Christina Milian (Grandfathered) is replacing the late Naya Rivera (Glee) in the Starz musical drama series Step Up, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Milian will now will play Collette, the role Rivera originated for the first two seasons on the streaming platform Youtube Red.
An actress and recording artist, Milian is aware of how high the bar is set as she steps into the role of Collette in the upcoming third season. In a press release picked up by Entertainment Weekly, Milian said: “I am so excited to join the Step Up family. 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.”
Rivera tragically drowned this past July at the age of 33 after going boating with her son in Lake Piru. Made famous by her revolutionary role as Santana Lopez on the Fox Series Glee, her legacy is massive. Series creator and executive producer of Step Up Holly Sorensen (Make It or Break It) released a statement on Monday regarding the casting decision. Picked up by The Hollywood Reporter, Sorensen said: “Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning. 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.”
Step Up first premiered on Youtube Red in 2018 and ran for two seasons on the platform. This past May the series moved to Starz in anticipation of its upcoming third season. Starring Ne-Yo (The Wiz) as Sage Odom, he’s the renowned founder of Atlanta’s prestigious High Water Performing Arts High School. Rivera portrayed Collette, Sage’s romantic and business partner who helped to bring Sage’s visions to fruition. The series is a spin-off from the film franchise of the same name.
In the wake of Milian’s casting, Ne-Yo released a heartfelt statement commemorating Rivera’s legacy. Posted to the Step Up Twitter page, he said, “There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight. Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be. 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!”
See the full post with Ne-Yo’s statement along with a photo of Ne-Yo and Milian below:
— Step Up Series (@StepUpSeries) February 8, 2021
Milian is best known for her work in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the Crackle original series The Oath, Fox’s television movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, and the Fox sitcom Grandfathered.
Starz will begin airing the first two seasons of Step Up on its network beginning on March 5. It will also air episodes every Friday night at 8 p.m. E.T. Shooting for the third season began in Atlanta in early February with no premiere date announced as of yet.