The truth about The Hills: New Beginnings

When The Hills wrapped back in 2010, millions of hearts broke worldwide (okay, maybe not millions, but close enough). No longer would we feel the rain on our skin. No longer would we tag along to exclusive parties or drunken nights out at Les Deux (RIP). No longer would we wonder whether any of it was actually real (judging by that final gag with the moving Hollywood sign, it… wasn't?). It was the end of an era, one kick-started by the show itself, which changed reality television forever.

When a reboot was announced, it seemed fans' prayers had been answered. Almost a decade after the show finished, it turned out the rest wouldn't be left unwritten after all. Answers would be offered about Justin and Audrina's on-again, off-again relationship, about if Spencer and Heidi managed to make it work, and more.

The Hills: New Beginnings is guaranteed to leave many things unresolved, but there are some things we know for sure. 

The OGs are back... for the most part

In August 2018, the Hills reboot was announced at the MTV VMAs in New York City. Several cast members took to the red carpet to hype the show but it wasn't revealed until April of the following year who was set to return — alongside a handful of notable new faces. As per The Hollywood Reporter, several of the fan-favorite OGs will reappear, namely Audrina Patridge and her ex Justin "Bobby" Brescia, show villains Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (AKA Speidi), Whitney Port, Brody Jenner, Frankie Delgado, and Spencer's sister, Stephanie Pratt.

Joining them are Laguna Beach alum and Lauren Conrad's ex Jason Wahler (who made a few, fleeting appearances on The Hills too, during its original run) and his wife, Ashley, as well as Jenner's wife (Kaitlynn), Delgado's wife (Jen), and a couple of other newcomers (more on that soon). In an interview, Port told THR that she's completely on board with the cast refresh, stating, "It's a new era and there's only so many of us that are doing the show." She added, "So, I totally support bringing in some new peeps to make things interesting."

Lauren Conrad definitely won't be on the show

Disappointing many fans, the series' original lead, Lauren Conrad (whose move to L.A. from Laguna Beach was the whole basis for the spinoff show), won't be returning for The Hills: New Beginnings. Port told The Hollywood Reporter that she tried her best to get Conrad to come back, to no avail. "I have tried to convince Lauren through people. I haven't gotten directly to her, but I recently spoke to one of her friends and I was like, 'Tell her to do it!'" she said.

A source confirmed to People that Conrad is "in a different place in her life." The busy entrepreneur did wish everybody who was taking part the best, however. According to the source, "She loves being a mother and focusing on her family and on her work. She has a very full and happy life." Although it seems Conrad's mind is made up, Port reckons there's still hope, telling THR, "Who knows? Maybe she'll say yes in the future. I feel like the door's always open."

At least two cast members are happy Lauren isn't returning

Fans (and Whitney Port) may be devastated to learn Lauren Conrad won't be leading the show this time around, but there are at least a couple of cast members relieved New Beginnings won't be focusing on Conrad. Speaking to ABC News, Heidi Montag admitted, "I actually was kind of excited Lauren wasn't on it because I felt like it was more freeing and fair, like, for me." It's worth noting that Conrad and Montag had a notorious and very public spat after rumors were spread about Conrad allegedly making a sex tape with her then-boyfriend Jason Wahler, leading to one of the most infamous moments in Hills history ("You know what you did!"). 

Audrina Patridge agreed with Montag about the freedom Conrad's absence would apparently give them, telling ABC News, "Lauren, like, she was always the one — she's the leader, the one that would tell you what to do, what not to do." 

The reality star claimed that, this time around, "You kinda get to make your own choices and be your own self." 

Kristin Cavallari is too busy doing her own reality show

Kristin Cavallari, Conrad's high school nemesis and the woman who took her spot on The Hills in 2009 after Conrad left to focus on her blossoming career, sadly won't be appearing on The Hills: New Beginnings either. Mostly because she's too busy fronting her own reality show, Very Cavallari, which centers on her burgeoning brand, Uncommon James, as well as Cavallari's home life in Nashville with hubby Jay Cutler and their kids.

A source told People that doing New Beginnings would conflict with Cavallari's other commitments, confirming, "She can't do the show because she has a contract with E!." However, Cavallari is still reportedly friends with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt and is "excited" they're taking part in the reboot. Although the busy mother doesn't regret her time on The Hills, she previously told People that she can never watch the show because it's too cringe-worthy. "I know what I did! I know what happened," Cavallari reasoned.

