‘That ’90s Show’ Star Callie Haverda Breaks Down Biggest Part 2 Moments, Teases Part 3

With a season under her belt playing the daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti in “That ’90s Show,” Callie Haverda expanded her perspective on her character, Leia Forman, for the Netflix comedy’s second installment.

“In Season 1, I was really leaning into the Eric side of her — super awkward and this lanky little like teenager,” Haverda told TheWrap. “But now she’s older, she has had more experiences and she’s comfortable with this friend group, so I really wanted to develop more of her relationship with people now that she really like knows more about herself.”

While Haverda admits the sitcom still is still ripe with coming-of-age themes, the one-year time jump between seasons — and Haverda’s nearly three-year age jump from 14 to 17 during production — encouraged the actress to take some notes from her on-screen mother.

“I like to lean more into Donna’s side of things,” she said. “We see a lot of the confident, cool side of Leia coming through a bit more. She makes some hard decisions and takes control of situations.”

Confidence is certainly needed as Leia returns to Point Place for summer 1996 and enters uncharted territory with her boyfriend Jay (Mace Coronel) as well as her friends, especially after Leia and Nate’s (Maxwell Acee Donovan) near-kiss at the end of Season 1 threatened her budding relationships.

Luckily, with Laura Prepon’s Donna being among the handful of original cast members to return to the spin-off’s second installment — Wilmer Valderrama, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace did not appear in Part 2 due to “scheduling and other challenges” — Haverda had endless resources to discuss her character with Prepon, who directed several episodes this season. She also recalls watching “That ’70s Show” with her young cast members during lunch breaks and at home.

“I feel like being thrown back into that environment made me want to watch it more,” Haverda said.

Below, Haverda breaks down the biggest moments from Part 2 — including sharing a scene with ’90s icon Lisa Loeb and re-creating her “Stay” music video —and teases what viewers can expect from Part 3.

TheWrap: Part 2 picks up following the school year. What do you imagine Leia’s school year looked like keeping up with her friends and maintaining her relationship with Jay?

Callie Haverda: Leia did come back to Point Place a few times and visited for holidays, so she has seen the rest of the kids. I have this idea in my mind that Leia doesn’t really have many friends outside of Point Place — it’s like her safe zone, and that’s her core friend group. While she’s at school, she’s studying hard, she’s this straight-A student and then whenever she comes back to Point Place, she can finally, like, let loose and just be with her friends and try new things and have all these crazy experiences. The secret that she is dealing with is probably so stressful and difficult to think about, but I think the distance from Nate was probably good for her.

Coming into Season 2, Leia and Nate are holding this secret that they almost kissed. How did you approach the beginning of the season and Leia’s interactions with her friends and Nate as she’s holding this secret?

The relationship as a whole between all of them is very complicated, because although nothing happened between Leia and Nate, there was obviously something there, and they couldn’t deny it. It was a difficult moment, and they were very caught up in it and they were both very emotional and in these vulnerable places. In the first episode, we see how they deal with that, and they come to terms with it was just an accident — it was more so focusing on Leia’s desire to fix her relationship with Jay, and you know, she realized how much she truly cares about him, and wanted to keep that relationship going. It was less about like, “Oh, no, I have to choose between these two guys,” and rather, just like, “I know what I want,” Leia knew that she was going to choose Jay and help that relationship, and then treat Nate as a good friend.

After the secret comes out, Leia and Jay are still navigating their relationship and their compatibility. What else is Leia struggling with this season?

Leia is a very naive character, and I hope a lot of people will be able to relate to that she’s not experienced at all. She’s in a relationship with somebody who is very experienced, and has had all of these other past relationships. We see that in the field party episode when Jay confronts all of his past relationship ghosts — Leia is probably feeling pretty insecure about that, because she hasn’t had all these relationships. She doesn’t know really the right and wrong [things to do] in a relationship, which not saying there is anything right to do in a relationship, but Leia probably thinks that.

In Part 3, we go even more into that, which is really fun. I’m excited to see audience reactions to some episodes in Part 3, because I think they’re pretty crazy. In Part 2, I think it’s her getting more comfortable with him and in their relationship.

This season also saw Don Stark come back as Bob, and now Leia has two grandfathers fighting over her. What was it like to build that dynamic with Don and how did it impact the dynamic you already had with Kurtwood?

That was so much fun. Episode 8 is probably one of my favorites because we see so much of Don and his relationship with Leia. She loves her grandpa, but this is also her space and her friends and having him like, down in the basement is probably quite uncomfortable.

Exploring that relationship and the dynamic between Red and Bob is really exciting, especially the episode where they’re teaching her how to drive and constantly fighting over her. She loves both of her grandfathers, but, of course, has her own life and all these other things she’s trying to do, and they’re kind of getting in the way of that. So she kinda has to tell them, “I love you both — You’re both my grandpas, but you need to calm down a bit.”

This season has some pretty iconic ’90s cameos, like Lisa Loeb and the stars of “Jay and Silent Bob.” Did you know them? What was that like?

It was probably one of the most insane experiences of my life. Filming those scenes with Lisa Loeb were the most fun. We spent the whole week choreographing all of the dancing and the singing. I had her music video on repeat every single day at all times of the day that I could. Being able to work with her too was so cool, because she had the original experience of the music video in the back of her head, so she was able to give me a lot of good advice on how to really channel her energy.

Being able to work with like Kevin [Smith] and Jason [Mewes] was honestly terrifying, because I knew how iconic they are. In the first season, we have a mention of Kevin Smith, and he’s now in the universe, and so when they came in, it was just like insane and such a fun scene. We get to see their storyline and impact continue on in Part 3, which is really awesome.

What can you tease about Leia’s journey in Part 3?

So much happens, it’s kind of insane. I’ll say that there’s some dancing, which is pretty crazy, and there’s quite a bit of emotional things that she has to deal with. All of the other characters really have their moments, and Leia is just finding her way being a good friend with everybody, and not only trying to figure out who she is more, but also her relationships with everyone, and just supporting her friends. And obviously, after the cliffhanger of Episode 8, we see how they deal with that, and her relationship with Red and Kitty. There’s also a lot with with Laura, which is really great.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

“That ’90s Show” Parts 1 and 2 are now streaming on Netflix. Part 3 premieres on Oct. 24.

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