Issa Rae Reveals She's 'Ruminating' on an 'Insecure' Spinoff Series (Exclusive)
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If you've been missing your weekly dose of Issa, Molly, Kelli and Tiffany, there's some good news on the horizon. Insecure creator and star, Issa Rae, told ET that a spinoff of her widely acclaimed HBO series is looking far more likely than ever before. But don't get too excited, fans -- the actress hasn't written anything down in stone yet.
ET spoke with Rae at the premiere of her new comedy series, Rap Sh!t, and asked for updates on the oft-teased-about spinoff of the Emmy-nominated series that ended in December.
"I'm thinking about it, I've been ruminating for a while now and I haven't sat down to put pen to paper," Rae shared, adding that she was taking her time to let people "miss the show."
"I don't want it to be like, 'B**ch, you just finished, why are we having this?'" she went on. "I just want to make sure it's right as opposed to just doing it, so I'm thinking about it, but nothing set in stone yet."
Insecure ended its reign on HBO after five seasons and 44 episodes, with an ending that Rae, showrunner Prentice Penny and the cast, including Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and others, said allowed them to close out on their own terms.
"I mean, this is a journey of growth," Rae told ET about her character's on-screen evolution. "So, if Issa’s in the same place as she was in season 1, then we failed."
“Like most TV shows, not everybody is gonna get what they want,” said Leonard Robinson (Taurean Jackson), before adding that when it comes to the finale, “[we got] what the characters deserved and what they wanted, which is a great, satisfying ending.”
He adds, “It all came to a proper ending.”
“It’s not like these characters' lives are ending,” Penny said, explaining that their stories continue. “It's just that the audience and the writers aren’t continuing with them on their journey. But they’re going to still go on and live lives, theoretically.”
And knowing that, he said that “really freed us up to not worry about the perfect ending.”
“You know, it’s not often that a TV show gets to choose when they want to end. And so, we had a great time with season 5 and it was all planned,” Sujata Day (Sarah) said.
While Rae might be ruminating on a spinoff that works with such a poetic ending, she is very ready for fans to check out Rap Sh!t, an HBOMax Original series that follows two estranged high school friends from Miami, Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion), who reunite to form a rap group. The concept was developed from Rae’s original Insecure script and aims to highlight the challenges women face trying to break into the male-dominated hip-hop industry.
Insecure’s Syreeta Singleton serves as showrunner and executive producer with Rae and Singleton executive producing alongside Hoorae's Montrel McKay of A Black Lady Sketch Show, Jonathan Berry of Insecure and 3 Arts' Dave Becky of Russian Doll.
Hip-hop duo Yung Miami and JT of the City Girls also serve as co-executive producers, which is fitting since Rae shared that their real-life journey is part of the inspiration behind the series.
"Besides being a fan of the female rap world, I wanted to center a show just around that come up," Rae explained to ET. She noted how her own "come up" was through social media and how different that process is for musicians compared to more traditional means of discovery.
"It just feels like a different time for artists to get discovered and to present themselves authentically," she added. "And it really just is a show about identity, which is something that I struggled with presenting initially."
Obviously, a show about female rappers needs that magic touch from the real-life inspirations -- of whom Rae shared there are many. "This show is inspired by all the female rappers that are out right now, from Cardi B to Megan [Thee Stallion] to the City Girls, No Name, Nicki Minaj and Tierra Whack," she said. "We took different pieces of their lives and put them through Shawna and Mia's story."
As for the City Girls, Rae called them the "biggest female rap duo since like Salt-N-Pepa."
"I mean, they're phenomenal, we really wanted to get their blessing," she added. "Their journey very much so mirrors Shawna and Mia's."
Fans can check out if Shawna and Mia make it as big as JT and Miami when Rap Sh!t premieres on Thursday, July 21 with its first two episodes. The eight-episode season will then air one episode each week, concluding Sept. 1.
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