One iota of attention paid to contemporary pop culture will clue you into the popularity of High School Musical. It started as a made-for-TV movie series, swept the world by storm, and has persisted with abounding rumors of a new entry since 2016. Well, wouldn’t you have it, most speculation points to the idea of the fourth High School Musical movie being on track, still. And even though details are scarce, we can still pull together some of the most useful resources and facts, so that you have an idea of what to expect.
If you’ve never seen a High School Musical movie before, you’re missing out on one of the most influential elements of pop culture in the past decade. And if you have…then you probably know exactly what you want from High School Musical 4. Read on, to see if those expectations line up with what Disney has planned.
The Disney Channel has been producing original content — both movies and TV shows — for quite a few years. They’ve been moderately successful throughout that time, but when High School Musical arrived in 2006, it blew everything else entirely out of the water. It was the most successful (critically and financially) content that had ever come from this particular branch of Disney, and it built up an extremely devoted fandom. This was no mere fluke — the cast of characters and memorable music are what led to its success.
Since then, the Disney Channel hasn’t let the High School Musical series die down, though they certainly haven’t been overzealous in its promotion. Dedicated to quality, first and foremost, we’ve only seen three High School Musical movies since the original debuted in 2006. And though rumors abound about the fourth movie, it hasn’t been released. Not by a longshot. In fact, we don’t even have any casting information about this flick; only an elevator pitch that tells us a scant few details about its premise.
But what it also tells us, is that there is definitely a High School Musical 4 in the works. It’s not just rumored, anymore.
High School Musical: The Phenomenon
I’m not sure that anyone was expecting High School Musical to be such a smash hit. But in retrospect, maybe it should have been on everyone’s radar. After all, the talent involved with the production was tried-and-true, responsible for some great movies and television shows that had won fan support all on their own.
First up, director Kenny Ortega — the talent who made the smash Halloween hit, Hocus Pocus. If you’ve never watched it as part of your Halloween tradition, you’ve been missing out for years, as it’s something of a cult classic. Coupling Ortega’s expert direction with great performances from young actors Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, and Ashley Tisdale, the Disney Channel ended up with a relatively famous group of people on its hand. And that fame only grew as further High School Musical stories continued their characters’ stories.
The premise of the original High School Musical is refreshingly modern, but it’s grounded in something much more classic. Two rival students from separate cliques (typical “jocks vs. nerds” fare) compete against one another for leading roles in their school’s musical. Through that, they form a friendship that transcends the usual boundaries that separate young teens in school. They fight against the expectations leveled against them, reiterating the important message that we’re all better than the boundaries we build between each other.
Of course, you might be tempted to look past the “Romeo and Juliet” story, and just aim straight for the music. It wowed audiences when they first heard it, and the subsequent album was a chart topper.
High School Music 4: East Meets West
To be clear — there is far more that we don’t know about the new High School Musical movie than we do know. That’s just the nature of production values and secrecy, and we’re not likely to learn more about any of it until the film’s producers and cast decide that the time is right. When will that be? Welcome to the ambiguous and high-strung world of movie hype, my friends.
Much of what we’ve heard about the fourth High School Musical movie has been from secondhand sources, rather than anything official. However, we can very easily place trust in the validity of these claims, based on who they’re coming from. A small blessing, amidst the sea of missing information, but we’ll take it.
As far as we know, the fourth film — now 11 years past the debut of the first — is going to be offering up an entirely fresh premise, cast of characters, and plot. That’s fitting, considering that the pop culture landscape has changed quite a lot since then. And High School Musical has always been about harnessing youthful energy in its portrayal of friendships, conflicts, all through compelling music.
Plot & Premise
Before we get too much deeper into speculation and secondhand reporting, we should give you a respectful disclaimer: much of what we’ve learned about High School Musical 4 has come through trustworthy sources, but the secrecy involved with these types of productions means that any of it could change. Heck, there’s even a chance that the movie could be canceled outright if the Disney Channel decides that it isn’t lucrative enough to produce. A worst-case scenario, but it’s possible.
That said, an article published in March of 2016, in Variety, has named the prospective plot and premise of the new movie. According to this report, it’s more of a “West Side Story” than a “Romeo and Juliet.” It features to rivalrous high schools — the East High Wildcats and the West High Knights — and the tension between them forms much of the story’s conflict. As with the original High School Musical, we can surmise that a big part of the plot will involve characters overcoming assumptions and dislike, in order to see each other for who they really are. Of course, that’s just our suspicion…
Of course, the fact that we don’t know much about the plot of the film itself should tell you that we know even less about its casting process. Since this is reportedly going to be a clean break from previous entries in this series of movies, it’s safe to assume that any returning characters will only have cameos. It’s incredibly likely that High School Musical 4 will have an entirely new cast, brand new songs, and a fresh take from a different director, as well.
However, this could all be shaken up and changed by the time we hear any concrete details or evidence about the movie. Stay tuned, and keep an ear to the ground!
What we don’t have a single inkling about, amidst all of this, is the release date. Further obfuscating this information is just how long we’ve gone without any updates or further reporting about the progress of High School Musical 4. We’re already almost four months beyond 2016, and without anything to show for this particular movie, there’s no way that we can predict its release date.
However, not everything is doom and gloom. Because made-for-TV movies tend to have lower budgets, they can also occasionally have quicker production times. The fact that High School Musical 4 is bringing on an entirely new cast gives credence to this expectation. But for now, that has to remain pure speculation. With any luck, we’ll hear something about the status of this movie as 2017 continues to unfold.
Will It Get Canceled?
Many assume that, because the original High School Musical movie was so successful, nothing bad could ever befall the production of the fourth. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. One of the reasons that we urge our readers to be cautious when looking at any speculation or rumor, is because it could very well end up being false. And even when some of it’s true, the creative maelstrom behind movies can lead to all kinds of different results.
Does that mean it’s possible for something as popular as a High School Musical movie to be canceled? Absolutely. Should you worry about it? Absolutely not.
As of 2016, High School Musical 4 was still wrapping up its pre-production, before it was ready for filming. We don’t know if casting has been finished, yet, and at this point, the entire premise of the film might have changed. We do know, however, that “no news is good news.” All that we can do now is be patient, and await further announcements about this highly-anticipated project.
Just like you, we wish that we knew more about the status of High School Musical 4, apart from the fact that it was announced to be in pre-production back in 2016. Reporting on the subject has been scant, and even rumors seem to be hiding in the deeper corners of the internet. For now, the best thing that we can advise to eager fans is to keep on being fans, ironically enough! The more tangential support that this production has (even if it hasn’t seen the light of day, yet) the better the chance that the Disney Channel will give us a little bit more to go nibble on!