Actors Dara Reneé, Julia Lester, and Sofia Wylie embrace each other in a scene from the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4 episode “Trust the Process.”

Inside the Showstopping Final Season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

By Zach Johnson

A round of applause for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series!

As Disney Branded Television previously announced, the award-winning series will end after four seasons on Wednesday, August 9. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series—which helped launch Disney+ in 2019 alongside The Imagineering Story, Lady and the Tramp, and The Mandalorian—has become a global phenomenon that catapulted the careers of Joshua Bassett (Ricky), Sofia Wylie (Gina), Dara Reneé (Kourtney), Julia Lester (Ashlyn), Frankie Rodriguez (Carlos), Matt Cornett (EJ), and Olivia Rodrigo (Nini). But no matter how brightly their stars burn, they will “always have high school,” as the song goes.

“I always dreamed that I’d get a chance to see them explore their own dreams, explode onto the scene, and reach outside of the halls of East High,” series creator and executive producer Tim Federle said in June. “What I didn’t expect is for it to happen so fast. It’s so gratifying, and I am so proud of them. They’ve stayed really humble, so I’m a proud papa.”

Wylie, who previously starred in the Disney Channel series Andi Mack, confessed it felt “bittersweet” to say goodbye to High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, especially considering how much Gina has matured since she first transferred to East High and struggled to make friends. “There’s been so much growth and change since Season 1, and that’s been wonderful to see,” Wylie said. “But also, it’s just sad to see this come to an end.”

Not only have the characters changed, but so have the very actors who played them. “An insane amount of things have happened in the last four years,” said Bassett, who has written several original songs for the series. “We’re completely different people. It’s crazy and beautiful that we have this time capsule of a show that I’ll one day—maybe—watch!”

Actor Joshua Bassett, wearing a knit hat and a jean jacket, sits on set in a scene from the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4 episode "Night of Nights."

Season 4 is especially “epic,” according to Rodriguez—and not just because it features the highly anticipated returns of High School Musical franchise veterans Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, Bart Johnson, Alyson Reed, and Kaycee Stroh, who play both themselves and their respective characters as cameras roll on the movie High School Musical 4: The Reunion. “I always felt the OGs would add so much value, wit, and warmth,” Federle said, “but my hunch was that the only way that we could become a long-running series would be to invest in new generation Wildcats for a new generation of viewers. Four seasons later, I’ve been lucky enough to see that come true. I always wanted the OGs back, but at the end of the day, it’s this new generation of Wildcats who are driving these stories.”

With several of the Wildcats preparing to graduate in Season 4, saying goodbye was not only inevitable—it was imperative. “When I wrote the pilot years ago, I did not have the exact plot mechanisms of the finale in mind. I’ve sort of known since Season 1 what some of the configurations of the romantic pairings would be—and some will surprise people, I think,” Federle said. “We really ended this season intentionally and with big, happy hearts.”