The highly anticipated Gossip Girl reboot might not quite be the show you're expecting, but that's also not a bad thing.
HBO Max is set to launch a continuation of the popular teen drama series later this year, and new cast members Whitney Peak (playing Zoya Lott), Emily Alyn Lind (Audrey Hope), Evan Mock (Akeno "Aki" Menzies) and Jordan Alexander (Julien Calloway) are featured on the current cover of Dazed magazine to promote the show.
During the issue's interview that was released online on Monday, Feb. 22, the performers hinted at changes that producers made to bring the project into our current era. As Emily explained, the new version will feel more inclusive thanks to characters who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
"I think that what we can say is this—we're making a series in 2020 and 2021," Emily shared. "It's really important for us to not just talk about these things but also express them as normal things that kids deal with. It shouldn't be this new, exciting thing to talk about, it just exists. It's about normalizing things that used to be different or taboo."
Whitney agreed with the sentiment and underscored that this inclusivity wasn't necessarily true about The CW's version that signed off in December 2012 after six seasons.
"There's a lot of representation, which I can't say we saw a lot of in the first one," she said. "It's dope being able to see people who look like you and who are interested in the same things, and who happen to be in entertainment, because it's so influential and obviously reflective of the times."
The original series focused on such powerful female characters as Blake Lively's Serena van der Woodsen and Leighton Meester's Blair Waldorf. And while the new cast members couldn't offer too much about their own characters, they remain confident that the updated version continues that legacy.
"Gender roles will be talked about and dissected," Emily revealed. "A lot of the women in our show are very powerful, but I think they were in the original as well. We'll be exploring what it means to be a woman in this generation, and in general, exploring ideas that we didn't before."
As far as whether there's pressure in being compared to the original, the new cast members sounded confident that viewers will appreciate the updated series for what it is.
"We realized we could take these roles and make them our own—they have their own qualities that are special and differentiate [them] from the original," Emily said. "I think people will relate to them on different levels."
"I think Emily really hit the nail on the head," Jordan added. "We're just keeping an open mind, staying true to the essence of Gossip Girl but with a completely different take on it."