Spoilers for ‘And So …’ Episode 4 follow.

    Bringing ‘Sex and the City’ back has always been a difficult task: it is an iconic show, followed by countless fans. But no one could have predicted how hard it would be when Willie garson, a beloved cast member, tragically passed away while filming the first season of ‘And Just Like That …’.

    Garson played Carrie’s best friend Stanford Blatch on the original show, and was set to return in a series regular role again for the revival. But before the first season could be completed, Willie Garson died of cancer (at age 57) in September 2021.

    Right before the episode’s premiere on December 9, Cynthia nixon confirmed that Garson managed to film three episodes of ‘And Just Like That …’ before his death.

    Hbo

    Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Nixon said the cast and crew filmed with Garson “For a long time without knowing he was sick, and then things got bad enough for us to be informed.”

    “We are also very grateful to have spent a few days with him knowing that he was sick, we were able to talk to him and he was able to talk to us about it. That was something really important to all of us, “added Cynthia.

    The third episode, which aired on December 16, was the last to feature Willie in the role of Stanford Blatch. Titled ‘When In Rome’, the third chapter of ‘And Just Like That …’ revolved mainly around Carrie’s grief over Big’s death and around a mystery about her ex. When the other characters joined Carrie, so did Stanford.

    Sadly, that’s the last time we’ll see Willie in this series, although that doesn’t mean the writers killed his character. Speaking in advance with The New York Times, the showrunner Michael Patrick King explained that neither Willie nor Samantha Jones would die in the story “Because it wouldn’t be charming. And I knew the audience would know.”

    Instead, Stanford leaves the show thirty minutes into episode 4, during a conversation with Anthony Marentino, Stanford’s husband. Carrie calls the character of Mario cantone after discovering a letter from Stanford in his closet. “By the time you read this, I’ll be in Tokyo,” the letter says. “I couldn’t tell you, not without crying. And you’ve already cried enough …”

    Willie Garson, and so on

    Hbo

    When asked to explain what’s going on, Anthony reveals that Stanford has gone on tour to Japan with Ashley, a 17-year-old TikTok star whom he directs: “I don’t understand her, but I’m old, gay, and not Japanese,” he says. Anthony.

    But why the letter? Why didn’t Stanford tell Carrie all this to her face? The show explains this through Anthony when he says her husband “couldn’t bear” telling Carrie about his departure after Big’s death. “You know Stanny. He hates disappointing people in person.”

    Regardless, Carrie is disappointed in her actions, explaining that she would like to know when her friends are succeeding, no matter what is happening in her own life. To which Anthony responds: “I also received a letter. He wants a divorce.”

    How this new development will play out remains to be seen, but originally, Stanford was supposed to star in a scene of its own to explain this outing. However, in an interview with the Vulture, Michael Patrick King revealed that Willie’s illness tragically prevented him from filming those last moments:

    “My final interaction with Willie came when I spoke to him on the phone About a scene he’d written for her to come in and do with Sarah Jessica, just Carrie and Stanford. It was a scene to explain his absence in the series: “He was very realistic with me; he said, ‘Please don’t think I don’t want to, I just can’t.’ When I look back on my time with Willie, the first thing I’ll think of is his love of being an actor. Each of its aspects “.

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    And before Willie’s diagnosis was revealed, there were plans to give Stanford a much broader story this time. During that same chat with Vulture, Sarah Jessica Parker He said: “[Willie] I intended and wanted to complete the entire season. He had a very meaningful story, more than ever, so I had a fervent hope that he could do it all. And for Willie to have to go, you knew it was serious.

    “If Willie could be there and do one more episode or one more scene, he would have. But he knew what he had to do to take care of his son and himself.And I’m very happy that he did it because when he passed away, he wanted to do it in an environment and circumstances that made him feel safe and comfortable. “

    Willie’s death is a loss, not just for this franchise and for everyone he touched with his work, but also for everyone he touched and inspired in real life. In the spirit of that legacy, and the moving memoriam post at the end of this episode, we’ll end here with an anecdote that King shared with the Vulture about a particular scene Willie filmed for episode two:

    “I was directing him in a scene from ‘And Just Like That …’ where Carrie asks Stanford to run and hide from Charlotte, who is at the door of his apartment. He runs with a martini in hand, something which I wrote specifically for Willie, just silly. And since it was Willie, and he was endlessly inventive and funny, I kept giving him different ways to run: ‘Run like you’re a linebacker! Run like you are a girl! Run like you’re on fire! ‘”

    “And each version kept getting dumber and funnier to watch, and Sarah Jessica, Cynthia, and Kristin couldn’t stop laughing. Even when you think, ‘This can’t be fun anymore,’ he continued because Willie was enjoying the challenge and time in front of the camera. Willie loved his time with the camera. The bittersweet part of that memory for me is that I was very, very ill at the time, and no one on set knew about it. He just went ahead and lit up the entire stage. “

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    ‘And Just Like That …’ is available on HBO Max.

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