Could This Fan-Favorite Couple Break Up on ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’?

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series was a big hit with fans of the original franchise, but also new ones. Young and old(er) folks fell in love with the old songs and the new ones, not to mention there were new couples to root for too. One of the will-they-won’t-they couples this first season was Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) and Ricky (Joshua Bassett). Even though there was a happy ending this time around, will they break up again in Season 2? Spoilers for Season 1 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series ahead.

The cast of the Disney+ series 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' at Good Morning America before the show's premiere.
The cast of the Disney+ series ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ at Good Morning America before the show’s premiere | Jeff Neira/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Season 1 of the series ended with two new couples (maybe three)

The whole season revolved around the fall musical, which was, of course, was High School Musical. It was super meta because they go to the school the originals were shot at, and the series proved to be unique enough to gain a lot of followers. By the end of the season, prep for the musical was done and it was time to put on the show, which experienced several bumps but was a success. 

The couples that came out of the musical were also part of the success. Even though Miss Jenn isn’t sure where she stands at romantically, there’s no doubt that she’s interested in someone. Plus, Ashlyn and Big Red shared a sweet kiss after the show. Probably the biggest couple reconciliation was between Nini and Ricky, who had broken up in the first episode. The whole reason Ricky even auditioned for the musical was to spend time (and possibly get back) with Nini. But since it’s a television show, there’s always a new obstacle ahead. 

Nini got invited to attend the performing arts high school

Right after Nini and Ricky have an emotional scene where he finally proclaims his love for her, Nini is pulled aside by a lead administrator for a performing arts high school in Denver. After her electrifying performance as Gabriella, Nini is offered a spot at the school. She applied and is thrilled, but she also just got back together with the boy that she loves. 

Showrunner Tim Federle told Entertainment Tonight about what she’s thinking after she receives that admittance and then looks over at Ricky. “I think what’s going through her mind is… the phrase, ‘When it rains, it pours,’” he said. “At the very moment she has forgiven Ricky for falling apart on her all those months ago and accepted him back in her life and he’s finally able to say the word ‘love,’ she’s also… given this extraordinary opportunity.”

What made Ricky tell Nini his true feelings?

Ricky’s declaration of love didn’t seem like something Nini was expecting. So why did he finally come clean after all the ups and downs they had? Not to mention, with all that was going on in his personal life, his brain has been pretty scattered too. Federle said that the conversation he had with his mother set off the need to tell Nini he loved her.  

“I think relationships are tough. And I think that Ricky and Nini are on the beginning of a lifelong journey of whether they stay together or eventually part together, learning what it means to go through the valleys and hills of a relationship,” the showrunner told Entertainment Tonight. “I think it was hearing his mom say a version of, ‘I wasn’t happy with your dad, but I’m happy now’ that actually made Ricky realize like, ‘What am I doing? I actually am happy with her and I’ve been trying to prove it all this time.’”

And for Nini, it was the fact that Ricky was so sure in his speech, combined with her own feelings, that prompted her to accept him back. “Though actions do speak louder than words — maybe I take this more seriously as a writer — but sometimes words actually do mean a lot,” Federle continued. “And these words are incredibly meaningful to Nini. She put herself out there for someone she had known since kindergarten and he messed up. I think in that moment, it’s the moment of healing for both of them, and Ricky was able to be just as vulnerable as she was. And she accepted him in that moment.”

Could these two make a long-distance relationship work?

So, where does this leave these two love birds if Nini takes the spot at the school in Denver? It’s tough to say. Obviously, Nini’s summer away at camp was a major hardship for them. That sort of prompted their breakup, although Ricky also felt overwhelmed with Nini’s song about love. Even though long-distance wasn’t great for them before, they might be solid enough to survive it this time. 

They obviously care deeply for one another and have known each other since they were in kindergarten. But, it is a show after all, and what’s a high school show without drama? With Gina probably moving into Ashlyn’s house, could she spell trouble for Ricky and Nini? Even if one person doesn’t get in between them, maybe the miles will.