Who Came Up with the Name Topanga on 'Boy Meets World' ? There Are Two Answers, Says Danielle Fishel

Danielle Fishel also told fans at the first-ever 90s Con that Topanga was only supposed to be a recurring role when the actress was initially cast on Boy Meets World

90's Con Portrait Studio
Photo: Emily Assiran/Contour/Getty

Danielle Fishel says that Topanga Lawrence from Boy Meets World was named after a location in California — but there's actually much more to the story!

During a panel discussion with her fellow castmates Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews) and Trina McGee (Angela Moore) at the first-ever 90s Con, Fishel revealed that there are two different versions of how Topanga came to be.

"I think the truth is there was a woman who created the character of Topanga — she was in the writers' room — and I think she wanted the character to be a flower child. And she picked the name Topanga because in the San Fernando Valley, where the show was filmed, there is an area called Topanga Canyon, and that canyon was kind of a known hippie hangout in the '60s and even still is a kind of flower child-y area," she explained on Saturday.

However, Boy Meets World co-creator Michael Jacobs apparently told a different tale as to how the book-smart but free-spirited character was named.

"The story that Michael Jacobs tells is that he was in the car on the freeway when the writers called and that he needed a name for this character, and he was at the Topanga Canyon offramp on the freeway," Fishel said.

"So the joke he made is that had they called him two minutes later, she could have been named De Soto," she added. "It's really funny, but I don't know that that's the true story, so there's both!"

Not only could Topanga have had a different moniker, the Boy Meets World cast revealed that the character could have been cut from the series early on.

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Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel as Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World. Walt Disney Television/Getty

"She wasn't supposed to be on forever," Friedle said. "And then you came in and killed it, and then it changed the whole show."

Fishel added, "Yeah, it was only supposed to be, I think, one episode — possibly a recurring — and then she basically became the rest of the show."

Her character was so beloved by '90s fans that after Cory and Topanga got married at the end of Boy Meets World's seventh season, she went on to reprise her role in the 2014 spinoff Girl Meets World.

While Cory and Topanga's epic love story was a pivotal part of the 1990s, Fishel told 90s Con attendees that she and costar Ben Savage never became more than just friends after years of playing childhood sweethearts on television.

When asked if she ever had a relationship with her costar from the popular coming-of-age sitcom, Fishel said, "No, we never dated."

"There was literally I think one moment where Ben and I looked at each other after we had been working together for like two years and were like, 'Are there feelings there?' " she explained. "And then we went out to dinner, and we were like, 'No!' "

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