Why HBO Max's Gossip Girl Brought That Unexpected Character Back From The Original Series

Milo Sparks talks to Zoya Lott on the steps in Gossip Girl

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Spoiler alert: The following story contains minor spoilers for the Gossip Girl episode “Fire Walks With Z.”

Fans of the original Gossip Girl series got a big surprise in the latest episode of HBO Max’s Gossip Girl revival in the latest episode, “Fire Walks With Z.” As Zoya struggled with an attack on her already-emotional birthday, she was offered help from none other than Milo Sparks. If you didn’t gasp like I did at the mention of “Sparks,” let me enlighten you. Milo was the son of Georgina Sparks (played in the original series by Michelle Trachtenberg), the self-described bitch and frequent rival of Serena van den Woodsen, et al.

Georgina Sparks introduced Milo in the OG series as Dan Humphrey’s son, but it was soon learned that Milo was the result of an affair Georgina had with a married man. Of all the characters Gossip Girl could bring back from the original, Milo was definitely an unexpected choice. But, there was a good reason for it, and showrunner Joshua Safran spoke with TVLine about the decision.

At first, we were like, ‘Do we bring people back from the original?’ I would die to have Michelle on the show, but we made the decision — and I fully support the decision — to let the audience get to know the new characters before hopefully bringing some people back. So we thought of who we could bring back without making the audience feel like they were missing out if they didn’t get a whole episode about them. If we were to bring back Serena for one scene, you’d say, ‘No, I want a whole episode about Serena!’Until you know our characters, we can’t take their real estate away. So we thought of someone we could bring in who wouldn’t overtake the story. I’ve always been obsessed with Milo, having been there when he was invented, and the idea of where he would be now was too delicious to pass up.

It makes sense that the people behind Gossip Girl would want to have the revival stand on its own before bringing in more of the original cast. The series, which isn’t without its criticisms, would be less likely to draw the young audience it’s striving for if it relied on the A-listers of the previous generation.

That doesn’t, though, mean we’ll never see the likes of Penn Badgley or Chace Crawford in the revival. In fact, Joshua Safran confirmed we’ll only have to wait until later this season to see more of our friends from the Upper East Side.

There are more returning characters coming. We’re shooting an episode [for the second half of the season] in which multiple returning characters will hopefully appear. We haven’t closed their deals yet, so I say that with a grain of sand and a prayer, but yes, we’re going to have a lot of fun.

That does sound like fun, especially for fans of the OG series who are finding a guilty pleasure in the HBO Max revival. The beauty, of course, of including Milo, as opposed to a more central character from the original, is that you don’t have to have any prior knowledge of him or Georgina Sparks to enjoy the current hijinks.

Both the old and revived series of Gossip Girl are streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes being released every Thursday. Keep up to date with what’s coming up with our 2021 summer TV schedule.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.