'Saved By The Bell' Reboot Features Teen Who Is Transgender In Starring Role

by Julie Scagell
Steve Granitz/Getty

Josie Totah will play Lexi, an “admired and feared” popular cheerleader

News of a reboot of the iconic Saved by the Bell came this past September from one of its stars, Elizabeth Berkley, leaving fans on the edge of their seats over whether their favorite characters would be returning for the new show. While it’s now known several will be, a new character named Lexi will be played by actress Josie Totah, who is transgender.

Berkley announced the reboot on her Instagram page, saying, “[Mario Lopez]…. are you ready for grownup Jessie? Jessie and Slater are back for more fun.” While the duo will reprise their roles as A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano in the revival, Mark-Paul Gosselaar will return as Governor Zack Morris (of course he is). But its Totah’s role that has everyone talking.

Totah will play Lexi, described in press notes as “a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High” who is both “admired and feared” by her classmates, similar to Tiffani Thiessen’s Kelly Kapowski in the original show. News of Totah’s casting comes just two years after the 18-year-old, who has starred in NBC’s Champions alongside Mindy Kaling, Disney Channel’s Jessie, and Netflix’s No Good Nick, came out as transgender.

She opened up about her gender identity in a Time magazine essay, saying that many people in and out of the industry assumed she was a “young gay man.” “I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.”

“In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ,” she wrote. “I wasn’t ready to be more specific … I have come to believe that God made me transgender. I don’t feel like I was put in the wrong body. I don’t feel like there was a mistake made.” She continued: “My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

The premise of the reboot, whose original show aired from 1989 to 1993 and gained legions of followers, will explore what happens when Gov. Morris closes many of the state’s disadvantaged high schools and moves impacted students to higher-performing schools, including Bayside High. The show will air on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, but a release date has not been announced.

I’m ready to be free,” Totah said. “So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading.” We cannot wait to see her in this new role. She’s definitely headed for big things.