While (spoiler alert) the death of John James Preston has launched significant amounts of story for the characters on the HBO Max series And Just Like That, a real-life death of one of the beloved cast members dealt a serious blow to both cast and crew members. Willie Garson (who plays Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved gay friend Stanford Blatch) passed away in September as cameras rolled on what is being called the “next chapter” of Sex and the City. While Stanford appeared in the first three episodes of the series, he was not in the fourth, but left his loyal friend Carrie Bradshaw a note indicating that he would be moving to Tokyo with the teen TikTok star that he was now managing (the letter started with “Dearest Carrie, By the time you read this I will be in Tokyo. I couldn’t call you—not without crying”). Stanford followed up by telling his husband Anthony Marentino that he wanted a divorce (who he famously married at the beginning of the film Sex and the City 2, complete with Liza Minnelli officiating).
While the original plan was for us to see more of Garson’s beloved Stanford, his health unfortunately made continuing to film impossible. Showrunner Michael Patrick King did confirm to TV Line that Garson was originally poised to be in “all ten episodes of the series”. The move to Tokyo for Stanford might have seemed sudden, but King says “we had to put some patch to explain his absence,…so I tried to make the lightest thin ice to just skate over.” Stanford working as a talent manager for TikTok stars “was already in the storylines,” he went on to say. “We just had him go to Japan.”
According to King, there was one more pivotal scene Garson almost filmed with Sarah Jessica Parker that we never got to see. King said “there was a beautiful last scene that was going to be between Carrie and Stanford that he wasn’t well enough to do, which explained a little bit more.” Writer Julie Rottenberg told TVLine “We thought we might have more time, and we didn’t, and that is the definition of reality getting in the way of plans.”
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