Saved by the Bell: Mario Lopez Discusses His Return to the Franchise

Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez made quite the name for himself since his original run on the NBC Saturday morning series with his television work mixing acting and hosting stints on Extra and Access Hollywood. Even with his involvement in the spinoffs with guest spots on The New Class and starring role on the short-lived College Years, the actor who played jock favorite A.C. Slater thought he put the role behind him before he was approached about a sequel series for Peacock. Lopez spoke with The Hollywood Reporter as part of their series of how actors keep their enduring signature characters fresh.

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Image courtesy of Casey Durkin/Peacock

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"I thought, creatively, it might be difficult because we're all in high school, and we can't necessarily keep flunking. The easy answer was to be part of the administration. I wasn't inspired," Lopez said. When 30 Rock's Tracey Wigfield contacted him about returning to the role, he was intrigued. "This re-imagining preserves the heart of what made the original show resonate while evolving into a modern, relevant, refreshing new take," he added. "It was incredibly well written, and the way they were able to expand on these characters made it all make sense." One grounded feature Lopez wanted for Slater was having him stuck in his old ways. "I wanted her to make him the biggest loser possible," Lopez said. "I love that he's one of those dudes that is stuck in his era. He doesn't want to grow up, listens to the same music, and rocks the same clothes. I know people like that, and I just think that they're the funniest characters." The actor is grateful how he's reached a new generation of fans including his own children. "They didn't like the original. Fortunately, they like the new one." Saved by the Bell is available to stream on Peacock,

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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