Lizzie McGuire Writer Reveals Dramatic Plot of Canceled Reboot

Years after Hilary Duff announced the reboot of her show from the early aughts Lizzie McGuire was no longer happening, a writer for the revival revealed some of the storylines.

By Elyse Dupre Jan 18, 2024 1:56 PMTags
Watch: Lizzie McGuire Writer REVEALS Dramatic Plot of Canceled Reboot

Getting the tea on the canceled Lizzie McGuire reboot? Now, this is what dreams are made of.

Three years after Hilary Duff confirmed the revival was no longer happening, writer Jonathan Hurwitz revealed what the show would have looked like.

While viewers in the early aughts last saw Lizzie in her teenage years, the new show would have focused on her life as an adult. And the first episode would have shown that things weren't exactly turning out as she had planned. 

"Basically, it starts in New York," Jonathan said in a recent TikTok video. "Lizzie's been working and living there as an interior designer, and she's dating this very, very handsome chef. And she ends up finding that he's been cheating on her with her best friend." 

After learning of the infidelity—with Jonathan later clarifying Lizzie's childhood BFF Miranda (Lalaine) was not the friend involved—Hilary's character decides to leave NYC.  

"She, at the end of the pilot, goes home to California—to the home we all saw in the original show," Jonathan continued, "and she's in her childhood bedroom where little animated Lizzie has been waiting for her."

Disney Channel Stars Then and Now

And Lizzie's animated self isn't the only blast from the past she comes across. Jonathan said she also reconnects with Gordo, who was played by Adam Lamberg on the original Disney Channel series and spinoff movie. But if you were still shipping the BFFs together, well, the writer has some news for you.

"You would have got an answer to that in episode two," Jonathan explained. "Lizzie meets up with Gordo, who she's just kind of been in touch with via text over the years, occasionally. And they meet up, and Gordo reveals that he is engaged, engaged to a woman, and she's pregnant and they're really happy. So no, in this version, Lizzie and Gordo would not have ended up together."

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Although, Lizzie does get together with her childhood crush Ethan Craft (Clayton Snyder)—with Jonathan noting Ethan sends Lizzie a text at the end of episode two and "little animated Lizzie faints."

While he said episode three was never filmed, he shared the details as to what happens next. 

"Lizzie wakes up in Ethan's bed in his water polo T-shirt," Jonathan added. "And animated Lizzie pops up, and she has this little checklist—like a to-do list. And Ethan is on the list, and she checks it off. And I think she says something like, 'Well, checked that box.' Dramatic pause. 'Twice.'"

However, he clarified the series wouldn't have shown them having sex.

"Just Lizzie waking up in Ethan's shirt," he noted in another video, "and then Ethan comes in with freshly made coffee and they have this cute little catch-up. And then Ethan says he heard from Gordo that Lizzie was in town and that's why he reached out. And he wants to hang again, but she says she can't because she's flying home to New York."

E! News has reached out to Disney+ for comment on the reboot's storylines but has yet to hear back.

The Lizzie McGuire revival was first announced in 2019, with plans for it to stream on Disney+. Months later in 2020, the original show's creator Terri Minsky left the reboot—with a Disney spokesperson saying they needed "to move in a different creative direction."

As for Hilary, she pleaded for the series to move to Hulu as she felt it was "doing a disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30-year-old's journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating." By the end of the year, the actress revealed the revival was no longer happening.

"I want any reboot of Lizzie to be honest and authentic to who Lizzie would be today. It's what the character deserves," she wrote in an Instagram statement at the time. "We can all take a moment to mourn the amazing woman she would have been and the adventures we would have taken with her."

To read secrets about the original Lizzie McGuire, keep reading.

1. The show's original title was What's Lizzie Thinking? And when it was initially pitched to Disney, it didn't have the now-infamous animated Lizzie voiceover, but just a standard voiceover from star Hilary Duff

2. Some of the other actresses who went out for the role of Lizzie included Lindsay Lohan (Duff's future rival thanks to their love triangle with Aaron Carter), Sarah Paxton and Hailee Hirsh. Though Duff emerged as the winner, producer Stan Rogow once told E! News that all their options were "terrific" and had them "excited about presenting to the network as [options for Lizzie]."

