The "Boy Meets World" cast came together Friday in Austin, Texas, at the 2nd annual ATX Television Festival for the series' first-ever reunion since the show wrapped its seven-season run in 2000. Yes, you're doing your math correctly, it's been 13 years!
A sold-out theatre of 300 fans was treated to a screening of the series finale before the cast and show creator Michael Jacobs came onstage for a panel discussion. It was nearly impossible to watch that final episode without feeling a pang of nostalgia for the family-friendly TGIF TV fare of the '90s. During "BMW's" very last scene where the kids are saying their goodbyes to Mr. Feeny, sniffles and "awwws" were audible throughout the aisles. We're pretty sure there wasn't a single dry eye in the room when the screening concluded.
"We did that last scene in one take because we were all just wrecked," Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter) revealed. "It was our last scene in front of an audience. It was so close to home that there was no filter between Shawn and Rider at that point. It was the same person freaking out."
"It was almost like saying goodbye to our childhood," Ben Savage (Cory Matthews) said. "It's hard for me to even watch that scene. That was kind of like the end of our childhood. It wasn't just the end of our show. For us personally, it really meant a lot."
Watch that emotional last scene (Warning: Have tissues ready!):
Savage, Strong, Matthew Lawrence (Jack Hunter), Betsy Randle (Amy Matthews), Maitland Ward (Rachel McGuire), Trina McGee (Angela Moore), Lily Nicksay (the first actress to play Morgan Matthews), and Jacobs then talked extensively about memorable moments while shooting the show, shared some on and off set behind-the-scenes stories, and even teased what to expect from the "Girl Meets World" pilot.
Missing (but not forgotten) from the panel were William Daniels (George Feeny), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), William Russ (Alan Matthews), and Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence) who appeared in a pre-taped video apologizing for her absence.
Here are 10 of our favorite revelations from the reunion:
1. Topanga Has a Tattoo?
The final classroom scene with Mr. Feeny may have made the actors cry, but on the other side of the cameras, Jacobs had an entirely different emotion — all because of a tiny neck tattoo.
Jacobs recounts the moment: "That last scene for me was about Danielle's tattoo. We were only going to do it one time. I'm watching the scene and I turn to one of my writers and he asks, 'What's on her neck?' and I go, 'Chinese letters.' He goes, 'Did you know they were there before?' I said, 'Hair has never given her pigtails.' He asks, 'Why would they do that on the final scene?' I said, 'I don't know, but I can't fire them now.'"
2. The Mystery of Mr. Feeny
The young actors all thought Daniels was British, and assumed he didn't understand them because he was from England. They, of course, were wrong; Daniels hails from Brooklyn, New York.
Strong's mind was totally blown when he finally figured out that Daniels was KITT from "Knight Rider." Yep, Mr. Feeny was not only the most awesome teacher on TV, he was also the voice of one of TV's coolest cars.
3. The Death Chair
From the beginning, the plan was for Cory to have two best friends. So many kids cycled through to complete the Cory/Shawn friendship triangle, that the chair the various actors sat in earned a nickname.
"This is totally awful, but we use to have a chair that we called the Death Chair because whoever sat in it, wouldn't be back the next week," Strong divulged. "If you go back [to early episodes], there's always another kid with us. And the next week there'd be another kid sitting with us."
4. Disney's Missing a Couple of "BMW" Props
Strong shared that he kept his character's leather jacket after the show ended, but "some hipster in Brooklyn" stole it out of his car. Savage recently found a nice pair of black leather shoes labeled "Cory" in his closet. To the Disney prop department, both guys wanted to pass along this message: "Sorry!"
5. When '90s Shows Collide
In Fishel's video message, the actress described how fellow '90s TV star Jared Leto a.k.a. Jordan Catalano of "My So-Called Life" (another show that had a cast reunion at ATX on Friday) rescued her after her car had hydroplaned in the rain on the way to work. Swoon!
6. The Eric Matthews Kissing Booth
Memorable "BMW" guest stars include Kristanna Loken (who went on to become the Terminator in the franchise's third installment) and the late Brittany Murphy. Jacobs also remembers how the kissing scenes between Friedle and the gals who played his love interests always seemed to go on much longer than they needed to be. Hey, what guy wouldn't take his sweet time making out with Keri Russell and Jennifer Love Hewitt?
7. Keeping It in the Family
The boy who played Cory's little brother Joshua in the series finale is Jacobs's son, Danny. The original child actor they cast for the role was being uncooperative that day, so Jacobs told his wife to bring their son to the set. Danny totally nailed the part, even adlibbing the lines "yeah," "good," and "Topanga!"
Watch the finale scene of Cory's talk with his younger brother:
8. The Stalker Family
The cast fondly remembers a family of fans who came to every single "BMW" taping bearing gifts of baked cookies. "We affectionately called them the Stalker Family," Strong said. "They were great!"
Savage added, "They were very dedicated fans."
9. Morgan #1, the Globetrotter
After leaving "BMW," the young Nicksay attended high school in the highlands of Scotland, sailed around Europe, lived with a tribe in Thailand, and studied Latin and Ancient Greek at St. Andrews. She's back on American soil now, Los Angeles to be exact, and "rediscovering her childhood love of acting." Oh, and she plays the bagpipes.
10. "Girl Meets World" Scoop
Jacobs stressed that the "GMW" spinoff will be its own show, but every single "Boy Meets World" cast member has a place on the new show if they want it.
On that note, McGee coyly teased that viewers would have to "stay tuned" to see what happened to Angela and Shawn after all these years. Let's hope that means one of our favorite "BMW" couples will pop up in the near future!
Both Savage and Fishel agreed that it's been easy working together again. "Reuniting with Ben has been even better than I could've possibly imagine it was going to be," gushed Fishel. The minute we walked into rehearsal, Ben was Cory and I was Topanga, and we were together and it was like no time had passed. There is something so special about the bond we share. I always tell people — it seems a little weird — but it does feel like he's my husband. He will always be my first husband."
Keep your eyes peeled: As a nod to Mr. Feeny's final lesson to Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and Eric 13 years ago, Cory's classroom on "GMW" has a small chalkboard that says, "Do good."
Check out photos on the set of "Girl Meets World":