It’s been 17 long years since we last saw Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte and the rest of Sex and the City. Or, to be more accurate, 11 years since we collectively decided to wipe the two big-screen movies from our memories. Not only because they were atrocious, but more because they felt at odds with the series that came before. Far from being a sharp and truthful exploration of thirtysomething womanhood, the films were tone deaf and gratingly hyper-glamorous.
On Thursday (9 December), the Sex and the City sequel series And Just Like That… finally arrived. We barely know a thing about it, or how much of the original show you’ll need to recall for it to make sense. From what we can gather, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) are still an item, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is AWOL.
There are also new cast members, including Nicole Ari Parker as a documentary filmmaker and Sara Ramirez as a non-binary comedian whose podcast features Carrie as a regular guest. Carrie’s close friend Stanford Blatch will also appear, with actor Willie Garson completing his scenes in the show before his death from cancer in September. Pictures from the set have also hinted at the returns of at least two major characters from the past, though we won’t reveal who they are here.
As for Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), their respective storylines remain a mystery, though both of their partners, David Eigenberg’s Steve and Evan Handler’s Harry, are back. So no Samantha-esque exits to be spoken of there at least.
To get you up to speed, here’s how we last left Sex and the City’s core cast…
As the original series continued, dating columnist and prolific narcissist Carrie became more and more professionally successful. Something of an international celebrity by the end of the show, she’d published a hit book inspired by her columns and was regularly featured in Vogue. Her personal life, however, tended to be a mess, particularly her endlessly dramatic relationship with businessman Big.
Having circled one another since the show’s very first episode, Carrie and Big always seemed to want different things at different times, while hurting friends and lovers in the process. Most notoriously, a season three storyline saw the pair engage in a torrid affair, despite Carrie being in a relationship with noble, kind carpenter Aidan (John Corbett), and Big being married to model Natasha (Bridget Moynahan). Thankfully, their endless back and forth appeared to culminate in a proper get-together in the series finale. It saw Big rushing to Paris to be with Carrie, who’d found herself isolated and depressed while dating the aloof Russian artist Aleksandr (Mikhail Baryshnikov). We also discovered Big’s real name: John.
Unfortunately, the Sex and the City movies saw the pair once again at each other’s throats. In the first film, Big got cold feet about the couple’s impending nuptials, and briefly ditched Carrie at the altar. After Big begged for forgiveness – and Carrie concluded that she let the expensive wedding get “bigger than Big” – the pair got back together and married.
By the sequel, though, the couple had lost some of their sparkle. Carrie began spending more and more time at her old apartment rather than Big’s home, and a trip to Abu Dhabi resurfaced her feelings for Aidan, who Carrie coincidentally ran into at a busy market. The pair had encountered one another before in the wake of their break-up, with Aidan confirming he’d had a baby with his new girlfriend, but this reunion was of a more intimate variety. Carrie and Aidan kissed, and Carrie later told Big everything. Big forgave her, and – because this was Sex and the City 2 – fixed all of their trust and intimacy issues by buying Carrie a massive diamond ring. Oof.
Smart yet occasionally cynical lawyer Miranda spent the last few seasons of Sex and the City anxiously balancing work and motherhood. She also had an on-again/off-again relationship with bar owner Steve – which produced a son, Brady – and the pair finally married in the final season. In yet another example of Miranda struggling to adjust to massive changes in her personal life, she spent much of the last run of episodes complaining about moving with Steve and Brady to a massive Brooklyn townhouse. The horror!
In the first movie, Miranda and Steve hit a sexual rut, with Steve later confessing that he’d cheated on her. The pair broke up, before agreeing to get back together. In the sequel, Miranda quit her job at a law firm after being shushed during a business meeting and expressed guilt for missing formative moments in Brady’s life. Because this was Sex and the City 2, all of Miranda’s work woes were wrapped up by her merely getting a job at a different law firm.
Charlotte York Goldenblatt
Much to her surprise, wealthy and traditional Charlotte found love not with a living Ken doll, but a bald, stocky lawyer named Harry. She converted to Judaism for him, but then struggled to conceive a child due to her long-standing fertility problems. In the show’s final season, the pair adopted a baby girl from China named Lily. In the first movie, Charlotte fell unexpectedly pregnant, and she and Harry had another daughter: Rose.
Previously an art dealer, Charlotte stopped working when she entered into a doomed marriage with the sexually dysfunctional Trey (Kyle MacLachlan). Given their enormous apartment in the divorce settlement, she decided to lean into her money and work whenever she wanted to. In Sex and the City 2, she appears to be volunteering at a museum. She also had a very silly subplot involving a flirty nanny who never wore a bra, which was resolved – because this was Sex and the City 2 – with a reveal that the nanny was a lesbian, followed by a congratulatory toast to women who can’t afford live-in staff. Welp.
The most outrageous and sexually progressive of the show’s main foursome, Samantha was the “sex” of Sex and the City. She’s also absent from And Just Like That…, with Cattrall turning down the chance to reprise her role and then setting fire to whatever – reportedly fraught – relationship she had with Parker in the process.
As recently confirmed by showrunner Michael Patrick King, Samantha is still very much alive in the Sex and the City universe, only… not there anymore. While we don’t yet know the details of how she drifted apart from Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda, she had already experimented with a bit of geographic distance between them in the films.
The first Sex and the City movie saw Samantha living in Los Angeles with her long-term boyfriend Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis). He was a handsome model-turned-actor who previously supported her through cancer treatment in the show’s final season. Despite enjoying her relationship, Samantha found herself pining for a less monogamous sex life once again, and had dumped Smith by the end of the movie before returning full-time to New York.
In the sequel, Samantha sparked an international incident by having sex on a beach in Abu Dhabi, before running afoul of conservative Muslim men who she proceeded to pelt with condoms. Apologies for reminding you of that. We last glimpsed her having sex with one of her PR clients, a man named Rikhard Spirt, who she had nicknamed – because this was Sex and the City 2 – “Dick Spurt”. Was it just one pun too far for Cattrall? Either way, we won’t be seeing her again.
‘And Just Like That…’ begins on Sky Atlantic on Thursday 9 December, and can be streamed the same day on NOW.