Gossip Girl reboot: Release date, cast and guide to the teen HBO Max drama

Welcome back, Upper East Siders.

Gossip Girl

This just in: Gossip Girl — your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite — is back later this year for a brand new series on HBO Max.

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However, don’t expect to see Serena or Blair any time soon, following the reveal that any cameos in the series revival will be with more minor characters from the original, rather than central cast.

The approach is intended to encourage viewers to focus on the large cast of newcomers (although if you’re already hedging bets on which Constance Billard alumni might reappear, you can discover where the cast of Gossip Girl is now).

“There isn’t enough screen-time… If Blair showed up for two scenes, you’d say, ‘I want more Blair.’ The decision was: Let’s get season one under our belt, and should we get season two, we’ll have the chance to bring in cameos that are more than glorified cameos but actually give them storylines,” original executive producer Joshua Safran explained to Entertainment Weekly.

And in another departure from the original CW series, this time around we’ll know the identity of the mysterious “Gossip Girl” from the very first episode…

If you’re wondering how to watch the Gossip Girl reboot in the UK , BBC One and BBC iPlayer have also announced that they’ve secured the UK premiere rights – in addition to all past six seasons as a box set.

The reboot, which also features a brand new cast and centres around two half-sisters, was first announced back in July 2019, with the new 10 episodes penned by Joshua Safran.

However, he’s since clarified that audiences will see key differences compared to the original series, stressing that the reboot won’t be “wealth porn”.

“These kids wrestle with their privilege in a way that I think the original didn’t,” Safran recently told Variety. “In light of [Black Lives Matter], in light of a lot of things, even going back to Occupy Wall Street, things have shifted.”

“I think the first [Gossip Girl] showed a little bit of wealth porn or privilege porn, like, ‘Look at these cars, or here’s a montage of the best plated food you’ve ever seen’,” he said.

Instead, the reboot will hopefully see viewers aspire to “wanting to be like the characters and less having what they have”.

Set in a post-pandemic New York, the reboot is billed as a “continuation” of the previous CW series and, like the first series, is inspired by the Cecily von Ziegesar novels that served as the original inspiration.

Series star Whitney Peak also teased “Easter eggs” for longtime Gossip Girl fans. “Of course I’m very excited to see if the original Gossip Girl fans pick up the little Easter eggs hidden throughout the show,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

The show’s log-line reveals that nine years after the original website went dark, another set of New York private schoolers will be introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl — but in a new guise.

The official trailer (released in June 2021) also revealed that instead of the original blog, Gossip Girl’s site will now take the form of an anonymous Instagram account.

Safra remained tight-lipped on spoilers regarding the identity of Gossip Girl, but suffice to say it will prove a very unexpected twist in episode one (via Variety).

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the show’s intended release was delayed from 2020 to 2021 (which is why some official show descriptions say that the Gossip Girl website went dark eight years ago, instead of nine).

Clips released on the official Gossip Girl Twitter feed suggest that the show’s writing will reference and incorporate the lockdown and pandemic, with one character joking about seeing their friend without a face-mask for the first time.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Gossip Girl reboot.

Gossip Girl reboot release date

The rebooted series is set to begin airing weekly in the US on 8th July 2021 on HBO Max.

“I’m actually grateful that HBO Max airs shows weekly because I think what made Gossip Girl work the first time around and made it such a big hit was that you watched it on Monday and you talked about it all week, what was going to happen,” Joshua Safran told The Hollywood Reporter.

US viewers can also watch the Gossip Girl reboot on the CW, following the announcement that it will air the premiere on 8pm on Friday 9th July, the day after its streaming debut.

How to watch the Gossip Girl reboot in the UK

It’s now been announced that Gossip Girl will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer for UK viewers “later this year”.

And what’s exciting is that BBC iPlayer will also be box-setting all past six seasons of the CW original series for viewers to binge-watch.

Dan McGolpin, Director, of BBC iPlayer and Channels, said in a statement: “The BBC has a rich track record of acquiring some of the best content from around the world to complement our original commissions and we are delighted to be reacquainting existing fans and introducing new viewers to the iconic world of Gossip Girl on BBC iPlayer. The original series defined an era and we cannot wait for everyone to see the new series with its exciting new generation.”

We’ll keep this page updated with any further news.

