Not a single turquoise ring was in sight when John Corbett made his big return as Aidan Shaw in this week’s episode of the Sex and the City spin-off And Just Like That. And that was very much by design, according to showrunner Michael Patrick King.
On the latest episode of the companion podcast And Just Like That… The Writers Room, King said he wanted to ensure that Corbett came back “differently,” which entailed a major style update for his character. “We gave John a makeover,” King said. “We cut his hair, we took the turquoise jewelry away. We told him he had to be rock hard when he came back.”
As for Corbett’s reaction, “He was eating fried chicken when I told him, and he dropped the fried chicken on the plate and fell down in the booth that we were sitting in and said, ‘I knew I was a fatty,'” King recalled. “Then he came back rock hard with short hair.”
Though King thought Aidan 1.0 was “perfect,” the shift boiled down to “a story choice,” he explained. “If we’re bringing somebody back, we have to find some way to bring them back in a new way.”
Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn/Max Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett on ‘And Just Like That’
On Sex and the City, Aidan was an on-again, off-again beau of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), and a fan-favorite character. In season 2 of And Just Like That, he and Carrie — a widow since the series premiere — reconnect after she sends him an email. But their reunion hits a snag when Carrie’s phone dies and she shows up at the wrong restaurant.
According to King, that plot point was inspired by a mishap he experienced with SATC and AJLT alum Chris Noth prior to the spin-off’s debut season. “He told me to meet him at a restaurant,” King said, “and the actual locations that you see in the show are those two restaurants.”
The showrunner also offered a tease about Carrie and Aidan’s dynamic for the rest of the season. “We have tricks up our sleeves as to how he is new and what we can actually do with the storyline considering all the water under the bridge, all the pain they’ve already been through,” King said. “How much Carrie has hurt him in the past, according to fanboards. Twice. And how badly he took the breakup. In order to wrestle all those realties and not throw them away, this would be the emotional equivalent of saying, ‘We have to do something new with this dynamic that we haven’t done before.'”
Courtesy: HBO/Everett Collection Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett on ‘Sex and the City’
Corbett isn’t the only familiar face from Sex and the City who will feature in the new season: Kim Cattrall is set to make her grand return as Samantha in a season 2 finale cameo. Details are scarce, but Cattrall will appear in one scene in a phone conversation with Carrie, leading into a cliffhanger.
Cattrall recently told Today that the cameo “is as far as I’m going to go” in terms of reprising her role. Still, she said, “I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to Samantha. She’s like a lot of other characters that I’ve done over the years. I get very emotionally attached and protective of my characters. She gave me so much, and I’m so appreciative of her.”
New episodes of AJLT drop Thursdays on Max. Listen to King’s podcast episode above.