Could Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf be making a comeback? Some fans are crossing their fingers after news broke on July 17, 2019, that an updated version of Gossip Girl is officially happening. Yes, the former CW show—based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar—is getting the reboot treatment by WarnerMedia’s soon-to-be-launched streaming service, HBO Max.
Rumors of a Gossip Girl return have been swirling since February 2019. The exact details are still coming together, but the log line reveals a few clues about what we can expect: "Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media—and the landscape of New York itself—has changed in the intervening years," it reads.
Beyond that, here's what we know so far about the series.
There will be 10 episodes. According to Deadline, HBO has ordered 10 hour-long episodes of the new version of the show. As the log line shows, it'll tackle contemporary issues, including social media and online privacy, that have changed some of the dynamics in today's high schools.
The original creators are behind the new version. Original program creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are going to be executive producers. Joshua Safran, a writer and producer on the OG show, is also on board and in charge of writing the reboot.
The leads are nonwhite, and there will be plenty of LGBTQ+ storylines. Joshua Safran, who wrote and executive-produced the original show, confirmed this at Vulture Festival on November 10. "There was not a lot of representation the first time around on the show,” he said. "I was the only gay writer I think the entire time I was there. Even when I went to private school in New York in the ’90s, the school didn’t necessarily reflect what was on Gossip Girl. So this time around the leads are nonwhite. There’s a lot of queer content on this show. It is very much dealing with the way the world looks now, where wealth and privilege come from, and how you handle that. The thing I can’t say is there is a twist, and that all relates to the twist.”
The casting process is ongoing. While the show will focus on a new generation, it seems like there's some hope that previous members might make an appearance. “We've reached out to all of them to let them know it was happening and we'd love for them to be involved if they want to be involved, but certainly didn't want to make it contingent upon [them being involved],” executive producer Josh Schwartz said Friday (July 26) at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, according to Entertainment Tonight. “They played these characters for six years, and if they felt like they were good with that, we want to respect that, but obviously…it would be great to see them again.”
In past interviews, the cast has had lots of different opinions about a reboot. Chace Crawford (Nate) has signaled before that he wasn't wild about new episodes with the original stars.
"I don't think anyone's been seriously talking about that. I think they'd have to come up with a real plan, and I know Josh and Stephanie would have to be a part of it," he told Entertainment Tonight in 2019. "It is funny to me, it's almost become a classic now. It probably goes to show you that we shouldn't be redoing it. I can't be in high school anymore. That's the thing. I don't even know what they would do. For me personally, I would love to see everybody again and I loved everybody and I would love to work with everybody, but I don't know if it's necessarily a reality."
Still, he changed his tune slightly when he spoke to Digital Spy in July, saying he'd "absolutely have to cameo"—and then elaborated further on that in September. Speaking to August Man, he told the magazine that he'd "definitely be open" to returning for a cameo. "If there’s an opening in the future for doing a cameo, I would definitely be open to it,” the actor said. “The show was a big part of my life and was really special. I loved everyone on it, from the cast to the crew. We were a real family." However, he did add that the Amazon series he's in, The Boys “is my priority now.” But, he added, when he received news of the reboot, "It just makes me feel old."
"I got an email about it right before my birthday," he told August Man. "It’s funny they’re already rebooting it."
Blake Lively (Serena) has explained that she would not say never to the idea. "It sort of all depends," she told Variety in 2017. "Would I do seven years of the show? No, because it's hard work and I've got my babies, and I don't want to be away from them that much. But I've just learned in life you never say never. I'm looking to do something that I haven't done yet, not something that I did. But would I do that? Who knows—if it was good, if it made sense. We had so much fun shooting and living and working in New York City."
However, Safran added that we can rule out one thing: seeing the next generation of the old crew. There will be no children of former characters on this run. "No, we're not that old!" he joked at TCA, reports ET.
There have also been rumors that Kristen Bell would return as the voice of Gossip Girl. Although we didn't see her face on our screens (until the final episode), Bell's voice-overs are as much a part of the iconic show as Blair's and Serena's style. When asked about a possible return by E! News, she coyly replied, "Maybe. I'll never tell."
But Bell's return was confirmed on Thursday, November 7. According to Variety, Bell has officially signed on to the HBO Max reboot as the titular narrator. XOXO!
Sarah Aubrey, the head of original content at HBO Max, told Entertainment Tonight in January 2020, "We're very early in casting conversations. We've kind of drawn circles around a few people, but it's early days on that."
On March 2, we finally got news of who will be playing one of the lead characters. According to Deadline, Emily Alyn Lind will star as Audrey, a character who has "been in a long-term relationship and is beginning to wonder what more could be out there."