Gossip Girl reboot cast

The Gossip Girl reboot cast includes Emily Alyn Lind, Tavi Gevinson, Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Johnathan Fernandez, Jordan Alexander, Savannah Smith, Evan Mock, Jason Gotay, Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat, Savannah Smith and Zion Moreno.

The central characters and their key traits were teased on the show’s official Instagram account, in a series of images showing the characters dressed in their New Year’s outfits.

For example, Jordan Alexander plays the resident queen-bee Julien Calloway, who values her “influence” over all other attributes.

Alexander said that while researching Julien, she “looked into influencers on a whole to get a certain vibe. That’s a very specific lifestyle. Not everybody experiences that. I know I don’t really experience that.”

“It took some getting used to to kind of sit in that privilege and all of these things being handed to you,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile Whitney Peak (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) plays Zoya Lott, a newcomer who brings “perspective” to the group. She’s also the “half-sister” of the more privileged Julien, according to Vulture.

Gossip Girl reboot star Eli Brown dropped hints about his character, Otto “Obie” Bergmann IV, in a previous interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“We’ve been asked to keep even the very little information that we have pretty secretive, but I can tell you that my character’s a really good guy. He comes from a very wealthy family and he’s a humanitarian,” he said.

Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti, Elizabeth Lail (You), and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Megan Ferguson also join the ensemble.

Meanwhile Lyne Renée will be playing recurring character Helena Bergmann, a former model turned real estate magnate, and mother to Otto (played by Eli Brown).

According to series star Whitney Peak, the series is set to have better LGBTQ+ representation that the original series.

“There’s a lot of representation, which I can’t say we saw a lot of in the first one. It’s dope being able to see people who look like you and who are interested in the same things, and who happen to be in entertainment, because it’s so influential and obviously reflective of the times,” the star told Dazed.

Peak’s co-star Emily Alyn Lind (who plays teen Audrey Hope, whose central characteristic is “grace”) said in the same interview that the show normalises “things that used to be taboo”.

I think that what we can say is this – we’re making a series in 2020 and 2021. It’s really important for us to not just talk about these things but also express them as normal things that kids deal with. It shouldn’t be this new, exciting thing to talk about, it just exists. It’s about normalising things that used to be different or taboo.”

Will Kristen Bell voice Gossip Girl again?

Yes! Kristen Bell (The Good Place, Frozen franchise) returns to Gossip Girl in the role of narrator, and her voice can be heard in a first-look trailer for the Gossip Girl reboot.

In the minute-long trailer, Gossip Girl has an ominous message for the new crop of privileged teenagers.

“You’ve gotten so comfortable,” she says. “Thinking you’re in control of your image, your actions, the narrative.

“But you forgot one thing – I can see you. And before I’m through I’ll make sure you see you too. Xoxo.”

In a discussion with People, showrunner Joshua Safran revealed that he may well have abandoned the project if Bell had not signed onto the reboot.

“It wasn’t really a conversation, Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] were like, if she doesn’t want to do it, let’s all walk away,” he said.

Gossip Girl reboot trailer

The first teaser trailer featuring Kristen Bell’s narration was released in May 2021.

The official trailer (released in June) is set to the Frank Ocean Track ‘Super Rich Kids’.

The early shots show a series of luxurious apartments (one set of shelves looks to be lined with Grammy Awards, suggesting there could be a famous music artist or producer among the wealthy parents) before we meet the designer-clad set at Constance Billard.

Eric Daman, the costume designer for the original series, returns for the reboot. “The casting is looking really awesome and it’s surreal to be invited to be a part of it,” he previously told Fashionista. “I think it’s gonna be exciting—it’s definitely going to be a challenge, which I love.”

Gossip Girl reboot plot

The official synopsis reveals that, nine years after the first after the Gossip Girl website went dark, a new generation of New York’s young elite have taken control of private school Constance Billard.

However, the school’s exclusive circle have a rude awakening when the notorious blogger (now Instagrammer) remerges as the “number one source into their scandalous lives”.

The show will feature a brand new line-up of characters (so no more Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf — unless we’re treated to surprise cameos from original Gossip Girl cast members).

The HBO Max reboot will also return to the original’s Upper East Side setting in New York, while Karen Edwards will reportedly direct the first two episodes.

However, there’s been talk of a mysterious “twist” at the end of the pilot episode, suggesting that the reboot will flout expectations right from the start.

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