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Disney Confirms Adored ‘High School Musical’ Character is Gay

High school musical ryan gay
Credit: Disney

It seems hard to believe, but it’s been 15 years since fans last saw Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad, Taylor, and Kelsi roam the halls of East High.¬†High School Musical¬†premiered on The Disney Channel on January 20, 2006, and it was an immediate hit. Viewers couldn’t get enough of the catchy songs and incredible dancing. The next year, High School Musical 2 was released on The Disney Channel, and it was just as, if not more, successful. When Disney released the final film, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, they went big and released it in movie theaters nationwide.

High-School-Musical

Credit: Disney

Despite how long it had been since¬†High School Musical¬†first came out, the love for it did not die. So, in 2019, Disney created a new, original series for Disney+ —¬†High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The show was also incredibly popular, and some of its stars have become household names. The power of High School Musical continues to hold.

On August 9, 2023, Disney will release the fourth and final season of HSMTMTS on Disney+. The season will feature a number of actors from the original films returning as they reunite to make High School Musical 4. Corbin Blue (Chad), Monique Coleman (Taylor), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan), and KayCee Stroh (Martha) are all making their return to East High.

High School Musical The Musical The Series Season 4

Credit: Disney

On July 25, Disney released a sneak peek at the new season and made a big move. After 15 years, they finally confirmed that Ryan Evans is gay. In the preview, Ryan is seen thanking a man for coming, telling him he loves him, and kissing him, before running back out on stage.

In the past,¬†High School Musical¬†director, Kenny Ortega, said that he always knew Ryan was gay, but didn’t think that Disney or audiences would be ready to cross that line at the time when the first film came out. Had the story continued, Ortega said that Ryan most likely would have come out in college.

“And Disney is the most progressive group of people I‚Äôve ever worked with. I was concerned because it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet. So, I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it, and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.”

Kenny Ortega High School Musical

Credit: Roster Con

Grabeel also wanted to explore Ryan’s sexuality more, as he assumed the character was gay, but instead, they just focused on Ryan’s artistic passion and talent.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lucas revealed he pushed for Ryan’s sexuality to be explored early on.¬†“After reading the script, the first thing I said to¬†[Kenny Ortega] was, ‘OK, Kenny, Ryan’s gay, right? I know it’s Disney Channel so I’m not really gonna be gay, but I mean, yeah, right?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, think of it this way: You have the opportunity to play a character who’s young, he’s into theater, he’s an artist and let’s go at it from that point of view,'” Lucas¬†explained. “He talked to me about his own life and he was like, ‘I see a lot of myself in Ryan. Yeah, I knew I was gay in high school, but I didn’t tell anybody.’ It was about making it real.”

Ryan Kelsi High School Musical

Credit: Disney

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will premiere on Disney+ on August 9. The final season will star Joshua Bassett as Ricky, Sofia Wylie as Gina, Dara Renée as Kourtney, Julia Lester as Ashlyn, and Frankie Rodriguez as Carlos. Original film stars Bart Johnson will also return as Coach Bolton, and Alyson Reed will be back as Ms. Darbus.

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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