By Beth Deitchman
It’s the “Um…” that’s had fans holding their breath, and we’ll finally find out what Andi and Bex said next when Andi Mack returns for its third season tonight on Disney Channel (8 p.m. ET). “I think if season two was the peak of a mountain, we get to see the fallout in season three,” says Lilan Bowden, who plays the title character’s super-cool mom. “We get to see all the consequences of that scene play out over season three for Bex.”
As “Bexie” fans surely recall, the second season culminated with a would-be proposal, as Bex and Andi presented Andi’s dad, Bowie, with a birthday cake hiding an engagement ring inside. But before Bex (and Andi) could ask him to marry them, Bex learned of Bowie’s opportunity to rejoin his band and head out on tour. Bex’s and Andi’s failed attempt to abandon the plan led to Bowie finding the ring and asking for an explanation… bringing us back to that unbelievably momentous “Um…”
Of course, that’s not the only burning question needing to be answered in season three. Fans wonder about the status of Andi and Jonah’s relationship once he returns from summer camp, as well as what’s in store for Andi’s BFFs, Cyrus and Buffy. And then there’s Cece, who’s been on her own since Ham went off to see the world. Lauren Tom is excited for fans to see the makeover her character gets in the first episode, which is far more reflective of her own bright and colorful style than the monochromatic, voluminous outfits Celia tended to wear in seasons one and two. Now that Bex is settling into her role as parent, Tom says, “Celia can actually assume more of a grandparent role in the traditional sense of being able to just loosen up, have fun, and spoil the kids a little bit more. She can now, maybe, turn her attention to a little bit more self-care.”
Bowden and Tom act alongside an incredibly talented cast of teen actors, including Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Andi, Joshua Rush as Cyrus, Sofia Wylie as Buffy, and Asher Angel as Jonah, and they’ve become a close-knit on- and off-screen family over the last three years of filming on location in Utah. A mom of two teenage sons herself, Tom says of her young co-stars, “I’m beyond proud of who they are as actors, but more importantly who they are as people.” Tom’s two families come together in a fun and exciting way this season, when her son makes his acting debut in an upcoming episode. “It was just thrilling for me to have him on set and be able to introduce him to everyone,” Tom shares. “He had such a good time.”
According to Bowden, “After set, we can spend eight, 10 hours shooting that day and then we’ll all be like, what are we doing now? We’re not tired of each other.” There are lots of dinners, movies, and evenings spent at the local roller skating rink, and Bowden treasures these experiences as much as the work the cast is doing on screen. Beyond accolades for the series, red carpet events, and Disney Parks adventures, it’s a much more personal memory that stands out as Bowden’s favorite of her time with Andi Mack. “There was one night where Peyton and I had a wonderful time roller skating at the rink and I was driving her home. It was nighttime and we’re in my car on the freeway and Peyton’s playing all these songs that she liked—but they’re from my time, like Foo Fighters and all these songs that I listened to when I was her age. Both of us know all the lyrics to all the songs that she’s playing and the windows are down and we’re just singing at the top of our lungs,” Bowden recalls wistfully. “I just thought, oh my gosh, this is so special for me and it could have totally been a scene in Andi Mack, too. It just really made me treasure the whole show and meeting her.”
Andi Mack’s multigenerational cast of characters may be just one of the reasons why the series has connected across generations of viewers. Bowden loves that Bex is in the “sweet spot” that allows the character to feel relatable to both kids and parents alike. She notes, “I felt like with many shows that I watched growing up, the parents were the people that you have to escape or avoid. They’re not wise to your shenanigans, and that’s the whole goal.” That’s far from the case on Andi Mack, where Bex, Bowie, Celia, and Ham each have their own lives and unique challenges.
“[This series] has so much that a person can relate to, and if you’re looking to feel a little less alone and be able to connect to something authentic, then this would be your show,” Tom says. “The issues that come up are presented with so much love and compassion, and I think that’s we all want at the end of the day, is to be able to connect with other people and to feel like we belong.”