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Everything You Need to Know About The CW's Roswell Reboot

It's very different from The WB series

Kaitlin Thomas

The CW surprised no one when it ordered to series the much-talked about Roswell reboot, but you're probably asking yourself how this new series, which is titled Roswell, New Mexico and hails from The Originals' writer Carina Adly MacKenzie, will be both similar to and different from the original Roswellseries. Well, we're glad you asked, because we've been cobbling together everything there is to know about the anticipated reboot. So, check out our handy cheat sheet below so you're prepared when the show debuts.

The show will premiere at midseason. Let's get the one bit of bad news out of the way first: The CW chose to kick off its fall schedule with a different reboot: Charmed. Still, viewers who were excited for Roswell, New Mexico should not be too concerned about the fact the show won't be premiering until midseason; The CW holds a lot of good stuff these days, including the final seasons of Jane the Virgin and iZombie.

It's not the same Roswell TV show you once knew. Much like the beloved WB/UPN series that aired from 1999 until 2002, this new Roswell is also adapted from Melinda Metz's Roswell High novels. However, the series will be set 10 years post-high school, which should provide a new spin on the material.

When the show begins, Jeanine Mason's Liz Ortecho is a biomedical researcher who has returned to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, after 10 years away. She left following the death of her older sister Rosa, but returns to take care of her ailing father, who is an undocumented immigrant. And if you're wondering why Liz has a different surname in the new series -- Shiri Appleby's leading lady was known as Liz Parker -- it's because Ortecho is the last name of the character in Metz's books.

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Max and Liz are definitely still a thing. Upon her return to town, Liz comes face to face with her old friend Max Evans (The Originals' Nathan Parsons), now a police officer, who obviously still has feelings for her and is not-so-obviously also an alien. Max is described as being a natural born leader, which jibes with everything we know about the Max Evans character.

The alien drama will obviously threaten their relationship. One of the main storylines of the original Roswell series involved the complicated relationship between Liz and Max, and that carries through to the new series. In fact, Liz's burgeoning romance with Max initially takes center stage, but once she discovers his secret following a violent attack, she'll be drawn into a dangerous web that involves a government cover-up that points to a greater alien presence on Earth.

According to Jeanine Mason, there's a lot of conflict in their story, which she says makes it "even more of a romance, more of a love story, because there's a lot that's pulling them apart." We have a feeling she doesn't just mean Max's sister Isobel (Lily Cowles) and friend Michael Guerin (Michael Vlamis), both of whom probably won't be too happy to know that Liz knows the truth about aliens.


Lily Cowles, Nathan Parsons, Jeanine Mason and Michael Vlamis

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The CW

The show is definitely getting political. It only makes sense that in 2018 Roswell, New Mexico will be drawing some parallels to real world events and politics. According to Nathan Parsons, the series is "a chance to start a conversation and explore different arguments in that conversation, no matter what side you land on."

The political nature of the series is something that was part of the initial pitch for the series, says Mason, noting that the show really honors the fact that Roswell is a border town and that it's 2018.

The other humans are all here, too. The series' alien drama is balanced out by a number of human characters, all of whom will be familiar to fans of the original series. Heather Hemmens (Hellcats) takes on the role of Liz's free-spirited best friend Maria DeLuca, who is super into social media in this updated version of the story, while Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries) and Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars) play Kyle Valenti and Alex Manes, respectively. Oh yeah, and Kyle is a doctor.

The Crashdown is also back. If you were worried that everyone's favorite cafe wasn't going to make it into this new iteration of Roswell, think again. We have it on good authority that the Crashdown will make an appearance in the new series.

The Roswell, New Mexico Stars Promise the Reboot Will Feature "Throwbacks" to the Original Series

There are some real '90s vibes. According to Mason, the series offers some "throwback elements" that she thinks fans of the original series will love. She also says that '90s music plays a major role in the series.

This is probably not the Alex you're expecting. The show's version of Alex is a bit different from the character originated by Colin Hanks in the original series. For instance, you've likely already noticed that his last name is not Whitman but Manes. Like the character of Liz, Alex is going back to the name used in the Roswell High books, not the TV show. But Alex's different surname will be the least of your worries when it comes to the differences in the two characters; this version of Alex is a sergeant who has just returned home from the Middle East and has psychological and physical trauma as a result of his time overseas. And if that wasn't bad enough, he is also struggling to live up to his father's expectations and the fact that in order to do so, he might have to give up the possibility of a future with the man he loves.

Julie Plec directed the pilot. The CW really loves Julie Plec, and The Originals creator not only directed the pilot episode, but she also serves as an executive producer alongside MacKenzie.

Roswell premieres at midseason on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)