Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for the fourth and final season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” which is currently streaming on Disney+.
The Wildcats of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” have taken their final bow as the curtain closes on the beloved show’s fourth and final season. This concluding season consists of eight episodes that explore the lives of the characters as they take on a stage production of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” – a play within a show. The meta-filled season not only serves as a tribute to the original film trilogy but also delves into the growth and futures of the show’s young cast members.
In the final episodes, the new Wildcats find themselves grappling with significant decisions about their post-high-school paths. Gina (played by Sofia Wylie) capitalizes on her surprise casting in “HSM 4” to secure a leading role in a fresh adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet.” To accommodate her senior year at East High, she convinces the production to be shot in New Mexico. Ricky (played by Joshua Bassett) and Gina’s relationship becomes public, while Ricky gets into college and realizes his true aspirations. Kourtney (played by Dara Reneé) navigates love and ambition, as her Ivy League dreams shift due to her newfound love interest.
The final season is marked by themes of romance and self-discovery. Ashlyn (played by Julia Lester) and Maddox (played by Saylor Bell Curda) share their first kiss, Carlos (played by Frankie Rodriguez) and Seb (played by Joe Serafini) reunite for a heartfelt duet, and Miss Jenn (played by Kate Reinders) and Mr. Mazzara (played by Mark St. Cyr) embrace their feelings for each other.
However, it’s not just the current cast that graces the screen. The season is infused with nostalgia as original “High School Musical” cast members, including Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, Bart Johnson, Kaycee Stroh, and Alyson Reed, make appearances throughout. Unfortunately, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale did not participate in the series’ final season.
Notably absent from the final season is Olivia Rodrigo’s character Nini, who had been a recurring presence in the show’s previous seasons. This absence is in line with Nini’s storyline in Season 3, where she leaves for California to pursue a singing career, mirroring Rodrigo’s real-life trajectory. Federle explains that the decision not to bring back Rodrigo was influenced by the desire to focus on new relationships and characters.
Federle, the creator of the series, sheds light on the decision to end the show on a high note. He describes the practical considerations of the modern streaming era, where production timelines and cast commitments played a role in concluding the series. Emotionally, Federle wanted to ensure that the cast’s strong camaraderie and positive vibes would remain a lasting memory for everyone involved.
The final episode of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” ends with an unexpected performance of “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.” This choice was deliberate, signaling to viewers that the show has concluded definitively. The scene, shot in a single take, showcases the cast’s raw talent and harmonization skills without elaborate staging or editing.
While the series finale might leave some fans yearning for appearances from the original “High School Musical” stars, Federle reveals that there was an attempt to involve them. However, due to various commitments and logistical challenges, the reunion of the original trio did not come to fruition. Federle expresses his hope that a true “High School Musical 4” may materialize in the future.
In reflection, Federle commends the young cast for their openness and professionalism, transforming him from a theater person to a television creator. He emphasizes the importance of creating a positive environment and fostering meaningful relationships among the cast and crew. As the curtain falls on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” Federle acknowledges the impact the show has had on his life and the lives of the talented individuals he had the privilege to work with.
This interview with Tim Federle, the creator of the series, has been edited and condensed for brevity.
Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle