Disney has finally decided to greenlight Raven’s Home season 5. However, there’s a catch. The upcoming season will make major changes to the original cast. Goodbye Chelsea, Nia, Tess, and Levi.
As a fan of Raven’s Home, I’m glad the comedy series is coming back for a fifth outing. But the news about the original cast going through a major shakeup took me by surprise. And not the good kind. I have no idea why the creatives decided to take Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol), Nia (Navia Robinson), Tess (Sky Katz), and Levi (Jason Maybaum) out of the picture and introduce a bunch of new characters instead. It’s practically a soft reboot.
To be fair, there were rumors about such changes happening back in July of this year. The fandom, including myself, took them with a huge grain of salt. But alas, certain changes indeed occurred.
The premise of Raven’s Home season 5 deals with Raven Baxter (Raven-Symone) and her teen son Booker (Issac Ryan Brown) moving to San Franciso to take care of Raven’s father Victor (Rondell Sheridan) after he suffers a mild heart attack. While adjusting to life in San Franciso, Raven and Booker will get to meet Raven’s young cousin Alice (Mykal-Michelle Harris), Booker’s high school classmate and Victor’s neighbor Neil (Felix Avitia), and Alice’s babysitter Ivy (Emmy Liu-Wang).
The plot will have Raven needing to “parent” her own father while raising her teenage son as well as a young cousin. Booker will need to experience the ups and downs at his mother’s old high school while keeping his ability to see the future a secret.
Along with Sheridan (OG cast member from That’s So Raven) coming back to the current spin-off in a major way (he had a guest appearance in season two), the fifth season will also have Emmy-nominated writer/producer partners Scott Thomas and Jed Elinoff, who developed the series, join Raven-Symone as executive producers, along with Anthony C. Hill.
Production is planned to being sometime this fall. No premiere date has been shared as of yet.
Ayo Davis, president, Disney Branded Entertainment, said, “Ever since the debut of That’s So Raven, Raven-Symoné has been an incredibly important part of the Disney Channel family. With Raven’s Home, her talent and special brand of humor have continued to resonate with kids and families, and we’re excited to see what lies ahead for Raven in season five. This beloved series is in good hands with the experienced team of Raven, Scott Thomas, Jed Elinoff, and Anthony C. Hill leading an amazing cast and crew.”
Personally, I’m not sure how to feel about Raven’s Home season 5. I enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Raven and Chelsea as the two women tried to raise three (four, if you count their neighbor Tess) kids while sharing an apartment. Also, how is the show going to properly explain Raven’s daughter Nia (and Booker’s twin) not tagging along to San Franciso? Also, is Raven’s mother (T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh) still in London?
According to certain rumors online, the current changes in the cast are likely due to contract negotiations. With Disney, allegedly, wanting to bring on new “regulars” at lower rates compared to renegotiating higher pay rates for a bunch of actors who have been Raven’s Home series regulars for four seasons.
Whatever the reasons might be, I hope the writers find a way to have Chelsea, Nia, Tess, and Levi make occasional cameos (even via Skype) or have multi-episode guest appearances. They are part of Raven and Booker’s family and not having them around at all is going to feel weird.
Also, Raven-Symone recently talked about how she said no to Disney’s suggestion to possibly make Raven come out as queer. I understood her decision. However, with the creative team behind the show willing to add queer representation in Raven’s Home, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new characters Neil or Ivy end up being queer. But let’s see what happens.
Raven’s Home premiered back in July of 2017 with the season four finale airing on May 21, 2021, bringing the total episode count to 79.
Anyway, are you excited about Raven’s Home season 5?
Let us know.
Update: March 12, 2022
Here’s my reaction video to the Raven’s Home season 5 premiere episode. Feel free to let me know what you thought of the premiere!
Update: October 19, 2022
Raven’s Home season 5 brought back Chelsea in episode 19 ‘Keeping it 100’ which aired on October 14, 2022.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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