Disney+ Cancels Beloved Original Series Amid Historic Content Purge

in Disney, Entertainment, Television

HSMTMTS Season 4 logo and cast

Credit: Disney / Inside the Magic

After premiering on the streaming service in 2019, one fan-favorite Disney+ original series is unexpectedly coming to an end with its fourth season amid the company’s historic content purge.

E.J. and Nini stare at each other in 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series'
Credit: Disney

Ever since Disney+ debuted in November 2019, the company has tried—and many times, failed—to add new original series to its expanding catalog alongside familiar IP from studios such as Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.

Not all of these ambitious projects were a home run with audiences, such as Stargirl, Diary of a Future President, and several unremarkable docuseries. On the other hand, shows like the smash hit Star Wars spinoff, The Mandalorian, and the behind-the-scenes Disney deep dive, The Imagineering Story, have resonated with audiences, bringing thousands of new subscribers to Disney+.

Willow (Warwick Davis) looks across The Shattered Sea. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Mandalorian aside, one of these Disney+ originals managed to rise from obscurity to become a critically-acclaimed series after its first season arrived in 2019: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a spinoff of the beloved teen phenomenon, High School Musical.

Set at East High School, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series follows members of the drama club as they prepare for the opening night of the musicals they produce. Along the way, blossoming romances, rivalries, and new friendships will flare as the students try their best to keep their heads in the game. So far, the teen drama has been a crowd-pleaser with audiences, appealing to longtime followers of the High School Musical franchise and casual fans alike.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Ricky Bowen
Credit: Disney

The show’s earlier seasons starred Joshua Bassett and Grammy-winning recording artist Olivia Rodrigo, whose real-life relationship and highly-publicized split made headlines in 2021, bringing a new wave of attention to their Disney+ series.

While Rodrigo left her role as Nini in the finale of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 3, Bassett will reprise his role as Ricky Bowen for Season 4, which was just confirmed to debut on the streamer last month. Other stars, including Sofia Wylie, Dara Reneé, Frankie Rodriguez, and Julia Lester, will also return for the upcoming episodes.

To celebrate the confirmation of Season 4, the show’s creator, Tim Federle, took to social media to share new snippets of the cast, as well as a brand new trailer. Check out the official teaser for High School Musical: The Musical Season 4 below:


The premise of the fourth season seems to surround the notion of “getting the whole gang back together,” meaning the series is going all-out for senior year—especially because Season 4 will officially be the last.

It’s sad news for Wildcats, as The Hollywood Reporter revealed last month that despite its stellar first three seasons, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series would be ending with Season 4. The final eight episodes will binge-release on Disney+ on August 9, 2023, unlike previous seasons, which aired one episode per week.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Credit: Disney

On Instagram, showrunner Tim Federle shared a heartfelt message addressed to fans, in which he announced the series’ “endgame season” while thanking its “extraordinary” cast, crew, and collaborators before promising an “epic fourth act.” 

Plot specifics remain unknown, but the series’ “crossover” conclusion will see the return of familiar faces such as Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, Bart Johnson, Alyson Reed, and Kaycee Stroh, all original High School Musical veterans who will play themselves for the movie-within-the-show. There are likely other surprises in store, like perhaps, the long-awaited reunion of our OG Troy and Gabriella, Zac Efron, and Vanessa Hudgens. Seeing Ashley Tinsdale’s Sharpay back in action would also be a fun surprise, though these rumored cameos remain pure speculation.

Original HSM cast
Credit: Disney

While it’s sad to see High School Musical: The Musical: The Series go, its four-season run will mark an impressive record for Disney in the ultra-competitive streaming world. Whereas other platforms such as Max (Formerly HBO Max) and Netflix tend to axe original shows after one or two seasons, it’s frankly remarkable feat that an original show like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series generated enough interest to survive on Disney+, especially amid the streamer’s ongoing content purge.

Disney made waves in the entertainment world when it was announced that it would be removing a plethora of content from its streaming library in order to cut costs, marking the first time that notable Disney+ originals were purged from the service. Some shows that have been erased so far include the ill-fated WillowBig Shot, and even the widely-praised The World According to Jeff Goldblum

the world according to jeff goldblum
Credit: National Geographic

But considering the success of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, it’s not surprising that the show managed to avoid being a victim of the content purge. The hit musical comedy has earned the title of Disney+’s longest-running kids’ show, landing the streamer a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming in 2020. It was also nominated for five Children’s and Family Emmy Awards.

Considering its various accolades and overwhelmingly positive reception, it seems like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series won’t be leaving Disney+ anytime soon—even if the cast and crew are officially taking their final bows.

Are you sad to see High School Musical: The Musical: The Series come to an end? Are you excited for Season 4? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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