EXCLUSIVE: One of Disney’s signature comedies, Wizards of Waverly Place, is getting a sequel. Disney Branded Television has ordered a pilot for the follow-up, which is executive produced by original stars Selena Gomez and her small screen sibling David Henrie. Gomez will guest star in the pilot for Disney Channel as the character that helped launch her career, Alex Russo, with David Henrie reprising the role of Justin Russo as a series regular. He is joined by new cast members Janice LeAnn Brown (Disney’s Just Roll with It), Alkaio Thiele (Call Me Kat) and Mimi Gianopulos (American Princess).
The revival pilot comes from writers and executive producers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas who are behind another Disney Channel comedy spinoff, Raven’s Home. It picks up after a mysterious incident at WizTech, where an adult Justin Russo has left his wizard powers behind, opting for a normal, human life with his wife and two sons. But he gets a surprise when a powerful young wizard in need of training shows up at his door… and Justin must embrace his past to ensure the future of the Wizard World.
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The powerful young wizard Billie, whom Justin takes under his wing, will be portrayed by series lead Brown. Thiele will play Roman Russo, Justin’s oldest son; Gianopulos will play Justin’s wife, Giada.
In addition to Gomez, Henrie, Elinoff and Thomas, Gary Marsh (Disney’s Descendants: The Rise of Red) and Andy Fickman (Race to Witch Mountain) will also EP, with Fickman directing.
Marsh was the former longtime top Disney Channels creative executive who was the driving force behind Wizards of Waverly Place and was instrumental in getting Gomez on the network after she was discovered during an open casting call in Dallas.
Created by Todd J. Greenwald, the original series, which ran from 2007-2012, followed the Russo family, where three siblings navigated the challenges of adolescence while mastering their magical abilities. The cast also included Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals-Barrera and David DeLuise, all of whom (minus Henrie), reunited for the TV special The Wizards Return: Alex Vs. Alex in 2013.
The pilot order caps years of online chatter about a potential Wizards Of Waverly Place revival or reboot. It also fits into Disney Branded Television’s strategy of beefing up Disney Channel’s lineup of multi-camera sitcoms.
Gomez is currently in the Disney family as a star and executive producer of the hit Hulu/20th TV television comedy series Only Murders In the Building. She is repped by Lighthouse Management + Media, WME and JSSK. Henrie is repped by Untitled. Brown is repped by Eris Talent Agency and MB Talent & Entertainment Management. Thiele is repped by DDO Artists Agency. Gianopulos is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.
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