In a fascinating bit of retro casting, it was announced Sunday at New York Comic Con’s Warner Bros. Television panel that Jason Behr—star of the 1999 series Roswell—will join the Roswell, New Mexico cast in a recurring role. Also added to The CW/Warner Bros. Television’s sophomore series will be Gaius Charles, who played fan favorite Brian “Smash” Williams on Friday Night Lights.
Behr played Max Evans in the late-‘90s series; that same character (played by Nathan Dean) ended season 1 dead after sacrificing himself to resurrect Rosa Ortecho (Amber Midthunder), the long-dead sister of his love, Liz (Jeanine Mason).
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“We are very, very lucky that Jason is joining us for a multi-episode arc, at least four,” said showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie during the panel. “I was sitting and watching him work and thinking, I can’t believe he’s here. It’s been an extraordinary experience.”
There’s currently no word on what role Behr will play in the new series, other than “a top secret character with deep ties to Roswell, New Mexico’s history,” according to Adly MacKenzie. In an additional fun twist, Shiri Appleby—who played Liz to Behr’s Max in the 1999 series—directed Behr in at least one of his current episodes.
A bit more is known about the casting of Charles, who will play Bronson, a local farmer with a strong moral compass that leads him to see the good in people—and aliens—in a time of great prejudice. Ultimately, his quest to protect those he loves pits him against some powerful forces. According to executive producer Chris Hollier, Charles will be seen in a 1947 flashback storyline.
“We’re telling a really cool story with Charles in 1947,” said Adly MacKenzie at the panel. “Chris and I were losing our minds when we saw him on the audition list and thought, okay, we got him.”
The panel also allowed Adly MacKenzie to speak to how much has changed in television in the decades since Behr wore Max’s boots, with this series’ Liz being the daughter of undocumented immigrants.
“We did the show because the original Roswell was amazing but it was about white people,” said Adly MacKenzie. “With the conception of a reboot, we wanted to make sure we were being representative. We have a very diverse writer’s room and I try to use my position and privilege to facilitate other stories.”
And will Max return, or simply be in flashbacks? “Who knows?” said Dean with a smile. Added Adly MacKenzie, “He was so good at being dead.”