Disney writer reveals why Lizzie McGuire reboot was axed. Spoiler alert – it was sex

A still of Hilary Duff wearing a pink shirt and copper colour choker with a flower on it as she portrays the Disney Channel character Lizzie McGuire

A writer for the nixed Lizzie McGuire reboot has revealed the adult escapades that the 30-year-old character would have had that Disney wasn’t “comfortable” with.

Lizzie McGuire remains one of the Disney Channel’s most iconic shows, launching Hilary Duff’s career as the titular clumsy schoolgirl who navigates teen issues with her friends.

Fans were left devastated after a Disney+ revival was teased in 2019 before the project ultimately fell through just a short while later in 2020. 

Taking to TikTok, Jonathan Hurwitz, a writer on the cancelled reboot, spilled the tea on the mature plot points about a “show about a 30-year-old woman doing things that 30-year-old women do” that angered the House of Mouse. 

In a nutshell, the first episode would have seen McGuire’s life as an interior designer in New York City. She is living with her gay roommate – which Hurwitz said was “loosely based” on him – and dating a handsome chef. 

But she’s forced to move back to her childhood home in California when she discovers that her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend. She finds the animated Lizzie, a mainstay figure from the original series, is waiting for her. 

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Episode two would have shown a reunion between McGuire and her childhood friend-turned-love-interest Gordo (Adam Lamberg), and she learns that he’s happily engaged and expecting a baby shortly. 

The episode ends with Lizzie McGuire getting a text from her childhood crush, Ethan Craft (Clayton Snyder), with the opening of the unfinished third episode insinuating that they slept together.

It was that third episode that rubbed the House of Mouse the wrong way, according to Hurwitz. 

“Episode three wasn’t filmed, but there was a script for it,” Hurwitz said. 

“Lizzie wakes up in Ethan’s bed, in his water polo t-shirt. Animated Lizzie pops up and she has this little checklist, like a to-do list, and Ethan is on the list and she checks it off. 

“I think she says something like, ‘I checked that box – dramatic pause – twice.’”

Responding to a comment asking if there were certain storylines that Disney “wasn’t comfortable with” in the reboot, he alleged the moment it’s insinuated that McGuire hooked up with her crush was “probably one of them”. 

Speaking to Women’s Health in 2022, Hilary Duff said the reboot tanked when she and Disney butted heads over their differing visions for an adult Lizzie. 

Duff pushed for a more mature Lizzie who had to be “30 years old doing 30-year-old things”, but she said that “authentic” concept “spooked” the Mouse House. 

“She didn’t need to be doing bong rips and having one-night stands all the time, but it had to be authentic,” she said. “I think they got spooked.”

Last year, Duff revealed to Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen that she was still “optimistic” that a Lizzie McGuire revival could happen – if it lived up to her vision for the character.

Disney shows are generally aimed at younger audiences, but that hasn’t stopped its TV shows from covering serious topics from time to time. 

Lizzie McGuire’s season two episode “Inner Beauty” included how to support a friend who may have an eating disorder, which was very progressive for a family-friendly show in 2017.

Back in 2008, Duff starred in a “Think Before You Speak” PSA, in which she spoke out against using the word “gay” in a derogatory way. The Lizzie McGuire star originally filmed the iconic ad for a GLSEN campaign to inform others about the use of the phrase and the negative impact it can have on members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Still, it’s perhaps not all that surprising that Disney baulked at mature content in the now-cancelled Lizzie McGuire reboot. LGBTQ+ Pixar staff accused Disney of cutting “nearly every moment of overly gay affection” from their projects in the past.