'iCarly': Nathan Kress on Preserving Integrity of Original Show, Return of Characters

“When it’s something that’s so beloved, you don’t want to risk messing with it,” actor says of nostalgia for the show


iCarly/Paramount+

The first three episodes of the new “iCarly” have arrived on Paramount+, and for fans who grew up with the original, it’s a winner. Carly and her crew are grown now, but they’re still the same goofballs we came to know and love. And, according to series star Nathan Kress, who plays Freddie Benson, preserving those personas was a conscious effort by everyone involved.

“When it’s something that’s so beloved, you don’t want to risk messing with it, and you don’t want to risk messing up people’s perceptions and memories and nostalgia of that,” Kress tells TheWrap. “It just seems like the line is always ‘Don’t ruin my childhood.’ So we had that in the back of our minds.”

Keeping that in mind, it became a very easy decision to make the new “iCarly” something that wasn’t targeted at kids now.

“We were looking at this saying ‘OK, no. This is gonna be completely different. This is for the fans who loved the show as kids, and were growing along with them. And so it’s gonna be for them, it’s not gonna be this next generation thing — it’s for the same generation.’ And for that reason, we’re just aging everything up.”

Of course, beyond just the more adult humor of the show, that means bringing back the characters that millennials grew up with and recognize. While fans of the original “iCarly” are definitely missing Sam (Jennette McCurdy) — including her castmates — the Paramount+ revival made sure to write her off in a fitting, but decidedly open way. Even Kress notes that it’s “very on brand” for her.

But, along with the original characters of Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), Spencer (Jerry Trainor) and Freddie (Kress), the first three episodes of the new “iCarly” saw the return of Freddie’s mother (Mary Scheer) and Nora Dershlit (Danielle Morrow), the team’s stalker. (And yes, she’s just as crazy as she was as a kid, even after years of therapy. But it’s a fun watch).

According to Kress, more characters from the original series will be popping up throughout the season. Eagle-eyed fans will have caught a glimpse of Nevel Papperman (Reed Alexander), one of Carly’s great nemeses, in the series trailer, and those looking even closer have spotted a few others.

“In the episode where we have Doug Brochu, who plays Duke in several episodes of the original, we have Principal Franklin, played by Tim Russ. We also have Drew Roy, who played Griffin, Carly’s ‘bad boy’ boyfriend. He’s back. Get excited,” Kress reveals.

And yes, we will find out how things have gone in each of their lives since the original “iCarly” ended. For Kress, those storylines were particularly fun.

“Some things, you would expect. Nevel is Nevel. But other things you wouldn’t quite expect. People find themselves in an interesting place in today’s world, where you have to do what you have to do to survive,” Kress explains. “The Griffin story — it’s pretty funny. I’m excited for people to see that one.”

Really, though, Kress is just happy to see the warm welcome back from fans. Though he and the cast knew that a revival was something fans wanted, he admits that he didn’t know just how badly they wanted it until reactions to the first three episodes came in.

“It feels like we have done them proud, because so much of this was for the original fans. This was sort of our love letter to them,” Kress says. “So getting to see their reaction to it, the OG hardcore fans, has been very cool.”

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