The showrunner promised viewers will see “OG characters mourning this character that we’ll never get to see again.”
When “Saved By the Bell” returns for a second season at Peacock later this month, Bayside High will be mourning the loss of Screech Powers — in a tribute to the late Dustin Diamond.
While Diamond wasn’t asked to appear in the first season of the streaming revival, the show hoped to include him at some point down the line. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 44 earlier this year. After his passing, the original cast and crew got to work figuring out how to best honor Diamond’s memory.
“It would have been wrong to not acknowledge that in a real way and to not have our OG characters mourning this character that we’ll never get to see again,” showrunner Tracey Wigfield confirmed to Variety. “That, I wanted to put on the screen, but I just wanted to make sure we were being as sensitive as possible. There was a real guy who had people who loved him. You don’t want to make any jokes or talk about it in any way that might hurt anyone’s feelings.”
The tribute episode will also include footage from the original series, showcasing the importance of Screech and Diamond’s lasting legacy.
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Diamond passed away at 44 in February after a battle with stage four lung cancer. The actor had finished his first round of chemotherapy when his condition deteriorated.
At the time Diamond’s representative said in a statement, “He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer.”
“He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
When news of his passing broke, Diamond’s “Saved By The Bell” co-stars also paid tribute on social media.
Mario Lopez told Access Hollywood, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce my friend and Saved by the Bell costar passed away this morning.” He added, “He was like a little brother to me and we always remained in contact over the years. I actually spoke with him a couple weeks ago after he got his diagnosis. Even then, he was full of energy and he was optimistic. Life is just so fragile and not to be taken for granted. Our prayers are with Dustin’s family and his friends.”
Tiffani Thiessen shared a tribute to her Instagram page, adding, “I am deeply saddened by I the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing. Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.”
Mark-Paul Gosselaar tweeted out his tribute, writing, “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade.”
“I’m grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true. I will hold onto those sweet memories and the laughs we shared. Rest In Peace.” Elizabeth Berkley also added on her page at the time.
Added Lark Voorhies: “Dustin and I had a warm and special friendship, he was a caring gentleman, and my memories of him will always be cherished,” she continued. “I am so very sorry he is gone. But it’s exceptionally sad for his close loved ones who have do deal with his tragic death and their own great loss. My heart goes out to them at this trying time.”
“Saved by the Bell” returns for a second season November 24 on Peacock.