Is Olivia Rodrgio Returning For ‘HSMTMTS’ Season 3?
For those who missed it, in Season 2 of the series (which is based off of the original High School Musical franchise and takes place 15 years after the OG movies), Rodrigo’s character Nini became a musical sensation overnight after her song “The Rose Song” blew up — almost like Rodrigo did in real life with her track “Drivers License.” Throughout the second season, she struggled to balance her growing fame and her personal life, and in the final episode, she met with a famous music producer named Jamie (played by Jordan Fisher) — leaving fans to wonder if she is going to pursue her music career and say goodbye to East High once and for all.
“I don’t have a specific plan for that because there’s actor contract stuff I can’t even touch — it’s not for me to make a ruling on,” Federle explained, when asked by Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview if Rodrigo is going to be in the next season. “What I will say is, it’s hard to imagine High School Musical without Olivia, but Olivia is also experiencing a level of success and fame and opportunity that I would never want to stand in the way of. I want the show to succeed, but the actors who make the show are always more important to me than the product. I guess what I mean is, I want Olivia to be happy. I’d love for her to keep making the show, but at the end of the day I’m there to be both the head cheerleader of my series and also read the moment and say, ‘Wow, what Olivia is going through feels so unprecedented that I just want to support her in all of her dreams.'”
What Else Did He Say About Her?
As fans know the Disney star was skyrocketed into the spotlight after she released “Drivers License” in January 2021. The emotional ballad quickly swept the nation and broke a ton of records, including the Spotify record for the most single-day streams for a non-holiday song and the biggest first-week for a song on Spotify and Amazon Music. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart as one of the most dominant number-one hits in history, and made Rodrigo the youngest artist ever to debut atop the chart. The tune was certified double platinum, and it reached number one in so many countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Malaysia, Portugal, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Wow, talk about impressive! Her debut album — Sour — came out on May 21, 2021, and also slayed the charts, so it’s clear there’s no stopping her.
Despite the scary parallel between the show and her real life, Federle insisted that it’s just a coincidence, and that they’re not trying to base Nini’s story off of Rodrigo.
“Man, it’s so crazy. We wrote that ‘Rose Song’ story maybe six or seven months before ‘Drivers License’ was even released. With the cadence of how TV rolls out, stuff can feel very fresh, and it was decided or filmed like months and months, if not a year, before. It’s a wild amount of symmetry,” he said. “Sometimes it looks like an eerie parallel and other times I just chalk it up to the fact that there’s a reason Romeo and Juliet is still a relevant story about love. It’s because these themes of heartbreak and attachment and identity are timeless, which is why every series is doing their own variation on them.”
The screenwriter and director couldn’t stop gushing over how proud he was of the singer. He added, “I’ve always been somebody who bet on Olivia Rodrigo. I think she’s got a skill that’s unmatched and really rare. Nobody could predict this, including I’m guessing her own label — like, I don’t think anybody can predict a No. 1 album, ever. That’s just so massive and so world-changing. But it’s a joy to watch. She deserves it.”
What About Nini And Ricky’s Fate?
It’s been no secret that Rodrigo and her HSMTMTS costar, Joshua Bassett (he plays Ricky), dated back in 2019. Their messy breakup actually inspired most of Sour, including “Drivers License,” of course. And in the show, their characters went through something very similar. After finally getting together at the end of Season 1, they went their separate ways during Season 2, and it wasn’t pretty. According to Federle, however, that too was decided long before the world got swept up in Rodrgio and Bassett’s drama.
“[Their split] was a really early decision. When you work in teen TV, there’s the concept of ‘endgame’ — who are the characters that are destined to be together? I have some opinions on that, but I remember feeling after Season 1 like the reality of relationships is, you kind of want the thing you don’t have,” he explained. “Especially in young relationships, you’re like, ‘We were so close to being perfect, why did that go so wrong? Let’s get back together.’ Putting them on a journey where, at almost any cost, they wanted to try to stay together even if it meant not communicating or saying the things they needed, was the story I really wanted to tell because it’s real. It’s not the fairy-tale romance we so often see in media. So breaking them up was like an early, early plan for the writers. We wanted to show how two different people deal with that differently. For Ricky, it’s beating yourself up and replaying the past and trying to figure out if you could have done something. For Nini, it’s throwing herself into her work.”
As for their fate in Season 3, he didn’t seem too hopeful for them to get back together.
“If I get to Season 3 or beyond, there are a lot of stories I would still like to tell. For now, Nini is definitely on her own journey, and I think Ricky reads the room well enough to finally understand that this is not the moment to keep trying to explore that,” he told the outlet.
Well, whether Rodrigo returns for Season 3 or not, we can’t wait to see what he has in store!