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Disney Star Cried When He Found Out His Character Was Finally Coming Out as Gay

Lucas Grabeel Ryan gay
Credit: Disney

It’s been 15 years since Disney released the third and final High School Musical film and millions of fans flocked to theaters to see how the stories of Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, and Chad ended. The High School Musical franchise helped launch the careers of its stars, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and others. The first two movies were released as Disney Channel Original Movies, but were so successful that Disney decided the third one needed a massive, nationwide launch.

high school musical season 4

Credit: Disney

The success of High School Musical led Disney to create a new series for Disney+ when it launched in 2019 — High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The show was wildly successful, but is coming to an end after four seasons. The fourth and final season will see some of the film’s original stars return to East High as they film High School Musical 4: The Reunion.

One of the returning characters is Ryan Evans, played by Lucas Grabeel. On July 25, Disney released a trailer for HSMTMTS’s final season, and it confirmed something Disney fans have been speculating for years — Ryan is gay. In the preview, Ryan is seen thanking a man for showing up, kissing him, and telling him that he loves him.

High School Musical The Musical The Series Season 4

Credit: Disney

HSMTMTS showrunner, Tim Federle, recently sat down for an interview with TVLine, and revealed that Grabeel cried when he was told that Ryan would officially be coming out.

Federle began by calling Lucas Grabeel, “the keeper of the Ryan flame for 15 years,” to make sure that he felt like this was the right move for his character. Spoiler alert: Grabeel loved the idea.

“Lucas, like, cried on the phone and said, ‘This would mean so much to people who grew up with this movie,’” Federle recalls. “‘It’s what they were always kind of missing from this character.’”

Ryan Kelsi High School Musical

Credit: Disney

This is not the first time that Ryan’s sexuality has been addressed by Grabeel. Both he and this film’s original director, Kenny Ortega, admitted that Ryan was always meant to be gay. However, they weren’t sure that Disney would be okay with the character being open about it when the movie premiered. Instead, Grabeel embraced the character and made it his own, without Ryan ever saying anything out loud.

All three High School Musical films, as well as all seasons of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, are currently available to stream on Disney+.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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