‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ Season 3 Recap Ahead of Season 4

The Big Picture

  • Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series was filled with romance, chaos, and betrayal, setting up unexpected situations for the characters.
  • The main couples faced challenges, with Gina and E.J. breaking up, Ricky and Gina getting together, and Ashlyn and Big Red discovering their newfound identities.
  • Season 4 will feature the original cast of High School Musical as themselves, as a fictional version of Disney plans to produce a fourth film in the series, creating tension among the second generation of students at East High.

After following the second generation of Wildcats during the first time they dared to take the stage, it’s time for them to graduate from East High. The fourth (and final) season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will follow the young stars as they sing their hearts out one last time. But before the new episodes arrive to Disney+, there’s plenty we need to remember from the Wildcats’ last adventure. Season 3 was full of romance, chaos, and betrayal, placing the students of East High in unexpected places ahead of their return. Let’s revisit the most important things you need to remember from last season before the Wildcats take their final bow with the fourth and final season.

Love Is in the Air in ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ Season 3

Ricky (Joshua Bassett) kissing Gina (Sofia Wylie) in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Image via Disney+

A good high school series always includes a love story, taking advantage of how awkward teenage romance can be for the entertainment of the audience. And High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is no exception, with a wide variety of couples going through constant ups and downs through the hallways of their school. The Wildcats are taking some away from East High in Season 3, however, to put on a Frozen musical production at summer camp, Camp Shallow Lake. To make matters even more interesting, the production of the musical is being filmed because former Wildcat himself, Corbin Bleu, is making a documentary for Disney+ starring the new generation of East High students.

This new documentary spells trouble for some of East High’s biggest couples. At the start of Season 3, Gina (Sofia Wylie) and E.J. (Matt Cornett) seem to be going strong as the series’ new lead couple, but their romance quickly goes downhill. E.J. gets roped into being the director of the musical, leaving him little time for Gina, who grows increasingly more frustrated. On top of that, she and Ricky (Joshua Bassett) seem to be growing closer (yet again), and after a whole season of will-they-won’t-they, Gina and E.J. break up, and Ricky and Gina officially become a couple. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t had time to figure out how their dynamic is going to work, since they only got together by the time the third season reached its conclusion.

As for E.J., he’s left with not only a broken heart from Gina, but his father as well. Even though the Wildcats’ production of Frozen goes off fairly well, E.J. is upset his father isn’t there to show his support. He gets up the courage to call him and let him know how he feels, but his father hangs up on him. With E.J. going off to college next season, it’s unclear how much of a role Cornett will have in Season 4, but we do know from a recently released clip that it seems that E.J. and Ricky have set aside their Gina drama and are still friends.

Ricky and Gina are not the only couple with an uncertain future ahead of them, because Ashlyn (Julia Lester) and Big Red (Larry Saperstein) discover something about themselves in Season 3 that nobody could’ve predicted. During the final episodes of the third season, Ashlyn accepts that she is queer when she realizes she has feelings for Val (Meg Donnelly), E.J.’s childhood best friend from Camp Shallow Lake. However, before she has an opportunity of talking about it with her boyfriend, Big Red himself reveals that he is bisexual. Both characters don’t know what that could mean for their individual futures, or how their relationship will move forward with the knowledge they have about themselves now.

The other romantic drama to look forward to when Disney+ returns to East High is between Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez) and Seb (Joe Serafini). While they’re the happiest couple the school has ever seen, a fictional Disney+ editor has undoubtedly stirred up some drama for Carlos and Seb moving forward. In order to spice things up for the documentary, the editor used footage of Carlos hanging out with one of his friends at camp to make it look as if he was cheating on Seb. So, Carlos and his boyfriend will need to have a serious conversation before the documentary is available for the world to see, which will likely be a major plot point in Season 4.

RELATED: Original ‘High School Musical’ Cast Returns to East High for Disney+ Series in New Video

Is Olivia Rodrigo in ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ Season 3?

Olivia Rodrigo as Nini in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Image via Disney+

The world was a very different place when High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premiered in 2019, as the show even featured a different main character. Olivia Rodrigo played Nini, an optimistic girl with an impressive gift for writing music. After the first installment premiered, but before the second season of the series could be released, Rodrigo launched her first solo album as a singer, and it would change the trajectory of her career forever. As her songs continued to become hits across the world, it remained to be seen if Nini would have time to remain studying at East High.

But by the time the third season entered production it became clear that, while the show earned a special place in Rodrigo’s heart, she couldn’t be around to film an entire season’s worth of East High action anymore. With multiple records to produce and a concert tour that took her around the planet, Rodrigo simply couldn’t accommodate her schedule with the one planned for the production of the musical Disney+ show. But the fact that she’s moved on towards other projects doesn’t mean that her character can’t return in a small capacity in the new episodes.

In order to justify Olivia Rodrigo’s absence from the main story in Season 3, Nini was given good opportunities for her career as an artist in California, meaning she would have to decide if she wanted to move there or remain with her lovely group of friends at East High. Through a series of emotional conversations in Season 3 with Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) and Kourtney (Dara Reneé), it was revealed that Nini would be moving to California to pursue her dreams, forcing her to leave her friends at East High. Rodrigo appeared briefly in just three episodes of Season 3, her final being a quick appearance in the season’s finale when she shows up to camp to support her Wildcats on their opening night. But with graduation night coming up, it remains to be seen if Rodrigo’s character can come back to spend one final night of fun with her friends.

What Is Season 4 of ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ About?Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

It was established from the very first season that the High School Musical film franchise actually existed within the world of the series, allowing the story to play around with breaking the fourth wall regarding the release of said films and how Disney operates as a corporation overall. While it took some time for the cast members of the original films to show up in the show, Lucas Grabeel made a cameo during a dream sequence, and Bleu had a minor role through the third season. But with the series going out with a bang, it looks like the first generation of Wildcats will have a bigger role in the upcoming Season 4.

Grabeel, Bleu, and Monique Coleman will star in the final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series as themselves because a fictional version of Disney wants to produce a fourth entry in the film series, and the sequel is set to be filmed at East High as a high school reunion. This would place the second generation of students right alongside the cast of the original films, as the teens deal with how the production of the movie interferes with what they have planned for their theater production.

Added to the pressure of competing with a Disney film being made in their own school, the students from East High will also deal with the exposure they received after the fictional documentary from Season 3 dropped on Disney+. Romantic tension, the original cast coming back, and the prospect of the group separating as they all go to college will be the main threads to follow when High School Musical: The Musical: The Series takes a bow after entertaining long-time fans of the franchise over the course of four years.

You can check out the official trailer for the final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series below, before the show returns to Disney+ on August 9.

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