3. In an interview with E! News, Duff confessed she did "a terrible job" in her audition: "I hadn't read my lines." Close to quitting acting before landing her breakout role, she didn't take the audition too seriously, but the show's creator Terri Minsky saw potential in the young actress and reached out to her.

"I was very honest about it and said, 'You need to get more in the character,'" Minsky recounted to E!. "Because I knew there was so much [talent] there."

4. One of the reasons Duff may have ultimately landed the job was her sense of style, with Disney's former president of entertainment Rich Ross telling Newsweek, "When we were casting Lizzie McGuire we called her in four times. She wasn't doing anything wrong. She just wore such great outfits, and we wanted to see what she'd come in with next." Duff later revealed she used her clothes as a way to make herself stand out from the hundreds of others auditioning. 

5. A reminder that Lizzie aired on Disney Channel: The network initially pushed back when the writers wanted to do an episode about Lizzie buying her first bra. Network executives "said, 'Oh my god, you can't do that!'" Rogow recalled to E!. "It was little bit groundbreaking at the time."

6. Of course, that's one of the most memorable episodes for Duff. "I definitely think that the bra episode is one that stands out in my brain as being, like, first of all, really wanting it, 'cause I thought a bra was cool," she told TODAY, "and then second of all, being like, 'How am I gonna get that? I have to talk to my parents about that. That's gonna be the worst thing ever.'"

7. While he became Lizzie's longtime crush, Ethan (Clayton Snyder) was initially conceived as your typical middle school jock. In fact, writer Nina Bargiel once revealed Danny Kessler (played by Byron Fox) was supposed to be The Guy. 

"There was another dreamy boy that she was supposed to be interested in, but I think he wasn't available," she told the Feminist Disney Tumblr account. "So we needed someone new and Ethan was already there, so we just built him up." 

8. But while Lizzie was pining for Ethan, Adam Lamberg's Gordo (one of the best Disney Channel boys EVER, don't @ us) was secretly crushing on his BFF. And after two seasons and one movie, fans finally got to see the two kiss, with the ending hinting that the best friends had become a couple.

"We knew fans wanted Lizzie and Gordo to get together," Bargiel said. "It was pretty clear by then that this was going to be the end of the Lizzie McGuire train, so we wanted to make sure that you got a good last stop."

While new episodes aired after the movie's release, the film's ending is canonically Lizzie's last hurrah.

9. In an interview with MTV, Snyder revealed he actually took the longest in hair and makeup out of anyone in the cast, all to achieve Ethan's signature flowing locks. "I had a curly fro, clown mop of hair off set, and I took longer than the girls did in hair and makeup to get that thing as luscious and straight as it was," he said. "They just destroyed it with product and hairspray and straightening iron and more product."

10. After Lizzie and her friends graduated middle school, the plan was for Lizzie McGuire to head over to ABC for the group's high school adventures in a primetime sitcom, and to film a sequel to the hit movie. However, heated contract negotiations caused Disney and Duff to part ways. 

"We very much wanted to continue the Lizzie franchise," Disney Studios' then-production chief Nina Jacobson told Entertainment Weekly at the time. "But every deal has its tipping point, the point at which it no longer makes sense. Unfortunately, that's the point we reached in the Lizzie negotiations, and we ultimately had to say goodbye."

11. However, Duff's mom and then-manager Susan Duff spoke out in a tell-all interview with EW, saying, "Disney thought they'd be able to bully us into accepting whatever offer they wanted to make, and they couldn't. We walked away from a sequel. They walked away from a franchise. We weren't feeling the love...they weren't giving Hilary the respect she deserved."

