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Are Daphne and Niles Getting the Maris Treatment in the Frasier Sequel?

Bebe Neuwirth is the only returning cast member to join Kelsey Grammer on the project so far.
  • Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce (Photo: Andrew Eccles /© NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection)
    Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce (Photo: Andrew Eccles /© NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection)

    Lilith is back. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bebe Neuwirth has joined Paramount+’s Frasier sequel, where she’ll reprise her role as the titular character’s ex-wife, making her the only returning cast member confirmed alongside Kelsey Grammer. It seems the two exes will have their usual antagonistic relationship, clashing over splitting time with their son, Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott), now that Frasier is back in Boston. Also joining the cast are newcomer Anders Keith, who will be playing Daphne (Jane Leeves) and Niles’ (David Hyde Pierce) son, David. It begs the question: Will we see his parents?

    Pierce, Leeves, and Peri Gilpin all declined to be involved in the sequel, and because the new series takes place in Boston, the cast will mostly comprise of all new characters who Frasier meets while navigating a new city. The final episode of the original series already showed Frasier leaving his friends and family behind in Seattle to start a new life in Chicago. It’s possible he’s since lost touch with Roz and doesn’t check in with Niles and Daphne as much as he used to. But with the latter pair’s son being a part of the main cast for the sequel, their presence will loom over the series.

    There are some dramatic narrative devices that can be called upon to explain the characters’ absences, like a major falling-out, à la Samantha and Carrie in And Just Like That… or a death, perhaps fratricide at the hand of Frasier, as one fan-made trailer supposes. But this also provides the reboot a chance to call back on a bit from the original series' run and give Niles and Daphne the Maris treatment.

    The original bit came about as an accident. Maris, Niles’ wife, was mentioned several times in the original series’s first few episodes as an homage to Norm’s wife Vera on Cheers, who was never seen on-camera. But because the writers had so much fun with how each different character described her in those episodes, they realized they had created an entity too strange to cast. Instead, they decided to lean into building the mythology of Maris and make as many one-line zingers as possible while doing so. The gag grew to include increasingly narrow misses on seeing Maris’ face, whether it be through a shower curtain or some bandages. But to this day, Maris is a character who became memorable by existing on the periphery.

    Things would be slightly different with Niles and Daphne, because audiences do know what they look (or at least looked) like and are familiar with their personalities. Still, a lot could have changed over the last 18 years and a new mythos could grow around this pair — not to mention phone calls, text messages, just-outside-the-door gags, and more to give a more realized glimpse of what they’ve been up to without the actors actively participating.

    Rounding out the current cast are Nicholas Lyndhurst (Only Fools and Horses) as Frasier’s old college buddy turned professor, Toks Olagundoye (Castle, The Rookie) as the head of an Ivy League university psych department, and Jess Salgueiro (The Boys, Letterkenny) as Freddy’s roommate, offering plenty of room to explore new stories and characters to shape the series in Niles, Daphne, and Roz’s absence.

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    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Frasier, Paramount+, Bebe Neuwirth, David Hyde Pierce, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Jane Leeves, Kelsey Grammer