High School Musical series showrunner breaks down similarities between Olivia Rodrigo and her character

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Photo credit: JMEnternational - Getty Images
Photo credit: JMEnternational - Getty Images

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series just finished its second season on Disney+ with Olivia Rodrigo's character Nini having a very similar journey as that of the actress.

In season 2, Nini writes 'The Rose Song,' which blows up literally overnight when someone posted a video of it on Instagram. Earlier this year, Rodrigo released her own song 'Drivers License', which became an immediate success on TikTok and the charts.

Coincidence? Maybe, but that's not all.

While in the show Nini wrestles with balancing her growing stardom and her relationship with Ricky (Joshua Bassett), in real life, Rodrigo's growing stardom meant fans started to speculate about her own personal life and her off-screen entanglements with Bassett.

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Related: High School Musical stars on making history with Disney's first LGBTQ+ love song

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the series showrunner Tim Federle broke down these similarities and explained the story was planned months before Rodrigo's hit single even saw the light of day.

"Man, it's so crazy. We wrote that 'Rose Song' story maybe six or seven months before 'Drivers License' was even released.

"With the cadence of how TV rolls out, stuff can feel very fresh, and it was decided or filmed like months and months, if not a year, before. It's a wild amount of symmetry," said Federle.

While he admitted that nobody could have predicted Rodrigo's incredibly fast rise to fame – not even her own label – Federle added that he for one never doubted her talent: "I've always been somebody who bet on Olivia Rodrigo. I think she's got a skill that's unmatched and really rare."

He then added: "But it's a joy to watch. She deserves it."

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Related: High School Musical TV star Joshua Bassett says he's "happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community"

By the end of season 2, Gina's (Sofia Wylie) brother Jamie (Jordan Fisher) signed Nini to his record label.

As far as Nini's journey forward is concerned, "I hope if we get a next season that we can explore a really original path for Nini that doesn't just feel ripped from the headlines, both for the actor's sake and for the audience," said Federle.

"But Jamie is there for a reason, and Jordan Fisher is such a joy to write for that I'd love to see him impact that. But I'd also love to see those stories impact Gina, because Sofia Wylie is so extraordinary, and rather than always centering the story on Nini's journey, we should give Gina some love too. I'm hoping to explore that brother-sister dynamic as well."

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 2 is available to stream on Disney+.

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