Last year, it was announced that Gossip Girl is returning to our screens and the iconic Upper East Side, eight years after the original teen TV series.
Confirmed as a first season that comprises of 10-episode, the reboot promises to star a diverse cast that more accurately reflects the world of New York teens. It is set to launch in May this year on HBO’s streaming service.
With the original show’s executive producer Joshua Safran as the series showrunner, the reboot will take place at the Constance Billard School for Girls – where we saw Blair, Serena, and little Jenny stalk the halls – eight years after the original Gossip Girl site goes dark. The synopsis reads: “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.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Safran said that the upcoming show is “not a continuation or a sequel. It truly is looking at a different angle”. He continued: “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.”
At Vulture Festival in 2019, Safran said that “this time around the leads are non-white” and “there’s a lot of queer content on this show”. Kristen Bell will return as narrator and Code Black actress Emily Alyn will feature as Audrey, who “has been in a long-term relationship, and is beginning to wonder what more could be out there”. More recently spotted and confirmed: Whitney Peak (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Eli Brown (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists), Johnathan Fernandez (Lethal Weapon) and frequent Broadway star Jason Gotay.
Unfortunately, we won’t see Serena and Blair taking a break from their high-powered jobs for a reminisce on the steps of the Met in the remake – executive producer Josh Schwartz recently told press at the Television Critics Association that he would call the new series a “continuation”, rather than a straight “remake”. “There aren’t new actors playing Serena and Blair,” he said.
Nevertheless, the door is open for the stars of the first iteration: “We’ve reached out to all of them to let them know it was happening, and we would love for them to be involved if they want to be involved. But (we) certainly didn’t want to make it contingent upon their (participation). They played those characters for six years, and if they felt like they were good with that, we wanted to respect that. But obviously, it would be great to see them again,” Schwartz said.
Discussing Gossip Girl 2.0’s storyline directions, he shared: “We felt like a version that was just 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 who were being controlled by Gossip Girl would make a lot of sense. “It felt like there was something really interesting about this idea that we are all Gossip Girl now, in our own way, that we are all kind of purveyors of our own social media state, and how that’s evolved and how that has morphed and mutated, and telling that story through a new generation of Upper East Side high school kids just felt like the right time.”
The original series, which starred Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley, lasted for six seasons between 2007 and 2012. There’s no surprise that our current social media landscape, dating apps, and more will impact the reboot, but until then... xoxo