As it turns out, the new High School Musical TV series on Disney+ is going to feature a familiar face at some point. According to showrunner Tim Federle, a cast member of the original movie will have a special cameo in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. But if you're wondering who, Federle is going to keep you guessing.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly published on Nov. 8, he revealed that the mockumentary comedy series will pay homage to the original film franchise through specific callbacks to the Disney Channel classic. While he didn’t get into specifics of the cameo, Federle said the decision to blend the old with the comical new is rooted in his consideration for OG fans.
“Every episode should contain Easter eggs and callbacks and references to the original, whether it be with a wink to a prop that pops up on screen or a cameo from an original cast member,” Federle told EW. “Which I can confirm happens, I just can’t say who or when! But it’s a fresh start and brand-new cast, and I want to tell stories that went totally outside the High School Musical universe and engage people in a new way.”
Since it's a mockumentary, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series diverges from the films completely. The 10-episode series will follow the students and faculty of East High School as they prepare for a production of High School Musical: The Musical. In this new meta universe that recalls The Office, romances are formed, friendships are tested, and lives are transformed in the realm of high school theater.
If the series and its comically lengthy title sounds particularly wild, Federle is well aware. Nevertheless, the showrunner said he wanted to push the boundaries of scripted TV. Federle told EW, “There are so many scripted shows out there that I feel like anything to make you stand out from the pack and get people to look twice is not a terrible thing these days.”
He added that the idea for the new series came at the height of Netflix’s American Vandal, a true-crime mockumentary that explored high school pranks. "I wanted to differentiate us from the original [movies] right away," he told EW. "I knew that camera-style-wise, if I could borrow some of the elements from The Office... it would immediately announce it as not a copycat of the original, but a new way in. And the docu-style would allow me to revisit the original music but not feel like we’re doing direct karaoke covers.”
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will debut on Disney+ on Nov. 12.