Selena Gomez’s Wizards Of Waverly Place character was meant to be in a gay relationship, showrunner reveals: ‘We got as close as we could’
Selena Gomez’s character on her Disney Channel series Wizards Of Waverly Place was originally intended to be part of the LGBTQ community, the series’ showrunner revealed.
While speaking on the Wizards Of Waverly Pod show with co-hosts Jennifer Stone and David DeLuise, executive producer Peter Murrieta shared that he had always imagined Gomez’s character Alex Russo having a gay relationship with her friend Stevie, who was played by Hayley Kiyoko and joined the show in the third season.
‘I wished we could have played more with what was quite obvious to a lot of us,’ Murrieta admitted.
However, the culturally conservative attitude at the Disney Channel while the show was airing from 2007–2012 prevent them from ever having an explicitly LGBTQ character or depicting explicit same-sex attraction.
‘We weren’t able to in that time, but it was pretty clear to all of us what that relationship was,’ Murrieta added.
Queer love story: Wizards Of Waverly Place showrunner Peter Murrieta said on the Wizards Of Waverly Pod that he hoped Selena Gomez’s character could have had a relationship with her female friend Stevie (Hayley Kiyoko); the two are seen on Wizards Of Waverly Place
Wouldn’t fly: However, the culturally conservative attitude at the Disney Channel while the show was airing from 2007–2012 prevent them from ever having an explicitly LGBTQ character or depicting explicit same-sex attraction; Gomez pictured in January in Beverly Hills
Stone was in agreement about the atmosphere at the network during the show’s heyday, though she added that progress had been made in the decade since the show went off the air.
‘Disney Channel has had [LGBTQ] characters, and they did it. At that time it wasn’t a thing. But we got as close as we could… I mean, it was pretty close,’ Murrieta said.
‘That would have been great,’ he added.
Although Alex and Stevie never had a romantic entanglement during Kiyoko’s time on the show, that didn’t stop fans from creating their own fictional romance.
Fans who hoped for a relationship between the two often referred to them by the portmanteau ‘Stalex.’
Kiyoko would later come out as a lesbian, though she was still closeted at the time that she was appearing on Wizards Of Waverly Place.
The series Gravity Falls, The Owl House, The Proud Family: Louder And Prouder and Star Wars Resistance have all subsequently featured queer characters, though each of those shows has been animated.
Live-action LGBTQ characters appear to be more of a rarity on the network.
Murrieta also delved into how he hoped the show would have ended after its fourth season, with Gomez and Gregg Sulkin’s characters being entwined.
‘I was hoping the fourth season would be about the building of [Alex] and [Sulkin’s character] Mason’s relationship,’ he said.
Progress: ‘Disney Channel has had [LGBTQ] characters, and they did it. At that time it wasn’t a thing. But we got as close as we could… I mean, it was pretty close,’ Murrieta said
Hoping for romance: Kiyoko, a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time, but fans still ‘shipped’ her with Gomez’s character; seen in May 2022 in LA
Giving it all up for a man: Murrieta revealed he also envisioned Gomez’s character giving up her magic powers to be in a relationship with non-wizard Mason (Gregg Sulkin, middle); still from Wizards Of Waverly Place
After having matured, they would now ‘be good for each other and fix each other.’
He noted that the series would still end with a wizarding contest, in which Gomez’s character would be the winner and would be able to be the wizard of her family.
However, she would have given up her powers in order to have a relationship with Mason, a non-wizard.
Murrieta’s final vision for the series would have been for Saturday Night Live star Rachel Dratch to play a grown-up version of Stone’s character Harper, who would have read the story of the series as a bedtime story to children.
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