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Fuller House Should Have Recast Michelle Tanner (& Not Doing So Made Her Absence More Noticeable)


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Summary

  • The Full House reboot Fuller House made a mistake by not recasting the character of Michelle Tanner.
  • Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the Olsen twins, would have been an ideal replacement for Michelle.
  • Michelle’s absence in Fuller House is a noticeable plot hole and the show would have been better off recasting her rather than ignoring her character altogether.


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Despite legitimate creative reasons behind the decision, the Full House reboot Fuller House would have been better off recasting Michelle Tanner instead of her character not appearing in the show at all. Full House was a feel-good family sitcom from the 80s and 90s that follows widow Danny Tanner, who is left raising his three daughters after his wife’s death, with the help of the girls’ live-in uncles. A reboot of the beloved sitcom called Fuller House was released on Netflix in 2016, now centering on the two eldest Tanner daughters, DJ and Stephanie. Nearly every main character from the original series returned for Fuller House to some extent, except for one.

The only original main character from Full House who doesn’t make an appearance in Fuller House is Michelle, the youngest Tanner daughter. Michelle was played by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen on Full House, who made their acting debut on the show at just six months old. The twins alternated playing Michelle for the duration of the show until it wrapped with its eighth season in 1995. However, when the idea of a reboot came up, neither of the Olsen twins was interested in reprising their role as Michelle in Fuller House. This left producers with a difficult dilemma regarding Michelle’s character. However, while leaving Michelle out of the reboot altogether certainly solved a potential continuity issue, it was ultimately not the best decision for the series.

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Fuller House Should Have Recast Michelle (& Why The Sequel Series Didn’t)

They already had an ideal replacement

Even before production began on the reboot, producers should have been prepared for the Michelle issue. While it was said that Fuller House star and producer John Stamos was to blame for the Olsen twins’ absence in Fuller House due to his failure to reach out to them personally, the twins had already unofficially retired from acting by the time Fuller House was in the works. The fact that they’d barely acted since they turned 18 in 2004, focusing instead on building their fashion empire, is more likely the reason for their lack of interest in returning.

Since the twins weren’t on board, the producers of Fuller House considered recasting Michelle with Elizabeth Olsen, the twins’ younger sister who had become a successful working actress by then. Elizabeth would have been the perfect replacement for Michelle: not only does she bear a familial resemblance to the original actresses, but Olsen’s later work in Wandavision proves she would have nailed a family sitcom role like Fuller House. Unfortunately, the producers never seriously pursued this possibility, with the series’ creator Jeff Franklin claiming that it “was just an idea” and that they “were never going to recast the role.

However, the Fuller House producers should have ultimately reconsidered their stance, since the character’s absence is a major plot hole in the series. Even if Elizabeth Olsen didn’t sign on, the reboot still would have been better off recasting Michelle with another actress who bears at least some resemblance to the twins. The character didn’t have to be a part of the main cast again, but she could have made at least an appearance or two over the course of Fuller House‘s five seasons in order to provide audiences with some closure and a proper explanation for her absence.

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Michelle’s Age In Full House Made Her One Of The Easiest Characters To Recast

Michelle was still a child when Full House ended in 1995

Michelle Tanner talking to an imaginary version of herself in her bedroom in Full House

Recasting Michelle would have been a lot easier than most of the other characters on Full House, considering how young she still was on the show. Michelle was the baby of the Tanner family, and besides her cousins, Alex and Nicky, she was the youngest overall on the show. When Full House ended in 1995, Michelle was only eight years old.

The decision to ignore the character altogether is baffling.

Regardless of who played her, Michelle would have looked very different in the reboot 21 years later, because the character wouldn’t be a child anymore. While most viewers probably know what the Olsen twins look like as adults, grown-up Michelle didn’t have to look exactly like they do now for a recast to work. As long as the actress cast to play Michelle as an adult in Fuller House had similar features to the Olsen twins when they were young, the recast would have been convincing enough that viewers were able to suspend their sense of disbelief, avoiding any potential continuity issues. This makes the decision to ignore the character altogether even more baffling.

Related

Fuller House: Michelle Died In Full House — Theory Explained

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Leaving The Youngest Tanner Out Of Fuller House Made Her Absence Too Noticeable

Michelle should’ve appeared on Fuller House at least a few times

The Fuller House cast sitting around the table at the Tanner house.

Instead of recasting the role, Michelle was simply written out of Fuller House entirely. Her absence in the pilot is acknowledged by revealing that Michelle is now working as a fashion designer in New York, a not-so-subtle reference to the Olsens’ alternate career path that prevented them from returning to the show. The characters continued to make sparing references to Michelle and the Olsen twins on Fuller House, often in the form of meta-jokes that explain Michelle’s absence from major holidays and life events while playfully teasing the twins about their own perpetual absence from the show.

While Fuller House may try to make excuses for Michelle’s absence, just because she lives in New York now doesn’t mean she would never return to San Francisco to visit her family. It would have been a lot less jarring, given the tight-knit family dynamics established throughout the series, if the part was simply recast. Michelle’s story in Fuller House could still have remained the same, but some acknowledgment of the character’s importance to the wider Full House narrative would have been much more satisfying. Ultimately, Michelle’s total absence from Fuller House was more noticeable and bizarre than if the show had just recast her and played it off like she was the same person.

Fuller House

Release Date
February 26, 2016

Cast
Jodie Sweetin , Juan Pablo Di Pace , Elias Harger , Adam Hagenbuch , Candace Cameron Bure , Fox Messitt , Michael Campion , John Brotherton , Dashiell Messitt , Andrea Barber , Scott Weinger , Soni Bringas

Prequel
Full House

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