Mexican Telenovela ‘Rebelde’ Gets a Reboot on Netflix

We know Latinx representation in TV series is low so when shows like Gentefied succeed while others like One Day at a Time are canceled we can’t help but take it personally

Rebelde OG Cast

Photo: Instagram/@_rbd.rebelde

We know Latinx representation in TV series is low so when shows like Gentefied succeed while others like One Day at a Time are canceled we can’t help but take it personally. Netflix has been upping their Latinx content with shows like Selena: The Series and now Rebelde. The telenovela is making a comeback with the announcement from Netflix Latinoamérica that the reboot is set to air in 2022 on the streaming service. The original series, produced by Mexican media company Televisa, aired for three seasons from 2004 through 2006 (440 episodes!) and was a remake of Argentine telenovela Rebelde Way. The series followed high schoolers at an elite boarding school who formed a band, and the cast members were actually real-life bandmates of the pop group RBD.

RBD was known for hits including “Salvame” and “Siempre He Estado Aqui” and they remained successful until disbanding in 2009. The original series was set in Mexico City and revolved around six students at Elite Way School: Mía Colucci (Anahí), Diego Bustamante (Christopher von Uckermann), Roberta Pardo (Dulce María), Miguel Arango (Alfonso Herrera), Guadalupe “Lupita” Fernández (Maite Perroni), and Giovanni Méndez (Christian Chávez).

Netflix shared the names of the new cast members in the form of a school announcement: Azul Guaita, Sergio Mayer Mori, Andrea Chaparro, Jeronimo Cantillo, Franco Masini, Lizeth Selene, Alejandro Puente and Giovanna Grigio.

Rebelde reboot Netflix

Photo: Netflix

Estefanía Villarreal, 33, is set to return as Celina Ferrer but this time she’ll be the school principal. She is currently the only original member slated to return. No word on whether they’ll continue the trademark use of English terms and phrases by so-called “fresas” and no additional info about the series has been released.

The news comes just days after Netflix announced that an internal diversity audit revealed they need more Latinx programming. The Netflix diversity audit was conducted last year by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which also revealed the lack of Latinx representation in film in 2019. Researchers examined 126 Netflix original movies and 180 original scripted series posted on the platform from January 2018 through December 2019.

The analysis revealed that barely 4.5 percent of main cast members went to Latinx actors and filmmakers during that two-year span, even though Latinos make up roughly 18 percent of the US population. Only 2.6 percent of all films and series featured leads/co-leads who were Latinx which hasn’t changed. In films, 4 percent of leads/co-leads were Latinx while for series it was just 1.7 percent.

The streaming service notoriously canceled the beloved Latinx family series One Day at a Time, helmed by Cuban-American showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett, so this news is unfortunately not shocking.

The audit found that just one director, one writer, and five producers made up all the Latinx storytellers behind the camera in film. Only two of these creatives were Afro-Latino. For scripted series, only 2.7 percent of creators, 2.6 percent of producers, 2.5% of writers and directors were Latinx. Among the Latinx series the platform currently has are Gentefied and Selena: The Series.

“The industry is at the floor on Latinx representation,” Lead author Stacy L. Smith told CNN Business on Thursday. “We’re hoping numbers like this will help to really ignite a movement in the community.”

The original Rebelde series is available on Sling and Univision NOW.

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Latinx shows Rebelde Reboot telenovela telenovela stars
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