Stargirl is coming back to Earth. Disney+ has ordered a sequel to the 2020 feature film that adapted the best-selling 2000 book by Jerry Spinelli. Star Grace VanderWaal is set to return as the titular ukulele-playing teen girl in a feature film helmed by returning director Julia Hart.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that a Stargirl sequel is in the works at Disney+ with the creative team behind the original movie returning at the helm. Also joining in the sequel will be actor Elijah Richardson as Stargirl’s new romantic interest, as well as composer-musician Michael Penn, the latter of whom will write and perform the film’s original music.
The sequel will reportedly be an “original script” written by Hart and Jordan Horowitz, who co-wrote the initial adaptation with Kirsten Hahn, which follows “Stargirl’s journey out of Mica and into a bigger world of music, dreams and possibility.”
Oddly, it appears as if the film won’t adapt the actual sequel novel penned by Spinelli, Love, Stargirl, which was published in 2007. While the novel does pick up where the previous book left off after Stargirl left Mica High, it centers on the teenager as she recalls her bittersweet memories of Mica while she gets involved with the new people in her life in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. From the vague description of the Stargirl sequel film, and the addition of a composer who will be writing original music for the film, it sounds like the film will follow Stargirl as she pursues a career in music or something. VanderWaal will also write and perform original music for this outing.
Having not seen the 2020 movie, which received mixed reviews at best, but being a fan of Spinelli’s book when I was but an impressionable tween, a sequel seems uncalled for. The book, as I remember, was a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a young boy who is shaken out of his mundane existence by the arrival of the whimsical Stargirl, whose fleeting but free-spirited presence leaves an imprint the boy whom she falls in love with and on the town forever. It was a sweet story about the dangers of conformity, though its manic-pixie-dream-girl title character is a little outdated now.
Unless the sequel film adapts Spinelli’s sequel novel, I’m not sure how it will be received. It’s unclear if Stargirl was a major hit for Disney+, which like many other streamers doesn’t give viewership numbers, but if it’s greenlighting a sequel, then it has to have been somewhat successful. But considering Netflix’s penchant for ordering a sequel for every minor teen rom-com hit, I guess that it shouldn’t be a surprise that Disney+ would do so as well.
Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman of Gotham Group return as producers for the Stargirl sequel while Horowitz will produce for Hart & Horowitz’s company Original Headquarters. Hahn and Spinelli are executive producers. Penn will also act as the new project’s executive music producer.