High School Musical‘s Troy and Gabriella set the bar high for fictional couples — and HSMTMTS‘ Ricky and Gina have officially taken over for the next generation of fans.
When the original film franchise aired from 2006 to 2008, Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella’s (Vanessa Hudgens) connection was undeniable. The couple weathered numerous ups and downs before getting their happily ever after in the third movie.
Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Gina (Sofia Wylie), meanwhile, are ready to carry on the torch after several seasons of buildup on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The mockumentary, which debuted on Disney+ in 2019, threw many obstacles Ricky and Gina’s way before the timing was finally right.
According to creator Tim Federle, there was always a plan to have Ricky and Gina take over the fictional legacy that Troy and Gabriella left behind.
“We always knew Ricky and Gina would play Troy and Gabriella,” Federle exclusively told Us Weekly in August 2023 about the pair’s respective roles in the season 4 play, which is High School Musical 3. “Josh and Sofia’s voices are so beautiful together that in the first episode of season , I really wanted to see them do a duet that summarized [their] lives leading up to this moment.”
Scroll down for each way Ricky and Gina have taken inspiration from Troy and Gabriella’s journey:
The New Girl in School Parallel
Gabriella joined East High School for her junior year in the first movie, which came days after she had her meet-cute with Troy.
Gina was also new to the school when she was introduced as a sophomore in season 1 of HSMTMTS. According to a flashback scene in season 4, Ricky was the first person Gina formed a connection with before she auditioned for the play.
Being Each Other’s Inspiration
During the third High School Musical movie, Troy chose his college based on the person who “inspires” his heart. He ended up attending the University of California, Berkeley, which was only 32.7 miles from Gabriella.
Ricky, meanwhile, mentioned in a season 4 song that Gina is “the reason” he did everything in his life.
Growing Closer With Secret Romantic Meetings
Troy and Gabriella kept their relationship private in the original High School Musical film. As a result, the duo got creative with romantic meetings in the school’s garden on the roof.
Ricky and Gina’s decision in season 4 to have a secret romance also paves the way for them to spend quality time together in private. From hallway catchups to a date at a dog rescue center, Ricky and Gina make the most of their secret dating era.
Passing on the Baton
Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series introduced a new group of students who joined the drama team at the same school where the original High School Musical movies were filmed.
Troy and Gabriella’s legacy was originally bestowed upon Ricky and Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) in the first season — to lackluster results. Ricky and Gina were ultimately cast as Troy and Gabriella for their recreation of the third High School Musical film, which turned out to be the perfect fit.
Serenading Each Other Through Song
After Troy waved off his connection with Gabriella, she delivered a rendition of “When There Was Me and You” in High School Musical. The HSMTMTS version was more hopeful, with Ricky sharing his version of the track with Gina in season 1.
Ricky and Gina continued to mirror Troy and Gabriella by performing “Can I Have This Dance?” While rehearsing their lines from the third film during season 4. Troy and Gabriella originated the romantic moment when they reflected on their respective futures in High School Musical 3.
The Guy Supports His Girl’s Success
During the third High School Musical film, Troy and Gabriella were out of sync as she prepared to attend Stanford. Troy showed his support for his girlfriend when she flew to California to start a college program early even though their relationship ended up at risk.
Meanwhile, Ricky had a history of not dealing well with change. His inability to support Nini through her personal success was one of the major reasons why they called it quits in season 2. By the time Ricky and Gina finally acted on their feelings, however, he had grown as a person. After finding out about her next big movie role, Ricky worked through his own issues to declare his love for Gina before she took the job.
Ricky made several attempts to show Gina how proud he was of her for booking a role in the fourth High School Musical film. He decorated her trailer, walked her to set and attempted to take other responsibilities off her plate so she could focus on her future.
Getting Creative With Their Romance
In the first and third High School Musical movies, Troy climbed through Gabriella’s window in pivotal moments.
His first attempt was after he upset Gabriella with his comments about their audition for the play. Troy managed to convince Gabriella to give their callback — and him — another chance. The follow-up moment took place in High School Musical 3 with Troy delivering a picnic to his girlfriend’s window.
After Gina and Ricky finally acted on their feelings for each other, they shared similar moments. In season 4 of HSMTMTS, Ricky visited Gina multiple times through her window and they had adorable scenes as a couple. They also delivered a memorable rendition of their “Maybe This Time” song.
The Iconic Rain Kiss
Ricky and Gina briefly ended up on the outs in season 4 after a misunderstanding about their relationship status. During a highly anticipated scene, Ricky arrived at Gina’s door with chocolates only to see her with another guy. The issue got solved quickly, however, when Gina spotted him they shared a kiss in the rain.
Before Ricky and Gina pleasantly surprised fans with their version, Troy and Gabriella kissed as the sprinklers went off at the country club in High School Musical 2.
From Stage to Real Like
During the final season of HSMTMTS, Ricky and Gina’s relationship was at a crossroads when she got offered to film a movie in New Zealand. Ricky, however, accidentally found out from Gina’s mom first, and the couple’s miscommunication played perfectly into the angsty Troy and Gabriella songs they have to perform on stage.
Much like Troy and Gabriella, Ricky and Gina decided not to give up on their love story. Gina got the movie to film in Salt Lake while Ricky declared his love for her. The series ended with the pair being committed to their future together.