*Christina Milian has been tapped to takeover Naya Rivera’s role in the YouTube-to-Starz Step Up TV series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rivera starred in the role of “Collette,” during the first two seasons of the series, based on the movies of the same name. Rivera’s family is said to have given their blessing to the recasting.
Rivera was found dead in July, nearly a week after she disappeared during a boating outing in Ventura County, California, with her son, Josey. She was 33.
We previously reported… according to the investigative report, Josey said they counted “1, 2, 3” and jumped off the pontoon boat together at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Once in the water, the child said his mother told him to get back on the boat.
“She helped him onto the boat and then he then heard [Naya] yell ‘help’ and she put her arm in the air. She then disappeared into the water,” the investigative report states, PEOPLE reported.
Jack Dorey, Naya’s ex and the father of her son, is reportedly suing Ventura County, the county’s Parks and Recreation Management, and the United Water Conservation District for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” said “Step Up” series creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen on Monday. “It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss, while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas. Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer and we are so happy she has joined our family.”
In addition to the statement above, series star Ne-Yo also issued a statement.
“There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight,” he said. “Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be. Christina has big shoes to fill and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist. I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love. We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”
Production for the third season is reportedly underway in Atlanta. Starz will air the first two seasons as part of a marathon beginning on March 5.
“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” Milian said. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”