Duff's lawyer also weighed in on behalf of the teen star, issuing the following statement to The Los Angeles Times: "Disney's strong-armed tactics and failure to pay our client a fee commensurate with offers received from other studios and networks caused the breakdown of negotiations with the Duffs. While the Lizzie McGuire franchise may be over for Disney, Hilary Duff's career is flourishing."

12. After Lizzie's abrupt end, producers developed a pilot centering on Stevie, Miranda's outsider of a little sister, played by Selena Gomez.

Like Lizzie, Stevie's internal thoughts would also be voiced by an animated alter ego. It was one of two pilots pitched to the Disney Channel that year, with the network ultimately deciding not to move forward with the Gomez-vehicle in favor of the other one: Hannah Montana. Gomez would go on to land the lead role in The Wizards of Waverly Place, which became her breakout performance. 

13. At the height of its popularity, Lizzie McGuire was bringing in an estimated $100 million on merchandise alone, including clothing, a book series, soundtracks and more. It was the Disney Channel's highest rated and most successful series at the time, averaging 2 million viewers per episode and once aired seven days a week (with ABC also airing it on Saturday mornings).

14. After years of rumors and whispers, Disney+ officially announced they would be reviving Lizzie McGuire in August 2019, with Duff reprising her iconic role and the show's creator overseeing the streaming series, which would focus on a 30-year-old Lizzie navigating life in New York City. 

15. While casting was initially kept under wraps, a photo from the first table read revealed the original McGuire family would be back in action, with Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine and Jake Thomas all returning as Lizzie's parents and troublemaker little brother Matt.

16. But bad news Lizzie and Gordo shippers: They would not least not when the revival starts as Lizzie is engaged to someone else, though Lamberg was slated to reprise his role. "I feel like them not being together is what was so's that one person that you're like, 'Was he the one? Is it ever going to be?'" Duff told Vulture. "You're always kind of wondering. We wanted it to hurt everyone a little bit, and it'll continue to hurt."

17. Unfortunately, the series never came to fruition, with Duff confirming the sad news in December 2020 after Minsky left over creative differences.

"I know the efforts and conversations have been everywhere trying to make a reboot work but, sadly & despite everyone's best efforts, it isn't going to happen," Duff explained, following her public plea that Disney+ move the show to Hulu. "We can all take a moment to mourn the amazing woman she would have been and the adventures we would have taken with her. I'm very sad, but I promise everyone tried their best and the stars just didn't align. Hey now, this is what 2020's made of." 

18. A celeb fan of Lizzie McGuire? Cardi B, who revealed just how much the movie resonated with her during Vogue's Forces of Fashion conference.

"Has anyone seen that Hilary Duff movie [The Lizzie McGuire Movie]? There's a song in it that anytime I go to an event that I've always wanted to go to I always play it in my head," she said, talking about being invited to Paris Fashion Week. "It goes, 'Hey now, hey now, this is what dreams are made of.' That's how I feel every single time that I get invited to these fashion events."

19. Speaking of the film, The Lizzie McGuire Movie became a surprise hit when it was released in May 2003, debuting at No. 2 at the box office behind X2: X-Men United and going on to gross over $50 million.

20. Many fans were upset that Miranda was not in the movie and was M.I.A. in some of the last episodes of the show, with her family going on an extended vacation. But that was actually because Lalaine wanted to focus on her music career.

21. After becoming a teen idol thanks to her time as Lizzie, many fans were surprised when Duff chose to take a break from acting.

"Everyone thought I was just absolutely nuts because I was really successful and making a lot of money," she said in a 2015 interview with PrideSource. "And it was scary, because there was no guarantee that my career was still gonna be there. I really needed it personally. I grew up in the spotlight and on tour and with everyone just knowing me and knowing me a certain way. At some point I was like, 'I don't even know if I'm that person anymore, and I don't even have the time to figure that out.'"

She admitted that she found being known as Lizzie "torturous" at times. "I loved it during the filming," she explained. "I just didn't know what a success the show was gonna be, and after that...I was still Lizzie McGuire to people and that was super annoying. Now it's not. I don't care now."

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