The show detailing the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite is back and getting the reboot treatment by WarnerMedia’s incoming streaming service, HBO Max (yes, the same one that’s bringing us our Friends reunion).
While the exact details are still TBC, Deadline has dropped a few clues about what to expect — including the fast that it will still be based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar.
Here’s what we know:
An official summary of the show reads: “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.”
While it won’t centre around the original cast of characters, they will certainly be mentioned, as “the universe still exists”.
“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.”
In fact, the students will attend Constance Billard just like the old 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 saind in an interview with 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.”
Sarah Aubrey, the head of original content at HBO Max said at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in July 2019: “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.”
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.”
On March 3, the very first cast member was announced.
Actor Emily Alyn Lind (Revenge/Code Black) was the first Upper East Sider to be cast and will play Audrey, a girl in a long term relationship who is beginning to wonder what more could be out there.
Also officially confirmed is original voice-over, Kristen Bell (The Good Place), who is returning as the XOXO narrator — because is it really Gossip Girl without Bell?
Following the announcement of Lind, four more cast members have been announced.
Whitney Peak who hails from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Eli Brown from Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Broadway alum Jason Gotay and Lethal Weapon’s Johnathan Fernandez.
There’s no word on who they will play just yet.
According to Vulture, Safran revealed that the leads are “nonwhite” and there will be plenty of LGBTQ+ storylines.
“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 a 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.”
In terms of the original cast, including Lively, Badgley, Ed Westwick, Leighton Meester and Chace Crawford, executive producer Josh Schwartz has “reached out to all of them to let them know it was happening.”
“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],” he said at a TCAs.
“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.”
According to Digital Spy, Crawford, who is now enjoying success in Amazon Prime’s The Boys, said that a “cameo” wouldn’t be out of the question. In fact, if he was asked, he’d “have to”.
“I don’t know what it would look like with us being in our 30s now, but I always say, because it was such a big part of my life, I’m open to anything. It would have to be really right, and really specific,” he said.
In 2017, Lively, who played Serena van der Woodsen, also said she would “never say never”.
“It sort of all depends,” she told Variety back 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.”
Why a Reboot?
At the TCA, Schwartz said that he and Stephanie Savage (the original creators of the show), had been “talking about it off and on” for years.
“Certainly, on social media, there were people asking for it,” he said at the TCA conference. “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.
When it comes to Gossip Girl and social media, the landscape has changed from the early 00s to 2020.
“It really looks at how social media has changed,” Safran added. “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 can’t wait to keep you updated. You know you love us. XOXO. TheLatch—