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Why Danielle Fishel & Ben Savage Had Some Doubts About the Girl Meets World Spin-Off

updated 06/26/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET

originally published 06/27/2014 AT 8:00 PM ET

Girl Meets World finally makes its way to the Disney Channel Friday – but the spin-off’s stars from the original series admit they were skeptical at first.

“I asked a few questions,” Danielle Fishel tells PEOPLE, about her reaction when the show’s creator Michael Jacobs approached her. “I said, ‘Okay, so she’s going to be a girl and how old is she going to be? What are her focuses like? Is the whole show going to be a love story or is it going to be something different? Is she going to have goals?’ It’s really important to me that if we’re going to do a show like this now, with a female lead, that she’s smart and has interests outside of boys and clothes.”

But it turns out the ’90s star had no reason to worry: “He was like, ‘Absolutely, she’s going to be very well-rounded – the perfect mix of Cory and Topanga, definitely more like Cory with the neuroses,’ ” Fishel, 33, says. “Then [I was] very excited.”

Fishel’s Boy Meets World costar Ben Savage (aka Cory Matthews) had some initial doubts, too.

“We were very careful to make sure the show was something we were all passionate about and something that we thought did the original series justice,” Savage, 33, says, noting the new series should appease fans old and new.

“A lot of Boy Meets World fans have expressed a little fear or nervousness that it’s on the Disney Channel and is just going to be a kids show,” Savage adds. “But I think we’ve done a really nice job catering to all of our demographics and all of our audiences. And we definitely kept in mind how we got here.”

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