It all goes back to Carrie's last voiceover in the finale of Sex and the City, says the showrunner — who also explains why Peloton's response to the shocker is "fantastic."

WARNING: This interview contains spoilers for the first two episodes of And Just Like That.

Television giveth, and television taketh away. For those Sex and the City fans still reeling from The Huge Thing That Happened in the series premiere of And Just Like That, perhaps this will help ease your pain: Creator Michael Patrick King says there was simply no way he could conceive of a SATC revival without having said Huge Thing happen.

"I wouldn't have come back and risked everything that we risked by bringing these characters back if I didn't have a really bold, strong narrative as a writer," he tells EW, "and if I didn't have an actress like Sarah Jessica Parker, who I knew would be devastatingly good in it."

Still feel sad? Well, read on for more from King about what's next for Carrie, whether the door is still open for Kim Cattrall to return, and why we should all stop being mad at Peloton.

And Just Like That…
Sarah Jessica Parker on 'And Just Like That'
| Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When in the process of creating And Just Like That did you decide that Mr. Big [Chris Noth] had to shuffle off this mortal coil?

MICHAEL PATRICK KING: Before. I mean, I wouldn't have come back if I didn't have a really strong impulse [to explore the idea of] "is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?" for the character who has done nothing but tried to find love from this one person.  

I also felt comfortable because the DNA is the same. People forget, Carrie never had Big in the series. She had him briefly — a minute or two. And she doesn't have Big now. It's just a different circumstance. It's more final.

People are like, "How could you have done this?" The last voiceover in the series is why I did it. Everybody thinks when she's walking down the street and Big says "I'm coming, baby" that that's the happy ending. And it is. But what Carrie's really saying in the voiceover is that the most significant, challenging, loving relationship you will ever have is the one you make with yourself. And if you find somebody else who sees you, that's fabulous. So this [show] is about the significant, challenging, loving relationship — we're trying to prove the thesis and the theory that you're enough.

Tonally, And Just Like That differs from SATC — it's darker and the episodes are longer. Were you always aiming for a more dramatic feel?

It's interesting because people have already said the first episode is so shocking and it's like, no, the last two minutes of the first episode are so shocking. The rest of it feels like so much of the old franchise. It's colorful and bright and comic and wide and glamorous and New York. The last three minutes are devastating. Now the second episode should have that feeling [of darkness]. We lost somebody we love. We're building an entire series on Carrie's loss. But even in that second episode, Carrie is holding it together. And as you go on, it gets lighter and lighter and lighter. I mean, I have no interest in leading the audience into a dark woods and leaving them there. I don't wanna depress anyone. I want to shock people. I want them to feel. I want them to go through stuff.

Carrie fell down on the runway and got up, kept going. Carrie fell down here; Big fell down. She's gotta get up and keep going. And how we do that with the help of her friends is really the journey. Because to me there's nothing more significant than the strength you get from friendships in the bad times. When I've suffered a death and my friends show up for me, it's like, "Oh, that's why friends exist." They're not your family — but they're more than your family. And with Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, and then Kristin [Davis] and Cynthia [Nixon] and Sarah Jessica, it's like, we could go anywhere. I wanted to make sure people knew it was a different show, because there's a difference between 35 and 55. It doesn't mean you're dead just 'cause Big died.

In an earlier interview you talked about how in the original series single women in their 30s were treated like they have "no worth." Now, in And Just Like That, the view is if you're a woman in your 50s you have "no worth." What is interesting to you about approaching Carrie and Co. from that perspective?

Well, I love a show that has a villain, and the villain is society. And as an outsider myself, I love to buck society. I love to say, "Oh, is that what you think? I'm gay, so I should be invisible? I should feel bad? I should feel shame? Oh, is that what you think? Okay. Watch what I do with my life." I love the idea of women being told by society that they have no value because of their age, especially these women. And I also love the idea of having other women come in that they haven't met to deepen and challenge them as people and support them as well.

If you look at television, you can be in your 30s — but next time you have to be retired and play a grandma. I have actress friends who are 50 who have to go up for grandmother parts.

And then we have these three amazing actresses. I mean, Charlotte says, "I'm 55." Miranda says, "I'm 55." We're not pulling any punches. Like, go ahead, come at us. We're telling you the truth. We're 55. We're not ashamed. We're single, we're not ashamed. Same DNA.

The ensemble of And Just Like That definitely reflects the world we live in more than the original series did. What discussions did you have in the writers' room about the challenge of integrating the BIPOC characters and LGBTQ characters properly, and making sure they aren't just there to teach these white women about the world?

First of all, we were never coming back without them. It was like, Big had to die and there had to be BIPOC and other characters in the show. It wasn't like, "Oh, we're coming back now. How do we fix this?" No. It was endemic to where the world is. We've always tried to reflect society where it is. When you're 35 and you're a white woman and you're trying to find love, which is what the book was… what you're thinking about is right there, right in front of you: "I gotta find people like me to be with." That's what society told you: to find people like you to be with.

The world isn't like that now. The world's like, "You've got to open up." It's an interestingly aggressive sort of challenge to bring in characters that represent others when you don't have that experience personally. But we've always done that in the writing room — we've brought different women in to [share their] experience of what being 30 was like. So now I had to open up the door deliberately to find writers of color with specific points of view, besides their color as well. I got Samantha Irby, Keli Goff, and Rachna Fruchbom to join Julie [Rottenberg] and Elisa [Zuritsky] and me.

The scene in the premiere when Carrie and Miranda are talking about missing Samantha was really emotional to watch. It feels like maybe you're leaving the door open for a Kim Cattrall return. Is that accurate?

No. It's Carrie and Miranda talking about their friendship, and how strange it is that they're not together forever. It's not a tease saying Kim Cattrall's coming back. Samantha lives in London. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha have had a little bit of a split. So really what it is, and why it resonates, is because everybody believes those friendships were forever. The audience believed those friendships were forever, and so did the main characters. We're trying to mirror that feeling, but it's not an invite. It's a story point.

Finally, what did you think of Peloton's statement about Big's death?

What was Peloton's statement?

They basically said, "Big's Peloton probably kept him alive longer than he would've lived without it."

That's true [laughs heartily]. Good! That's fantastic. He was in great shape. He had a history of heart problems in the series. It's in the series. Well, they're good sports.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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And Just Like That (TV series)

The story of Sex and the City continues as Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda navigate life, love, and friendship in their 50s.

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