'Amy and I have not thought at all what would possibly happen to Rory beyond that moment,' Daniel Palladino tells EW
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now.
“Mom?” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.”
Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino knew how she wanted to end the series for roughly 15 years — and thanks to the Netflix revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, now fans know too. But the famed final four words — spoken by the title women, Rory (Alexis Bledel) and her mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) — left viewers with a host of questions. To help answer some, EW spoke with Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Gilmore Girls writer, producer, and director Daniel Palladino, about that surprise finale.
If you’ve known these final four words all these years, was Rory originally going to be younger when she got pregnant?
AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO: Originally it was going to be that she was 22, just getting out of college and heading off to get a master’s somewhere — Oxford or whatever those smart people do. It’s interesting because we went in breaking these [episodes] on their own merit, feeling like if the last four words work, great. If they don’t, then we don’t use them. And interestingly enough, her being the same age as Lorelai [when the show began] turned out to be much better. I still wanted the element of history repeats itself — the daughter following in the mother’s footsteps — and I think that would’ve worked in either age range.
Please tell me Rory isn’t having a boy!
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: I don’t know, she hasn’t had the baby yet. We have to wait until it comes out.
DANIEL PALLADINO: It was an open ending and there’s a lot of unanswered questions about what her next move would be.
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: It wasn’t open-ended for any nefarious reasons. It’s open-ended because life is open-ended. One of the things that I always liked that we did on Gilmore is we never ended things with a hug, we never concluded things, we never had the moment where it’s like, “Everything is going to be okay.” I think that that was the element here — it seems like Lorelai’s settled, it seems like Emily’s settled, but you know what? Life continues and life never is settled until you’re dead and somebody throws you in a box.
Now that you’ve seen the final four words play out, are you satisfied with your ending or did it leave you wanting more?
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: We’re very happy about the four episodes in their entirety. These were the stories we wanted to tell. We’re very proud of it; we’re very proud of the actors. We wanted to give the fans something special, a little thank you for being fans all these years for the little show that could. This is the way we wanted it to end. I think we’re still there. We’re at the place of: It just got out there, people are just seeing them, we’re happy about the fact that they’re out, for so long we couldn’t talk about them and now, we can! We can talk about them with people, with fans, and with our family, who we didn’t tell anything to either. We haven’t talked to our family for two years so it’s like, “Now we can talk to you people.”
PALLADINO: They definitely want more.
Do you all consider this a happy ending?
PALLADINO: I don’t.
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: No, we weren’t going for a happy ending.
PALLADINO: But we don’t see it as a tragic ending. It really is just one of those…
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: Life goes in circles.
PALLADINO: Yes, and there’s all sorts of options for her out there and actually, Amy and I have not thought at all what would possibly happen to Rory beyond that moment.
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: This was all about three women at a crossroads choosing their paths. Rory’s path was she was the girl that planned everything and life has shown her she can’t plan anything because it doesn’t matter what you plan. I’m sure she thought someday she was going to have a kid, but it was going to be under certain circumstance and a certain timeframe with a certain person — even the idea of a certain person, and the fact that this happens to her of anybody, it’s just life. We’ve always tried to keep Gilmore on the level of: It’s a show about deep ties, deep love, and family, and it’s never supposed to be happy puppies and unicorns. That was not our goal. Our goal was to entertain but our goal was also, disappointment makes you who you are in life; left turns make you who you are and you don’t plan for those. That’s what makes you an interesting person.
As much as we have fanciful stuff going on in Gilmore, we always tried to stay true to that — this is the curveball that life would throw you. That’s why we didn’t have people say “I love you every” three seconds, that’s why we didn’t have people hugging and kissing every three seconds, because that doesn’t happen! That’s not the way it is! Love is something that is shown, not said. And we always tried to have our people show each other, not say it to each other because words sometimes don’t mean anything. We don’t look at it as a tragedy, obviously, but we also don’t look at it like, “Yay happy ending!” We just look at it like, “Holy s–t, now I’ve got another decision to make. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, something else comes along.” That’s the kind of storytelling we like.
Was the idea to have Rory write the Gilmore Girls book something you’d known all along?
PALLADINO: That is something that popped up in the revival. We knew that we wanted Rory to be struggling in a field where a lot of people are struggling — there’s a lot of chaos in that world and we love that world, so we wanted to show it honestly. We stumbled upon this in our talking about these four chapters: What would be the thing and who would give her that idea? It made sense for Jess to give her that idea, he’s practically family since he’s Luke’s nephew and he and she were so close and we indicate that Jess would like to be closer, but they were both star-crossed in their own ways. But he knew her enough to know that, “You have a chance at writing a really interesting story if you write your story.”