TV & Movies

Ryan From High School Musical May Have Finally Gotten The Romance He Deserves

Twitter is applauding Ryan Evans’ long-awaited male love interest.

Lucas Grabeel, Kaycee Stroh, Monique Coleman, and Corbin Bleu play themselves and their 'High School...
Fred Hayes/Disney

Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is giving OG HSM fans the reunion they want, with other wish-list items included. The first clip debuted on July 25, and it shows that Lucas Grabeel’s beloved character, Ryan Evans, is finally openly gay and seemingly enjoying life with a loving partner. High School Musical fans celebrated the development on Twitter, even as many rolled their eyes at just how long it took for Ryan’s sexuality to officially enter the canon.

Ryan, the theater-obsessed twin brother of Ashley Tisdale’s Sharpay Evans, long made fans wonder — and that was by design. HSM director Kenny Ortega confirmed to Variety in June 2020 that they laid clues to Ryan’s sexuality in the three movies. “I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab,” he said. “They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it.” In Ortega’s mind, Ryan would have come out sometime in college. He didn’t think Disney was ready to “move into that territory” when the TV movie musicals were made between 2006 and 2008.

Now, however, it’s a different story. In the upcoming season of the ever-meta HSMTMTS, Grabeel returns to play himself playing Evans in the fictional High School Musical 4: The Reunion. (It’s a little confusing if you haven’t seen the Disney+ series, but essentially, it’s a movie they’re making within the show.) The clip shows Grabeel alongside several other HSM vets, and as they film scenes for the movie, he (as Ryan) shares a meaningful moment with his partner (played by Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying) that culminates in a kiss.

The character’s moment in the clip drew a lot of attention from HSM fans on Twitter. As happy as they were to see Grabeel back alongside fellow HSM stars Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), Monique Coleman (Taylor McKessie), Kaycee Stroh (Martha Cox), Bart Johnson (Jack Bolton), and Alyson Reed (Ms. Darbus), it was Ryan’s moment that thrilled them most. As one Twitter user put it, the scene is a promising sign of “how far the world, and Disney have come in recent years.”

Many other fans couldn’t resist sharing that Ryan’s sexuality was obvious to them for more than 15 years; one described it as “canon since the trilogy came out.” Even so, another fan reiterated the progress, writing in part, “I know we all knew Ryan hsm was gay but it’s nice it was actually confirmed all these years later.”

Ryan’s sexuality confirmation came around the same time that a former Air Force intelligence officer claimed in testimony to Congress that the U.S. government has tracked UFOs and “non-human” activity for decades. Several Twitter users drew parallels between the two stories because they had already assumed both were true.

There was only one question left for some HSM fans: What about Chad? They thought he and Ryan had some serious vibes in HSM 2 that still haven’t been delivered on.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series returns to Disney+ for its fourth and final season on Aug. 9.