The Pitch: 7 Rejected High School Musical 3 Plotlines

After braving the horrifying inner works of the Disney studios, we here at FSR risked being molested by the Boogity Man and shanked by Mickey himself in order to bring you the top secret files on the possible directions that High School Musical 3 could have gone in.
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By  · Published on October 23rd, 2008

What started as Disney’s regularly-scheduled monthly sugar-fest has now become an international phenomenon. Now, the third installment of the High School Musical movies is actually premiering on the big screen in an attempt to expand the bubble gum bubble to non-cable audiences.

After braving the horrifying inner works of the Disney studios, we here at FSR risked being molested by the Boogity Man and shanked by Mickey himself in order to bring you the top secret files on the possible directions that High School Musical 3 could have gone in.

What we found was both astonishing and completely made up by us.

High School Musical 3: Middle School

In an effort to widen their audience, Middle School is a gripping origin story of each character, charting their path to high school and to the musical. It focuses on Troy’s child abuse at the hands of a sports-crazed father and Gabriella’s social alienation, but the most shocking tale is Sharpay and Ryan Evan’s Flowers in the Attic-like upbringing. Their parents lock them in the attic, feeding them sporadically and forcing them to socialize only with each other – leading to a shared love of ugly hats and the breakout musical number “Familial Sexual Awakening.” Although it explains a lot about Sharpay’s and Ryan’s a-little-too-close-for-comfort relationship, Disney execs felt an R-rating would defeat their purpose in expanding ticket sales, but songwriter Matt Gerrard thought the song “I Could Have Stopped You If I Really Wanted To” might have earned them an Oscar nod.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year Pregnancy Scare

In an effort to widen their audience and noting the success of films like Knocked Up and Juno, Senior Year Pregnancy Scare follows the conventional wisdom that, “it’s not high school without an accidental impregnation.” Trying to up the ante – not one, not two, but three girls get surprise buns in the oven when Gabriella, Sharpay and even Kelsi find out that you can get pregnant by holding hands. The three laugh, learn and love their way through nine months and give birth on stage during the graduation ceremony. In a surprise cameo, Dakota Fanning plays all three fetuses and leads the crew in a happy-go-lucky finale, “Cutting the Cord!,” that echoes both the newborn responsibility of motherhood and the gang’s separation from their own parents marked by heading off to college.

High School Nudical

In an effort to widen their audience, High School Nudical begins with drama teacher Ms. Darbus’s retirement from the school system and a much-needed vacation to the Caribbean. However, her replacement is a young, Danish teacher (played by Charlize Theron) who corrupts the now-full drama club by forcing them to do a reprisal of Hair, complete with full frontal nudity. After seeing what Troy is packing, Sharpay finally loses interest in him, but sparks still fly when Kelsi comes out of the Disney closet and tries to pry Gabriella away from Troy. Meanwhile, Chad has become a full-fledged hippie, coming under the influence of the classic free-love musical. Eschewing the tenants of capitalism, Chad slowly builds an underground network, creates a commune and firebombs the school during, “Hoony-Boony-Lacka-Wacka-Die-Capitalist-Pig-Dogs (The Clap Hands Song)”. The crew is split by political association, but after the national guard is called in to quell the uprising, and most of the minor characters are killed, Troy, Gabriella, Chad and Sharpay mourn their brethren and celebrate their enduring friendship with some of Zeke’s Freedom Cupcakes as dawn breaks on a new morning.

High School Musical 3: Detention

In an effort to widen their audience, Detention sees all the main characters thrown into a Saturday detention where they’re forced to write essays on who they think they are. High School class warfare comes to a head when they all try to hang out as a unit and realize that they have nothing in common. Each character is humanized one by one as each realizes that its their home lives that are making them monsters, but just as everyone seems to get along, Sharpay makes a vaguely racist remark and the vaguely ethnic Gabriella stabs her with a shiv. Not wanting to cause a ruckus, Sharpay bleeds to death on the library floor, spotlighted by the haunting ballad, “Bleach Blonde Bloodbath.” Highlighting a drastic plot twist and its October release date, the kids leave the library to find Mr. Bolton and several of the staff members have been murdered. Apparently, Gabriella isn’t the only killer on the loose. Terror stalks the halls of East High as each character is picked off one by one except for Troy, the only virgin left. The killer turns out to be Skater Kid #3 who was rejected by his clique in the original High School Musical for playing the cello and has stewed for the past year into a murderous rage.

High School Musical 3: At World’s End

In an effort to widen their audience and to cash in on another franchise, At World’s End sees the entire gang going on a vacation to Disney World, where they find that their favorite show/ride has been shut down because the guy who plays Captain Jack Sparrow has quit and moved to China. They all steal a ship and travel to the other end of the world where they have to turn the ship upside down and sail underwater in order to reach The Forbidden City. This version was scrapped early on because the plot made absolutely no sense.

Elephant 2: Sing-Along Edition

In an effort to widen their audience, HSM creators hire legendary director Gus Van Sant to direct a stark look at the reality of high schools where students break out spontaneously into song. In a sequel to both the HSM franchise and his own award-winning film Elephant, Van Sant creates a storyline where clique harmony has reached everyone except Kelsi who toils in artistic obscurity, constantly neglected, left in the shadow of the stars on stage. As she arms herself with an Armalite AR-10 stolen from her father’s gun safe and stomps through the halls, she paints the lockers with the blood of her classmates and sings seven solos including, “The Credit I Deserve,” “Death Comes With Glasses,” and “Wipe That Look Off Your Face (Friends Forever).” Despite killing several random students and instilling terror in the entire community, Troy and Gabriella talk her down by reminding her that she’s the real Playmaker behind all the singing success, and the gang comes back together in a high kick number promising to keep in touch even though they’re all going off to different colleges. The moment is so heartwarming that the charges against Kelsi are dropped since everyone figures she’s learned her lesson.

Really High, School Musical

In an effort to widen their audience, the creators of HSM hire Seth Rogen to write the next installment which chronicles the oft-overlooked world of drug use and hazing rooted in East High’s culture. Troy struggles with his father’s wishes that he sign a No-Drug-Use contract to play for the varsity team and befriends a young freshman who the rest of the basketball team brutally paddle. Sharpay takes her bitch-status to new levels by forcing the freshman drama-club girls to lie on their stomachs in the parking lot and “fry like bacon.” For most of the movie, the gang hangs out a lot, smokes pot and drinks cheap beer, but the inclusion of Matthew McConaughey as a mid-twenties hanger-on brings life to the story when he notes that even though he gets older, the girls of East High stay the same age. Disney execs are forced to scrap the project when they realize that Rogen, instead of writing an original work, got baked and changed the names in a copy of the Dazed and Confused script. It also explains why there were zero musical numbers included in the film.

What Have We Learned?

We’re really glad that there’s a vetting process in place in Hollywood for bad ideas. We may complain from time to time that movies have gone downhill, that any old terrible concept can be put on the big screen, but, even though most of our readers will probably never see High School Musical 3, we think that those that do will be overjoyed that the finished product looks nothing like the plot lines that they could have gone with.

Or what we would have come up with for them.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.