Gina is back! Gina made a surprise return in the penultimate episode of ‘HSMTMTS’ season 1 and HL got the EXCLUSIVE scoop about the finale from Sofia Wylie. Plus, she admitted she was ‘bawling’ at the table read.
Sofia Wylie is one of the talented cast members of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. At first, it appeared that her character, the fierce and competitive Gina, was just going to be Nini’s biggest foe within the musical scene. However, over the course of the season, Gina opened up and showed many facets of herself. She became a close confidant for Ricky and revealed her vulnerabilities.
HollywoodLife spoke with Sofia ahead of the finale’s premiere on Jan. 10. She admitted that it was “emotional” to read episode 10 of the Disney+ series because it was the final episode of the season. At the time, the cast didn’t know that the show was going to be renewed, so it could have been the last time they worked together on the show. Sofia said she was “bawling” at the table read as the story unfolded. Sofia discussed Ricky and Gina’s dynamic, what to expect in the finale, and she also revealed that we will find out who bought Gina the last-minute plane ticket.
What was your reaction when you read the script and realized that Gina wasn’t just going to be gone forever?
Sofia Wylie: Well, I really hoped that she wasn’t going to be gone forever because then I would be devastated because I love the cast, I love the show, I love Gina. Thankfully, Tim [Federle] was very, very straight with telling me that I was not being written off the show in any way, shape, or form. But I think it’s so incredible how there was that gap episode in episode 8 where I’m not there because it allowed the audience to really feel as though Gina was going away forever. I’ve been reading all the tweets and all the Instagram posts and so many people were so sad that Gina is possibly leaving or that she was gone for good. I think that just shows so much about the fact that people even like her presence there, which makes me so happy. It was really emotional reading episode 10 because even though Gina back and she’s performing, it was still the end of season one with such an amazing run with such an incredible cast. I literally thought everybody was bawling at the table read but I’m pretty sure it was just me, Josh and a couple other people. I was actually so devastated even though I had very high hopes for another season. This first season was just everything I could have dreamed of and more. Playing a character like Gina who went through so much of a roller coaster in her development and who she was and her emotions as a human being was a lot for me. I was just so blessed to be able to play someone like her.
Gina does say when she comes back that a friend bought her a last-minute ticket. Will we find out in the finale who that friend was?
Sofia Wylie: Yes, we will. A lot of people already have their theories. Reading episode 9, I did not even think twice about somebody specific within the cast. But everybody on Twitter, Tumblr, and through all the different social media platforms have these huge theories. It’s crazy because the fans are so dedicated and pay attention to detail.
A dynamic that was unexpected and that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Gina and Ricky. I loved their scenes together and they have that moment in episode 9. How do you feel about their relationship? On one hand, they’re such great friends and but then I could definitely see them as a couple.
Sofia Wylie: There is such a complicated relationship between Ricky and Gina, Ricky and Nini, Nini and EJ, and every cast member or character in the show. Their relationships with people are not just cut and dry. It’s very complicated. It’s very sticky and scary at times, but I think that’s what makes each “ship.” It’s very interesting because of all the ups and downs that they may have or how unexpected they are. With Ricky and Gina, they are very unexpected. I think that’s what makes people like their dynamic so much because no one was expecting that dynamic to exist. It was so much fun for me to play a character like Gina with that dynamic between her and Ricky because in the first couple of episodes, you only see this really dedicated, focused, singer-actress. But once we start to see the dynamic between her and Ricky, we really see her opening up, becoming more vulnerable, and seeing a side of her that is like a normal teenage girl with teenage feelings. Of course, that always comes with all the scary risk but her moment with Ricky in episode 9, you kind of see this change in their dynamic because so many things have changed for both of them in the last few weeks. She doesn’t believe she’s ever coming back, so what’s the point of really exploring more of this relationship? Ricky is still so confused about Nini and he’s just kind of in this tug of war because he doesn’t even know what he wants. The fan base has been crazy and there have been so many different people who ship so many different characters, but I think this is what makes the show so great is that there are so many people who relate and love so many different characters and ship so many different dynamics.
What can fans expect in the finale episode?
Sofia Wylie: I think a big thing about episode 9 that people talked about was how heartbreaking it was. Because in the beginning, things are going pretty smoothly, we’re getting excited about the performance, but then so many things go wrong and characters say the wrong things or do the wrong things. I think that just reflects on regular high school life and for even the teachers as well. Nobody is perfect. Everybody’s making mistakes. I think we see a lot more of that in episode 10. Everybody’s just doing what they think is right but nobody can know exactly what is truly right. But I can say there are so many moments that I was just bawling my eyes out at the table read. Not just because I was sad that it was our last table read but because there are so many just heartbreaking moments in the episode. The acting in episode 10 is incredible from all of the cast members. So many new friendships and dynamics are also born in this last episode that you would never think because usually it’s kind of wrapping it up and then leaving a little cliffhanger, but there’s just so many more possibilities and possible relationships that are being made in this last episode. I think that’ll just make the fans so much more eager to see season 2 and it’s made me so much more eager to see season 2 because I know all the incredible possibilities for the next season.
Have you talked to Tim about Gina in season 2?
Sofia Wylie: Yes, I have literally been begging him to just give me spoilers for all of season 2. He’s been great with giving us little nuggets here and there. But I mean, it’s just all up to him and the writers’ room. I’m so envious of them because they know the greatness that is season 2 and I can’t wait to see what it is. We’ll definitely be seeing a lot of fun stuff and we’ll hopefully see Gina in season 2, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Gina went through so much in this first season. We got to see her really go from one version of her to seeing that she’s very much three dimensional. Is there anything you would want to explore with Gina in season 2?
Sofia Wylie: If Gina were to stay, let’s see hypothetically, I would love to see her new experiences with staying in one place because she has moved so much within her life now. She can’t just kind of bulldoze her way through, get the lead, and do whatever she wants because she knows that she’s going to be moving away soon. I would really love for her to really create permanent relationships and see the almost fear of those relationships because she’s never really experienced staying in one place, having the consequences for her actions, and having to deal with these long term relationships with people her age. That would be really interesting. Of course, I’d love to see what happens in the future with Ricky and Nini or Ricky and Gina. Also, I’m so excited to see what the musical will be. That will be a big change with the dynamic with whoever gets the lead and whoever does it. I will definitely add a lot of drama to the show. If Gina were to stay, how would she stay? Would you be staying because of her mom’s job didn’t have to relocate? Because she’s staying with somebody? It’s all up in the air. There are so many possibilities.