Frasier is currently enjoying a successful reboot—without Niles Crane—and fans can’t help but wonder if the character passed away offscreen. Fortunately, he seems to be alive and probably enjoying retirement with his wife Daphne.
Frasier, played by Kelsey Grammer, is the only regular character who returned to the new Paramount Plus original. As it stands, Lilith’s Bebe Neuwirth has appeared as a guest in one episode. Roz’s Peri Gilpin has confirmed that she will star in an upcoming installment, as well. No more original cast members have made a commitment to or shown interest in the series.
Niles may be the character that fans miss most, aside from Marty Crane, played by John Mahoney, who sadly passed in 2018 at 77. Marty’s absence was directly addressed in the pilot episode. He also passed away in the story, and his death influenced a heart-to-heart between Frasier and his son, Freddie. But the writers haven’t been as forthcoming about Niles.
The ‘Frasier’ Writers Have Left Niles’ Storyline Open
The only hard information people have on Niles is that he is alive. Brief comments made by Freddie, Frasier, and Niles’ son, David, have made that clear. However, there was a moment during Episode 2 that may illude to a fight between the psychiatrist’s siblings.
When Frasier finds himself grappling with his new job as a Harvard professor, he learns that the university’s department chair, Olivia, intentionally set him up to be a sort of celebrity lecturer to bring more students to the program, which Frasier was strongly against. When he confronted her about it, she admitted she was trying to one-up her sister because of a sibling rivalry. The camera pans to Frasier and pauses on a knowing face that leads us to believe they were saying he, too, is in the midst of a rivalry.
The mystery surrounding Niles Crane seems to give the writers a chance to bring him into an episode should he choose to reprise his role. But his actor, David Hyde Pierce, has stated multiple times that he isn’t interested in the project. David has taken over his place as a neurotic genius in the story.
“David basically decided he wasn’t really interested in repeating the performance of Niles,” Grammer told People last Nov. “In a very funny way, it just took us to a new place, which was what we originally wanted to do anyway, which was a Fraser third act. It’s an entirely new life for him.”
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