A decade after High School Musical’s television debut, Disney Channel is starting something new with the beloved franchise.
A fourth HSM film is officially in the works, the cable channel announced Tuesday, further revealing that a nationwide casting search is already underway. High School Musical 4 will reportedly introduce a fresh crop of East High Wildcats (Zac Efron’s a bit too old to pose as a lovesick teen again, apparently), as well as their crosstown rivals, the West High Knights. Does that mean a West Side Story-type love saga will drive the reboot’s drama? Bet on it.
Jeffrey Hornaday, who directed Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2, is attached to direct and choreograph, and the script will be penned by Dan Berendsen (Hannah Montana: The Movie, Teen Beach 2) and Peter Barsocchini (writer of all three HSM movies).
The original High School Musical premiered on Jan. 20, 2006, spawned a soundtrack that went triple-platinum, and made global stars of its cast, led by Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. The following year, High School Musical 2 broke records as one of the most-watched programs ever on basic cable, and HSM3: Senior Year grossed more than $250 million worldwide with its 2008 theatrical release. Basically, this franchise is a slam dunk, and Disney is hoping to recreate its magic by getting their heads back in the game.
Most of the original cast reunited in January for HSM’s 10th anniversary, leaving a wave of nostalgia in their wake. As we all saw then, there’s still plenty of love for Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, and Co. — because there are just some things you can’t break free of.