The second season of TNT’s new Dallas begins at 9PM (ET) tonight, and while it’s exciting to have the show back for a new season, it’s also mixed with some sadness, as this season contains the final episodes filmed by the legendary Larry Hagman.
Last week, Josh Henderson, who plays J.R.’s son John Ross on the new-generation series, spoke in a conference call about the legacy left behind by J.R.’s now-empty Stetson hat.
“J.R. was a magical character and I think that he was a huge reason why the world really was captivated by Dallas originally, and we were so blessed to have him back in this new Dallas,” Josh says, very aware that he had been working with a legend. “We never know… you don’t have a glass ball to kind of ever foresee what is coming, and this was something that was very surprising to us. There were some really cool things happening. You’ll see. Larry is in the first seven episodes of the season two, so you’re going to see a lot of kind of what was happening leading up to [that],” he adds.
“It’s tough because he was such an amazing person, and I had so much fun working with him, but his has happened and we’re in this situation, so the writers have geniusly went back into the lab over the holidays and they had to really rewrite the entire second half of the season. And we don’t even know, really, except day by day, what is happening because they don’t want us as characters to know the future, so they’re not even telling us. But we want to make sure, at the end of the day, to pay respect to Larry and that hopefully the fans will accept the way that Larry exits. That’s a really big deal for us. And we’re going to continue on because I know that’s what he would have wanted. Dallas was a huge part of his life, and he really loved us and loved the show and loved being a part of it, and I was just fortunate enough to be able to work with this amazing man. So it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to keep on trucking,” Josh assures.
J.R.’s passing will profoundly affect John Ross as the series goes forward. “Season 1 started John Ross on this path of really wanting to be just like his father; wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, and make his father proud and hopefully, if he could, outdo his father, but he was really starting to develop a relationship which he never really had growing up with J.R., and so just out of his reaction to when J.R. leaves, it’s such a painful and vengeful…. such a moment, it’s going to take him probably to a very dark place,” Josh said. “But once J.R. is gone, John Ross is really kind of on a dark mission. What that mission is, I don’t even know yet, because we’re still shooting that part of the season. We’re basically in the middle of shooting right now, like, episode 8. So I don’t know where he’s going, but I know that he’s going to be in a dark place, and he’s definitely going to be vengeful, and coming after you. He’s going to be ready to take some heads. He’s definitely following in his father’s footsteps. Because he wanted to continue learning from his father but now his father is gone so he’s going to take what he has learned and grow,” he teases.
“I have a big responsibility, playing his son in general, but now that he’s gone, hopefully I can really kind of exude that spirit of Larry and J.R. through my character John Ross and keep it living. At the end of the day, whether it’s this season, season three, or down the road, however far we go, I’m always going to hear J.R.’s voice in the back of my head telling me I’m doing it right, or I’m doing it wrong, or I’m proud of you or, you know, fix this, and so I’m really going to never let him go. It was a blessing for me to be able to learn from a man like that,” Josh says.
Catch the return of Dallas TONIGHT (January 28) on TNT!