Danny Masterson Prosecutors' Terrible Choice: Retry a Rape Case a Jury Soundly Rejected or Let Him Walk?  |  analysis

Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for “That ’90s Show” Season 1.

While all major players from “That ’70s Show” reunite in some form or another on Netflix’s spinoff series, “That ’90s Show,” there is one notable omission — that of Danny Masterson’s Hyde (first name Steven), the original Fox sitcom’s resident troublemaker and burnout.

The sequel series follows a new cast of basement dwellers, much to the chagrin of Red (Kurtwood Smith) and delight of Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp). “That ’90s Show” centers on Leia Forman — daughter to Eric and Donna (Topher Grace and Laura Prepon, both of whom make an appearance in the pilot) — as she stays with her grandparents in Point Place during the summer. Additionally, Mila Kunis’ Jackie and Ashton Kutcher’s Kelso make guest appearances in the first episode, ahead of their on-and-off-again characters’ second remarriage. Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) also shows up, with a new romantic arc on the show and a thriving hair salon business. Donna’s father, Bob (Don Starks), and Fez’s mortal enemy and landlord, Fenton (Jim Rash), step back into their roles, as well.

Masterson is not involved with the series and is not reprising his role due to the ongoing criminal litigation and civil suits against him. In 2017, the actor was accused of sexual assault by five women and in 2020, he was charged with raping three women. Following the initial allegations, Netflix wrote the actor out of its series “The Ranch,” which also starred “That ’70s Show” alums Kutcher and Smith. Shortly thereafter, four women sued the Church of Scientology, which Masterson has been a longtime member of, for conspiring to obstruct justice, invasion of privacy and stalking in relation to their allegations.

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If convicted, Masterson—who has maintained that he is innocent and pleaded not guilty—could face up to 45 years to a life sentence in prison. Late last year, a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial for the case. After the news broke, it was revealed that the jurors, who failed to reach unanimity in a decision, leaned toward acquittal. Most recently, on Jan. 10, prosecutors said they intend to retry the case, following a judge’s rejection of the actor’s request for a dismissal.

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Currently, Masterson is free with some restrictions on $3 million bond. A trial date is set for April 3.

“That ’90s Show,” for clear reasons, has opted not to deal with the question of Hyde’s absence. While there are several, ongoing references to the original series and its characters’ teenage shenanigans, there is no mention of the character by anyone. In the finale, a flashback scene of one of the famous smoking circles shown in “That ’70s Show” omits Hyde, showing Jackie, Kelso and Eric, along with present-day Fez and Donna, as well as the new teens led by Leia .

Original series creators Bonnie and Terry Turner developed the series alongside their daughter Lindsey Turner and showrunner-executive producer Gregg Mettler. Additional EPs are Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (who also executive produced the original), as well as Jessica Goldstein and Chrissy Pietrosh. While the creatives and stars have yet to comment on or approach the subject of Masterson’s absence, we’ll be sure to update this story if they do.

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