4 things to know about the new Mean Girls movie before watching

There’s a new Mean Girls movie out! Tina Fey, who scripted the original Mean Girls back in 2004, wrote the script for the new movie based on her book for the Broadway musical version. But this time, the lead roles are played by Angourie Rice (Mare of Easttown), Reneé Rapp (The Sex Lives of College Girls), and Auliʻi Cravalho (Moana), The trailers make it look like a soft reboot of the 2004 movie directed by Mark Waters, but set two decades later. But that isn’t quite the case. While the 2024 Mean Girls includes a lot of references to the 2004 movie (and some returning cast members), it comes with a distinct new twist.

Here’s everything you can expect from — or might be wondering about — the 2024 Mean Girls.

Is the 2024 Mean Girls a musical?

The Plastics and Cady dressed in sexy Santa outfits for the winter talent show in 2024’s Mean Girls Photo: Jojo Whilden/Paramount Pictures

For people who saw or heard about the Broadway musical, this may seem like an obvious question. But the early trailers mostly hid the movie’s musical status, and anecdotal evidence from early screenings has made it clear that some audience members were pretty surprised to find themselves at a musical. The new Mean Girls is an adaptation of the 2018 stage musical, which is based on the 2004 movie. The songs were written by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin, and the original Broadway run starred Erika Henningsen (Hazbin Hotel) as Cady, Barrett Wilbert Weed (Heathers: The Musical) as Janis, Taylor Louderman as Regina George, and Ashley Park (Only Murders in the Building) as Gretchen Wieners.

All three versions were written by Tina Fey, though, who was inspired by the parenting book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. The 2024 movie was directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., making their feature film debut.

Mean Girls (2024) tells a story similar to that of the 2004 movie, but it takes place in the 2020s, so it updates the story around specific cultural touchpoints: for instance, high school students communicating gossip via social media and TikToks instead of conference calls.

What songs were cut or added to the 2024 Mean Girls movie?

As with many theatrical adaptations of stage musicals, some original songs were added for this movie, some were cut from the Broadway rendition, and some were switched around to different characters. In Mean Girls (2024), Cady’s big belting opening number “It Roars” was replaced with the more subdued “What If?”, likely to accommodate Angourie Rice’s vocal range. A lot of the introduction songs, like “Where Do You Belong?” and “Meet the Plastics,” were similarly cut or stripped down.

Other songs cut from the Broadway version of Mean Girls are “Stop,” in which Damian (Jaquel Spivey in the movie version) calls Cady out for turning into a mega bitch; “Whose House Is This?”, which centers around the house party that goes out of control; “Fearless,” the Plastics’ big anthem after they oust Regina as Queen Bee; “More Is Better,” the love duet between Cady and Aaron; and “Do This Thing,” which takes place during the mathletes tournament.

Another big change comes in “Apex Predator.” In the stage version, it’s a duet between Cady and Janis. In the movie, Damian takes over Cady’s parts — once again, likely to accommodate Rice and let Spivey flex his impressive vocals.

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Does Mean Girls have a post-credits scene?

It does! Mean Girls’ post-credits scene isn’t a huge plot hook for Mean Girls 2, a surprise appearance from an old cast member, or a reprise of one of the songs. It’s an extremely short, two-line shot where Regina (sans the neck brace she’s wearing at the end of the movie), with the Plastics behind her, looks at the camera and says, “You’re next!” — basically inviting you, the viewer, to undergo a makeover and become so hot, if you’re willing to put in the work. She’s basically commanding us all to become Plastics, if we dare embrace the dark side.

Which members of the 2004 Mean Girls cast appear in the 2024 movie?

Tina Fey holding the Burn Book Photo: Jojo Whilden/Paramount

Cameo spoiler ahead!

Tina Fey has been tight-lipped about whether anyone from the original Broadway cast or 2004 cast would appear in the 2024 movie, in order to preserve the surprise. It’s clear enough from the trailers that she herself reprises her role as Ms. Norbury, Cady’s AP Calculus teacher, with Tim Meadows coming back as Principal Duvall. (Longtime fans might be chuffed to learn that they’re romantic partners in the new movie, which only comes out in a short but sweet exchange in one scene.)

There’s one small cameo from the Broadway play: Ashley Park, who originated the role of Gretchen in the musical, plays Madame Park, the school’s French teacher. For longtime fans of the 2004 movie, though, the big reveal comes at the end of the movie, when Lindsay Lohan — the original Cady — appears in a cameo at the end, as the announcer overseeing the mathletes tournament where Cady and her team win with the iconic “the limit does not exist” answer. Lohan gets a few spoken lines and gets to bring some authority to overseeing the match, in a little nod to her central role in the original movie.

Mean Girls debuts in theaters on Jan. 12.