High School Musical director Kenny Ortega has confirmed what some fans have been wondering for over a decade: Sharpay's theatrical twin brother Ryan Evans is gay.
In an interview with Variety, Ortega revealed the character, played by Lucas Grabeel, would have come out as gay when he was in university.
Ortega, who is openly gay himself, admitted that while Disney is the "most progressive group of people" he worked with, he wasn't sure a gay character would have been possible when the film came out in 2006.
"I was concerned because it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet," he said.
Ortega told Variety his aim was to provide a character queer kids could relate to.
"I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it.
"It was less about 'coming out' and just more about letting his true colours come forward," he said.
Twitter users have responded to the news, with many pleased to see their suspicions confirmed by an official source.
"I knew Ryan Evans from High School Musical was gay before I even knew what being gay was," one user wrote.
Others took the opportunity to discuss theories regarding various relationships Ryan had throughout the popular musical trilogy.
One premise entertains the idea of a secret relationship between Ryan and basketball player Chad, citing a scene where they appear to have swapped clothes after a game.
Another Twitter user labelled Ryan's relationship with classmate Kelsie as a cover up to hide the fact they were both gay.
In 2019, Grabeel told entertainment website TVLine he believed Ryan was still "figuring things out" in highschool.
"He didn't need a label, he wasn't ready for that," he explained.
Ortega - who has been named as one of this years honorees on Variety's Power of Pride list - said he puts a lot of himself into his work and there is a "queer aesthetic" that runs throughout his movies.
"I think that it's just there, and whether it's screaming at you, or whether it's just sort of quietly there, it's there," he said.