Even though the cast of Gilmore Girls has been apart for nearly a decade, it wasn't awkward to transition back into their characters when they came together on set to shoot Netflix's upcoming revival.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life marks the return of Lorelai (Lauren Graham), Rory (Alexis Bledel), Luke (Scott Patterson) and the rest of the original cast in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. The revival will take place over the course of four 90-minute episodes, with each installment representing a different season in the life of the characters. The show will still focus on the relationship between Lorelai and daughter Rory, but according to showrunner and series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, it will be a little more mature than the original series.
"Now, it's not a high school girl and her mom," Sherman-Palladino said at the summer 2016 Television Critics Association Press Tour. "It's two women. Two chicks! They can have cocktails together, and sit and drink and talk together."
If the former Gilmore Girls series was about Rory's transformation into a young woman and how that affected her relationship with her mom, the revival is about exploring how those relationships change as people get older. And, more importantly, according to Graham, how they stay the same.
"It's not a show about a little girl anymore, but it's still about the dynamics between these two characters," Graham said. "They've grown up, but they're kind of the same."
"They can have cocktails together"
Right before the press conference started, TCA members were shown a two-minute clip from the winter-themed episode. In the scene, Rory was returning home to Stars Hollow and was talking to her mother about how life has changed. It featured the aspects of the show that fans have come to love in the series: rapid-fire dialogue and intimate moments between Rory and Lorelai. The chemistry that sold their relationship in the first seven seasons was definitely back.
When asked if it took some time to get reacquainted with one another after nearly 10 years apart, Graham said that it felt like coming home, and there wasn't one moment of hesitation when she and Bledel stepped on set.
"It was literally like no time had passed," Graham said. "It was not difficult. It was easy, it was joyous. It was exhilarating. It was the old show. There was no sense like we were trying to resuscitate something. It felt like it was meant to continue."
Bledel agreed, and said that when she read the first script from Sherman-Palladino, it felt like Rory had never really gone away.
"It's all on the page," Bledel said. "Amy's writing just informs you right away. You know how it's supposed to be and it's all right there for you."
Still, there were a few moments of uncertainty surrounding the revival when Netflix expressed interest. Graham said they didn't know if they could go with Netflix in the first place or how that would change the pace of the show — or even if it would — and how that would play into filming.
For Sherman-Palladino, the biggest concern was whether or not all of the episodes would be released at once or if they would roll out independently.
The biggest part of the revival, Sherman-Palladino said, is the last four words spoken at the end of the fourth part. It's a journey, the creator said, and she was worried that if Netflix posted all four episodes at once, people would watch that last scene first and post spoilers online. Despite her attempts to get the streaming service to roll out the episodes one by one, she ultimately conceded to Netflix's wishes and agreed to have all four released simultaneously.
"I told Netflix that I was going to hang myself from a shower curtain if they put it out at once, and they said, 'Can we help you with that? We have really nice shower curtains,'" Sherman-Palladino said. "It's such a journey, and we live in the age of the internet. Someone is going to post that spoiler. But we can't always get what we want."
Even with the unfortunate release format for the show, Sherman-Palladino said that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life wouldn't have happened without Netflix's backing, or to an even larger extent, without the reignited interest from fans just discovering the show thanks to the streaming service. Sherman-Palladino said she'll finally be able to answer questions about all of Rory's ex-boyfriends — who appear throughout the four parts — and where Lorelai is personally. Questions, she added, she couldn't address previously.
"People come up to me and say, 'My daughter wanted to go to Yale because of Rory,' or, 'My daughter read books because of Rory,'" Sherman-Palladino said. "And now there's a whole new generation of people who are discovering that, too. We're able to revisit beloved characters but in a completely different way."
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres Nov. 25 on Netflix.