Mean Girls 2024’s Ending Explained

Twenty years after the original film, a musical adaptation of Mean Girls was released, giving the 2004 classic a new twist and changing the ending. Mean Girls was first adapted as a popular Broadway musical in 2017. This has translated into positive reviews for the Mean Girls musical film, which features fun musical numbers, popular source material, and strong performances. Despite some differences between the three versions of Mean Girls, it remains a faithful adaptation full of familiar jokes that are still laugh-out-loud funny two decades later.

Mean Girls was originally intended to be released exclusively on Paramount+, but it was given a theatrical release. The service allows you to stream Mean Girls, and the soundtrack is available on all major music streaming platforms. Mean Girls updates both the 2004 film and the 2017 stage production, leveraging new developments in social media and trends that will eventually make it as nostalgic as the original. Mean Girls 2024’s slogan is “not your mother’s Mean Girls,” but the movie musical can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

How Mean Girls 2024’s Ending Differs from the 2004 Movie

Mean Girls (2004) and Mean Girls (2024) both had their big ending scenes at the Spring Fling dance. Before the Spring Fling Queen was announced in the musical film, Regina and Cady met in the bathroom, where Cady apologized and Regina (high on painkillers) forgave her former friend. It’s a nice addition to the 2024 film that shows Regina wasn’t the only villain in Mean Girls.

Cady faces off against different competition when she is named Spring Fling Queen in Mean Girls. In the original film, Damian sneaked Janis into the list of nominees, whereas in the musical, Karen is nominated alongside her fellow Plastics. In Mean Girls 2024, Janis’ character underwent a number of other changes. While Janis was bullied in the original film after Regina spread a (likely false) rumor about her being a lesbian, she was out and proud in Mean Girls 2024, attending the Spring Fling with a girl rather than her gay best friend Damian.

After years of speculation, Mean Girls 2024 transforms Janis from a queer-coded character into a canon lesbian. This also meant that she and Damian never kissed awkwardly at the dance, and Janis never ended up with Kevin G, as she had in the original epilogue. This was always a confusing moment in Mean Girls, and the 2024 film improved on it by providing significant representation instead.

What Tina Fey Said About Mean Girls 2024’s Ending Compared To The Original Film

With Mean Girls 2024 not only written 20 years after the first film, but also set 20 years after the original story, the script needed to be updated. As writer Tina Fey pointed out in a New York Times interview, some things were considered acceptable–even when they weren’t–in 2004 but would not fly today. For example, Regina had a line in the original Mean Girls about Janis dreaming of diving into a pile of girls that everyone laughed at, but Fey removed it because she believed students today would interpret the homophobic “joke” for what it is.

Fey did more than just update the script to reflect today’s society; she also wanted to teach some lessons. Fey made an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers in 2017, while working on the Broadway musical. She shared a story about her five-year-old daughter receiving the wrong messages from Mean Girls, despite the fact that it is “positive at its core.” This could have inspired her to emphasize positivity in Mean Girls 2024 by including apologies and encouraging everyone to get along rather than just coexist.

What Happens to Cady and the Plastics After Mean Girls?

The original Mean Girls film included an epilogue narrated by Cady that revealed what happened to them during their senior year of high school. Cady began dating Aaron, Regina joined the lacrosse team (which provided a positive outlet for her rage), Karen became a weathercaster, and Gretchen joined a new group. Though a group of young girls appeared ready to take over as the new junior Plastics, Cady stated that “finally, Girl World was at peace.” The new Plastics only left room for the disastrous Mean Girls sequel.

Without this epilogue in the Mean Girls musical film, viewers can only speculate on what happened to Cady and The Plastics after the film concluded. Karen most likely did not become a weatherperson because she did not have her “ESPN” subplot, but the other character outcomes were possible. The end credits scenes showed everyone having a good time at the Spring Fling dance, implying that after Mean Girls, they all became friends or were at least friendly with one another.

Lindsay Lohan returns for a Mean Girls cameo

Lindsay Lohan made a surprise appearance in Mean Girls as the host of the High School Mathletes State Championship. After avoiding the club for fear of what it would do to her social standing, Cady eventually joined the Mathletes near the end of the film for extra credit. This is where she delivers her famous “the limit does not exist” line, but not before engaging in a comedic exchange with Lohan’s unnamed character.

Cady had learned her lesson from her time with The Plastics, and she no longer wanted to compete against other girls. However, Lohan, the host, reminds her that she is participating in a competition, which she wins for North Shore. She may not have played her original character like Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, but Lohan’s cameo pays tribute to the 2004 film Mean Girls and her contributions to the classic.

Why Mean Girls’ Ending Does Not Set Up A Sequel

Mean Girls 2024 features a post-credit scene that was previously seen in the trailer and most likely occurred when Cady first visited Regina’s house. Karen and Regina are walking toward the camera as the head of The Plastics says, “You’re next. You could be very attractive if we changed everything.” The Mean Girls post-credit scene, which is a direct address to the camera, could be interpreted as a hint at a sequel, but this contradicts the film’s message. Rather, it’s a cheeky way of addressing the audience and warning them that anyone can become a Plastic.

Mean Girls 2 was released in 2011 as a standalone TV movie, following the original Mean Girls film. It shared the same setting as North Shore High and followed a similar plot formula, with a new girl transferring to the school and meeting The Plastics, prompting her to form her own clique, The Anti-Plastics. It was poorly received and viewed as an unnecessary sequel that paled in comparison to the original. The Mean Girls story is self-contained, so a sequel to the musical film is unnecessary.

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