The former "Glee" star had played Collette Jones in the first two seasons of "Step Up: High Water", which aired on YouTube in 2018 and 2019, but last summer, U.S. network bosses at Starz announced they would be bringing the show back for another run, and now they have recruited Milian to fill the gap left following the tragic drowning death of Rivera in July 2020.
Production on the newly renamed "Step Up", which is based in a top performing arts school in Atlanta, is already underway in Georgia, with musician and actor Ne-Yo returning as leading man and facility founder Sage Odom.
Commenting on the new job, Milian, who is currently pregnant with her third child, shares in a statement, "I am so excited to join the Step Up family. 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."
Creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen reveals the decision to recast Rivera's main role was given the blessing of her family, as well as the entire cast and crew.
"Naya's death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning," explained Sorensen. "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."
And Ne-Yo added, "There is no replacing Naya. Let's get that straight. 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!"