Kenny Ortega confirmed there are no immediate plans for Julie and the Phantoms to return to Netflix or anywhere else at this time, but the series executive producer teases, “never say never.”
Created by Dan Cross and David Hoge, the musical dramedy tells the story of a young Latina (Madison Reyes) who leads a band of literal phantoms (played by Charlie Gillespie, Jeremy Shada and Owen Patrick Joyner). The series won three Primetime Emmy Awards for the show’s first and only season.
The cancellation of Julie and the Phantoms was announced in December, more than a year after its debut.
“At this particular time, no,” Ortega told Deadline on Friday about whether the show is being shopped elsewhere. “I’m grateful to Netflix for greenlighting the project and for letting Dan, Dave, and I have this time. I feel it’s some of the best work I’ve done for kids and family, and young adult entertainment. I’m proud of it. And if it never happens again and it doesn’t have an afterlife, I’m grateful that it exists. I hope it exists forever so others can find it and watch it over the years.”
He added, “But you know, anything is possible. I don’t want to jinx it. If Netflix wants to carry on with it anytime in the future, perhaps someone else will be interested in it. Perhaps we could tour the kids as a music group or maybe a film. But for now, there are no plans.”
Ortega has a lot of love and appreciation for the devoted fans of Julie and the Phantoms who have collected signatures and launched a global marquee campaign to save the series. The rabid fans have helped it trend No. 1 on Netflix across multiple countries.
“I wish that I could tell the fans that all of [their efforts] will get them Julie back,” he said. “All I can really say is how much all of this has mattered to all of us who made the show and that we love them and are so grateful for the passion they’ve shown to the project.”
Although there are no immediate plans, there’s still hope. Ortega would not divulge where he planned to take Julie in Season 2, which saw her phantoms become living and breathing human beings, and Caleb (Cheyenne Jackson) take possession of Nick’s (Sacha Carlson) body.
“When it becomes clear to Dan, Dave, and I this experience with Julie is not going to move forward, I’ll tell you everything we had planned,” Ortega shared.
In the meantime, Ortega departs from the experience full of gratitude.
“It’s just wonderful to have been given the opportunity to, not only do a musical drive story about a Latino family, but I was able to select a young girl out of a high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania who had never been in front of a professional camera or a recording studio before,” Ortega said. “And boy, did she bring this show to life.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.