NY Comic Con audiences were the first to screen the premiere episode of Roswell, New Mexico, the upcoming reboot of Jason Katims’ popular WB Sci-Fi teen drama Roswell.
But this new story doesn’t take place in high school. Though following similar plot points as the original series’ first episode, Roswell, New Mexico opens with late twenties biomedical researcher Liz Ortecho (a Latina incarnation of the Liz Parker character) returning home to Roswell after ten years. The same inciting incident that began events in the previous series occurs but when the characters are in their twenties.
After the screening, a panel including executive producer Carina MacKenzie, some of the writers, Jeanine Mason (Liz) and Nathan Parsons (Max) took to the stage to discuss the show.
McKenzie first addressed the decision to turn Liz Parker into Liz Ortecho, saying she loved the WB network shows in the 1990s “but they were really, really white.” McKenzie pushed for more representation on screen and off, including in the writer’s room.
“There wasn’t any reason to update it unless we made it current,” McKenzie said. This is evident in the pilot, which references overly aggressive immigration and customs enforcement, sanctuary cities, and a particularly pointed line about Liz’s research funding getting cut because “someone wants to put up a wall.”
Another change is that Kyle Valenti’s sheriff father is now his sheriff mother in this iteration. But perhaps the biggest change from the original is a backstory concerning Liz’s sister Rosa, whose death ten years ago was believed to be due to a car accident she caused because of a drug addiction but we’re led to believe may have been caused in some way by the central alien trio. Also, those familiar with the former series may be surprised with how some of the familiar romantic couples have changed.
Though the central relationship firmly remains Liz and Max, and the chemistry between Mason and Parsons is immediate. Mason also promises the relationship between aliens Max, Isabelle, and Michael will be a highlight: “That whole dynamic is going to be so yummy.”
And, for those wondering if cast members from Roswell, New Mexico’s predecessor will become involved in the new show, Mckenzie announced that Liz Parker herself, Shirey Appleby, has signed on to direct in the future.
Roswell, New Mexico premieres on the CW April 29th, 2019.