How Saved By the Bell Season 2 Pays Tribute to Dustin Diamond

The second season of Peacock's revival of Saved By the Bell has released new details on how it plans to honor the late Dustin Diamond, who played Screech in the original series. Diamond passed away earlier in the year at the age of 44 due to Stage IV small-cell Carcinoma, and did not make an appearance in Saved By the Bell's first season on Peacock. However, he was referenced in an episode, with hopes he could make an appearance in future seasons. With the rest of the original cast members all returning for Season 2, executive producer Franco Bario and showrunner Tracey Wigfield talked with Variety about its planned tribute to Diamond, and how the two did have a conversation before Season 1. 

Bario said he talked to Diamond to "fill him in on the Screech mentions in the first season and how those may lead us to possible stories that would include him in Season 2." "I didn't know him and I hadn't met him," Wigfield said. The showrunner added how "just thinking about it as a fan, I knew we wanted to do more than just putting a picture of him up at the end."

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(Photo: Trae Patton/Peacock)

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Mario Lopez are two of the original cast members that star in Peacock's Saved By the Bell. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, and Lark Voorhies return as guest stars throughout Seasons 1 and 2. Wigfield said Diamond's co-stars wanted to pay tribute to the Screech actor, so a reunion at their old onscreen hangout, The Max, was filmed.

"At the beginning of this season, we already were coming into writing Season 2 [where] obviously Dustin was one thing, but we also were like in a pandemic and in general in the first episode, everyone was feeling the same sense of everyone understands how heavy this last year has been," Wigfield said. "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. 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."

Various clips of Diamond from the original series will also be shown, but the creative team made a point to be selective on what was chosen. Bario noted that "a lot of what Screech was is known for was being the butt of a joke or being an outrageous character, and what we were hoping for was using the clips to show how important he was to the show, but also to the other characters in the show."

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