Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf Talk Roseanne Barr

Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf are speaking out for the first time together about the abrupt cancellation of ABC’s Roseanne and the fresh start they’re getting on The Conners. The show was famously canceled because the titular star Roseanne Barr tweeted out a racist comment about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Soon after, once Barr relinquished any control and rights to the story, ABC agreed to move forward with The Conners, sans Barr. They all agree that they were simply not ready to close up shop because of Barr’s actions. "There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready," Goodman, 66, tells People. "There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story." Metcalf recalls that she immediately wondered if the show was canceled once she heard about the infamous tweet: "And I first thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if we still have a show.’ Because of how heavy everything became." Gilbert says she is hopeful that they can work through some of the trauma from the incident via the storyline itself. "Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show," says Gilbert, who also serves as a producer. "And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix." ABC SHARES FIRST FOOTAGE ABC has also shared the first look at the Barr-free spinoff. From the glimpse viewers get, the family is making holiday plans, and a voiceover teases: "There’s one thing on everyone’s mind," before Aunt Jackie (Metcalf) says, "There’s no place for the corn holders." The Conners debuts Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.