SCOOP CONFIRMED: 10-1-2021. We beat the other Disney news sites and the press to this by a 3.5 months. This was our first scoop but since we’ve had multiple others – all confirmed. We’ve not been wrong yet. Some confirmed scoops: Simpsons Season 32 Streaming Date / Combo+ Is Latin American Bundle / Big Shot Season 2 / Mysterious Benedict Society Season 2 / Sneakerella Delayed / Gulliver’s Travels Leaving Disney+ / Far From Home Leaving Disney+ Still pending: Spin Disney+ Date Revealed (Update #2: Now this is also confirmed.)
I’ve received exclusive intel from someone with knowledge of the production of major changes coming. I was really hoping we’d get a Raven’s Home renewal but now I understand the phrase “be careful what you wish for.” I expected Sky Katz (Tess) to leave, but was still excited to see Booker and Nia navigating high school (Nia
is was my favorite character).
With so many changes, it’s likely Disney has asked the trades to abstain from confirming the renewal until the new series regulars are hired. (Update: this was correct) Fortunately, that doesn’t stop tiny sites like us who report news as it breaks, not when it’s convenient.
First – it’s definitely happening. It’s scheduled to start filming in August with an October premiere being eyed.
Second – there will be significant changes to the cast and setting. Raven and Booker will be leaving Chicago (!) This means goodbye to Raven’s job, Tess, Levi, and yes, even her bff Chelsea and daughter, Nia. It also means ex-hubby Devon, who just moved back to Chicago in the season 4 finale, is not going to be around after all.
Season 5 will serve as a soft-reboot when Raven moves back home to live with her father, the always lovable Victor (Rondell Sheridan), after a medical emergency. Not sure what this means for Tanya (Victor’s disappeared wife played by T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh). We’ll probably get an answer. Raven returns to her hometown from That’s So Raven (2003) which sets up the possibility of more returns from the past. This is the bright spot in the news – Rondell is delightful.
The story will center on Booker being the “new kid” and having to hide his powers from a new group of friends, separated from his twin sister for the time in his life.
The concept sounds okay to me. I could even handle Chelsea, Levi, and Tess being left behind in Chicago. But Booker and Nia (twins) being separated is the part that has me most bummed since I always felt Nia was the best character and I loved her dynamic with Booker. I can’t imagine what it would be like to move across the country from a twin at age 16 but then again I guess they would have been splitting up for college in 2 years anyway.
Storyline wise, Devon living in Chicago makes it easy to say Nia chose to live with him and finish high school in her hometown with her best friend Tess.
That’s not all the new news though. To replace all the departing cast there will be 4 new Series Regulars – Jamila (Jam), Alice, Neil, and Nancy.
Let’s get to the most interesting character first.
Alice is going to be living with Raven, Booker, and Victor. Alice is Cory’s age 7-9 daughter. Yes, it will be revealed Raven’s brother Cory got married and is currently in the military along with his wife, so prior to Grandpa Victor’s heart attack he had been caring for her. When Raven comes to town she has to set rules and rein in her unruly, prankster niece. She is the “Nia” replacement, more or less.
Jamilla (Jam) is Booker’s love interest. She puts him in his place and at first Raven loves it, seeing a bit of herself. Then she changes her tone when Booker begins to be more rebellious and tries to impress her. Prior to Raven moving back, she had been helping Victor around the house to earn money for college. She appears to be a “Tess” replacement.
Neil will be Booker’s new wing-man / best friend. The casting call describes him as “Booker’s Chelsea.” This role is also the “Levi” replacement.
Nancy is Raven’s new friend. She lives next door and is a fellow divorcee. She’s emotional and wants to be the “cool mom.” Did I mention her daughter is Jam? She’ll serve as the “Chelsea” replacement.
The complete overhaul was done with continuing the series beyond season 5 in mind. Whether the show takes on a new title and presents itself as a spinoff like Suite Life on Deck (2008) is unknown.
From this we can say Disney is finally willing to lay the 4-season rule to rest for good. But, it comes at the expense of the established cast. Plenty of traditionally linear series maintain the same cast of regulars for 7 years so it’s sad Disney can’t do the same. Like I said earlier, I would be far more excited if Navia wasn’t leaving. I know fans had been hoping she would finally “grow into” powers of some sort but this nixes that.
However, I’ve always liked Issac / Booker as well and was happy for him when I heard Disney had given him a new show this summer – Disney’s Magic Bake-Off (2021) and as I mentioned before, the return of Rondell is a solid – so I’ll give it a chance.
I do think it would be nicer if they had moved it to Disney+ where they could up the maturity a bit.
Will you watch Raven’s Home without Chelsea, Nia, Tess, and Levi? Are some things better done and dusted? Share all your thoughts below.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.