'Gossip Girl' Reboot Cast on Why Kristen Bell Returning Was Necessary (Exclusive)

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The highly anticipated Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Kristen Bell. ET's Leanne Aguilera spoke with the creators and cast at the Gossip Girl premiere in New York City, and they talked about Bell returning to her role as the voice of Gossip Girl that she had in the original series.

The new series takes place nine years after Penn Badgley's Dan Humphrey revealed himself to be Gossip Girl, as a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The reboot will address just how much social media -- and the landscape of New York itself -- has changed in the years since. This time around, the crux of the new Gossip Girl, which premieres July 8 on HBO Max, won't revolve around the mystery of who Gossip Girl actually is, but rather another twist. 

Creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage told ET that Bell was easy to convince when it came to joining the reboot, since all parties involved wanted it. Showrunner Joshua Safran told ET that Bell's involvement was not only a want, but a must have, for the reboot to even happen.

"It wasn't really a conversation, Josh and Stephanie were like, if she doesn't want to do it, let's all walk away," he shared. "We went up to her and she was like, 'Of course I want to do it.' And then, yeah, there's no Gossip Girl without Kristen. I mean, it's not just the voice, it's her whole being. Her soul comes through her voice and you just feel like you're in the show. Without her, whenever there's like, a temp, it doesn't feel like the show, and then when you hear her voice, then you're like, 'There it is.'"

The show's brand new cast of characters are also overjoyed at Bell's return. Tavi Gevinson, who plays Kate Keller, noted, "I mean, thank God, she's the iconic voiceover ... like, any other voice would be like, 'Eh.'"

Emily Alyn Lynd, who plays Audrey Hope, said Bell's involvement was "a necessity."

"Like, how can you have Gossip Girl without Kristen Bell?" she asked. "She's Gossip Girl, even if she's not Gossip Girl, she's Gossip Girl. We need Kristen Bell, are you kidding me?"

Meanwhile, Jordan Alexander, who plays Julien Calloway, is a big fan of Bell's.

"So, first of all, Kristen Bell, like, swoon! We were all so excited because it, really wouldn't have been the same without her and I don't think it could have happened, so shout-out to Kristen Bell," Alexander said. "We were so excited to pay homage to the first Gossip Girl. It was really like a quintessential New York moment and, you know, we are the next generation and we are just here to be really excited about that and, like, obviously hats off for the original Gossip Girl and what they did, really."

Schwartz and Savage echoed Alexander's thoughts on the reboot. 

"The original is a product of its time, and we really wanted the new version to be a product and reflection of this one," Schwartz said.

Savage added, "Social media and New York has changed."

Back in November 2019, Bell talked to ET about reprising her narrator role in the Gossip Girl reboot. Bell shared that the voice of the narrator is really "the catty version" of her own voice, to complement the nature of the show, and that she couldn't wait to get back into it. Watch the video below to see the sexy first trailer for the Gossip Girl reboot.

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