Leslie Odom Jr. on Kristen Bell's Central Park exit: 'It was a chance to be on the right side of history'
Plus, see an exclusive clip from season 2.
The second season of Central Park comes with a new voice in tow - Emmy Raver-Lampman is now voicing Molly Tillerman, following Kristen Bell's exit.
Bell exited the show in June 2020 amidst burgeoning social justice movements in response to the murder of George Floyd. The character of Molly is biracial, and Bell chose to step back to allow better representation in the part.
"After reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right - to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we've drawn her," a statement read.
"It was a chance to, in real time, do what you can to be on the right side of history," Odom tells EW. "The world is going to change right under your feet. And as the world changes, if you want to evolve with it, if you want to grow, sometimes it requires new decisions to be made and letting certain things go and reimagining who you are and who you could be."
"I applauded the decision," he continues. "I thought it was one of those decisions of when you know better, do better. I welcomed my new baby girl. And I applauded the brilliant Kristen Bell. And we kept it rolling."
The second season picks up just about where season 1 left off, with the Tillermans fighting to save Central Park from scheming heiress Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci) as Molly wrestles with her burgeoning relationship with Brendan (Eugene Cordero) and Cole (Tituss Burgess) still pines for Bitsy's dog, Champagne.
But Odom also promises a season that really ups the ante on musical numbers.
"Music makes everything better," he says. "And part of the genius of this show was Josh Gad's idea to really make this a musical week in and week out and populate the world with not only some of the best and most sought after actors of this generation, but a lot of the great musical talent of our day. There are there moments of magic in season 1, but we doubled down and multiplied that for season 2. There's a real lift every time these characters launch into song, and it's just a delight."
Check out the exclusive clip from season 2 above.