Warning: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for And Just Like That episodes 1 & 2.

The long-awaited Sex & The City reboot started with a truly shocking twist when And Just Like That… killed off Chris Noth’s Mr Big. Better known as John James Preston, the original character had been an ever-present since the first season and appeared in both Sex & The City movies, despite publicly expressing his disdain for the storylines. Rumors had circulated that he wouldn’t return for the revival, but in contrast, And Just Like That… chose to kill him off with a heart attack at the end of the first episode.

Mr Big was always presented as Carrie Bradshaw’s happy ending, despite how volatile their relationship was across Sex & The City‘s 6 seasons. He was a constant and while fans of the show were quite vocal about the belief that Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie should have ended up with John Corbett’s Aidan, Sex & The City‘s ending felt perfect at the time. And Just Like That…‘s first episode seemed to prove that their relationship was the right resolution in the Aidan vs Big debate, given that they’d clearly spent the past decade since Sex & The City 2 in wedded bliss, negotiating the struggles of lockdown most recently.

Related:Sex & The City: Why Carrie’s New Bestie Can’t Be A Samantha Clone

Sadly for Big, the writing had been on the wall for that whole decade since the last Sex & The City movie was so badly received. Noth’s character had been affected by heart disease in the original show, much to Carrie’s dismay, and the original plan of the canceled Sex & The City 3 would have seen Mr Big killed off early, with Carrie healing for the rest of the plot. Given how publicly Noth criticized the plots of both movies for being too “cheesy” in the wake of their release, it’s fitting that he was killed off to give And Just Like That… more darkness and depth to play with. That at least explains why he agreed to return as part of And Just Like That…‘s cast, even after his comments. Ultimately, Sex & The City was always about Carrie’s single life in New York, and removing her happy ending to force her back into that world, but without the caveat of her actively looking for love is a brave new world for this universe.

When the rumors that Big wouldn’t be returning to And Just Like That… emerged as recently as February 2021, Chris Noth batted them away mysteriously on Instagram. Per a Variety report, the cast of the Sex & The City revival made $650K-$750K per episode, so there was clearly financial incentive to return for Noth, but it’s narratively that Big’s death has the biggest impact, proving it will be the right decision. Aside from Aidan’s return – which hopefully will not set up a new happy ending for Carrie – Big being out of the picture means Carrie can return to exploring the relationship world as an active part of the single community. And given her new job on a startlingly modern podcast with Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sara Ramirez and comedian Bobby Lee, it feels right for her to not be the happy coupled up version she opened the show as. It’s harsh, but it works, and exploring grief alongside love is not something Sex & The City has done before.

Big’s death was a big part of Sex & The City‘s script, with “Origins” podcast host James Andrew Miller revealing that he would have died in the same way: “…it calls for Mr. Big to die of a heart attack in the shower, relatively early on in the film, making the remainder of the movie more about how Carrie recovers from Big’s death than about the relationship between the four women.” That was allegedly why Kim Cattrall’s Samantha didn’t want to return, because of the changed dynamic and how it impacted the story available for Carrie’s friends, Samantha, Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). It makes sense that the story was revived, and that Noth would return for it to be paid off, but there are some legitimate concerns that And Just Like That… will unwittingly sideline the relationship between Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda as the “main star” works through her grief.

Next: And Just Like That: How Many Episodes (And When The Finale Releases)

New episodes of And Just Like That… stream on HBO Max every Thursday

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Author: Simon Gallagher