Michael Yarish/Netflix
January 17, 2016 at 10:59 PM EST

Despite Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen not being involved in Netflix’s upcoming Full House reboot, Fuller House — it’s DJ’s last name, not just a fun play on words — their presence is definitely felt in the series premiere.

In the pilot episode, Danny (Bob Saget) explains why Michelle isn’t present for a family gathering — she’s busy with her fashion company in New York — after which the original cast members break the fourth wall and stare into the camera for several long, and almost awkward, seconds.

The glaringly obvious nod to the fact that the Olsen twins would not be involved in the project aside, creator Jeff Franklin insisted it “wasn’t meant to be a dig,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Sunday. “It was meant to be a playful wink.”

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With the entire original cast on board, it’s hard to miss the fact that the Olsens are missing — though at least one of them appears in the pilot in baby form since the show uses a cut scene from the original show. “I tried, we all tried to persuade them to come and play,” Franklin said. “They decided not to at this time. We’re hopeful at some point in the future that they may change their minds and come back and reprise Michelle. We only need one of them, so we’re still hopeful that that will happen.”

“Everybody else is back,” Franklin reiterates, referencing stars Candace Cameron-Bure, Andrea Barber, Jodie Sweetin and guest-stars Saget, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier. “I’m sure we’ve all had family reunions and not everyone shows up. But we still love them and the door is always open and I hope it happens.”

Fuller House debuts Feb. 26 on Netflix.

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