The hype surrounding Ariana Grande‘s music video for her Billboard Hot 100-topping “thank u, next” continues to mount with each passing day. Ever since the song’s surprise release — which demonstrated Grande’s ability to thrive as a pop star in a hip-hop musical economy — on Nov. 3, the track has dominated streaming services and Twitter memes alike.
Billboard‘s 2018 Woman of the Year hasn’t been shy about dropping hints for the forthcoming video, either. She is seemingly just as excited to spill secrets about the clip as fans are to receive them. Over the course of the past few weeks, she has shared the video’s cinematic inspirations, posted many behind-the-scenes photos and teased numerous celebrity cameos. Still, don’t be surprised if Grande sprinkles in a few more unannounced treats when the full project arrives.
Below, read everything we know so far — categorized by film influence — about the music video for “thank u, next.”
Grande teased the first of what would eventually become four film inspirations for the “thank u, next” clip with a simple “meet the plastics” tweet on Nov. 19. The clear nod to Mean Girls quickly set the Internet ablaze with excitement for the song’s video accompaniment.
In the days since, the Mean Girls glimpses have continued to roll in, notably with Aaron Samuels (portrayed by actual Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett) surfacing in several behind-the-scenes photos. Additionally, Grande’s Victorious co-star Liz Gillies will play Cady Heron, looking almost identical to the Lindsay Lohan-played character from the film.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 24, 2018
Grande, taking the role of Regina George, has already showcased her “thank u, next” version of the infamous Burn Book on several different occasions on Twitter. And though fans immediately jumped to conclusions that Ari’s mother, Joan Grande, would take the Amy Poehler role of Regina George’s mother, the pop star has shut down any such rumors.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 23, 2018
Just a day after Grande shared the first Mean Girls tribute, Legally Blonde entered the mix, with her tweeting a direct quote from Elle Woods: “Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed.” She quickly followed the tweet with a snapshot of her and Jennifer Coolidge, who plays the lovable Paulette in the original film and its sequel. From the looks of it, Grande will play Reese Witherspoon’s Woods in this bit of the video.
new best friend …. thank u, next pic.twitter.com/ahJ4DUd4nJ
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 20, 2018
Oh, and we’re taking the dog, dumbass: Grande also revealed that one of her many pets — no, not Piggy Smallz — will star in the video, with her dog Toulouse portraying Bruiser. It sounds like Grande didn’t bark up the wrong tree with her selection, either. In a tweet, she called him “the most professional living being [she’s] ever been on set with.”
13 Going on 30
Grande’s 13 Going on 30 hints marked three teasers in three days, even though she repeatedly remarked how she couldn’t continue to give away information about the video. “big time magazine editor,” she tweeted on Wednesday, then doubling down and retweeting one of her posts from more than five years ago that references the same exact quote.
big time magazine editor pic.twitter.com/EqJPawIqtK
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 21, 2018
Since the reveal of her portrayal of Jenna Rink (originally played by Jennifer Garner), there hasn’t been much else on the 13 Going on 30 front. Whether that’s due to her keeping some surprises in store or her merely turning her focus to defend the ladies of Little Mix, Ellen DeGeneres and her mother against Piers Morgan, only time will tell.
Bring It On
Hardly an hour after giving the fans a sneak peek into Grande as Jenna Rink, the pop star followed up with the fourth and (seemingly) final film inspiration for the video: Bring It On. Adding a picture of her wearing a full cheerleader uniform, Grande tweeted, “‘i transferred from los angeles, your school has no gymnastics team this issaalast resort …….. ok i’ve never cheered before so what?'” For those unfamiliar, the quote references a Missy Pantone (portrayed by Eliza Dushku) line from the film, with Dushku later tweeting her approval of the tribute.
‘i transferred from los angeles, your school has no gymnastics team this issaalast resort …….. ok i’ve never cheered before so what?’ pic.twitter.com/hD3pDR3K1k
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 21, 2018
While it remains to be seen if Dushku will appear in the music video — which may be unlikely given that Grande seems to play her character during this film’s portrayal — there are several notable celebrity cameos that Grande has already leaked to the public. Gabrielle Union, who appears in the original film, posted a present-day picture of her donning the East Compton Clovers cheerleading uniform alongside some teammates. Additionally, Daniella Monet (another Victorious cast member) is set to appear. Finally, longtime friend Colleen Ballinger — aka Miranda Sings — is both pregnant and in the video, sporting a Grande-given lip print on her belly.
— Colleen Ballinger– (@ColleenB123) November 21, 2018
Though Grande is yet to specify an exact release date for the “thank u, next” music video, she has already clarified that all of the tributes will go into a single video that has a similar runtime to the length of the track.