Given Dustin Diamond’s highly-publicized troubles in the years since he appeared on the original Saved By The Bell, his absence from the new reboot didn’t exactly raise an eyebrow. But it seems like the door is definitely open for the return of the beloved Screech Powers: In the eighth episode of Peacock’s Saved By The Bell, much of the original gang reunites for Bayside’s Homecoming celebration for a little catch-up where it’s revealed that Screech and Kevin (the artificially intelligent robot he built and perhaps his only true friend) aren’t present because they’re on the international space station. According to EW, that Kevin reference was specifically dropped into the episode by Tracy Wigfield, the showrunner and executive producer of the reboot.
The episode features returning characters Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), who is now the governor of California and married to Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), and Dr. Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and her husband A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez)—both of whom now work at Bayside. Also on deck: Lark Voorhies reprising the role of Lisa Turtle, who has unsurprisingly become a fashion designer in Paris. Voorhies’s return was something of a question mark following her own run-ins with controversy in recent years, but her involvement suggests there may be another reason for Diamond’s absence. EW notes a recent interview in which Voorhies told a Toronto radio station that the “almighty dollar” is the culprit:
He wants to be paid and respected. We would love for him to come back on set. He’s going through his growing pains…He’s going through his adult issues and all of that but I am sure he’ll be back—granted they have the perfect contract for him. I’m sure he would be back.