Before signing on for season 28 of the hit dancing competition, the actor competed on the show as part of a storyline on the sitcom Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.
In season 2 of the since-canceled show, Van Der Beek, who played a fictionalized version of himself, stressed over who would be his pro dancing partner and how to beat his biggest competition, Dean Cain.
“You don’t see too much more of the preparation and the build up to it,” Van Der Beek told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012. “My competition is Dean Cain. I have to beat Dean Cain. He’s superman.”
When it came time for Van Der Beek to show off his dancing moves, the actor accidentally drank a spiked tea and had a total meltdown on stage.
During the ending credits of the episode, the actor performed the full dance, joking that he wasn’t going to let his “hard work” go to waste.
“Do you have any idea how hard I had to work to learn that dance routine?” he said on Don’t Trust the B. “And the producers cut it down to, what, like, 20 seconds? No way. Not on my watch. You’re welcome, America.”
But while he said he had a “blast” filming the scene, he didn’t have any plans to appear on the show in real life — that is, until now.
“I think it’s more fun to do it this way. You can play it for laughs and not have to do all that work!” he told Parade in 2012.
But speaking to PEOPLE Now on Wednesday, Van Der Beek said he “always secretly wanted to do it,” saying that’s why he pitched the DWTS storyline on Don’t Trust the B.
“And then we did it, and I thought, ‘Well, okay, I’ve done it,'” he added. “I’ve been writing and creating, and I just sold a show. We’re going to start production probably in about four months. And this came up, and I thought, ‘That’s crazy … I love crazy. Do I want to do this? Yes!’ And so I’m here.”
Along with Van Der Beek, the Supremes’ Mary Wilson, Karamo Brown, The Bachelorette‘s Hannah Brown, supermodel Christie Brinkley, country star Lauren Alaina, NFL legend Ray Lewis, The Office star Kate Flannery, pop star Ally Brooke, Lamar Odom, Kel Mitchell and President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer round out the season 28 celebrity competitors.
This season, the pro dance partner pairings won’t be unveiled until the premiere.
Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 16 on ABC.