The HBO Max revival of the hit teen drama series is set to premiere in 2021

By Ally Mauch
December 02, 2020 10:40 AM
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Evan Mock, Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Doherty, Eli Brown, Jordan Alexander, Zion Moreno and Savannah Lee Smith are seen at the film set of the 'Gossip Girl' TV Series on November 10, 2020 in New York City
Credit: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Hey Upper East Siders — Gossip Girl is back.

The reboot of the CW's iconic teen series is set to premiere on HBO Max sometime next year, with a whole new group of privileged New York City students getting entangled in drama under the watchful eye of the ubiquitous Gossip Girl. The streaming service announced the reboot last year, with original creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage tied to the project.

Based on the Cecily von Ziegesar book series, the original Gossip Girl ran for six seasons between 2007 and 2012, starring Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick.

From where the storyline will pick up to whether we'll be seeing any of those original stars, here's everything we know about the Gossip Girl reboot so far.

Gossip Girl
The original Gossip Girl cast
| Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/The CW

Who Is Involved

The new cast includes Thomas Doherty, Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Jordan Alexander, Savannah Lee Smith, Evan Mock and Zión Moreno as some of the students at the fictional N.Y.C. private schools, Constance Billard School for Girls and St. Jude's School for Boys.

In November, the cast members were spotted filming on the steps outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art — a popular gathering place for the characters of the original show.

In addition, Emily Alyn Lind will play a lead role in the new show as Audrey, a character who "has been in a long-term relationship and is beginning to wonder what more could be out there," according to a Deadline report.

Aside from Lind's Audrey, no names have been released for the characters. "Any idea when we're getting the new character names?" a fan asked writer and producer Joshua Safran during a Twitter Q&A session last month, to which Safran replied, "I do not! But I like them and hope you do too."

Where the Storyline Picks Up

The new iteration will begin eight years after the original "went dark," as a new generation of teens are introduced to the mysterious and all-seeing Gossip Girl website, according to the series' official summary.

"The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years," it teases.

During the TCA summer press tour last year, executive producer Josh Schwartz explained why he and fellow producer Stephanie Savage decided against doing a version of the show with the original cast grown up.

"We felt that a version with just our cast grown up, regardless of the challenges of getting those actors, didn't feel like a group of adults controlled by 'Gossip Girl' made much sense," he said, according to Deadline. "We felt there was something interesting that we are all 'Gossip Girl' in our own way and how that's evolved, morphed and mutated, and telling that story through a new generation of Upper East Side high school kids felt right."

Safran has also opened up about making the modern iteration of Gossip Girl more diverse.

"There was not a lot of representation the first time around on the show," he said at the Vulture Festival in November 2019. "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 said 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."

Safran has also confirmed the reboot will feature a reimagining of at least one original storyline. "Are we still getting the iconic thanksgiving episode? and the debutante ball one?" a fan asked on Twitter last month.

"One of these things!" he wrote in response.

Tavi Gevinson, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Thomas Doherty, Eli Brown, Jordan Alexander, Savannah Lee Smith and Zion Moreno are seen filming for 'Gossip Girl' outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side on November 10, 2020 in New York City
Gossip Girl reboot filming
| Credit: Gotham/GC Images

Which Original Stars We Will See

The only confirmed returning star is Kristen Bell, who is set to reprise her role as the drama's narrator.

Some of the others, however, seem open to making an appearance. Chace Crawford, who played pretty boy Nate Archibald in the original series, told Digital Spy that he would "absolutely cameo" in the reboot.

"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," he said in October 2019.

You star Penn Badgley was more ambivalent, particularly about his character Dan Humphrey. "I've never been necessarily the greatest friend or fan of Dan Humphrey," he said in a Harper’s Bazaar interview last year. "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."

Gossip Girl
Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford in Gossip Girl
| Credit: Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic

Unfortunately for fans of Serena Van Der Woodsen, however, it sounds like Blake Lively is definitely out. In January, Lively told E! News that she is not at all involved with the HBO Max show.

Though none the originals have officially signed on, Schwartz has said that any of them are welcome.

"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]," he said during the TCA tour, according to Entertainment Tonight.

He continued, "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."

When It Will Air

Alongside the first-look teaser, HBO Max announced May 28 that that series is set to drop on the streaming service July 8.

The reboot was originally set to premiere this fall but was pushed back to 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus 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 2020.

"Things that would have been really meaningful and high profile have gotten pushed back," Reilly continued, adding that it was "really disappointing."

Back in January, HBO Max's Head of Original Content Sarah Aubrey teased to reporters 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.