Yara Shahidi Talks 'Grown-ish' Cast Shake-Ups and Marcus Scribner Joining Season 5 (Exclusive)

The season 4 finale of the Freeform series marked the departure of six series regulars and the addition of Marcus Scribner.

It's the end of an era for the cast of Black-ish, but it's also the beginning of a new one for its Freeform spinoff, Grown-ish

ET spoke with the cast on the red carpet of the 39th Annual PaleyFest LA, a bittersweet affair since it's the final one that the Black-ish family will attend together as a cast. For the stars attending, which include Anthony AndersonTracee Ellis RossYara ShahidiMarcus ScribnerMiles BrownMarsai Martin and Jenifer Lewis, it feels as if they came together for the first time just yesterday.

For Shahidi -- who left the main cast at the end of season 3 to lead Grown-ish -- the ability to decide on their ending has been "really beautiful."

"It's really beautiful to end this as a celebration. I feel like so many shows, especially now the landscape is ever-shifting, you never know when you're last episode's gonna be, your last season's gonna be," she explained. "So for us to walk into this already knowing that this was the conclusion of a wonderful journey means I feel like we've had a lot of agency over how we wanna celebrate and commemorate these moments. And so even this has been like a fun reunion of sorts since filming our finale episode and I think it's created a beautiful moment of closure. It doesn't feel like an abrupt being pushed out."

Shahidi also noted that "it's not like this is goodbye in any sense" since, not only has Grown-ish been renewed for its fifth season, but her TV brother will join her in the new installment, reprising his role as Andre Johnson Jr. as he embarks on his own journey to being "grown."  

Just like Shahidi's Zoey found her home away from home regularly invaded by various family members throughout her four years at California University, we can expect Scribner's Junior to receive the same treatment now that he's starting his undergrad career.

But Scribner isn't a stranger to the Grown-ish crowd, as the actor has guest-starred several times over the past four years and his official crossover is an idea that Shahidi says she's been advocating for "literally since day one."

"I had an idea for it," she told ET. "I was like, Zoey's graduating, Junior looks into the camera and says, 'I never thought she'd make it' and flip to Junior's show! It didn't happen quite like that but it's very cool to have him join because he's already so much a part of the family and some of my favorite episodes are the ones where he joins us. So to have him here full time also feels like some great kind of growth in his own journey as somebody that we've seen try college and try the adult world. It's very parallel to what Zoey's gone through, so I can't wait for them to be together."

Grown-ish's season 4 finale saw Zoey and her friends graduate from the California University of Liberal Arts, marking the start of their lives in the real world. It also marked the exit of the show's six original cast members, including Francia Raisa (Ana), Emily Arlook (Nomi), Chloe Bailey (Jazz), Luka Sabbat (Luca), Halle Bailey (Sky) and Jordan Buhat (Vivek). 

Shahidi, Diggy Simmons (Doug) and Trevor Jackson (Aaron) will return for the fifth season, which will follow their post-grad adventures as well as welcome a new class to Cal U, including Scribner's Junior. It's a transition that Scribner said he's "pumped" to tackle.

"I'm excited to continue that story for Junior and see where he goes and how he evolves as a character," he told ET. "I just love the fact that our writers are able to allow our characters to grow 'cause, you know, with a lot of sitcom characters, they stay still, they have the same one line for the rest of it. But Junior has been able to grow as a character and he's going to keep growing in Grown-ish so it really is the natural evolution."

That's a sentiment his TV sister agrees with, sharing that she's always advocating to bring more of her fictional family members to the spinoff. And when it comes to the departure of her co-stars, the actress has nothing but excitement for her friends' next steps.

"I'm really excited by the way our family's extending and I think one thing we knew to be true about a show like Grown-ish is it's special to get a group of people like that together and everyone has blossomed in such incredible ways that I feel like the cast will be around forever," she said, pointing out all the ways her former co-stars have taken the next step in their careers. 

From Chloe branching into solo music and Halle racking up feature film roles to Francia nabbing a lead role on Hulu's How I Met Your Father, it's clear that the cast of Grown-ish is ready to take on the industry.

"I think what feels great is that Grown-ish has been a part of everybody's growth journey and I think it's been great to be a part of a cast where we're so excited to watch what the next step is for everyone," Yara added. "It's not about stagnating here, this is just a stopping ground." 

As for how they think the fans will feel about the ending of Black-ish, Scribner says he believes fans will be "satisfied" with their finale.

"[Finales] can definitely be tricky but what I love about, first off, our final season but also our season finale is it's really a celebration of the show," he shared. "We've gone eight years with this family and everybody’s watched us grow up on TV, so really getting to celebrate that and getting to celebrate Black excellence and Black love and just joy is so much fun. So I think fans are gonna be satisfied."

Black-ish airs on Tuesdays on ABC, and all seasons are available to stream on Hulu. 


Latest News