‘High School Musical’ Director Just Confirmed 1 Popular Fan Theory

High School Musical was one of the most popular Disney franchises of the 2000s. It followed students at the fictional East High School as they tried to live out their dreams, learning about love and friendship along the way.

The success of the first HSM movie in 2006 allowed for the franchise to produce three films as well as other spinoff projects like stage musicals, book series, video games, and even a show on Disney+.

Given how popular HSM is, it is not surprising that fans have spent years discussing various things related to the franchise. There has even been a popular fan theory floating around about a character, which director Kenny Ortega recently confirmed to be true.

High School Musical cast
(L-R) Lucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu, Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens | Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Fans like to believe Ryan Evans is gay

Ryan Evans is the brother of the film series’ main protagonist, Sharpay Evans. Although Sharpay is often seen to be selfish and manipulative, Ryan is portrayed as her nicer counterpart. He has an easier time getting along with the rest of the students at East High.

For years, fans have been pushing for Disney to make Ryan a gay character, which would have allowed him to be the first one in Disney Channel Original Movies history.

Additionally, some fans have also gone further and say that another character, Chad Danforth, is gay as well. Ryan and Chad had a famous scene in High School Musical 2 when Ryan tried to convince Chad to take up dancing, which seemed to ooze of sexual tension, according to social media.

What actor Lucas Grabeel has said about his character possibly being gay

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Ryan’s actor, Lucas Grabeel, has addressed the fan theory of his character being gay before. In December 2019, he told TVLine he would rather not put a “label” on Ryan.

“Ryan was a guy who was really excited about theater and art and dance choreography and bright colors and hats,” Grabeel explained. “But he also liked Kelsey, and he really liked [Zeke]. He didn’t need a label, because he wasn’t ready for that. He was still learning about himself and about people and where he fit into the world.”

He also added, “I didn’t mean for it to be a giant statement. I actually wanted to be kind of subtle. I wanted to add nuance and little things that you might catch the second or third time you see the movies. I wanted people to think, ‘That character’s more complex than I thought,’ instead of saying, ‘Oh, he comes out in pink and you know he’s gay.’ That’s not what we had in mind.”

Kenny Ortega just confirmed Ryan is gay

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On June 30, director Kenny Ortega revealed that the popular fan theory is true, and Ryan might have come out at another stage in his life.

“The character of Ryan [played by Lucas Grabeel] in High School Musical, Sharpay’s twin brother, we decided he’d probably going to come out in college,” Ortega told Variety. “It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward.”

The reason why Ortega, who is gay himself, did not have this explicitly stated in the movies is because he simply did not feel like Disney was ready for it, despite the company being more “progressive” than most others.

Ortega continued, “I was concerned because it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet. So, I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.”