Alyn Lind has previously had roles in Revenge and Code Black. Back in 2017 she talked to Glamour, along with her two sisters who are also actors. (Their mom played Deb Scott on One Tree Hill.) "When I watch TV or see a movie, I think, I want to relate to this character. I want to know that someone is here for me whether it's a 30-minute show or a two-hour film," she said. "That’s our role as actors, and those are the roles I want to play. I know kids who have gone through things and feel very alone. When you watch movies or television, you don't want to see the perfect person all the time. It gets really boring."
But who will her costars be? On March 11, Deadline announced four new actors joining the show: Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson (Scream Queens), along with Dove Cameron's boyfriend Thomas Doherty (High Fidelity), Adam Chanler-Berat (Next to Normal), and Zion Moreno (Claws).
From left: Tavi Gavinson, Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat, and Zion Moreno
The OG characters will be a part of the reboot. "Stephanie and I had been talking about it off and on over the past couple of years, and obviously you're seeing more shows get revisited," Schwartz said at TCA on July 26, 2019, according to ET. "Certainly, on social media, there were people asking for it. We felt that a version with our cast grown up, regardless of what the challenges would be of assembling those actors again, it didn't really feel like a group of adults that would be patrolled by Gossip Girl would make a lot of sense."
"So we thought there was something really interesting about the idea that we are all Gossip Girl now, in our own way, that we are all purveyors of our own social media surveillance state and how that has evolved and how that has mutated and morphed and telling that through a new generation of Upper East Side high school kids," he added.
In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Safran confirmed Serena, Blair, Nate, and Dan will be a part of the Gossip Girl reboot whether or not the stars choose to return.
He explained that the new series will mention past characters because "the universe still exists."
"They are a part of the world," Safran said. "The characters talk about them and that they do exist. So, yeah, I would love to have them come back. The show jumped five years in the future when it ended and we are past that five years now, so it's whole new things that they could be doing."
"I think of [the reboot] like the Marvel universe. It's not a continuation or a sequel. It truly just is looking at a different angle," he added.
Safran also confirmed the reboot will address what the original characters are up to following the 2012 series finale.
"Well, we talk about what happened to Dan, so I might have to text Penn and see if he's really available," Safran said. "Penn also works constantly, but we'll see if we can rope him in there. That would be great. I would love for everyone to come back if they wanted to."
Badgley addressed the return directly this week on Entertainment Tonight, saying simply that making an appearance on the show is something he'd have to "think about."
“Could Dan Humphrey…? I don’t…. That’s a message I gotta put at the top of my inbox, you know, to think about,” he said. "I have not had conversations with any of the creators yet, but you know…."
Sounds like the door isn't completely closed, but it's worth noting that Badgley is pretty busy with his work on You.
"I think it's pretty clear that, like, I've never been a proponent of Dan Humphrey's," he said. "I've never been necessarily the greatest friend or fan of Dan Humphrey, which now I reconcile in this way that I'm like, you know, I would love to contribute in a meaningful way to it. And I guess it would just depend on a lot of things."
"It would depend on how and why he's there," Badgley continued, "and I don't know…like, is it even…? Yeah, I don't know."
The storylines will be fresh, but not unfamiliar. We don't have a lot of information right now, but everything we've heard sounds very promising. "We have gotten the first script [by showrunner Safran], and I can tell you we all breathed a big sigh of relief because it's quite good," Aubrey said on January 15, 2020, at the TCAs, according to Entertainment Tonight. "You can imagine the bar is very high. I think that one of the benefits of having the original creators involved, they're very clear of what the essential elements of the show are and are not. And also, really excited to bring a modern lens to it 10 years later. Josh and team have done a great job so far."
One thing we do know is that we'll be back at Constance Billard with the new cast. "It's the same high school, so we're back at Constance Billard. We are looking at a group of friends in their junior year. Those pieces are the same. They're still in the uniforms," Safran told ET in December. "Not everyone lives on the Upper East Side, though. Brooklyn's not the bad place to live. Brooklyn’s probably cooler in the new version than Manhattan, ’cause it is in some places. Other than that, it has the DNA of the original."
But the kids will absolutely have a different relationship with social media than the original crew. "I think it very much represents where we will be at in 2020 when the show airs. It really looks at how social media has changed," Safran also said. "You know, the first time around, when the show started people were, like, checking in places on Foursquare and updating their locations on Facebook. Things we would never do now because we don't want anyone to know where we are. That change alone changes the dynamic of what Gossip Girl means and how Gossip Girl interacts with the kids this day and age, so I think it's gonna be really interesting to see. The modern age reflected through Gossip Girl."
We'll update this post with more details as they come in. XOXO.
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