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All the Actors Who Almost Played Troy Bolton in High School Musical

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Although it’s been ten years since High School Musical premiered, and Zac Efron has done SO much to distance himself from his Disney past, we will always see him as Troy Bolton deep down. #SorryNotSorry. But while the 28-year-old’s DCOM role will probably follow him forever, he wasn’t the only actor who was ever up for the part. In fact, there were quite a few other small-screen legends who DC execs thought would also make a great Wildcat.

We know it’s hard for you to wrap your head around the fact that Zanessa very easily could’ve never happened and Zac possibly would’ve simply been known as the cutie with the gap teeth from Summerland, but these were things that were VERY possible. Check out all the other young stars who were up to play Troy in HSM:

1. Lucas Grabeel — You know Lucas as the lovable and East High’s lovable and quirky Ryan Evans, but he initially thought he was better suited to be the leading man. “I went in right after Drew Seeley, who ended up singing for Troy in the movie,” he told Buzzfeed. “I obviously heard him because it was in a trailer, so it was really thin walls and I was like, ‘Oh s*it. I’m totally not gonna get this because that guy’s incredible.” The blond ended up getting a callback despite his hesitation, but director Kenny Ortega asked him to learn Ryan’s lines for the next audition. He did, and the rest is history.

2. Drew Seeley — As Lucas mentioned, Drew’s singing voice was the one everyone heard in the first film and assumed was coming out of Zac Efron‘s mouth. But in addition to giving Troy his musical ability in HSM and playing him on tour, this actor actually tested to play the high-schooler for real, but came up a little short.

3. Sterling Knight — This Sonny With a Chance star may have played Zac’s son in 17 Again, but he wasn’t always a fan of the actor. You see, both Sterling and ZE auditioned for HSM and a film called The Derby Stallion around the same time, but the latter came out on top in both cases and booked the roles. But even though the 27-year-old was bitter a first, everything worked out in the end and the two stars are now friends.

Disney Channel

Disney Channel

4. Hunter Parrish — Hunter has a background in musical theater, so when he heard about an audition for High School Musical, he thought he was the perfect fit and went in to try out. Disney execs agreed and he quickly made his way far into the casting process, but ultimately backed out. “It was down to five guys and then I got offered a part in this amazing Robin Williams movie,” he told GQ magazine. “And I thought to myself: fly to Vancouver and meet the director for this Robin Williams movie, or stay and finish the auditions for the Disney Chanel movie? So I didn’t even go to the last audition. I heard a rumor that I was their favorite, but I never made it to the end. I mean I would have had a blast doing it. But I’m so happy for Zac; he’s the only guy for that.”

5. Matthew Underwood — According to IMDB, the Zoey 101 star was actually offered the role of Troy Bolton, but he had to turn it down because had already signed a contract with Nickelodeon. IMAGINE?!

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HSM was SO great as a movie that it actually became a book! These 13 other movies were turned into novels, too:

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