For over a decade, the High School Musical franchise has remained somewhat of a cult phenomenon, with the original film trilogy entertaining countless viewers. In recent years, the torch has been carried on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a Disney+ exclusive series following a new generation of students at East High. The upcoming third season of the series is already poised to include a major franchise connection, with Corbin Bleu reprising his role as Chad Danforth, but speculation about cameos was fueled even further when two of Bleu's original costars, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, posted separate social media posts of them visiting the real-life East High. According to a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, both showrunner Tim Federle and Bleu have confirmed that Efron and Hudgens are not appearing in Season 3.
"You've got to ask, I know: 'What are they doing on the quad?!'" Federle said with a laugh. "You know, I really want the audience to watch all eight episodes [of season 3] because it'll really, really help us to get that season 5 [renewal], but I would be lying to you if I said that there's some big Zac and Vanessa plan at this point. I've been hammering away at this quietly and slowly for years: As long as this show is on the air, I will not sleep until Zac, Vanessa, Ashley [Tisdale], and Monique [Coleman] do the series in some way. It is all in the works, but I would not hold your breath for a big appearance in season 3."
"It is always just interesting how you can be talking about someone and all of a sudden they call you," Bleu said of the photos. "I think that's just such a great example of what's happening right now. Clearly the energy is surrounding the project, and we're all feeling it."
Bleu's cameo in the series has already been embraced with great fanfare, with Federle teasing that it was "a great bridge" between the franchise's past and future.
"We were looking for this OG Wildcat presence," he explained. "Corbin felt like a great bridge between all of the different franchises, and he was just the perfect gentleman and had a break in his schedule, and he's in demand and he was so cool."
Federle added that it would be a "dream come true" to eventually get Efron and Hudgens to come back. "It would be so big, right?"
Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series debuts on Wednesday, July 27th exclusively on Disney+