Amid news that Disney is reviving Wizards of Waverly Place with Selena Gomez and David Henrie attached, it’s hard to not think about what could have been with Lizzie McGuire. The new Wizards spinoff, if ordered to series, would become the second reboot on Disney Channel following Raven’s Home. Although set to air on Disney+ in 2020, the Lizzie series would have brought back one of millennial’s favorite shows and characters, and the story behind the creation and cancellation of Hilary Duff's planned show is still puzzling.
When Was The Lizzie McGuire Revival Announced And What Was It Going To Be About?
The Lizzie McGuire revival was first announced at the D23 Expo in 2019, with Hilary Duff making a surprise appearance to reveal the big news. Along with Duff, who would, of course, be reprising her role as the titular and beloved character, Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine and Jake Thomas were set to reprise their roles as Lizzie’s parents, Jo and Sam, and brother Matt, respectively. Also part of the cast was Adam Lamberg as Lizzie’s best friend, David “Gordo” Gordon.
The new series would have followed Lizzie in her 30s, navigating life in New York City. Original series creator Terri Minsky was on board as showrunner and executive producer, which definitely set peoples’ minds at ease since she would have also wanted to make sure that fans received a satisfying show that honored what had come before. Production photos were posted (and leaked) from set, making devotees of the early 2000s Disney series as excited as ever. Unfortunately, they wouldn't receive much more than that.
Why Was The Show Canceled By Disney+ And How Far Into Production Was It?
After a first look at the Lizzie McGuire offshoot was released in October 2019, the production hit setbacks. By that following January, Variety reported that Minsky was stepping away from the revival, leaving fans worried about the McGuire revival. However, Disney was said to be actively searching for a new showrunner. By the time she exited, two episodes had already been filmed, but production was put on pause while the search continued. A Disney spokesperson shared that they needed to “move in a different creative direction.”
Hilary Duff revealed a month later that she wanted to move the show from Disney+ to Hulu, noting that she wanted to make Lizzie’s journey as a 30-year-old as “equally as real and relatable.” That way, it would fall in line with the manner in which she portrayed Lizzie as a preteen/teen. Ultimately, the show ended up staying in limbo for a while until the House of Mouse ultimately decided to cancel it outright due to creative differences, as the powers that be wanted it to be more family-friendly.
What’s Been Said By Hilary Duff And The Creative Team Since The Show Was Axed?
Since the cancellation, Hilary Duff has been open about her disappointment, saying that the shoot was “a really special two weeks of my life.” She even previously revealed that she’s thought about leaking the first two episodes but that there will be a time and place for it, whether it eventually sees the light of day or not. Duff also spoke to whether she'd reteam with Disney+ for a revival and seemed optimistic but uncertain about the prospect.
More recently, writer Jonathan Hurwitz has gone viral as of late for revealing some key details about the revival. In a TikTok, he discussed what the first three episodes would've consisted of. He even shared that the writing team was “absolutely” planning a storyline revolving around Lalaine’s Miranda Sanchez, who was absent from The Lizzie McGuire Movie and multiple episodes of the second season.
They planned for Miranda to be a queer musician, and fans “likely would have met the woman she was in a relationship with.” While Jonathan Hurwitz was unsure if casting ever reached out to Lalaine, he did cross paths with her manager, who said she was “open” to a return.
Other details shared by Jontahan Hurwitz included Lizzie being an interior designer who goes by Elizabeth, Lizzie and high school crush Ethan Craft hooking up, the lead character having a gay roommate, and much, much more. It’s clear that the show was definitely much more adult-oriented, which apparently wasn't to Disney's liking.
It's disappointing that Lizzie McGuire couldn’t move to a streamer like Disney-owned Hulu. But, as Duff previously said, the show isn’t alive, nor is it dead. So, hopefully, Lizzie and her animated counterpart will return at some point in the future. For now, fans will just have to watch the original show with using Disney+ subscription and keep their fingers crossed that the sequel show will see the light of day.