The Best Man: The Final Chapters Will Give Its Women Characters 'Fully Realized' Arcs, Showrunners Say

Malcolm D. Lee wrote the 1999 film The Best Man with the desire to showcase Black men like him who were underrepresented on screen at the time — the “educated, upwardly mobile African Americans who were just ‘normal.’”

Now, 23 years later, Lee is set to launch all eight episodes of the Peacock limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters this Thursday, Dec. 22. Picking up where we left off with the 2013 sequel The Best Man Holiday, the show will catch audiences up with the friend group as they grapple with midlife crises and rebirths while entering a different stage of their lives.

“It’s a continuation of these characters that people were introduced to back in 1999, who were in their postgraduate, mid-twenties figuring out life and career, marriage and friendship,” Lee, who serves as a co-showrunner on the series, tells TVLine.

“People will get what they we’ve come to expect from the two Best Man movies, which is complications of life and friendship and relationships and marriage and raising kids now and being in the sandwich years between raising kids and trying to wrangle your parents. There’s a lot going on, and I think, particularly since we’ve had this pandemic, there’s been a lot of reassessing and reevaluation.”

The Best Man: The Final ChaptersWhile the first two films focused primarily on the men, including bestselling author Harper (played by Taye Diggs) and NFL star Lance (Morris Chestnut), the show will take a closer look at some of its sidelined women characters, offering a more balanced story when it comes to the beloved ensemble.

“The fact that we’ve got eight hours of television to do that, it would be criminal not to go more into the female characters,” Lee added, noting that more than half of the Peacock series’ writers’ room was comprised of women. “I really wanted to make sure we had that perspective that I don’t possess. I’m married to a Black woman, but she has her own thing she’s going to be doing. She can’t be helping me write scripts.”

For former Insecure writer/executive producer Dayna Lynne North, who co-developed, wrote and produced The Final Chapters alongside Lee, it was essential to bring the women’s voices to the forefront of the show.

“Coming into this era of the franchise and adapting it for television, it was important to me that the women not feel like they were counterparts or supporting players to the men’s stories,” the co-showrunner shares. “Coming from a series like Insecure [and] being a Black woman with a company called Loud Sis Productions, it was important to me to come into this franchise and make sure that the women had fully realized, three-dimensional layered arcs.”

The Best Man: The Final ChaptersThat meant exploring more sides of a character like Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), who’d been previously portrayed as a fiery, reality housewife figure with not much depth to her.

“She’s been this fun, clapback-y, love-to-hate-her kind of character in the first two films,” North explains. “She was funny, and we can enjoy her. It was funny to see her randomly end up with Quentin [in both The Best Man and Best Man Holiday].”

“But it’s like, ‘Who is this woman beyond that? Beyond just the woman who lost Murch?’” she continues. “It was like, ‘What is the arc? What does it look like to get to know this woman and actually care about this character?’ Sure, she’s still somebody that you’ve got to roll your eyes at, but it was fun to create a character that I now love. That’s what’s been fun: building out each of these characters and really creating a lens into their world the same way we have a lens into each of the men.”