Awesome, oh wow. Like, totally freak me out, I mean, right on. Clovers sure are…getting their own overdue sequel! (Squeals in goth queer cheerleader).
On Thursday, Gabrielle Union confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that she was working on developing a long-rumored sequel to the 2000 subversive cult cheerleading film, Bring It On—one of the only films of its time to take an ironic feminist look at women participating in a sport often mocked for its perceived proximity to femininity. In the now classic role, Union played the widely adored Isis, the captain of the predominantly Black Clovers cheerleading squad from East Compton.
“We’ve been developing a sequel that centers on the [Clovers],” Union said, quickly affirming those of us who might vomit at the thought of another unsubstantiated rumor or teasing tweet. “We are working on it.”
The importance of a potential sequel centering on cheerleaders of color cannot be understated. The original film was a huge hit within Black communities. In the book Bring It On: The Complete Story of the Cheerleading Movie That Changed, Like, Everything (No, Seriously), the writer Kase Wickman details how even with a “measly budget for marketing,” depictions of the Clovers in the trailer had drawn sold-out audiences to theaters in predominantly Black areas like Baldwin Hills and Harlem. But as anyone who’s seen the movie even once knows, the film centered around—and spoofed—mostly thin blonde rich women participating in the sport.
The Clovers brought their own magic to the film, spawning countless girls in Clovers’ uniforms on Halloween each year, and the screenplay allowed for the characters to touch on white-washing and cultural appropriation in a poignant way. But the Clovers never got to toe-touch front and center. Until (hopefully) now.
Union first ignited rumors about a reboot in August, on the film’s 22nd anniversary. “Hmmm, so Isis might have a teenager,” she tweeted. She continued publicly musing about which writers might sign on to the project, and imagined Isis’ daughter as an HBCU high stepper or majorette. “There’s so many forms of cheerleading that we don’t get to celebrate,” she said. “The possibilities are endless.” Now, Union tells ET that Isis’s child doesn’t have to be a young woman to be in a movie about cheerleading.
“I mean, I could have a son, a daughter. I could have a non-binary child. Anything’s possible,” she said, adding, “I’m already Mama June on the sidelines [in real life].”
The story of Bring It On’s success is pretty unbelievable given that it was slated to release in late August, which was known as a “dumping ground” for “filler” movies, Wickman explained in Vanity Fair. Before it even hit theaters, studios had written it off as a cotton candy chick flick. It was projected to make $6 million on its opening weekend. It made nearly triple: $17 million. Now, as cheerleading’s become more widely accepted as a sport for all people, not just girls, it’s the perfect time for a new chapter of that “‘girl movie’ about cheerleading.”
Cheerleaders defy gravity all the time. Here’s to hoping this film flies even higher than the original.