'Wizards of Waverly Place' producer says Selena Gomez's character was meant to be LGBTQ, but they couldn't be explicit about it: 'We got as close as we could'
Selena Gomez's Alex on "Wizards of Waverly Place" was meant to be LGBTQ, according to a producer.
Peter Murrieta explained that the character nearly had a romantic subplot with Stevie (Hayley Kiyoko).
On "Wizards of Waverly Pod," he said that it was "clear to all of us what that relationship was."
Selena Gomez's character on "Wizards of Waverly Place" was meant to be LGBTQ and almost had a same-sex relationship on the hit Disney Channel sitcom, according to one of the show's writers and producers.
The actor and singer played protagonist Alex Russo on the show, which lasted for four seasons between 2007 and 2012 (and was followed by two spinoff TV movies in 2009 and 2013). The series followed a family of wizards who owned a sandwich stop in New York City and launched the "Only Murders in the Building" star's career.
During the show's five-year run, audiences saw Gomez's character have several male love interests, including werewolf Mason (Gregg Sulkin) and bad boy Dean Moriarty (Daniel Samonas).
However, according to showrunner Peter Murrieta, things could have potentially turned romantic with another female wizard Stevie Nichols, played by Hayley Kiyoko.
Speaking on Monday's episode of rewatch podcast "Wizards of Waverly Pod," Murrieta, who served as head writer and executive producer during the first three seasons, was asked by hosts and former "WoWP" stars Jennifer Stone and David DeLuise if there was a storyline he wanted to explore but never got the chance to.
"Easy, easy, easy," he replied. "I wished we could have played more with what was quite obvious to a lot of us was the relationship between Stevie and Alex."
Alex met the rebellious Stevie in detention during season three, and the two immediately clicked after realizing they had lots in common. However, Kiyoko — who told her parents she was lesbian when she was in the sixth grade — only appeared in four episodes of the show before her character was written off.
Murrieta went on to explain that while "it was pretty clear to all of us what that relationship was," the writers "weren't able to in that time" make it explicit to audiences that their relationship was more than platonic.
Murrieta said it "would have been fun" to have written a romantic storyline for Alex and Stevie.
"If we were just a few years down the line, we maybe could have played with that," Stone, who played Alex's best friend Harper Finkle, said.
DeLuise, who portrayed Russo family patriarch Jerry Russo, asked, "Nowadays that could happen, right?"
"I mean, they did it. Disney Channel has had characters, and they did it," Murrieta said, possibly referencing the animated series "The Owl House," which debuted in 2020 and featured the network's first lesbian leads.
In 2017, meanwhile, "Andi Mack" character Cyrus Goodman (Joshua Rush) became the first character to utter the phrase, "I'm gay," on Disney Channel following an emotional coming-out story arc in the show's second season.
However, as Murrieta said, "at the time it wasn't a thing. But, we got as close as we could."
He laughed and continued: "I mean it was pretty close. It was pretty much right there."
In a recent episode of the podcast, Gomez said Alex was the character she felt "most comfortable" portraying across her career and said that working on the show as a teenager was the "happiest" she's ever been.
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