Mean Girls has plenty of fans of all ages, but the 2004 movie especially resonates with millennials who grew up watching in middle school and high school. But there's one big change to the new Broadway musical based on the movie — and it makes Mean Girls even more relevant in 2018, as Tina Fey recently pointed out to Variety. Broadway's Mean Girls includes references to social media, and the update makes total sense. And though it probably wasn't her intention, Fey's comments also double as the perfect excuse to finally make an actual Mean Girls sequel, too.
While fans probably wouldn't mind if the musical were just like the cult-classic film, it makes sense why Fey would want to update it for Broadway. Here's what the 30 Rock alum, who wrote the Mean Girls screenplay as well as the book for the Broadway musical, told Variety about the new show:
"The movie was about relational aggression among women. But now that behavior has really metastasized across our society, and you see it everywhere. You see it in people being horrible to each other on social media. So if anything, it's gone wider. It's such an escalation in the interpersonal arms race."
The vehicles for the "aggression" Fey cites might change over the years, but the general theme is the same. Whether the Burn Book is a physical, hardbound scrapbook or an anonymous Instagram account, the effects of bullying are largely the same. Adding in modern references doesn't take away from the original movie; instead, it brings a new layer of complexity to the film. And again, that's exactly the kind of update that would lend itself to a movie sequel, which fans have been rooting for over the years.
Plenty of us went through our teenage years (and even our early 20s) without cellphones, let alone internet-capable smartphones. So it's not hard for millennials to remember a time, say, where someone might actually ask out loud what day it is. In 2018, though, there probably wouldn't be a "Mean Girls day" — you could just look at your phone to find out it was Oct. 3. The musical doesn't have to be all about the digital age, but not tweaking at least some of the details might make the new musical feel a little bit like a time machine.
And aside from updating the musical to reflect technological advancements, there's another big change to the Broadway version, too. Regina George, the movie's chief "mean girl," is less one-note in the new production. Nell Benjamin, who wrote the lyrics to the musical's songs, explained to Vanity Fair in March that the Broadway Regina is more of a "boss." Benjamin told the magazine,
"Nobody wants to be mean, but everyone wants to kind of find their inner boss. And I think there's a way to make Regina’s inner boss really positive, and I think in our musical Tina has done that in spades."
Obviously, it's not cool that Regina mistreats her classmates in order to reach "boss" status, but Benjamin raises a good point. Plenty of us have had smaller "mean" moments over the years, and it's not as simple as labeling someone a good or bad person. Relationships are complex, especially in high school, and it's great to see that the musical, like the movie, will address those complexities.
Those kinds of changes would also work well in that hypothetical Mean Girls movie sequel that fans can't get out of their heads. After all, Lindsay Lohan is already on board for a potential Mean Girls 2, telling Wendy Williams in January that she's asked writers Chuck Lorre and Steve Higgins about a potential sequel. Lohan also told E! News last year that she'd " love to do it again" while discussing a potential Mean Girls sequel. While Fey has hinted that she's not interested in a sequel, things can change, right?
Updating Mean Girls for a social media-obsessed audience could pave the way for a potential new movie, too. A sequel to Mean Girls would need to be updated to include things like Instagram and iPhones. And the Broadway musical changes prove that the forces behind the scenes aren't afraid to update the story. So who knows what could happen? Maybe a Mean Girls sequel, complete with tweets, iMessages, and Finstas, could still happen in the future.