'And Just Like That' ... Showrunner Reveals Stanford's Original Plotline Before Willie Garson's Death

And Just Like That... showrunner Michael Patrick King talks about the intended storyline for Stanford Blatch that was scrapped when Willie Garson, the actor who portrayed him, died last September

willie garson
Photo: Hbo/Darren Star Productions

And Just Like That... creator Michael Patrick King has revealed details about what would have been for Willie Garson's Stanford Blatch had the actor not died during filming last fall.

Stanford was the friend and confidante to Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) throughout both the original series as well as the first three episodes of the HBO Max original that premiered in December. During a Q&A with Variety published on Tuesday, King shared that he had intended for Garson's character to appear in every episode.

"He was in all 10 episodes. Before I knew that Willie was sick and couldn't complete it, Stanford was going to have a midlife crisis," the showrunner said.

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"Stanford's character always had a borderline career as a manager, and we were like going to explore the fact that it wasn't a real career," King continued. "It was going to be Carrie and him, feeling the shifts. Anthony [Marentino, Stanford's husband played by Mario Cantone] and him were probably going to have split anyway."

Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker and Willie Garson are seen filming "And Just Like That..." the follow up series to "Sex and the City" on July 23, 2021 in New York City.
Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker and Willie Garson filming "And Just Like That..." in July. Gotham/GC Images

"Then we would keep both of them in, and everybody would be relieved that they were divorced because it was not pleasant for anybody," he added. "But there was a series of really fun, flirty, hilarious confidante scenes with Carrie that I loved. That old, old, very specific chemistry that Carrie and Stanford have, which is based totally on the uniqueness of Willie and Sarah Jessica's history."

The plan for the character had to be changed drastically when King and the other writers on And Just Like That... learned of Garson's battle with pancreatic cancer that ultimately took his life in September.

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Instead, Garson was written off the show in episode four with a sudden work-related move to Tokyo that he told Carrie about via a handwritten letter.

King said writing Garson out of the story in that manner was "the most threadbare writing I've ever done," which he felt was obligatory given the nature of the circumstances surrounding the actor's departure from filming.

"Life and death is one thing in fiction: When it's real, it's not funny or cute. I didn't want to even flirt narratively with cute business about where he is," King told Variety. "I knew the audience would never invest in it, because they knew he was never coming back. It's the most threadbare writing I've ever done just to move him along without much maneuvering, because it was just so sad. There was no way I could write myself out of that in any charming, cute way."

RELATED VIDEO: Kristin Davis Tears Up Remembering Late Willie Garson: 'Wish He Was Here'

The first season of And Just Like That... concludes this Thursday with the 10th episode, and it is still unclear whether HBO Max will greenlight a second go-round.

However, Variety also reported on Tuesday that Parker is "definitely" into the idea of continuing the series, as is King.

Timed to the release of this week's season finale, HBO Max is also planning to debut And Just Like That... The Documentary, which will explore more of how the Sex and the City revival was put together from behind the scenes.

On Monday, the streamer dropped a trailer for the doc, which heavily features the fashion of the new show and goes into the writers' room. Billed as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "the first season," And Just Like That... The Documentary indeed gives fans hope that more is in store for Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte.

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