SPOILER ALERT: This story reveals major plot points from the Season 1 finale of HBO Max’s And Just Like That…
Across 10 episodes, fans of the franchise revisited New York besties Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) roughly 20 years after Sex and the City. The ladies are now in their 50s and a lot has changed—most noticeably their fourth-stie Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) has moved to London.
The Season 1 finale sees Carrie reach an important place in her grief after the loss of her husband Mr. Big (Chris Noth). That place is Paris, a special city for the pair and now the final resting place for Big’s ashes. When she returns to the Big Apple, Carrie has launched her own podcast with the help of Che Diaz’s (Sara Ramirez) producer Franklyn (Ivan Hernandez), with whom she shares a sexy kiss in the elevator in the final beats of the episode.
Franklyn was free to take on the gig after Che announced they were moving to Los Angeles where they have a pilot presentation for a new series and would be ending their podcast series. Oh, and Che’s new love Miranda wil be going on along for support.
There’s no way that a hardcore New Yorker like Miranda could enjoy living in L.A. though, right? Lest we forget the girls’ jaunt to Hollywood and their forthcoming rush to be back to Gotham City. No matter what happens, however, it’s a big moment for Miranda who felt her life and marriage had become stagnant. She even went back to her colorist and emerged with a full head of auburn hair (for the first time all season) ahead of her trip.
Series executive producer Michael Patrick King and writers Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg spoke to Deadline about And Just Like That… including the editing of Noth out of the finale, Carrie’s meet-up with Samantha in Paris, absentee Aidan, and what the future holds for Stanford Blatch after the loss of Willie Garson.
DEADLINE: These beloved characters went on quite a journey this season. How did you guys decide where Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda would be today? Did SJP, Kristin, and Cynthia, as executive producers, have input into that?
Michael Patrick King: Before we even started, the first place I went when the idea came was to Julie and Elisa, and Sarah Jessica had been in the mix. Then we went to all the executive producer actresses. We all wanted to check in and agree that we didn’t want to try to come back and duplicate what we had done. We knew time had gone by, water under the bridge, and we wanted to bring that into the series— where we are now, where they are now, where the society is now. And then the other huge thrust was introducing different points of view in the form of new characters and new writers. So it was exciting. We knew we wanted it to be something special.
DEADLINE: Even though Samantha didn’t return as a character, her presence was really felt all season. Carrie and Sam even set up a date in Paris but we never see that happen. Did they meet up?
MPK: Yes, they met up for cocktails, you just didn’t see it.
Julie Rottenberg: We weren’t invited.
DEADLINE: What insight can you share into what went on?
MPK: We don’t know. We know they met and had cocktails and that they were excited to see each other. Who knows what they talked about? Unlike other shows, we went past that moment and we brought back Carrie to New York and into her own life. As you said, Samantha really felt like she was there. It felt that way for us, too. We were excited that she was alive and in their world. Who knows what happened and if you’ll ever see that if we get a second season.
DEADLINE: What’s going on with Season 2? Any updates?
MPK: We’re having conversations right now between us about the storylines with the actors and with the network. I mean, it’s a very alive franchise—let’s just say that.
DEADLINE: With the heartbreaking loss of Willie Garson, could we see Stanford Blatch die in a future season?
MPK: We have no interest or plans in killing Stanford. None.
DEADLINE: So he will be in Japan forever?
MPK: Maybe. People change. People live in different places. It’s not something we’ve even discussed at this point because it’s so sad. We had 10 full, authentic, hilarious episodes for Stanford. Those just went away and there’s nothing really juicy about a real death, fictional death you can build around. Everybody knows Willie is gone, so there’s no real trick that we would try to pull to make that non reality. We can’t bring Willie back so I don’t think we would even attempt to bring Stanford back because that’s a lot.
JR: As Michael said, we built this entire season for Stanford and there was a lot of Stanford and Anthony [Mario Cantone] and there were Stanford and Carrie and Stanford and the entire gang. It was very fast when we learned that he would not be able to work anymore and that was the last time you saw him in episode three. So we had to, along with processing the shock of this actual tragedy, we had to quickly rethink the rest of the season. We decided to send him to Japan which is true to the kind of comic ridiculousness of him representing this TikTok star. We wanted to give him a proper send-off and not a tragic one that sadly matches the actual fate he faced.
Elisa Zuritsky: I like to think of him on this grand adventure and, in my mind, he becomes one of those beloved friends in your life who moves away and you always love them. Sometimes you connect but if you saw them tomorrow, you’d pick up like any other day. I agree that addressing it any other way would be wrong.
DEADLINE: Production shot a lot in Paris as we saw in paparazzi photos. What can you share about editing Chris Noth in the finale and whether or not there was more of him in Carrie’s dream sequence?
MPK: There was a longer version of the dream that we were maybe still artistically looking at as creators to see whether it worked or not. I mean, a dream is a little dicey always and mostly we wanted to focus the show on Carrie and her journey trying to release the idea of her hold on Mr. Big. So the dream is still in there because it was a part of their past, but there was no reason to show more than we showed that wouldn’t upstage the work that we were doing in the actual show versus the noise outside the show by people wanting to talk about the other aspect of why Mr. Big is or isn’t in the show.
