A lot of attention has been paid to who may or may not be participating in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival. But series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino‘s still reeling from the loss of the one person who definitely won’t be back: the late Edward Hermann, who played patriarch Richard Gilmore during the show’s original seven-season run.
“Ed’s dying [in 2014] was so f—ed up,” laments the writer-director. “It was unexpected. He didn’t really let anyone know he was sick. He was a very proud dude. So none of us really got to say goodbye to him. It was very hard, especially for Lauren [Graham] and Alexis [Bledel]. He was like their other father.”
Incorporating the veteran actor’s passing into the four-part continuation was never a question, insists Sherman-Palladino. “He was part of us, and he’s gone,” she sighs. “You couldn’t just say, ‘Oh, Richard died peacefully in his sleep, and now we’re going to go to the cherry-picking festival.’ It’s painful. I still choke up when I talk about it, because I wasn’t prepared for it.”
What impact will the loss have on Emily, Lorelai and Rory? In Part 2 of my Q&A with AS-P, the revival’s co-architect addresses that question, while also weighing in on which of Rory’s men will re-enter her orbit, how she hopes Netflix will release the four 90-minute installments (hint: not all at once!) and whether or not cuss words will make their debut in Stars Hollow. Oh, and does Gilmore‘s infamous AS-P-less Season 7 exist in this world? Yep, she tackles that, too.
TVLINE | What can you say about the role Richard’s absence plays in these four episodes?
When the series first started, we picked up with Lorelai having this life in place and then something changed where she had to bring her parents back into the mix, which was basically going to start a whole new existence for herself. Rory was going to leave her cocooned environment and go to a new school with a bunch of kids who were very different. She was falling in love for the first time, so she was changing. And Emily had been dealing with not really having her daughter or granddaughter as part of her life and suddenly she manipulated them back into her world. So her life was changing, too. So the pilot started where all three women were at a change in their lives. And it felt like, well that’s where we need to start [the revival]. It’s later in their lives and we’re meeting up with them and finding out what they’ve been doing but, more than that, that all three of their lives are going to change. And for Emily, it had to be that Richard was gone. And what did that mean? What does it mean for all three of the girls? [A tragedy like that] brings up thoughts of, “Where am I? Where am I going? What am I doing?” Because it’s mortality. Something they loved is gone, which means things you love will not be around forever. And you can’t take them for granted.
The Gilmore house [where Richard and Emily lived] isn’t done yet. It’s the one set I’m really prepping myself for. Because Lorelai’s house is done. And The Dragonfly is done. Stars Hollow was Grease up until an hour ago. [Laughs] We get it back today and we start making it Stars Hollow again. It’s walking onto that Gilmore set that is going to be a very different feel, because one piece is missing. So it looms large over the work that we’ll do. And definitely the stories are of where the ladies are and where they’re going.
TVLINE | The events of Season 7 — do they exist in this world?
Well, it’s not like it’s “The Lost Weekend” and they’re John Lennon and they don’t remember. The good thing about Season 7 is, it didn’t take certain story elements from me that I would’ve wanted to play. We had to sort of catch up on Season 7. We did a lot through asking our friends who are obsessive Gilmore fans and have watched every moment to talk us through what happened. And I’ve seen bits and pieces. But the main thing was: We weren’t going to take something and do it even though Season 7 negated it. That wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to say to the fans who stayed through Season 7, “Hey, you all wasted your f—ing time for a whole season. So, ignore all that!” We had to pick them up where they left off. Luckily, the elements that we really wanted to play were not taken or destroyed by whatever they did in Season 7. So it actually worked out quite nicely.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about Rory’s men. Who’s coming back, who isn’t…
Deals are not done yet. [Laughs] Even though we’re filming tomorrow. This is why I’m 100 years old. I just want to say… I’m 100. Our plan is to get as many of the lovely men back as possible. We’ve also had certain storylines we had to [tweak] because, apparently, there are still budgetary restrictions in Hollywood. I don’t understand that. I sort of feel like, “This is the story I want to tell, and somebody should just pay for it.” [Laughs] Apparently, it doesn’t work like that. Very irritating. So, certain storylines — one of which involved one of the boys — had been taken out of our hands. We’re still dealing with who’s going to be in it. We definitely want to see them. And we have storylines planned. I just need someone to tell me they’re going to show up.
TVLINE | Is Rory single or attached when we meet up with her in “Winter”?
She’s…. single in the sense that she’s not married. But she’s dating like any young woman with that face would be.
TVLINE | Do you know if Netflix plans to release these four 90-minute installments all at once? Do you have a preference?
My preference would be they would not be released at once, because I feel like there’s going to be anticipation, and I think the diehard fans would enjoy it more with a little separation. Because the last thing you want is for someone to jump to the last episode and [ruin] it for everybody — which I think would happen, quite frankly, in this day and age of binging. So my preference would be to release them at least a day apart. Let people get a little sunlight and go for a walk around the corner. [Laughs] We have not spoken to Netflix about it, so I don’t know what their thought process is yet. But we’re planning to throw it out there.
TVLINE | You’re on Netflix now, which means you can curse. Will we hear Emily drop an F-bomb?
We’re debating that still. [Laughs] The weird thing about Gilmore is… you’ve lived a life with these people and there is a language to them. And the minute that somebody steps out of that it just feels weird. We’ve [written] a couple of lines where we’ve thrown [curses] in and it’s sort of… just feels weird. We’re just trying to find that right balance. We didn’t really have that problem [during Gilmore‘s original run]. It’s like when you see a show on ABC about drug dealers and they’re all going, “Hey, man…. frak you!” You’ve got cops out on the beat and they’re saying, “You creepy guy! Get down on all fours!” It’s like, what? You need to say, “Get down on all fours you f—ing piece of s–t!” There are venues where you need language for the stories you’re telling. We never needed that, honestly. We never needed Taylor to go on a foul-mouthed, “You f—ing a–holes in Stars Hollow.” For us, our language is more about Hepburn and Tracy and less about f—ity f–k f–k f–k.