In its 30-plus years, the Degrassi franchise has become famous for tackling hot-button topics — and there’s no issue that causes more fear, anxiety, and controversy than… the high school reunion. So that’s exactly what season 2 of Degrassi: Next Class has planned when it premieres July 22 on Netflix.
To commemorate the franchise’s 500th episode (in your face, Law & Order!), a host of Degrassi: The Next Generation alums, including Marco (Adamo Ruggiero), Paige (Lauren Collins), Emma (Miriam McDonald), and Spinner (Shane Kippel), return to their alma mater. (Did Emma and Spinner’s quickie marriage last? Stay tuned…)
“It’s the 35th anniversary of the school, so we all get together to celebrate…. But sadly, the wheelchair ramp was out of service,” says Ruggiero, dashing hopes of a cameo from Drake, who played Jimmy — memorably paralyzed after a school shooting in season 4 of The Next Generation.
Ruggiero, who works for Degrassi’s production company as a digital story producer, says filming the episode was surreal: “I got to see Paige again, and I missed her so much. Weird, since Lauren and I are BFFs in real life. I hope I see her again soon — Paige, not Lauren.”
Count on plenty of interactions between the veteran cast and the new one (Paige is still gloriously bitchy!), but don’t count on encore performances from two of Degrassi’s most memorable bands: Downtown Sasquatch or Paige Michalchuk and the Sexkittens. “If we make it to 1,000 episodes, I will pitch a geriatric battle of the bands,” says Collins. We’re holding you to that.
For more, pick up Entertainment Weekly issue #1414, on newsstands now or available here.