‘The Waltons’ stars reunite for TV reboot

By Caroline Humer and Nancy Bloomfield, CNN • Updated 3rd December 2017

For generations of Americans, Loretta Swit, Henry Thomas and Anne Bancroft have been synonymous with the beloved PBS series “The Waltons,” and now four of the original stars have reunited for a TV reboot of the show called “Homecoming.”

The reboot will feature Swit as Agent Sandra Crane, Henry Thomas as H.I.V. diagnosis patient Thomas Westfall and Anne Bancroft as White House Press Secretary Helen Sharpe. The series, which premieres December 18th, follows Swit’s character as she returns to her hometown to help out a war veteran who has been discharged from the Army.

Swit says the show’s premise makes sense in today’s political climate, and it still centers on good-natured moments of interaction between people of different races and backgrounds.

“I think people are going to be intrigued by it, like ‘Wow I can relate to this,’” she said. “They are going to say, ‘This is, maybe, something I could do.’”

Thomas added: “If anything, it’s going to give the new audience the idea that they can open up to the idea that they are not really so different from each other.”

‘Maybe we should give it a chance’

For decades, the CBS series defined an era, drawing viewers with heartwarming scenes and intimate storylines.

When asked if he has seen the new series, Thomas said he didn’t think so until a friend handed him the script.

“I was happy to learn that, I think, [that] the new show does touch on a lot of the elements of the original show that made it so special and so admired,” he said.

“It’s really wonderful to see these moments of humanity back together, because I think that’s what the show did so very well,” Swit added.

“It’s not cynical, it’s not negative,” she said. “It just knows what’s there. And that’s a very precious thing. It’s beautiful to capture those values once again.”

Embracing change

Swit and Thomas were given the choice to return as well as their old co-stars, Sally Struthers and Lindsay Wagner. Swit said she was hesitant at first about coming back to her character, but ultimately decided to go with the project because of its positive message and because “maybe we should give it a chance.”

Thomas said, for him, it was easy to embrace the new show since he had just finished work on it.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I knew it was all going to be fine… I was the one holding the phone and saying ‘Don’t do it, it’s so exciting.’”

In 2015, according to Entertainment Weekly, “Homecoming” was one of two pilot episodes for a new series called “Watchmen,” which got picked up but was canceled before it aired.

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