Tina Fey Agreed To Reprise Her Mean Girls Role Under One Condition

It's been 20 years since "Mean Girls" first came out, and there's now a new "Mean Girls" for a new generation with some familiar faces. No, you won't see Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron or Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacey Chabert as the original Plastics — Regina George, Karen Smith, and Gretchen Wieners, respectively. *Spoilers ahead! But you will get to see Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury and Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall. Fey had one condition for reprising her role in the movie.

"I am reprising my role as Ms. Norbury because we thought, well, teachers work for a long time," Fey explained to People, "So it might make sense if Tim and I did it. So I called Tim and I was like, 'Will you do it? I'll do it if you do it.' And we said yes, as long as we don't have to sing."

Since the 2024 "Mean Girls" is an adaptation of the "Mean Girls" from 2004, it's a cute callback that Fey and Meadows are reprising their roles. And what's even more touching is that their characters are now a couple — at the end of the first "Mean Girls," the two danced together at the Spring Fling. The new film is not necessarily a continuation, but Fey told Entertainment Weekly, "it's a multiverse." "I wouldn't look at it with a microscope. It doesn't entirely make sense," she said, but Ms. Norbury is back and still teaching at North Shore High.

The new 'Mean Girls' movie is based on the musical version

If you haven't seen the new "Mean Girls" yet, and you've only seen the promos for it, you might be a little bit confused about Tina Fey's adamance that she wouldn't have to sing — after all, the only singing in the 2004 version of the film is "Jingle Bell Rock." Paramount specifically didn't market the 2024 version, which is very much a musical, as a musical. "To start off saying musical, musical, musical, you have the potential to turn off audiences," Paramount's global marketing director told Variety, "I want everyone to be equally excited."

After the huge success of "Mean Girls" in 2004, which was based on Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes," the film was turned into a musical, with its debut in 2017 and Broadway opening in 2018. It was nominated for an impressive 12 awards at the 2018 Tony Awards, but didn't win any of them. And that Broadway musical is what has inspired the 2024 movie version of "Mean Girls."

The 'Mean Girls' movie reworks the original movie and the musical

Tina Fey was the writer behind all three incarnations of "Mean Girls" and Lorne Michaels was a producer on all three. Michaels talked to Entertainment Weekly about the new "Mean Girls" movie and how it blended the success from its previous versions: "It was about: How do we do the best of the musical, plus the best of the original? It isn't a remake, it's a new interpretation. It feels like a familiar enough story, but it's for today." Fans of the original version will love callbacks to the first movie, which include Lindsay Lohan making a quick cameo appearance that Fey made happen.

Fans of the Broadway musical will recognize Reneé Rapp as the iconic Regina George; she took over the stage role in 2019. The movie version isn't just a copy from Broadway, either. Rapp explained to People, "This is a very specific version of the musical that has a really specific place in a niche, culty theater way, that I think expands it to maybe people who aren't super into theater." 

Rapp also collaborated with Megan Thee Stallion for "Not My Fault," the song played during the credits, which is one of 13 songs in the movie version — 11 are from the stage version, which had 21 songs. While Fey doesn't sing, she's involved in the music in a way. Her husband, composer Jeff Richmond, worked with lyricist Nell Benjamin to write the music for the stage and film version.