In July, it was announced that iconic 00s show Gossip Girl is returning for a new ten-part series. Set eight years after the original show ended, this time the creators are determined to more accurately reflect the world of New York teens – meaning fans can finally expect a more diverse cast.
“There was not a lot of representation the first time around on the show,” writer and executive producer Joshua Safran said at Vulture Festival yesterday (November 10). “I was the only gay writer I think the entire time I was there.”
As well as an absence of diversity behind the scenes, the main cast of the original Gossip Girl notably lacked people of colour and LGBTQ+ storylines. All six of the main characters – Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), and Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) – were straight, white, and cisgender. Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr) was the only POC protagonist, while Serena’s brother Eric (Connor Paolo) had the only queer storyline.
“This time around the leads are nonwhite,” Safran continued. “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.”
Social media will also play a much bigger role in the reboot, as the initial series ended shortly after Instagram began to take off IRL. Safran also confirmed that the new Gossip Girl will take place in the same universe as the original, again following students at Constance Billard School for Girls.
The creators have previously commented on the show’s lack of diversity, with Safran telling Vulture in 2017 that the only things he regrets are “not as much representation for people of colour and gay story lines”, as well as “not showing Chuck finger Blair and the dildos and other sexual stuff”. Apparently these deleted scenes were too X-rated for 00s TV.
While it’s unconfirmed whether any of the original cast members will reprise their roles, TVLine recently reported that Kristen Bell – the voice of Gossip Girl herself – will return as the reboot’s narrator.