Exclusive: One of Disney's iconic comedy films, Wizards of Waverly Place, gets a sequel. Disney Branded Television has ordered a follow-up pilot, which is executive produced by original stars Selena Gomez and her small-screen brother David Henrie. Gomez will guest star in the Disney Channel pilot as the character who helped launch her career, Alex Russo, with David Henrie reprising his role as Justin Russo as a series regular. He is joined by new cast member Janice Lynn Brown (Disney's Just roll with it), Alcaiotheli (Call me Kat) and Mimi Giannopoulos (American princess).
The revival pilot comes from writers and executive producers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas who are behind another Disney Channel comedy. Raven's house. The film takes place after a mysterious incident at WizTech, where a grown-up Justin Russo left his magical powers behind and chose a normal human life with his wife and two sons. But he gets a surprise when a powerful young wizard in need of training shows up at his door… and Justin must embrace his past to ensure the future of the wizarding world.
The powerful young wizard Billy, who Justin takes under his wing, will be portrayed by series lead Brown. Thiel will play Roman Russo, Justin's eldest son. Gianopulos will play Justin's wife, Giada.
In addition to Gomez, Henry, Elinoff and Thomas, Gary Marsh (Disney Descendants: The Rise of Red(and Andy Fickman)Race to Witch Mountain) will also be an EP, with Fickman directing.
Marsh was the former longtime creative executive for Disney Channels and was the driving force behind it Wizards of Waverly Place She was instrumental in getting Gomez to appear on the network after she was discovered during an open call in Dallas.
The original series, created by Todd J. Greenwald and which ran from 2007 to 2012, follows the Russo family, as three siblings overcome the challenges of adolescence while mastering their magical abilities. The cast also included Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, María Canals-Barrera, and David DeLuise, all of whom (except Henry) reunited for the TV special. Wizards Return: Alex Vs. Alex In the year 2013.
The pilot culminates years of online chatter about the possibilities Wizards of Waverly Place Revive or reboot. It also fits with Disney Branded Entertainment's strategy to bolster Disney Channel's lineup of multi-camera sitcoms.
Gomez is currently in the Disney family as star and executive producer of the Hulu/20th television comedy series. Murders only in the building. She is repped by Lighthouse Management + Media, WME and JSSK. Henry is represented by Untitled. Brown is repped by Eris Talent Agency and MB Talent & Entertainment Management. Thiele is repped by DDO Artists Agency. Gianopulos is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.
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