It's difficult to believe it's been 20 years since Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) followed everyone's favorite sexy whisper talker, Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), across the country on Felicity, but it's true. It's even more difficult to believe there are men and women in college today who weren't even alive when Felicity cut her hair, causing a nationwide meltdown, in Season 2. But the cast of the beloved WB series decided to celebrate our fleeting youth by reuniting at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.
Moderated by superfan Lennon Parham, the panel included director and producer Lawrence Trilling, as well as cast members Russell (Felicity Porter), Speedman (Ben Covington), Scott Foley (Noel Crane), Tangi Miller (Elena Tyler), Amanda Foreman (Meghan Rotundi), Greg Grunberg (Sean Blumberg), Ian Gomez (Javier Quintata), Amy Jo Johnson (Julie Emrick) and Rob Benedict (Richard Coad).
Here are the juiciest behind-the-scenes secrets we learned from the reunion.
Scott Speedman was basically Ben in real life: Many women have obviously dreamed of dating Ben Covington — who wouldn't? — but Speedman said he was actually a lot like his character during that time in his life. "On television, they do really try to write toward you, and I was tortured and brooding," Speedman explained. "There's not much else I can do!" he also joked. And apparently Ben's sexy whisper talking wasn't always a complete act either.
No one knows what was in Meghan's box: According to Foreman, she didn't know what was supposed to be in Meghan's infamous box, but neither did anyone else, including co-creator J.J. Abrams. "It was a [plot] device, but I had a theory that ... maybe it was a confession to a murder or something," she laughed. "It could be a finger! I don't know! It was a device, and it was a fun device."
Russell nearly bombed her audition: Russell said she tends to get very nervous before auditions and actually choked in her second audition for the role of Felicity. "I just remember J.J. and Matt [Reeves] pulled me aside into some copy room and were like, what is going on? Pull yourself together! ... They made me laugh and I went back in and did it again."
Foley and Russell don't even remember the time-travel arc: As any good Felicity fan knows, The WB canceled the show and then decided to order more episodes after the fact. The result was a time-travel arc that always felt a little out of place within the Felicity world. The episodes found Felicity going back in time and choosing Noel instead of Ben, but neither Foley nor Russell remember what happened during any of those episodes. "I don't know why, but I blocked out what happened," said Foley. "Was there a fire?"
Although many fans have expressed dislike for the five-episode coda, Foreman didn't hold back about why she actually liked it. "I thought it was so clever... I thought it was a really fun thing. [Felicity] was questioning if she made the right decision picking Ben, because Ben turned out to be kind of a turd. And so, she got to go back ... and make a different choice and see what would happen."
Felicity's haircut was inspired by a joke that Russell pulled on Abrams: A lot has been written about Felicity's infamous haircut, but the short 'do actually came about after Russell jokingly found a little boy's wig in the makeup trailer at the end of the first season and sent a picture of her wearing it to Abrams. He later asked if she would be interested in actually cutting her hair. The rest, as they say, is TV history.
Amy Jo Johnson did NOT record the theme song: The song list on the show's soundtrack lists Johnson, who's also a singer, as having recorded the memorable theme song that aired with the first two seasons of the show. However, the actress revealed that isn't actually the case. "That is a glitch on the thing! I did not ooh. But somehow that was the misprint on the CD," she said.
Speedman once got kicked off set for laughing too much: When the cast shared what they thought their characters' superlatives would be in their high school yearbook, Speedman said he would be most likely to get kicked off set ... because it happened. During filming of what was supposed to be an emotional scene, Speedman couldn't stop laughing and Trilling told him to leave and come back when he got his sh-- together. (He eventually "crushed the scene," Trilling said.)
Javier's voice was inspired by a heroin addict: Gomez told a story about how his mother was beginning her career in group therapy and social work and one day a heroin addict came to their house and sounded exactly like Javier.
The gang is down for a revival! When Parham asked the cast if they were down to do a possible revival, Benedict, Gomez and Grunberg all said they were interested. ("Ironically, I don't think Richard would be in [the revival]," laughed Benedict.) An emotional Foley then chimed in to say that he was against a reboot of the show ("I feel that the show was so specific to the characters in that time of their lives that to do it again... would be an injustice to the show that we all made and we all love."), but he was interested in a revival after seeing everyone all together and reminiscing.
"I would kind of love to work you guys again! I would love the opportunity to find out what happened to [everyone]," Foley said.
"There's a way to make it work ... to see where we are now," added Speedman.
Felicity is streaming on Hulu.