Fans knew Gossip Girl’s return after nine years away was going to be a drama-filled hour. Even with a new cast and a new generation of ultra-rich socialite kids at Constance/St. Jude’s, the past always finds a way to come calling in the form of a new tell-all blog — or, in this case, a new tell-all Insta. (Yes, they’re doing it for the ‘gram in 2021.) But even though fans thought they knew what to expect, the new series brings at least one massive twist to the game, revealing things about the past and the future that fans weren’t ready for. But at least one old character was ready! So, who is Rebecca on Gossip Girl, and why the heck doesn’t anyone remember her?
Warning: Spoilers for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl Season 1, Episode 1 follow. The big twist in this edition of Gossip Girl isn’t that the rumor-mongering entity is Instagram-based or even that those involved aren’t all ultra-rich. It’s that the show tells the viewer up front who Gossip Girl is.
In the original series, Gossip Girl’s identity wasn’t revealed until the very end. But here she is in Episode 1, and she’d not just one person. Instead of one Lonely Boy, Gossip Girl is the collective of teachers at Constance who hope that by reviving the fabled blog from the original series, they can scare the students into behaving well and respecting them.
The idea was suggested by a former Constance student who went on to work as a teacher at the school: Rebecca, class of 09! She said she remembers the Gossip Girl years of her youth well, how everyone suddenly began magically behaving themselves out of fear of the omniscient tattletale turning her poison pen on them. She ultimately was the one who showed the current crop of Constance teacher the old blog, inspiring them to begin it anew.
Except... who is Rebecca, exactly? I watched Gossip Girl in 2009, I knew the class of Constance 2009, and Rebecca was not someone who ever came up as part.
Except, actually, she was.
The creator of the new Gossip Girl revival, Joshua Safran, revealed Rebecca is a reference plucked from the old series. In Season 2 (which was set in 2009 as the main characters graduated high school), there’s a scene in which the girls are kicking around ideas regarding who Gossip Girl could have been. One of those mentioned? Rebecca Sherman, whose name flashed on the screen along with a tiny Facebook photo.
Speaking to The Wrap, Safran said, “It’s such a very deep easter egg, I assumed that nobody would know.” He did hope fans might Google it, though. “Unfortunately, her full name would make you know her if you Googled it. But I couldn’t get her full name in [the episode]. I tried, and I just couldn’t [get the characters to] say, ‘Rebecca Sherman, you went to school here?’ But Rebecca Sherman is the name of the character at the end of Season 2 that they briefly think could be Gossip Girl before they think that it is Eric’s boyfriend.”
Whether or not Rebecca’s idea will work, or her insistence the Gossip Girl blog was a magic cure for what ails the school is correct, remains a matter of enigma. But at least this clears up one mystery.
Gossip Girl drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.