High School Musical confirms fan-favourite character Ryan as queer in new trailer

Lucas Grabeel's character in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is openly queer in the show's final season.

Lucas Grabeel with the cast of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Image: @mrgrabeel via Instagram

The trailer for the new season of the TV series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series dropped today and it finally confirmed what fans of the original movies always suspected. One of the beloved founding characters of the High School Musical movies, Ryan Evans, will finally be portrayed as openly queer.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is returning for its fourth and final season in August, and it is set to feature cast members from the original movies including the long-speculated and now-confirmed queer character played by Lucas Grabeel. 

In the trailer for the new series, Grabeel appears as his original character, Ryan, returning to the school for a reunion performance, alongside some of his old friends like Chad (Corbin Bleu), Taylor (Monique Coleman) and Martha (Kaycee Stroh). A sneak peek shows Ryan kissing another man backstage, and saying: “This means so much to me that you’re here”.

In the original High School Musical movies, Ryan is Sharpay’s brother, and would always perform theatrical pieces with her across the school or country club during the summers. Many fans speculated about Ryan’s sexuality over the years, and Grabeel’s role in the show appears to be a confirmation of what queer fans had always hoped for.


Speaking to Variety in 2020 about the character, movie creator Kenny Ortega said: “We decided he’s probably going to come out in college. It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward.”

The sequel show follows students at East High, the same school where the High School Musical movies were set. The students, led by Joshua Bassett as Ricky and Olivia Rodrigo as Nini (until her departure at the end of the third season), tackle high school theatre and drama in heartfelt, musical, and mockumentary style. Cast members from the movies make appearances throughout, with the final season centred around their return to the school that made them stars.

High School Musical is a trilogy of musical-styled movies from Disney in the late 2000s, which grew very popular for its music and cast, notably Zac Efron as Troy, Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay, and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella. 

While the original movies didn’t have any openly-queer representation, the TV series features a few LGBTQ+ characters. Two of the protagonists, Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) and Seb (Joe Serafini) are out and in a relationship together for most of the show’s run. The previous season introduced more queer characters and plotlines as well.

Season four of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series hits Disney+ on August 9.

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