(Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

The Will & Grace revival began with a short special about the importance of voting—which no one really mistook for being a one-time thing—and it looks like the quartet’s civic-mindedness extends throughout the rest of the season. Vulture reports that, while at the Tribeca TV Festival, the cast talked about how their characters have evolved since we last saw them in 2006. Megan Mullally noted that Karen Walker’s the same sentient liquor cabinet she ever was, but Debra Messing said she asked the writers for a significant tweak to Grace Adler—namely, that she be a feminist in the ninth season.

When we catch up with Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen, they’ll be 11 years older, but still “11 years old on set,” the actors pointed out, so we shouldn’t expect too much growth. However, Messing did ask for “Grace to be a feminist,” and the writers were happy to oblige. In real life, Messing is a Global Health Ambassador for Population Services International, focusing on HIV/AIDS. She’s also an LGBTQI advocate, who says the show will reflect society’s progress: “Back then, LGB, we stopped at B. And now 11 years later, the conversation has expanded. There’s T, A, I, and gender fluidity and there are all these things that are now finally being celebrated in our culture,” Messing told festival attendees. “We’re going to talk about what’s happening now.”

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Her co-stars Eric McCormack and Megan Mullally agreed that, while the show did break ground in featuring openly gay characters in lead roles, there’s still some ground to be covered. “When Will & Grace was on the air, at least for the first several seasons, there were no other shows that had gay characters. We were standing alone in that regard,” Mullally said. “Now, if you don’t have at least four gay characters, people are like, What’s this piece of shit?”

As we’ve previously reported, you can forget about that original series finale, which saw Will and Grace “break up.” They’ll both be broken up in the revival, which means there’ll be plenty of late-night talks in shorty robes and face masks, but they’ll be interrupted by Alexa or Google Home, to lend the proceedings a more contemporary feeling. Will & Grace returns to NBC Thursday, September 28.