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‘Gossip Girl’ Showrunner on Bringing Back Stars From Original Series

  • Warning: There are spoilers ahead for season one of “Gossip Girl” on HBO Max.
  • Showrunner Joshua Safran spoke to Insider about bringing back stars from the original series on episode 10.
  • Safran said there was “no convincing necessary” and the stars easily slipped into their characters. 

“Gossip Girl” showrunner Joshua Safran explained how he brought back several familiar faces from the original drama series for the HBO Max show.

“No convincing necessary,” Safran told Insider. 

The final three episodes of season one were released on Thursday on the streamer. Episode 10, titled “Final Cancellation” features the return of original series characters Eleanor Waldorf (Margaret Colin), Cyrus Rose (Wallace Shawn), Dorota Kishlovsky (Zuzanna Szadkowski), and Dorota’s husband named Vanya (Aaron Schwartz). 

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Dorota’s daughter named Ana, who was born on season three of the original show, also appears on the new series (this time played by Aubin Bradley) and fans learn that Dorota and Vanya also welcomed a son named Leo (Luka Danilovich).

A woman holding a tray of food on season one, episode 10 of "Gossip Girl."

Zuzanna Szadkowski on season one, episode 10 of “Gossip Girl.”

HBO Max


Safran, who served as an executive producer on the original show, said that he knew he wanted to bring back these characters when he learned that “Gossip Girl” would be revived for a new generation. The showrunner said that he reached out to Szadkowski because he’s been in touch with her over the years.

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“I was like, ‘I’m going to find a way to bring you back.’ And she was like, ‘Anytime,'” he recalled.

All the aforementioned stars, as well as cast members from the new show, interact during a Hanukkah dinner that takes place at Cyrus’ home.

“We knew we were going to do Hanukkah. It was sort of a no-brainer,” Safran said.

Viewers also learn that the old and new characters have some surprising connections. 

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Cyrus is an entertainment lawyer for Max Wolfe’s (Thomas Doherty) dad, Gideon Wolfe (Todd Almond), and has also sued many of Roger Menzies’ publications on behalf of his clients.

Eleanor is on the board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and because the board gives grants to designers, Audrey Hope (Emily Alyn Lind) convinces Max to let her mom Kiki Hope (Laura Benanti) attend as Gideon’s plus-one. 

“Getting that band together was super easy and they’re all such lovely people,” he added. “They love each other. They love those roles. It was like the second they showed up on set, they were right back in those characters.”

Wallace Shawn and Margaret Colin on season one, episode 10 of "Gossip Girl."

Wallace Shawn and Margaret Colin on season one, episode 10 of “Gossip Girl.”

HBO Max


Earlier episodes of the


HBO Max

show featured the returns of Nelly Yuki and Milo Sparks, but Safran said that episode 10 felt more momentous because the interactions between the new and the old characters were more extensive.

“It was so fun to shoot together,” the showrunner said. “The only thing that I regret is we struck all the sets from the first ‘Gossip Girl,’ because we never knew this would happen, so the Waldorf penthouse no longer exists, and to build it would have been cost prohibited.”

To explain why the dinner didn’t take place at the lavish and iconic penthouse, Eleanor tells the guests that renovations have been ongoing for two years, so they’re “stuck” in Cyrus’ later mother’s home for the foreseeable future. 

“Yet another way to make fun of Cyrus,” Safran joked. 

A group of guests standing in front of a dining table on season one, episode 10 of "Gossip Girl."

Season one, episode 10 of “Gossip Girl” features a mix of new and old cast members.

HBO Max


With a second season confirmed and set to begin shooting in January, Safran said that he has plans to bring back more original stars. 

“They’re definitely in season two,” he said. “My hope is to definitely do much like we did in season one, and find some great moments to bring people back. One, in particular, I’m crossing my fingers for.”

“Now that you know the characters and you know the world, it gives us the ability to sort of truly amp up all of the fun ‘Gossip Girl’ stuff that you know and love without exposition or backstory or introducing new characters,” Safran said about heading into the new season.

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