High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premiered its third season this Wednesday (27) on

Disney+, marking the first in which Olivia Rodrigo is no longer a regular character on the series. However, showrunner

Tim Federle has denied rumors of a possible departure of the actress and singer from the cast for season 4 onward.

"From a purely logistical standpoint, the idea of Olivia doing the whole season and doing her tour seemed immediately impossible. But she was and is

such an important part of the DNA of the series that it also didn't seem right not to give an explanation

of where Nini's character went. That was the first thing: how do you make the two things work, schedule-wise?"

he explained to Entertainment Weekly, addressing the recording schedule for season three and Sour's tour.

Another point, he said, is that the show's third year has another leading lady: "Sofia Wylie occupies the center of the picture and the center of so many

stories with such wit and wisdom, just a wicked talent that we were all very excited to elevate her and allow her to take that central role - with everything

that comes with that, the drama, the comedy, the songs, the dancing, the things that only Sofia can do. I think it's a little bit like a wedding where it's like, 'We're not losing a daughter, we're gaining a leading lady.'"