With all our chatter about how excited we are to see Cory and Topanga back together in Girl Meets World, we can't forget other beloved characters — like Rachel McGuire, the tall, redheaded bombshell from the college years of the show. From her wrestling match with Eric to her constant tension with Shawn Hunter's older brother Jack to her being basically everyone's roommate at some point or another, Rachel was one of the show's most beloved characters, even if she was only there for the last few seasons. We were able to speak with Maitland Ward, the actress behind Rachel, and she told us some pretty juicy — and sweet! — details on Girl Meets World, what her character's been up to since college graduation, and how Feeny will always be in Cory's life.
How is this [Boy Meets World reunion at ATX Television Festival] all coming together now?
I don't know. You know, I was thinking to myself, and we were all talking. It's so weird that over a decade after we had done this, we all come back together again. And it's really the same. Like no time has passed. Everybody was pretty much the same. Everybody looked great. And then we're right in the middle of Texas reuniting. It was kind of like this surreal dream.
Have you guys been in touch in the ten years that have passed?
Yes, we have been in touch, but never all together at once. That was the one thing that was so different. It was like we were back working together again, so that was the real surreal thing. But yeah, we had individually, kept up – not every day, not every week, but we definitely had kept up over the years individually. But yeah, just seeing everybody in one group like that, and in such a cool setting, it was a really good experience.
It has been ten years. What do you think really struck a chord in Boy Meets World to have it come back ten years later?
I think Michael Jacobs talked about this at the panel. He says that he always made a concerted effort not to talk down to the audience, even though they were young. They were smart, and he respected them even though they were younger people and kids. So I think that is why it's had lasting power, and also, I just think that the relationships on the show were so strong. They were lasting. There was just a lot of values on the show that aren't on television today, and I think people are missing that. I've actually had people come up to me and say, "I watched Boy Meets World when I was a teenager. Now, I have a little girl or a little boy, and there's nothing on TV that they can really watch. And I want the show to come back or have Girl Meets World come on so we can watch something together. I want my kid to watch something that's good and quality."
What about you? Will you be part of it?
You know what? I know Michael also said that everybody there is definitely invited to be a part of everything. Once it gets picked up, I think those discussions will be had after that happens. [Ed. note: It’s picked up now! Hopefully those conversations happen, post haste.]
It's kind of interesting how much hoopla there is about a show that until recently didn’t have a green light!
Yeah, I know. It was crazy because I went to the taping of the pilot. It was a fantastic pilot. The girls are adorable. And I know if they got on TV they’d be these big Disney stars. But it was funny. And we just took pictures with the castmates. And then they got on the internet, and they went everywhere. And people were so excited to see my picture with Feeny. And it was just like me and him hanging out. But people were just so excited. It was really cool to see that, and it surprised me.
What do you think Rachel's up to right now?
You know, people were asking me that at the festival, and Matt and I were saying, "You know what? We went to the Peace Corps the last episode, so I wonder if we ended up together." And we were saying, 'We both couldn't imagine our lives without Eric in it." So he probably came to the Peace Corps, came to Guatemala or wherever we were and hunted us down because he could not leave Jack and Rachel alone. So that could have been some Ben and Eric stuff going on.
Tell us more about the pilot! How was it similar, or how was it different? What's amazing about it?
It's different because of the girls. It's a new generation. It definitely has the same values and everything like that. It's just going to be in a different world now, too. Michael was talking about how it’s interesting because when Boy Meets World started, the world was a different place than it is now. It was much more innocent. And now, it's not. There's lots of things that the girls will have to deal with. Now, there's cell phones, social media. The internet wasn't around back then. So I think that's going to be an interesting perspective on how a kid grows up in the world, so to speak.
How are Cory and Topanga as parents?
Oh, wonderful as always. I think it's going to be really a treat for the audience to see them together. That's a really great point of the show.
As far as your memories go, is this an experience that you've been nostalgic about or hoped that it would have some sort of reincarnation?
Oh, yeah. I mean, it was a totally different work experience than anything else. It was so much like a family. Michael was good in the fact that he really watched over us, and he did treat us like his kids. We really are all like his kids. He gives us advice like that. He watches over us. He cared about us as human beings, not just as people on the show. He'd been concerned about your life and what's going on. So that was what was different about the show. It wasn't just like a work place. We really fell connected in that way. So it was really like a family reunion in many ways.
Is William Daniels, Feeny still on as a sounding board for Cory? I'm not sure about that exactly. I'm not sure about what his role or anything would be, but I can't really tell about that. But I know Feeny is such an integral part of Cory's world. I mean, he's always a guiding light for everything. So I'm sure he sticks with Cory no matter what.
Are you excited for Girl Meets World?