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Season 7 of Grace and Frankie will be the last one for the show—making it Netflix’s longest-running original series.
The COVID-19 pandemic paused production in mid-March 2020, but Jane Fonda confirmed filming has finally resumed.
Below, we dig into a potential release date, plot twists, and who will return from the original cast.
The release of Grace and Frankie season 6 was bittersweet. When the credits rolled on the last episode, we couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness, knowing that only season 7 remains.
But the excitement for Grace and Frankie’s final season lasted only as long as the COVID-19 pandemic allowed. In stride with the rest of Hollywood, the show’s production paused in mid-March for the cast and crew’s safety, per Deadline. Since then, they’ve eagerly awaited a callback, even doing a virtual table read for charity in April.
Season 7 has finally begun filming.
After telling fans in a November blog post that filming would resume in early June, Fonda wrote another post on June 20 to confirm that shooting starts “tomorrow,” June 21. “I’m getting excited,” she admitted. “I’ve enjoyed having to learn my lines for my scenes tomorrow and Tuesday.”
The actress continued, explaining that she didn't mind the early call time. “I’m used to getting up at 5:30 so no big deal…except getting to sleep at 8 p.m.,” she wrote. “Yep, that’s right, I go to sleep very early.”
In her previous post, Fonda explained why filming took so long to resume. “A long time to wait but, given the age and vulnerability of the four leads, it’s best,” she wrote. “I’ll be headed into 84 by the time we’re done. Yikes!”
It’s been a tough hiatus for the whole cast, equivalent to being separated from family. Fonda especially missed her co-star Lily Tomlin, who plays her partner in crime, Frankie. “We’re all very close. It’s a happy set,” she told Today. “I love Lily. When I don’t see her on a regular basis, I need a fix.”
The Netflix series was renewed in September 2019, per Variety, making it the longest running original show on the platform. “It’s thrilling and somehow fitting, that our show about the challenges, as well as the beauty and dignity of aging, will be the oldest show on Netflix,” series co-creators and showrunners Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris said in a statement.
Season 7 could be released in two parts.
Because we’ve already waited a full year since the release of season 6, Martin Sheen—who plays Grace’s ex-husband, Robert—told SiriusXM’s Bruce Bozzi that production might hold us over by releasing the first four episodes soon. “They’re talking about the possibility of streaming the four episodes we’ve done because it seems to have an arc and they’ve got it all ready to go,” Sheen revealed. “So maybe they’ll put them on and you’ll see the first four episodes.”
He added that when filming resumes in June, it’s scheduled to take place over four months, wrapping “maybe the beginning of November.” That means if the first half is made available earlier, the last half of season 7 could premiere in early-to-mid 2022, depending on how long post-production takes.
There will be 16 episodes.
The first six seasons have all featured 13 half-hour long episodes. Season 7 is blessing fans with 16, per Variety. It’s unclear how those extra 90 minutes will affect the final storyline, but it’s bound to be good, regardless. If the season were to release on a two-part schedule, that number could make for a nice even split of eight episodes in each batch.
When it’s all said and done, Grace and Frankie will have 94 episodes total.
Dolly Parton will make an appearance.
Parton herself broke the news in a February interview on Lorraine. “I’ve been trying to do Grace and Frankie for years,” she said in her signature humble manner. “We worked so well together on 9 to 5, it’s a crazy wonderful show.” It’s never been a matter of if Parton would appear in the beloved dramedy, but when. “We’ve been trying to write me in somehow,” she added. “So when it’s safe for us to actually do a production when they’re back, I’ll probably get around to doing that."
In an earlier interview with Today, Tomlin hinted at the news, hopeful that her friend could join the series finale in some way. “We’ve got a great role for her this time. I think she will do it. I’m just hoping she will,” she said. “And we hope she can do it and we think she can do it by remote.”
Whether the Queen of Country is on-set or somehow dials into filming (will she join one of Vybrant’s Zoom meetings? who knows!), it’s going to be an epic moment. No word on any additional guest stars yet, but one-upping Parton, RuPaul and Nicole Richie will be a tricky task, no doubt.
We also know the original core cast will return.
Phew. That’s one bullet dodged. Although they would probably consider it an improvement, to imagine Grace and Frankie without the constant (but endearing) nagging of their complex children is almost impossible. According to Variety, here’s who we can expect to return for sure:
Jane Fonda — Grace
Lily Tomlin — Frankie
Martin Sheen — Robert
Sam Waterston — Sol
Brooklyn Decker — Mallory
June Diane Raphael — Brianna
Baron Vaughn — Bud
Ethan Embry — Coyote
Season 7 will step into new territory.
In early January, Kauffman gave Good Housekeeping a little bit of season 7 insight—and she hadn’t even started writing the script. “In terms of season 7, I can’t say too much, but we’re going to be dealing with Robert, Sol, Grace, and Frankie in a way in that we haven’t seen before,” she said. “We know as much as we can know without having actually written [season 7]. Things change during production, and things you thought were going to work phenomenally just don’t. We think we know where we’re going, but I’ll let you know when we get there if we stuck to that plan.”
Based on what happened in season 6 (spoiler alert, if you haven’t finished watching), season 7 could see the original four: Grace, Frankie, Sol, and Robert living under the same roof for the first time since their divorces, which could only add to tensions brewing with Grace’s now-husband, Nick. There’s also a good chance season 7 will see yet another family wedding, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Fonda and Tomlin called the renewal bittersweet.
“We are both delighted and heartbroken that Grace and Frankie will be back for its seventh, though final, season,” the duo said in a joint statement. “We’re so grateful that our show has been able to deal with issues that have really connected to our grand generation. And their kids, and amazingly, their kids as well! We’ll miss these two old gals, Grace and Frankie, as much as many of their fans will, but we’ll still be around. We’ve outlasted so many things—just hope we don’t outlast the planet.”
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