You'll recognize at least one newbie

Shaking up the cast might seem like an odd choice for such a beloved show, but at least one new recruit will be familiar to viewers. None other than Mischa Barton of The O.C. fame is set to appear. Page Six reported the news, with an insider claiming Barton's casting made sense as, "She was around back in the day and went to all the clubs."

Barton was actually a late addition to the show, with the actress admitting to Interview magazine, "I got thrown into this last minute." She explained, "I was approached from every angle, by everyone I know. I ignored it at first, and then I got on a couple of calls with the producers and MTV. Then before I knew it, I was in serious talks with them."  

At least one person is excited for her joining the ranks, as Whitney Port gushed to Us Weekly, "I remember getting, saving her number in my phone and getting my first text from her and being like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe Mischa Barton is actually texting me right now.'" She added, "I think it's really cool."

Pamela Anderson's son will star (and she's thrilled about it)

Less recognizable, but no less famous, is fellow newcomer Brandon Thomas Lee, son of Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Although he may seem like a random choice, Anderson is fully behind her son's inclusion. She told Us Weekly, "It's his journey," adding, "He's invincible. Brandon can do anything. People tell him, 'You shouldn't do this,' but he's such a talented actor. … He's on his journey and he's going to have a great time and I'm sure it's going to be very, very entertaining because he is so funny."

The Baywatch legend may even make an appearance on the show herself, if a report by Page Six is anything to go by. Anderson was reportedly filmed for New Beginnings giving her son advice about his love life. "For now, it's just that scene, a lunch," an insider explained, while teasing there may be more to come. The source shared, "Despite her own extremely busy schedule, there is nothing Pamela wouldn't do to support her sons." Lee is a good friend of Brody Jenner's, and he appears to be fitting in nicely, if the first teaser in which he appears is anything to go by.

A Laguna Beach bad boy is joining the ranks

Jason Wahler dated Lauren Conrad on both Laguna Beach and The Hills. Their relationship was rocky, to say the least, but Wahler has since sorted his life out, getting sober and settling down with wife Ashley, with whom he has one child as of 2019.

Speaking to Interview magazine, Wahler revealed New Beginnings will give fans insight into the new him, explaining, "A big part of what you'll see from me moving forward is being in active recovery and sobriety. It's my life, not a once-in-a-while thing. The whole reason I wanted to do this was to shed hope and show that recovery is possible."

As for preparing Ashley to appear on the show, he told MTV News there was no apprehension on his part. "Ashley is a very strong individual, and she's actually been around the entertainment industry for quite some time," he said. "But I told her the biggest thing for her is to just be herself, be transparent, be authentic and don't buy into any BS."

Mischa Barton is eager to show the real her

She was a Hollywood starlet back in the day, but Mischa Barton is eager to show fans a completely different side to her on The Hills: New Beginnings. Speaking to The New York Times, the actress admitted she originally took her suggested casting on the show as a joke. However, MTV's Nina L. Diaz told the publication it was an easy decision for them as, "She's been out of the spotlight for some time, and she knows there's a lot of curiosity about her and her story. And she's a great example of a new beginning."

Barton, for her part, hopes to, "situate [herself] in a different part of [her] career, make a new friend group and move out of the stale typecasting [she] had gotten [herself] into." The woman fans will always see as the dearly departed Marissa Cooper acknowledged, "People seem to have always associated me with one thing, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to get to see the real me."

Brody Jenner's married life almost stopped him from returning

According to Page Six, this new iteration of The Hills "is very Brody Jenner centric," with the new cast "circling around him and his friends." However, Lauren Conrad's one-time (onscreen) boyfriend almost didn't decide to appear on New Beginnings at all. He and wife Kaitlynn Carter Jenner were the last to sign on to the reboot, with Jenner jokingly telling Entertainment Tonight that it was the money that eventually sealed the deal for the happy couple. 

Discussing the biggest challenge, his wife shared, "Brody had done such a good job of removing himself from the spotlight and we were living and have been up until this point living like a relatively normal life," noting, "We live outside of L.A. So signing up for all of that exposure again was a really tough decision for both of us." Jenner was quick to note this time around was different, however, as "there hasn't been any scripting." 

He explained, "One of the main reasons, well one that they sold us on, was basically that it was going to be more real than the original Hills."

The reboot is going to be "very relatable"

Although it may surprise longtime Hills fans, New Beginnings is reportedly going to be much more down to earth than its predecessor. At least, according to the cast. Speaking to ABC News, Audrina Patridge suggested the show had matured alongside its fans. "Our fan base kinda grew up with us. And now they're adulting and they're having kids and going through things we are. It's very relatable," she noted.

