Hilary Duff is back on our TV screens, but just not as Lizzie McGuire.
Sure, “How I Met Your Mother” fans are pleased to see the reboot starring Duff titled “How I Met Your Father” make its debut, but for many who were raised on the quintessential Disney Channel series, it’s a cruel reminder of what could have been.
Duff, of course, was set to lead the “Lizzie McGuire” revival on Disney+ alongside a slew of original stars from the series. But months after the streaming service first announced the project and multiple episodes were already filmed, the revival was unceremoniously scrapped over its more mature direction.
Speaking with Cosmopolitan in an interview published Tuesday, Duff finally revealed what Lizzie would have been up to all these years later, giving the rest of us a better sense of why Disney (wrongfully) passed over the project.
“My character was moving back home with her parents because she caught her soon-to-be fiancé cheating on her, and she was falling flat on her face at the moment and being like, ‘I need to pivot because everything that I thought was wasn’t, and I’m turning 30. What the fuck?’” she said.
When asked if she ever considered leaking the revival episodes herself, Duff admitted that it had certainly crossed her mind.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t have those thoughts a few times,” she said.
“But I wouldn’t, because in my 34 years I’ve realized that everything does happen for a reason,” she continued. “There’s a time and a place for everything. It just wasn’t her moment. I’m constantly asked about it still. All it does is breathe life into the fact that people still want it, and that’s really sweet. It’s not dead, and it’s not alive.”
First announced by Duff herself at the Disney+ event D23 Expo in August 2019, the new version of “Lizzie McGuire” began production in November of that year in New York City before coming to a halt just a few months later. The original series creator Terri Minsky then exited the show amid behind-the-scenes clashes over creative differences, with sources close to the production claiming that Disney+ pushed for the revival to “appeal to kids and families” and be more “akin to the original series.”
Duff even spoke out about the responsibility she felt to honor the character’s legacy and that she’d be doing a “disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30-year-old’s journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating.”
“It’s important to me that just as her experiences as a preteen/teenager navigating life were authentic, her next chapters are equally as real and relatable,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.
She concluded her post by asking Disney to move the series over to Hulu. Her pleas, however, went unanswered and the revival was officially pulled in December of 2020.
Naturally, Duff was a bit hesitant to sign on to another reboot when the creators of “How I Met Your Father” approached her with a role.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t do that. I’ve been down the reboot kind of lane, and tried. And I don’t think I can hold up to that,’” she recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “And they’re like, ‘No, it’s not like a reboot in that sense.’”
And while she might revisit “Lizzie McGuire” one day, Duff said for now she’s focused on the new series, adding, “This just came at the right time, and it was one of those things where you’re like, ‘Oh, yes, of course. This is right, and this is supposed to be.’”