There Are 'No Immediate Plans' for Olivia Rodrigo to Be a 'Huge Part' of 'HSMTMTS's' Future

Olivia Rodrigo's character, Nini, will take a backseat in the storyline of season 3

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL - THE SERIES, Olivia Rodrigo, 'The Auditions', (Season 1, ep. 101, aired Nov. 8, 2019)
Photo: Fred Hayes/Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection

Olivia Rodrigo is stepping back from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

The HSMTMTS star won't have a giant role on the show moving forward, according to showrunner Tim Federle, who has explained why Rodrigo's role of Nini will take a backseat in future episodes.

"It's so funny, we are early enough in the season 4 writers' room that I'd be lying if I told you I had an exactly right answer for that," Federle told Entertainment Weekly when asked if season 3 would be Rodrigo's last season on the Disney+ series.

"I would never say never to Olivia, and I would never use the word 'last,' because I hope the show goes on and on and on and we get like a [Grey's Anatomy] 'Patrick Dempsey on the beach with Ellen Pompeo' moment 17 seasons later."

"But yeah," he added, "I think it's probably a fairly safe bet to say that, for now, we have so many cast members who we love and who we're serving, that I think there's no immediate plans for Nini to be a huge part of the show going forward."

The door is always open for Rodrigo, though, and Federle admitted that "the world has a way of surprising me, and I never say never."

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL - THE SERIES, top-center: Olivia Rodrigo; bottom-center: Kate Reinders, 'What Team?', (Season 1, ep. 106, aired Dec. 13, 2019)
John Fleenor/Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection

The step back for Rodrigo comes after the success of her first studio album, Sour. As Rodrigo found herself on Billboard charts, and became a face of music for Gen Z, she's naturally less available for filming HSMTMTS. In fact, knowing Rodrigo's hectic tour schedule changed the plot of the Disney+ show's third season.

"It's like, season 1, we were making a completely different show, but that's okay," Federle said.

"Any show that's about the power of music — it's so corny to say this, but this is me — and the way that making music with people you love can change your life and change the world, for this to have occurred, for Olivia, all I can do is sit back and be like, 'If the worst thing that ever happened to me is that the star of my show became the biggest pop star in the world and had to chase that, then that's a pretty damn good bad thing to happen to me.'"

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High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 3 premieres Wednesday on Disney+.

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