With the season now over, ET exclusively debuts a behind-the-scenes look at the final day of filming.
Hey Wildcats, it's time to look back on the first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Disney+'s musical dramedy series inspired by the popular High School Musical movie franchise recently wrapped up its freshman season on Friday with its central couple, Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Nini (Olivia Rodrigo), rekindling their romance and Nini faced with a massive decision to make in the finale: stay at East High with Ricky and her friends or go to the prestigious music conservatory.
While we'll have to wait months for the second season to drop on Disney+, the cast and crew of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series reflected on their whirlwind experience on the final days of production of season one.
"It's a big culmination of a big journey for the actors, for me, for the crew. And a day like today is incredibly moving because these actors get to say they love each other to each other on-camera and I think four months after meeting, they actually love each other, which is really moving to me," creator Tim Federle says in ET's exclusive behind-the-scenes video from the set, where he gets emotional over the young cast.
"The only time it has hit me was there was my final take that I did coverage for me. And as I was walking away, I literally started getting tears in my eyes," recalls series star Matt Cornett, who plays East High jock E.J.
"Josh [Bassett] texted me this morning. He's like, 'This is our last big scene together.' And I'm like, 'Oh, my goodness!'" says Rodrigo, flanked by Cornett and Bassett. "I was thinking back to the first scene that we shot together. It's just a really beautiful thing to think of how far we've come."
Meanwhile, co-star Sofia Wylie, who portrays Gina, was already dreading when it was time for them to wrap. "I really love these people and I love filming with them. It's sad to end anything because I just want to keep filming forever," Wylie says, getting a little misty-eyed.
Federle opened up about the parallels between Day 1 of filming and the final day of production.
"We're back in Big Red's basement. It's the last day. I'm not superstitious but I am sentimental. We began our first take on Valentine's Day 2019 in this room with Josh Bassett and Larry Saperstein, who barely knew each other. Six months later, we're a family and we came back here to say one last goodbye," Federle says as the cast and crew are seen celebrating a successful 10-episode production.
Bassett took a moment to send a message to his future self, reminding himself, "Never forget the magic that has been these last six months. And never forget the relationships and the love we've shared. And stay humble." The 19-year-old singer-actor got teary near the end of his heartfelt message, as Federle thanked the cast for "making [his] wildest dreams come true" before engaging in High School Musical's signature cheer.
See the exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the final days of filming of season one, exclusively on ET, below.
Bassett and Rodrigo spoke to ET about Ricky and Nini's emotional heart-to-heart in the first season's final episode, where Ricky finally tells her he loves her and the two kiss.
"It was such a thrill to film because it felt like the whole season was leading up to that moment," Bassett recalled. "And I remember filming that day; I felt so alive and we were both so in it and it was so intense, and so surreal and, yeah, it was a dream to film. I'm so excited for people to see it. But, yeah, episode 10 was probably my favorite moment between Nini and Ricky."
"I remember there was a monologue Ricky had to say to Nini about different memories that they had shared together, and Tim told Josh, 'Just improvise it.' And he just improvised the most beautiful monologue," Rodrigo said. "And he didn't tell me that he was going to improvise it and so they got my reaction to him improvising this beautiful monologue on-camera."
"I was just so taken aback. It was one of the most beautiful scenes that I think we've done in the series," she continued. "I love that [moment]. And also in episode nine, there's a really beautiful moment where they're standing and they're all holding hands, and Ricky and Nini are sneaking glances at each other. I just think that's so sweet. Episodes nine and 10 are a good payoff for Ricky and Nini fans."
The entire first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is streaming now on Disney+.
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