DEADLINE: There was a rumor that Natasha (Bridget Moynahan) was back because she secretly had a child with Big. What can you share?
MPK: [Laughs] You’re doing what everyone is doing: you’re looking at the show like it’s The DaVinci Code. Looking at the show and saying, ‘Sure! The money is for the child that Carrie doesn’t know about.’ At this point, fan fiction is taking over. People are writing very exciting versions of the show.
JR: We don’t need to write Season 2, it’s already being written. We heard that now people are saying Carrie and Steve [David Eigenberg] are going to get together.
Deadline: Can we talk about that?
MPK: We love how invested people are in the show, it’s almost interactive in a great way. Everyone who makes television or movies or writes books worked so hard on trying to get an audience to engage in this journey that they’re writing. So all the speculation makes me happy.
EZ: I remember on the day when we were filming them talking together. I do admit that I could envision that only because they sort of physically looked cute together.
JR: There was an intimacy and a connection between them.
DEADLINE: I know this is TV, but that’s a little too incestuous at this point. Would you agree?
JR: I’m glad you draw the line.
MPK: That might be a shoe too far for us.
DEADLINE: The elephant in the room needs to be addressed. John Corbett said he would be back and he wasn’t. What happened?
JR: John Corbett should be writing personal apology notes. We didn’t say anything.
DEADLINE: At this point, do you feel the Aidan and Carrie of it all is old news?
MPK: No, there’s nothing old news about Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett as actors and beings and interests. The fact of the matter is, we never said anything about Aidan, just like we never said, Steve and Carrie or getting together. We always try to be very restrained and look at the reality of what people are experiencing and it has nothing to do with Aidan coming or not coming. It really just felt like this was a lot for Carrie. This season was a lot. We wanted to get her through this and into the light—the last episode is called, “Seeing the Light.” We wanted to get her out. [Aidan’s return] is a big storyline that everybody at home wrote that we had never intended.
DEADLINE: Speaking of resurrecting exes, the people want Debbie (Eleni Fuaixis) to come back and be with Steve. What say you?
MPK: Debbie was a catch. So I’m pretty sure that Debbie’s caught.
EZ: As Carrie says, the future is yet unwritten and anything is possible.
DEADLINE: Fans weren’t happy that Miranda was cheating on Steve, especially after everything that happened when Steve cheated on her. Did she forget what that felt like?
MPK: I don’t think it was a decision in her head. The idea that you’re talking about is that she made this calculated choice to move away from something that would hurt people. I think the storyline with Miranda, pre Che, so let’s put Che over there. Let’s just say a force comes into Miranda’s life that gives us, the writers, a chance to explore what happens if Miranda is swept away by love for the first time. The interesting thing for us is if she stopped thinking with her head and started following her heart. Which is, by the way, all Carrie did. And yet, it worked out well for her even though there were hundreds of red flags not to pursue that [Mr. Big] relationship. This is only 10 episodes in.
Haven’t you ever just felt out of control? Seeing the most self-controlled character being out of control was a really interesting color and a kind of a liberating color. But what everybody’s forgotten is that Miranda was always an anarchist. She always tore down traditional roles. She was dragged into that marriage by herself. She didn’t even want to do it. And yes, the power of Steve made her go there because he was so loving. We brought him in for that reason. But Miranda’s never been Suzy Homemaker. In episode 9, she says, “It’s not enough for me or ever. I don’t even know if it ever was.” So we’re true to that character. People don’t want that marriage to break up but I think it’s fun that she’s out of control. She is out of control by design.
JR: To talk about the fact that he cheated on her, that would suggest that as human beings we work in a mathematical way and because this equation happened on that day, how could she possibly do that? When in fact, we’re all living breathing things, and sometimes we do things that don’t make sense and aren’t necessarily right ethically. These are flawed characters. That’s why we love writing them because they’re not always virtuous. And the way she figured out how unhappy she was with Steve, I think the light that was shined on that was the spark with Che. We all felt strongly that Che was not a cause of the disruption of marriage, her marriage was in a vulnerable place. If it hadn’t been Che, I guarantee you it would have been something else.
MPK: Julie, you say she was unhappy with Steve but I think it’s more that she’s unhappy with herself. She liberated most of her life. She decided she’s not doing this anymore. I don’t like me as this person.
DEADLINE: The episode ends with Carrie and Franklyn and a kiss. What are you thinking about the future? A big romance or a fling?
MPK: When it comes to love, who knows? What we wanted was the parallels between the first kiss with Peter [Jon Tenney], where she says there was no surprise and there’s so much about that. That new thing happens out of nowhere and we wanted to show that that can happen literally when you least expect it and that it can be in your own backyard. As classic as that storyline is, he was there the whole time and she couldn’t see him. Now, who knows? What happened behind that door and what happens next? We don’t know yet.