The creators and cast of Psych joined this year’s virtual edition of ATX Television Festival with a pre-recorded panel where they gave a sneak peek at the forthcoming movie sequel Psych2: Lassie Come Home, which will debut on July 15 when NBCU’s new streaming platform Peacock launches. Show creator Steve Franks and executive producer Chris Henze were joined by stars James Roday, Dule Hill, Kirsten Nelson, Maggie Lawson and Corbin Bernsen to talk about the show’s journey, how the sequel brings happiness to fans and the return of Timothy Omundson, who suffered from a stroke and has since recovered.
Franks said that when the pilot first aired he wanted five seasons and a movie and as the show moved forward, he upped expectations with the number of seasons and movies. “We knew when we finished the first movie, we wanted to do a second one…we kind of let it hanging a little bit to let the adventure continue,” he said.
The sequel was finished a year ago, but Franks said it was a worthwhile wait to share the movie because it is more pertinent now than it ever was. “The world needs the happiness, joy and positivity that we do on the show every week,” he said. “We are really excited there was a build-up to it — we didn’t even know there was something called Peacock when we started writing this. And now we are going to carry Peacock on our shoulders and carry it to success!”
The sequel is named after Omundson’s Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter and will explore the marriage between Shawn (Roday) and Juliet (Lawson) after the pair’s nupitals at the end of the first movie. Omundson’s stroke caused them to rewrite the first movie to accommodate him and they knew they wanted to make another one that revolved around him.
“We’re trying to accomplish the same thing we always wanted to accomplish which is giving our core fans everything they expect,” said Henze. “And most importantly, Tim was the anchor of that.”
For Lawson, filming with Omundson was emotional because he played her partner. “Steve gave Tim and I a lot of freedom,” said Lawson in regards to reuniting with Omundson on screen. “At one point he actually said ‘be Maggie and Tim in this scene’ and neither one of us could get through it because we were both so emotional. He’s so good in this movie and all of us were very present in it from the very beginning. For me, it felt like our family was whole again.”
Hill adds, “The moment Tim actually walked on the set, that was a moment I will never forget… it was an absolute joy. There was a hole when we were doing the first [movie]. As much fun as we had doing it, Tim wasn’t there — and it’s not Psych without Lassie.”
During the panel, Roday, who co-wrote the movie with Franks and Andy Berman, talked about the “shenanigans” that Shawn and Gus get into. “Shenanigans — the word itself covers the spectrum, doesn’t it?” Roday points out. “They find themselves where they wear things that are ridiculous; they’ll be on the run from bad guys; make jokes at inappropriate times and a couple of life-affirming moments will land on their head.”
Franks then talked about comparing the Fast and Furious franchise to Psych and his goal to make it a full-out saga — which can still happen. “Obviously, we don’t quite have the fanbase that Fast and Furious has,” laughs Franks.
The cast immediately chimes in to jokingly disagree and then Henze adds, “We are in talks for Psych: The Ride at Universal Studios.”