Disney Channel’s original TV movie High School Musical (2006) basically defined a generation. It inspired kids to love theater, believe in themselves, and take chances outside their comfort zone. The original High School Musical actors basically became instant stars and starred in three subsequent sequels, the last of which debuted on the big screen!
Disney Plus’ High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a hit spinoff of Disney’s original High School Musical film that is currently in its fourth and final season. As a way to bring the story and franchise full circle, show creator Tim Federle wanted all the original actors to have a cameo in the finale of the series.
Many familiar faces did return, but the three most important original characters did not reprise their roles on screen.
What Happened to Troy, Gabriella, and Sharpay?
The 2006 High School Musical film revolves around the popular captain of the basketball team Troy Bolton (played by Zac Efron) and the shy, intelligent transfer student Gabriella Montez (played by Vanessa Hudgens). They audition for the school’s musical even though their friends Chad (played by Corbin Bleu), Taylor (played by Monique Coleman), and other classmates disapprove of breaking the status quo.
The school’s drama queen and king, Sharpay (played by Ashley Tisdale), and her twin brother Ryan (played by Lucas Grabeel), fail to sabotage Troy and Gabriella, who are cast as the leads in the end.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a mockumentary-style television series about a group of high school students at East High who put on a production of Disney’s High School Musical. The show follows the drama and romance of the students as they audition, rehearse, and perform the musical, all while dealing with their own personal issues and struggles. Each episode also features musical performances from both the classic High School Musical songs and new original tracks specifically written for the show.
Corbin Blue, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, and Kaycee Stroh (who played dancer Martha in the movie) all returned to reprise their film roles for the series, but it seems like Zac Efron, Vanessa, Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale are a little to big…or “busy”…to return to their roots.
Time Federle told Entertainment Weekly,
It was definitely discussed. Here’s my fully transparent answer: First of all, Zac is busy. He has 20 movies going. Second of all, Ashley’s in LA launching a very successful line of products, and she’s a new mom, and she’s launching her own show at CBS. Vanessa’s super busy and so gracious…So the short answer is, Vanessa, Zac, and Ashley exist in our universe, but not on our screens.
In a recent episode of the series, Martha mentions that the three characters have been “silent in the group chat,” while Chad and Taylor reveal that Troy and Gabriella are in “couples therapy.” However, Sharpay’s current status isn’t touched upon, leaving her MIA. Federle told People that he likes to think of her as a successful CEO, though that was not officially included in the show’s plot.
With Troy and Gabriella in couple’s therapy and Sharpay missing, it makes you realize that the original High School Musical actors really aren’t “All in this together anymore… “(Sorry, I had to!)