Just what kind of show it was going to be was a major concern for Whitney Port, who admitted, "At first, I was nervous I'm, like, 33 years old now with a kid. So I thought, you know, opening up our lives on reality TV was a little scary." However, she was soon reassured, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "There isn't a need to create story-lines this time around, honestly. There's enough going on in our lives at the moment that they're not going to have to make anything up." She continued, "What's cool about the reboot is it's going to be a slice-of-life type of show."

Is it real? We still aren't sure

Whitney Port may be convinced there's no need to nudge things along, but all reality television is produced at least a little bit, right? The reality star previously admitted that at least one storyline (her decision to go to Paris while Lauren Conrad stayed home with then-boyfriend Jason Wahler) on the hit show was completely fabricated. Kristin Cavallari confirmed the same was true of some of her storylines during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, admitting, "Most of my stuff wasn't real."

Port subsequently revealed reshoots took place on New Beginnings, pushing the original release date back. She explained to AOL, "It's more basically that they filmed all the stuff and then probably in the editing they were missing certain conversations that happened off camera," explaining, "They just needed to fill in certain blanks." The reality star is adamant the new show is completely real, however, stating, "You already really know us, but this shows another layer of who we are."

The earlier drama seems petty nowadays

Considering everybody has grown up, moved on, and, in several cases, settled down with spouses and children, it stands to reason the Hills reboot isn't going to be as catty as its younger predecessor. In a cast interview with BuzzFeed News, they admitted that, looking back, it all seems quite petty. Audrina Patridge acknowledged, "Once I had my child, Kirra … I see people, I see situations very clearly. It's like you see through the BS, kind of, and you cut a lot of people out of your life." She elaborated, "It's just things that used to matter just don't matter anymore."

Heidi Montag agreed, advising, "It absolutely changes from who is going out to the club with each other, who likes whose boyfriend," adding, "I mean I think that's all a little bit behind us." Whitney Port once again reiterated how real New Beginnings is, reasoning, "People can smell when something is not real." Patridge conceded, noting, "I feel like this time around it's very raw, it's very real. Everyone's really more vulnerable, more opinionated, we're all more comfortable with each other."

There's already drama offscreen

The cast may have matured in the years since the show wrapped, but this is still The Hills, and the drama is, naturally, going to come hard and fast. When asked by Entertainment Tonight about where it lands on a scale of one to ten, Brody Jenner told the publication, "Oh my god. It was 15 during filming, I don't know what they're going to air." 

In fact, it seems things are already so intense they've spilled over into real life. Page Six reported the Pratts were absent from a dinner celebrating the show's return because of their ongoing feud with Spencer's sister, Stephanie (which featured prominently on the original show, particularly as she grew close to Conrad).

Both Stephanie and Spencer have publicly maintained that the other sibling is the problem. However, according to Spencer himself via a DM to the publication, the Pratts simply had alternative plans. They were reportedly taking their son to see The Lion King. "Bought the tickets wayyy before any cast dinner was planned," he said.

Everybody was nervous to return

During a cast interview, Audrina Patridge told People that, when they all got back together, it felt like no time had passed. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it was a no-brainer for all of them to return to The Hills. Brody Jenner and his wife may have been last to sign on, but they weren't the only ones with reservations. Heidi Montag admitted, "I was a little nervous to leave my son." She explained, "I'm a mom now. I'm different. And I feel a lot more responsibility for my actions. There's more at stake."

Frankie Delgado joked about juggling his commitments at home and for the show, claiming, "I'm Bruce Wayne during the day and Batman at night!" There was also some concern that the old Hills magic might not exist anymore but thankfully, according to Whitney Port, it's still there. "What we had was so awesome," she shared. "And I didn't know if it could ever be recreated. But it was," she said. 

This time around, they're writing their own stories

Everybody on the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings is conscious the second time around of being as authentic as possible, with Spencer Pratt explaining to People, "Last time we'd shoot maybe twice a week and we'd get texted what to say." He continued, "This time, producers were like, 'We follow the truth!' We shot seven days a week for three months." In an interview with The New York Times, showrunner Lauren Weber explicitly stated that they don't tell the stars what to do or say, noting the producers simply "try to bring forth what they're thinking." 

Although they're eager to show as much of themselves and their changing lives as possible, the cast is being careful not to overshare either. The ladies of the original Hills told Cosmopolitan they won't be showing much of their kids on the show.

It seems the rest isn't still unwritten after all because, with New Beginnings, the cast is taking control of the story themselves.