"This season it's about trying to give her character a proper sendoff."
Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is dropping so soon, but it won’t look quite the same as the first two seasons. While Olivia Rodrigo’s character Nini Salazar-Roberts was at the center of all the musical-theatre drama in the past, she’ll be on the sidelines in Season 3. Because of this shift, most fans already put together that this may be Rodrigo’s final season on the show, and the showrunner finally confirmed that to be true in a recent interview. So yep, it’s official: Olivia Rodrigo is exiting High School Musical: The Musical: The Series after Season 3 airs, but at least the new season will give Nini a “proper sendoff.”
It kind of already felt like the writing was on the wall for Rodrigo’s continued involvement with HSMTMTS after she become a massive pop star and publicly fell out with her co-star Joshua Bassett. Now, fans finally have confirmation she’s putting the show in her rearview mirror. The show’s creator, Tim Federle, confirmed the Rodrigo’s departure in an interview with ET on July 21, and it’s safe to say Season 3 will be a bittersweet goodbye to her beloved character.
Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will bring the musical journey from East High to a two-week summer camp at Camp Shallow Lake where the Wildcats will be preparing for a production of Frozen. But Rodrigo’s character, Nini, won’t be joining the team at camp, since she decided to pursue songwriting in Los Angeles at the end of Season 2. As a result, the new episodes will feature Rodrigo’s character much less often, as she chases her dreams in California separate from the other characters. Federle confirmed the season will serve as a “proper sendoff” for Rodrigo and Nini.
"I think she's ready to explore the world outside the halls of East High," Federle told ET about Rodrigo’s exit from the show. "And Olivia herself was having such a monumental explosion in the music industry that it felt like the right thing to, frankly, work with Olivia to say, 'How do we get you out there into the world with us taking a little bit more of a backseat?' Which we were all proud to do to support her."
“And so this season it's about trying to give her character a proper sendoff while also leaving room for other characters to really step into the fray and step into the spotlight," Federle said. "And personally, it's a joy to see Olivia's music explode in such a big way. It was so fun to have her back and reminisce on the beginning.”
Besides the usual crew, Season 3 will feature some new characters — including camp counselor Maddox (Saylor Bell Curda) and camper Jet (Adrian Lyles) — to shake up the drama. It’ll also feature some exciting cameos from JoJo Siwa and original HSM star Corbin Bleu.
You can catch Rodrigo and all your favorite characters in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series when Season 3 officially drops on Disney+ on July 27.