Christina Milian is set to assume the role formerly played by Naya Rivera in the Step Up TV series, which started airing on Youtube before making its way to Starz. Rivera played the role of “Collette” during the first two seasons of the series, which are based on the movies of the same name.
According to reports from The Hollywood Reporter, the decision was made after consulting with Rivera’s family after she died in an accidental drowning last summer at the age of 33.
“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” Series creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen said on Monday. “It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss, while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas. Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer and we are so happy she has joined our family.”
Executives on the series reportedly considered all options on dealing with the role following Rivera’s untimely passing. In the end, it was said that the decision to recast her part came because of the show’s highly serialized nature.
However, the series lead actor Ne-Yo made it clear that “There is no replacing Naya” and her powerful contribution to the show.
“.. Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be,” said the 41-year-old R&B singer. “Christina has big shoes to fill and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist. I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love. We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”
Milian echoed Ne-Yo’s sentiment, telling fans that she is “excited” to take on the challenge of Naya’s legendary role.
“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” Milian shared. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”
We can’t wait to see it!
The new series dives deeper into the storyline behind the lead characters Sage Odom played by Ne-Yo and Collette (Milian). Odom becomes the founder of Atlanta’s High Water Performing Art School while working alongside his partner Collette to build and expand on the school’s vision, but there isn’t a little success without sacrifice. Collette is holding on to a deep dark secret all while taking the opportunity to step from behind Odom and becomes a manager for the team.
Production for the new season has begun this month and Starz will begin a marathon of the first two seasons starting March 5th.
Will YOU be watching?