Everything is not what it seems! Selena Gomez‘s character on the Disney Channel series Wizards Of Waverly Place was originally meant to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Executive producer and head writer Peter Murrieta appeared on Wizards Of Waverly Pod yesterday (March 27) to chat about the hit series. The podcast is hosted by former cast members, Jennifer Stone and David DeLuise, who respectively played Harper Finkle and Jerry Russo.
The showrunner revealed that he wanted Gomez’s Alex Russo to be in a relationship with her friend Stevie, played by Hayley Kiyoko.
Stevie appeared on the show in the third season and was featured in four episodes. Fans quickly picked up on the chemistry between the pair, giving the two characters the ship name Stalex.
Stone asked Murrieta if there was a storyline that he wished he was able to explore in the series. He answered, “I wished we could have played more with what was quite obvious to a lot of us – the relationship between Stevie and Alex.” The co-hosts agreed, shouting, “Yes!”
“We weren’t able to in that time, but it was pretty clear to all of us what that relationship was,” he continued. “That would’ve been fun.”
DeLuise chimed in, saying, “It was fifteen years ago.”
“If it was just a few years down the line, we maybe could’ve been able to play with that,” Stone added.
Wizards of Waverly Place aired from 2007 to 2012, during a time when Disney Channel was focused on appealing to a more conservative population. The channel didn’t introduce its first openly gay main character until 2017 through the series Andi Mack, which featured the character Cyrus Goodman coming out to his peers.
Reflecting on Disney Channel’s evolution, Murrieta stated, “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 to… I mean, it was pretty close.”
The series ended with Gomez falling in love with a male character played by Gregg Sulkin.
During the podcast, Murrieta also commented on leaving the series before the fourth and final season, which in the past, he has credited to creative differences. The producer stated that he wanted the final season to be about the relationship between Gomez and Sulkin’s characters.
Murrieta wanted to “go back to the origins and the underpinnings of the show” and show Alex winning the Wizard Competition but forfeiting her powers to be with her boyfriend, thus giving the powers to her brother, Justin Russo.
He also wanted to flash to a moment where Harper was recounting the story to “kids in a bed.”
Murrieta knew on the last day of taping the third season that he wouldn’t be returning for the final season, however the cast wasn’t aware. He claimed that he was emotional on the final day and felt as though everybody “knew” about his exit, however Stone stated that she returned for the fourth season and felt cheated.
After the show wrapped, the original cast returned for a special in 2013 called The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex.