‘The Waltons’: Richard Thomas Will Have a Key Role in the CW’s Remake of Show’s Classic Christmas Special

After nearly 25 years, the Waltons are coming back to TV. The Waltons’ Homecoming will air later in 2021 on the CW. The made-for-TV movie commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the 1971 movie that inspired the popular series The Waltons. The show ran for nine seasons and spawned several follow-up movies, the last of which aired in 1997. 

Richard Thomas will play an important role in ‘The Waltons’ Homecoming’ 

Actor Richard Thomas standing in front of a gray wall
Actor Richard Thomas in 2017 | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Richard Thomas played John-Boy Walton in both The Homecoming and the subsequent series and TV movies. The oldest of John and Olivia Walton’s children, John-Boy is an aspiring writer who eventually becomes a journalist and novelist. The show’s narrator was an older version of the character voiced by writer Earl Hamner, who based the show on his own childhood in rural Virginia. 

In the CW’s reboot of The Waltons, Thomas will step into the role of the narrator. Logan Shroyer, who plays young Kevin on This Is Us, will play John-Boy. 

‘The Waltons’ Homecoming’ cast also includes Bellamy Young, Ben Lawson  

In addition to Thomas and Shroyer, The Waltons’ Homecoming cast also includes Bellamy Young as mom Olivia Walton. Ben Lawson from Firefly Lane will play John Walton Sr., Deadline reports. 

Other cast members include Macelle LeBlanc as Mary Ellen Walton, Christian Finlayson as Jason Walton, Tatum Matthews as Erin Walton, Samuel Goergen as Jim Bob Walton, Callaway Corrick as Elizabeth Walton, Rebecca Coon as Grandma Walton, and Alpha Trivette as Grandpa Walton. Marilyn McCoo will play Sister Harriet and Billy Davis Jr. will play Brother William.

Will the rest of ‘The Waltons’ cast be involved in the reboot? 

Members of the Walton family standing around a Christmas tree in a 1977 episode of The Waltons
The Waltons | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

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So far, Thomas is the only original Waltons cast member who is associated with the reboot. Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton on the CBS series, said in a YouTube video that she had heard about the new movie from Thomas, but that she didn’t know much else. 

“None of the rest of the original cast at this point is involved in it as far as I know,” she said. “So I guess we will all wait and see what it is that they are going to do.” 

Several of the show’s original stars have died, including Ralph Waite, who played John Walton Sr, and Ellen Corby, who played Grandma Walton.

What will the new ‘Waltons’ movie be about? 

Like The Homecoming, the new Waltons movie will be Christmas-themed and set during the Depression. The story will be told through the eyes of 17-year-old John-Boy. 

John-Boy’s mother expects him to help raise his younger brothers and sisters, while his father wants him to follow in his footsteps. But John-Boy’s secret ambition is to be a writer. It’s 1933, and things are tough for the family. Life gets even more difficult when a storm threatens to ruin Christmas. John Sr. is away from home, but sends a letter that he expects to make it home for the holiday, news that delights his wife and kids. Unfortunately, a storm arrives on Christmas Eve, and John Sr. never arrives. Olivia sends John-Boy out to search for his father, a journey that ends up changing his life forever. 

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