HBO Max just dropped its first proper look at Gossip Girl, the “soft reboot” continuation of the much-loved CW drama that ran from 2007 to 2012, coming to the streaming platform on July 8th. While the series, set roughly a decade following the conclusion of the previous iteration, does not have any main cast members from the original show returning (yet), it has snagged Kristen Bell to return as the voice of Gossip Girl, tying these two series together in a clever way. Listen to Bell return in the Gossip Girl trailer below…
Like the Gossip Girl TV show before it, the new Gossip Girl is set at Constance Billard, an elite private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In the trailer, we see new girl Zoya (Whitney Peak) arrive at Constance Billard, and the members of the long-established rich kids social circle circling like buzzards. It isn’t long before Gossip Girl, the moniker of a social media presence that spies on the privileged social circle, rears her ugly head. “Did you miss me?” we hear Bell as Gossip Girl say in the trailer, implying that Constance Billard has enjoyed an era of relative peace between when Blair and Serena’s generation left the school and today. (I guess Dan has moved on to bigger and better things?)
The trailer strikes the perfect balance between callbacks to the original show (the Met steps!) and signs that this show will embrace diversity in a way the naughts-era show rarely did. The trailer highlights the many characters of color in the lead ensemble, as well as some moments of queer sexuality. Past that, thisGen Z era of Gossip Girl seems poised to make better use of the social media antagonist. The previous incarnation of the story, which was loosely based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, was never truly interested in exploring Gossip Girl as a very literal metaphor for the magnifying glass social media can put on especially young people—and that intense social media pressure has only increased in the last decade.
As we learn from the above trailer, here, Gossip Girl is an anonymous Instagram account that is “spying” on the students of Constance Billard. The school’s headmistress, played by Donna Murphy, is seen in the trailer making a Gossip Girl-centric announcement during assembly, implying that the social media account will be a much more active antagonist in this version of the story. From the looks of the trailer, this soft reboot is poised to lean into the aspects of the original show that worked so well—from its Manhattan setting to the soapy claustrophobia of elite social circles—and play up the elements that the previous show didn’t nail—most especially the diversity of our world and the relevancy of a social media antagonist that is all around us. It’s going to be good to have Gossip Girl back.