HBO Max’s reboot of Gossip Girl has been a different type of decadent and deranged from the original series, with the focus on social media and how the hyper-rich interacts in a newer, more woke age. The new generation of students at Constant Billard School in New York City are charting their own way, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t echoes of the CW original in each episode. While there have been references to Blair, Serena, Dan, Chuck, and Nate in nearly every episode, episode five, “Hope Sinks,” had perhaps the most direct reference to the original series.
Thursday’s episode brought back one of Blair’s (Leighton Meester) minions, Nelly Yuki (Yin Chang). Now an editor at New York Magazine, Yuki was invited to a glamorous Halloween party — complete with costumes based on the original cast — by bleeding heart Obie (Eli Brown) in order to expose one of her writers who was posing as a student in an attempt to expose the identity of Gossip Girl. The writer assumed that it was Zoya (Whitney Peak), never even considering that the Instagram tell-all account was run by teachers led by Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson).
This cameo by Nelly Yuki comes on the heels of a reference to villain Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg), after Zoya teams up with her hacker genius son, MS (Azhy Robertson), in order to blackmail her half-sister, Julien (Jordan Alexander). With all of these references to the original group of trouble makers, are more high-profile cameos on the way? Probably not.
“No one would like it if Blake or Leighton came back and only had like two scenes,” showrunner Joshua Safran told E! News. “If they come back, you want to actually spend a lot of time with them.” Despite all the references, this new Gossip Girl really is attempting to be its own thing. “No one is trying to recreate [the OG characters],” star Emily Alyn Lind told E! News at the New York City premiere. “We’re new characters. There might be sparks of them inside of all of us just because of the same school… but it’s different and I want everyone to know that. We’re not trying to do the original.”