan-favorite comedy.
Ben Savage (Cory), Rider Strong (Shawn), Matthew Lawrence (Jack), Betsy Randle(Mama Matthews), Trina McGee (Angela), Maitland Ward (Rachel), Lily Nicksay (Morgan #1), and BMW creator creator Michael Jacobs delighted a sold out crowd with stories of their favorites moments from the series, which ended its seven year run in 2000. Even Danielle Fishel, who could’t make it to the festival in person, taped a special message and Q&A session for fans.
So why does Boy Meets World still resonate with fans so strongly after all these years? “We never talked down to you,” Jacobs told the crowd. “We talked about the things that were going to happen next for you and you all appreciated that.”
The core relationship on the show was always the friendship between Cory and Shawn, but all of the actors admitted that it took the addition of Topanga to really make things click. “We are just felt it,” Strong shared of the episode that first introduced Cory’s future wife. “The best TV shows are always a combination of a good concept, really strong writing, and then it comes down to whether the cast can get along… and we all did.”
Ben Savage credited the show’s success with the fact that the BMW wasn’t afraid to explore those truly awkward pre-teen and teenage years. “The writers did a really good job of embracing the awkward years of any teen. And I think that’s what a lot of people could identify with when they watched the show,” he laughed, admitting that even at 33-years-old he was still in an awkward phase.
As the show grew and expanded, more actors were brought in to fill out Cory, Shawn, and Topanga’s group, including Matthew Lawrence, Maitland Ward, and Trina McGee. The transition was wasn’t always smooth, Lawrence shared. “The first week I was there… I think out of the 100 notes we were given, I got 89 of them,” he laughed. “I felt like I was doing a bad job, but all these guys rallied around me and helped me elevate my game.”
McGee felt honored to join the cast midway through the show’s run and thought her character added an important dynamic to the show. “There was always this colorless love between me and Shawn. And I thought it was so needed and so wonderful at the time,” the actress revealed.
Saying goodbye to the show after seven great years on the air was extremely emotional for the cast, who felt like they were also saying goodbye to more than just a television show. “It’s hard for me to even watch that [final] scene… It wasn’t just the end of our show, it really meant a lot,” Savage shared.
Strong couldn’t help taking a little piece of Shawn with him when he left the set for the very last time. “I even kept the leather jacket and took it with me to New York. And then it got stolen out of my car in Brooklyn! I was so pissed,” he laughed.
Other fun BMW facts revealed at the ATX panel:
• Rider Strong was the very first actor that producers saw audition for the series. Jacobs immediately knew that he was the right person to play Shawn and almost didn’t see the rest of the child actors who had shown up to audition.
• The role of Topanga originally went to another young actress. Danielle Fishel was called in as a replacement at the last minute.
• Maitland Ward never audition for Boy Meets World. She instead audition for another of Jacobs shows, Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane. She didn’t get the part on that series, but instead was offered the role of Rachel on Boy Meets World.
• The final scene of the series finale (where the gang says goodbye to Mr. Feeny) was shot in one take. Producers noticed Danielle Fishel’s neck tattoo for the very first time during the filming of the final scene.
• The little boy who plays Cory’s toddler brother Joshua in the finale was played by Michael Jacobs’ real-life son Daniel, who was brought in at the last second after another child actor started running around the set and halted production.
• Most of the cast named the Season 5 horror spoof episode “And Then There Was Shawn” as their favorite episode of all time.
• The young cast thought William Daniels (Feeny) was British! He’s not, he just has impeccable diction.