Lily Tomlin Is Hoping Dolly Parton Will Appear in ‘Grace and Frankie’ Season 7

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Kayla Blanton
·5 min read
Lily Tomlin Is Hoping Dolly Parton Will Appear in ‘Grace and Frankie’ Season 7
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From Prevention

  • Season 7 of Grace and Frankie will be the last one for the show—making it Netflix’s longest-running original series.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic paused production in mid-March 2020, but Jane Fonda confirmed filming will resume in summer 2021.

  • Below, we dig into a potential release date, plot twists, and who will return from the original cast.

The release of Grace and Frankie season 6 was bittersweet. When the credits rolled on the last episode, we couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness, knowing that only season 7 remains.

But the excitement for Grace and Frankie’s final season lasted only as long as the COVID-19 pandemic allowed. In stride with the rest of Hollywood, the show’s production paused in mid-March for the cast and crew’s safety, per Deadline. Since then, they’ve eagerly awaited a callback, even doing a virtual table read for charity in April. In September, Jane Fonda (who portrays Grace) told Today that filming would resume in January 2021. Unfortunately, that date has now been pushed back even further.

Season 7 filming will now resume in June 2021.

Fonda broke the news to fans in a November blog post. “We’ve gotten word that Grace and Frankie will continue filming our 7th and final season in early June of 2021,” she wrote. “A long time to wait but, given the age and vulnerability of the four leads, it’s best. I’ll be headed into 84 by the time we’re done. Yikes!”

It’s been a tough hiatus for the whole cast, equivalent to being separated from family. Fonda especially misses her co-star Lily Tomlin, who plays her partner in crime, Frankie. “We’re all very close. It’s a happy set,” she told Today. “I love Lily. When I don’t see her on a regular basis, I need a fix.”

The Netflix series was renewed in September 2019, per Variety, making it the longest running original show on the platform. “It’s thrilling and somehow fitting, that our show about the challenges, as well as the beauty and dignity of aging, will be the oldest show on Netflix,” series co-creators and showrunners Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris said in a statement.

Season 7 could premiere as late as mid-2022.

The series finale has no official release date because circumstances could change as the pandemic evolves. But, if all goes as planned and the crew assumes a normal schedule, the premiere could fall in mid-2022. (If we’re lucky, though—fingers crossed!—new episodes could arrive earlier.)

Photo credit: Ali Goldstein / Netflix
Photo credit: Ali Goldstein / Netflix

There will be 16 episodes.

The first six seasons have all featured 13 half-hour long episodes. Season 7 is blessing fans with 16, per Variety. It’s unclear how those extra 90 minutes will affect the final storyline, but it’s bound to be good, regardless. When it’s all said and done, Grace and Frankie will have 94 episodes total.

Dolly Parton will *hopefully* make an appearance.

Grace and Frankie provides the perfect opportunity for a 9 to 5 cast reunion with the one and only Dolly Parton, and after six seasons of anticipation, her moment may’ve finally arrived.

“We’re always hoping that will happen,” Tomlin recently told Today. “We’ve got a great role for her this time. I think she will do it. I’m just hoping she will. And we hope she can do it and we think she can do it by remote.” Those conditions limit the part she could end up with—perhaps she shows up in one of Vybrant’s Zoom meetings? (How amazing would that be?)

No word on any additional guest stars yet, but it’s going to be tricky to one-up RuPaul and Nicole Richie.

We know the original core cast will return.

Phew. That’s one bullet dodged. Although they would probably consider it an improvement, to imagine Grace and Frankie without the constant (but endearing) nagging of their complex children is almost impossible. According to Variety, here’s who we can expect to return for sure:

  • Jane Fonda — Grace

  • Lily Tomlin — Frankie

  • Martin Sheen — Robert

  • Sam Waterston — Sol

  • Brooklyn Decker — Mallory

  • June Diane Raphael — Brianna

  • Baron Vaughn — Bud

  • Ethan Embry — Coyote

Season 7 will step into new territory.

In early January, Kauffman gave Good Housekeeping a little bit of season 7 insight—and she hadn’t even started writing the script. “In terms of season 7, I can’t say too much, but we’re going to be dealing with Robert, Sol, Grace, and Frankie in a way in that we haven’t seen before,” she said. “We know as much as we can know without having actually written [season 7]. Things change during production, and things you thought were going to work phenomenally just don’t. We think we know where we’re going, but I’ll let you know when we get there if we stuck to that plan.”

Based on what happened in season 6 (spoiler alert, if you haven’t finished watching), season 7 could see the original four: Grace, Frankie, Sol, and Robert living under the same roof for the first time since their divorces, which could only add to tensions brewing with Grace’s now-husband, Nick. There’s also a good chance season 7 will see yet another family wedding, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Photo credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix
Photo credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix

Fonda and Tomlin called the renewal bittersweet.

“We are both delighted and heartbroken that Grace and Frankie will be back for its seventh, though final, season,” the duo said in a joint statement. “We’re so grateful that our show has been able to deal with issues that have really connected to our grand generation. And their kids, and amazingly, their kids as well! We’ll miss these two old gals, Grace and Frankie, as much as many of their fans will, but we’ll still be around. We’ve outlasted so many things—just hope we don’t outlast the planet.”

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