‘Grease’ Gets Woke Prequel Series With ‘Marginalized’ Main Characters, Queer and Anti-Racism Storylines

An upcoming Paramount+ spin-off series for the hit 1978 John Travolta film Fat aims for an ultra-woke theme by focusing on characters with “marginalized identities”, lesbian kissing scenes, and more, all set in 1954, supposedly four years before the events chronicled in the films.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will air on the Paramount+ streaming service from April and is set to follow the creation of the quasi-girl gang called the Pink Ladies.

The group was led by Rizzo (Stockard Channing) in the 1978 film and was made up of misfits and outcasts from Rydell High School. The new series will be set in 1954, just before rock n’ roll took over the nation’s imagination and before the characters from the original series entered high school, according to Deadline.

But, despite being set in 1954 – decades before the revival and even before the civil rights movement – ​​the series is apparently going to focus on woke sex roles, lesbian relationships, transgenderism, racism and characters with “marginalized identity”.

The series won’t even feature any of the original characters. There will be no Rizzo, no Frenchie, no Marty or Jan. The series is set years before any of the characters in the films entered Rydell High. Additionally, Rydell has a very diverse student body, which has apparently been entirely wiped out in the barely four years between this story and the events of Fat.

In comments made during a panel at the Television Critic’s Association Press Tour on Feb. 6, showrunner and executive producer Annabel Oakes explained why she’s directing a series that deviates so sharply from the originals. At the event, she gushed about “beautiful, interesting, and unexpected stories from people from all walks of life,” which she heard when she started looking into the 1950s and 60s before producing the new series. She claimed to have spoken to “popular girls” as well as “radical lesbian feminists” and people of all races for her research on the time.

After this groundwork, Oakes endowed its writer’s room with diversity and set out to expand the Fat universe to seduce a new audience.

The result is striking. The series “dives into diverse storytelling around race and sexuality. The show’s main characters are predominantly women of color and queer women, and the show explores what it was like to be marginalized in the 1950s,” AdWeek reported.

During the same panel, one of the actors, Ari Notartomaso, who plays Pink Lady Cynthia, claimed that the series will tackle many serious subjects. “Our characters will be able to experience a different perspective and how those experiences overlap with others with a marginalized identity,” Notartomaso said. “I think we have the opportunity to represent another struggle that overlaps with things that we face today like racism.”

Even the music won’t follow the pattern of the original films and instead of featuring new music inspired by rock-n-roll, the series will instead evoke “Latinx” and black music from the 40s and 50s, according to Weekly entertainment.

Although it appears to have none of the hallmarks of the original films, Oakes insisted that fans of the original should be happy” with the new series. However, she said, “Every time you make a period piece, you use a bit of a modern lens and talk about what’s different and also what hasn’t changed.”

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