The HBO Max reboot's release was pushed back to 2021 due to the pandemic

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 11, 2020 03:30 PM
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XOXO, the new Gossip Girl.

Snapshots from the upcoming HBO Max reboot of the drama series debuted Tuesday, showing the young new cast — including Thomas Doherty, Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Jordan Alexander, Savannah Lee Smith, Evan Mock and Zión Moreno — kicking back on the steps outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The iconic Manhattan locale was a popular gathering place for the characters of the original Gossip Girl, which ran for six seasons on The CW between 2007 and 2012. The original series starred Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, and Ed Westwick.

Based on the Cecily von Ziegesar book series, the Gossip Girl reboot will feature the brand-new cast of teens enjoying their privileged lives on New York City's Upper East Side. Original creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are tied to the project. Kristen Bell is set to reprise her role as the drama's narrator.

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Credit: The CW/Courtesy Everett Collection

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The reboot was originally set to premiere this fall but was pushed back to 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. "They hadn't even started production yet; they were in pre-production and ready to roll," HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly told Vulture in May.

Back in January, HBO Max’s Head of Original Content Sarah Aubrey teased to reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that "early casting conversations" were underway at the time. "We have gotten the first script and I think we all breathed a big sigh of relief because it’s quite good," Aubrey said.

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During the Vulture Festival in November 2019, writer and producer Joshua Safran opened up about the reboot, revealing that they intentionally made the modern reiteration more diverse.

“There was not a lot of representation the first time around on the show,” he said at the time. “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.”

Safran, who shared that he “was the only gay writer” on the original CW show, added that “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,” he said, before teasing one other major way the reboot will differ from the original series: “The thing I can’t say is there is a twist, and that all relates to the twist.”