New clip from High School Musical confirms Ryan character’s homosexuality

<p>Ryan kisses partner in High School Musical</p>

In a highly anticipated development, the beloved High School Musical universe is set to delve into the personal life of one of its founding characters in an upcoming episode of the captivating series adaptation. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a spirited spin-off of the original trilogy of Disney films that took the world by storm between 2006 and 2008, is all set to make waves once again.

The original musical teen movies catapulted young actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens into stardom, but beyond the central romance, the franchise also featured the iconic character of Ryan Evans, portrayed by Lucas Grabeel. Ryan was famously recognized as the loyal sidekick and twin brother of the films’ flamboyant antagonist, Sharpay, portrayed by Ashley Tisdale.

While many observant viewers have long speculated about Ryan’s sexuality, the films themselves never explicitly addressed this aspect of his identity. By the end of the third film, he was portrayed as being in a relationship with his female classmate, Kelsi, played by Olesya Rulin. This portrayal, however, left questions lingering about his true orientation.

In a groundbreaking move, the series’ fourth and final season brings Ryan back into the story’s forefront. The excitement around this development skyrocketed with the release of a trailer on Tuesday, July 26. The teaser hints at Ryan’s reunion with his high school pals Chad (Corbin Bleu), Taylor (Monique Coleman), and Martha (Kaycee Stroh), and reveals a pivotal scene in which he shares a heartfelt kiss with another man. This intimate moment is followed by a touching expression of gratitude, as Ryan acknowledges the presence of his partner and their shared history, moments before a stage performance.

The creative genius behind the films and the series, Kenny Ortega, has weighed in on fans’ long-standing questions about Ryan’s sexuality and the reasons behind its omission in the original films. In a 2020 interview, Ortega acknowledged that he had indeed contemplated Ryan’s homosexuality during the making of the original films. However, he decided that Ryan’s journey of self-discovery would be better explored after high school, a decision guided by the belief that “it was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward.”

Responding to queries about why the character wasn’t portrayed as openly gay from the beginning, Ortega revealed his own hesitations. He praised Disney as a progressive institution to work with but admitted that the timing in the late 2000s might not have been conducive to openly depicting a gay teen character, especially within a family-oriented context. He acknowledged the nuanced decisions he made during filming to subtly portray aspects of Ryan’s identity, aiming to create an experience that viewers would connect with on a deeper level.

With the final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series set to begin streaming on Disney+ on August 9, fans and viewers are brimming with anticipation to witness this significant moment in the franchise’s history. The portrayal of Ryan’s journey not only adds a layer of authenticity to his character but also marks a pivotal milestone in the broader landscape of LGBTQ+ representation in media.

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