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‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Showrunner Reveals The Queer Storyline He Wishes They Could Have Explored

The gays win again!

Alex Russo and Stevie Nichols sit side by side eating popcorn

Growing up, I was definitely more of a Nickelodeon girly, but would tune into the Disney Channel to catch up with my favorite high school psychic, world-saving teenage duo, and, best of all, sassy teen wizard and her goofy family.

Alex Russo, played by the lovely Selena Gomez in the hit show Wizards of Waverly Place, was a role model for tween girls who loved sarcastic comebacks and eating at all times of the day. She always stood up for what she believed in, even when she really didn’t want to, and was a great friend/daughter due to her loyalty and ability to empathize with others (when she felt like it). Alex was undoubtably one of Disney Channel’s most iconic characters, so it wasn’t a surprise when her on-screen romance with the teen werewolf, Mason, was so beloved by the Wizards fanbase.

However, if you were a little queer kid like I was when the show aired, you might have sense a little bit of romantic tension between Alex and her short-lived friend Stevie Nichols (played by gay icon Hayley Kiyoko). Stevie, much like Alex, was snarky, rebellious, and loved to cause trouble — it was these traits that made the two such good friends during Stevie’s four episode arc. I’m sure baby gays all across the country wanted the two to be a little more than friends and it turns out, they weren’t the only ones who had that relationship pairing in mind.

Alex Russo points at something while smiling and Stevie Nichols smiles at her

During an episode of Wizards of Waverly Pod, where members of the cast rewatch the show for the first time, showrunner Peter Murrieta revealed that he wished the show could’ve explored the relationship between the two wizards more. He went on to explain that the writers “weren’t able to” take Alex and Stevie’s relationship to the next level, but that “it was pretty clear to [them] what that relationship was” and that the writers were able to “[get] as close as [they] could.”

It’s not shocking to find out that Murrieta and his team couldn’t go through with a bisexual storylines when Wizards was airing in the late 2000s, seeing as Disney Channel didn’t feature their first openly gay character until the finale of Andi Mack in 2019. I’m sure a lot of queer kids at the time, myself included, would’ve greatly benefitted from seeing a version of ourselves through our favorite character, but that’s why representation is so important, especially now, as conservative groups are trying to snuff out any trace of LGBTQ+ people’s existence. While I’m sad the storyline never came to be, I’m still grateful for people like Murrieta who want to give queer people, specifically queer kids, a voice.

Here’s hoping more of my favorite fictional characters will come out as queer in 2023!

(images: Disney Channel)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.