Here's What Danica McKellar Really Thinks About The Wonder Years Reboot - Exclusive

Danica McKellar — and her character, Winnie Cooper — did a lot of serious growing up on "The Wonder Years." During her five seasons on the show, she transformed from a precocious child to a young woman, as did her character. So central was this role in her life that despite her many other accomplishments — including a role on "The West Wing," an exclusive contract and new movie, "The Winter Palace," with GAC Family, and according to The New York Times, even a mathematical theorem bearing her name — many fans still think of her as Winnie Cooper.

So with a new "Wonder Years" reboot underway (with Fred Savage, McKellar's co-star in the original "Wonder Years," as its director and executive producer, per the Hollywood Reporter), curious minds can't help wondering if McKellar had or will have any role in the new show. And if so, how would it feel returning to major part of her past and watching it transformed into something new and different? In this exclusive interview, McKellar shares her thoughts on the "Wonder Years" reboot and how it compares to the original.

The original Wonder Years showed a unique and special perspective of the world

For Danica McKellar, one of the most distinctive and ground-breaking things about the original "Wonder Years" was that it showed a kid's-eye view of the world and it took the hopes, fears, and concerns of its young protagonists as seriously as the characters themselves did. "On 'The Wonder Years,' what we did for the first time, I think, is to show and to remind adults, 'wait a minute, remember your feelings were really valid. And they meant something, and they were worthwhile and worth looking at and honoring,'" she said. "That show honored a kid's feelings in a way that most people don't, I think."

One way the original show emphasized its youth-centered perspective was by relegating the major historical events of the time depicted in the show — the tumultuous late 1960s — to background noise, because for a middle-schooler growing up in the '60s, that's all it was. "It's that take on a 12-year-old's perspective on the world, that innocent perspective when so many big things are going on and the priorities for the 12-year-old-boy are very different," McKellar said. "And then on our show, I remember there's tons of things going on, like with the Vietnam War and all the rest of it. But Fred Savage's character would be worried about, 'Should I call that girl or not?'"

McKellar thinks the Wonder Years reboot is doing a great job honoring its kid characters

McKellar has nothing but praise for the new reboot. "I think they're doing an amazing job," she said. "It's a very different show, but it's a great show." It's different enough in casting and style that when her former co-star Fred Savage told her about it, she assumed it would be a completely new show, not a reboot. "I remember when Fred told me about it a long time ago, I was like, 'Oh, that's so cool. What are you going to call it?' He's like, 'Well, 'The Wonder Years,'" she said.

Despite the differences, she sees a clear thematic line between the original and new shows. "If you want to take 'The Wonder Years' and say, okay, well, that title, that name means seeing the world through a 12-year-old's perspective, then yes, it's perfect. And I think that it's a wonderful way to explore so many topics and issues of the world in maybe multiple eras, where the 12-year-old's perspective is just different. And maybe we'll get a 12-year-old girl at some point." She also sees "The Wonder Years" as a way to remind adults that kids are actual thinking, feeling people too. "Remembering what our priorities were compared to what they are now kind of helps to ground you and also has this way of helping you to relate to kids," she said.

"The Winter Palace" is currently airing only on GAC Family.