Now that Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is out in the world, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Gilmore Girls co-executive producer Daniel Palladino, are making the rounds to discuss their most recent deep dive into the lives of Lorelai and Rory.
The two of them took a few minutes earlier this week to answer Vulture’s burning questions about the final four words in A Year in the Life as well as the most important political question of our time: Would the residents of Stars Hollow have voted for Donald Trump?
Here’s what they had to say. (Note: No reporters fell asleep at any time during this interview.)
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: the final four words. You’ve said these were the same four words that would have marked the end of the original series. But did you ever contemplate changing the ending for A Year in the Life in a way that differed from that plan?
Amy Sherman-Palladino: We didn’t really know what that last season was until we got into it and then we asked a lot of questions and we found out where the show ended. The show could have ended in a different place that made those last four words completely irrelevant. So we went into breaking this in a way that we were really looking at it like these three women are at a crossroads. The patriarch has died and what’s the way forward for them?
Organically, the last four words fell into place on this. It’s not something we would have shoved in there if it hadn’t really led us to a good space and if we weren’t churning toward that anyhow. What’s interesting about the last four words as originally conceived is they would have been when [Rory] was 22, and while that still, I think, thematically would have worked with the whole idea of history repeating itself full freaking circle — you know, daughter follows in mother’s footsteps — to me it’s actually more interesting, it takes on more relevance, that it’s at the same age. She’s at the same age now that Lorelai was when we started the series.
That’s just an interesting kind of dynamic. When we met Lorelai, she was 32 and that’s where she was in her life and now we’re leaving Rory at 32 with the thing on the horizon. It felt kind of cooler to us to do it now than if we had done it when we were still on the WB.
Also, Rory has had an opportunity to live life and do some things that her mom didn’t.
ASP: She’s bringing more to whatever decision she makes than she would have at 22, fresh out of college.
Let me ask you this: Do you know who the father of Rory’s baby is?
ASP: We do.
Is it the same father you would have had in mind if you had done this when Rory was 22?
Daniel Palladino: Maybe not. I think when Amy first talked about the last four words — and we talked about them, like in season three, four, something like that, of the original series — it was really the moment that felt right and we quite frankly didn’t exactly know what the specific circumstances are.
ASP: Yeah, we didn’t know whose contracts would have been up by that point.
DP: We did not really look beyond it at all on A Year in the Life. I think people’s hunches are probably not going to be too far off. But we don’t have any plans. Like, if this story continued right now, we have not discussed, What would Rory have done? Where would she have gone? There’s options, there’s choices to be made. We know she started questioning that with her father. We tried to play that that was about the book, but in hindsight that was about this pregnancy and this journey that she’s trying to figure out.
ASP: Yeah, it was about raising a kid by yourself and the decisions that lead to that. The nice thing about that Christopher scene — I actually really like that scene and David Sutcliffe played it so beautifully, and he’s still so incredibly handsome, it’s disturbing. It’s like it takes on a different meaning once you know what those last four words are. I like scenes like that. You can look into it and gather whatever you want, but her motives for walking into that room were different now than what it appeared to be when she walked in in the first place.
I’m sure everyone is asking you this question, but do you want to do another season or series of mini-movies like this? Has that been discussed at this point?
DP: Nothing’s been discussed. This was kind of set as a one-off thing, but we would never have anticipated that we were going to do this up until a couple of years ago when it occurred to us. So we never say never. It wasn’t designed to go beyond this, but it certainly can go beyond this.
ASP: Yeah, it wasn’t the sales pitch. The sales pitch was, these are the four stories, this is A Year in the Life, this is what it’s going to be. There were no ulterior motives walking into that room to pitch, other than we think it will be really interesting to see where these women are over this particular year.
Because it ends the way that it does, some people may assume that, “Oh, they set it up to continue.”
ASP: Nope, not at all. We’ve always tried to not wrap things up in a bow. We tried to do that on the series. Because life isn’t like that. You can have a good moment with a parent you are estranged from, and you have a great moment, and then the next time you see them, everything’s back to the way it was before and you guys are throwing knives at each other. Life doesn’t tend to fix things or wrap them up in bows. Because of that, we wanted the ending of this to not have a pat, “And they all lived happily ever after!”
It’s not that it’s a sad ending, particularly, but it’s an ending of, “And life throws you another left turn and then you’ve got to go with the flow.” That’s what we’ve always tried to do, successfully or unsuccessfully, with the show over the life of it. We felt it would have been weird to end this year with, “Everyone’s happy! Yay! Unicorns for all!”
A detail that jumped out at me while I was watching was a poster with the date of Luke and Lorelai’s wedding, which would have been a few days before the election. I didn’t know if that was something that was …
ASP: They were so happy then. So innocent to the ways of the world.
DP: We were tempted to put something about — you know, because there was the prospect and the likelihood that there was going to be a woman president-elect at the very, very end. I think that poster [originally] indicated that it would be on November 19, I think it was post-election. I think it may have been post, you know, it was right around that time. We in this industry can’t afford to even predict the future even when it’s as certain as Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election. Quite frankly, this show — Amy and I are dyed in the wool liberals and very left wing. But the show, we always wanted it to be bipartisan and Stars Hollow is a — probably voted for Trump, mainly …
ASP: No. No, no, no, no.
DP: Oh, I think they did.
ASP: No, no, no, no, no.
DP: It’s rural America!
ASP: No, no, no, no, no. There is no evilness in Stars Hollow. Do not put that out there, I do not accept that. Absolutely not.
DP: Okay, maybe it’s a …
ASP: No. No.
DP: … clean, liberal …
ASP: No. No.
DP: … maybe.
ASP: No. No, no, no. The problem is that if we had known Satan was taking over the world we would have needed a whole other budget for, like, dragons and flying demons and, you know, like the sun disappearing from the world. Winter is coming. It would have been so expensive the way we would have needed to do it, had we known that the apocalypse was coming. It’s good we didn’t, so we didn’t have to spend all that money on horns, harpies — and Minotaurs and women with snakes.
It could have been a Game of Thrones–Gilmore Girls crossover, which would have been interesting.
At this point, a Netflix PR rep, coincidentally named Emily, breaks in: Jen, we’re out of time.
ASP: The whole world is out of time! That’s what you’re saying, Emily, right?
This interview has been edited and condensed.