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Why ‘And Just Like That’ Showrunner Wanted Willie Garson ‘To Be Alive as Stanford’ After Actor’s Death

1205156128 Why And Just Like That Writers Wanted Willie Garson To Be Alive as Stanford After Actors Death
Willie Garson attends Neuro Brands Presenting Sponsor At The Elton John AIDS Foundation's Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 09, 2020 in West Hollywood, California. John Sciulli/Getty Images for Neuro Brands

This post includes spoilers for the newest episode of And Just Like That.

And Just Like That has said a poignant goodbye to Willie Garson’s character, but the writers purposefully chose not to kill off Stanford.

“Ever since Willie died, what we had to do last year was explain the loss of our really wonderful friend and actor, Willie Garson playing Stanford Blatch,” showrunner Michael Patrick King said during the Thursday, August 17, episode of the show’s “The Writer’s Room” recap podcast. “The thing we came up with is that he went to Japan on a TikTok tour.”

King, 58, explained that Stanford’s sudden move was a “a Band-Aid” to adjust his story line following Garson’s death in September 2021 at the age of 57. “It was a fast fix,” King said. “It was a little bit, it was like thin ice. We skated over it ‘cause we had to, ‘cause he wasn’t in the show suddenly and we didn’t want Stanford to die. We wanted Willie to be alive as Stanford somewhere in the world.”

During season 1, it was revealed that Stanford relocated from New York to Japan in order to manage his TikTok influencer client. Thursday’s new episode explained that Stanford was now living in Kyoto as a Shinto monk.

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“He had a big, ugly fight with his TikTok client. She fired him and ran off to Berlin, he wandered around Kyoto for days crying,” Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw explained to Stanford’s estranged husband, Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone), noting her BFF sent her a handwritten note. “[He] eventually found his way into a temple where, I guess, he stopped crying and he wrote, ‘Carrie, for the first time in my life, I felt peace, real peace.’”

Carrie added: “He also wrote that, ‘My lawyers have enclosed all the legal work needed. The apartment and all of my belongings are now his.’ I want no attachments. I have let go of all things that no longer serve me and I let it all go with love.”

Why And Just Like That Writers Wanted Willie Garson To Be Alive as Stanford After Actors Death Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker, Willie Garson
Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Willie Garson. Craig Blankenhorn / HBO Max

King, for his part, chose Kyoto as Stanford’s next chapter after he visited the Japanese city with Parker, 58, in 2010 after Sex in the City 2 came out. “It’s gorgeous, but I have had growth much like Nya [Wallace, played by Karen Pittman] has growth about the baby carriage,” King said, referring to Nya purchasing an expensive baby shower present for ex-husband Andre Rashad (Leroy McClain) and his pregnant girlfriend in Thursday’s episode. “We went to Kyoto and I was in some sort of an emotional shockwave [after the movie was panned by critics] and I was going from temple to temple with Sarah Jessica. I was sitting there trying to release these complicated feelings and I felt kind of at peace.”

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He continued: “I wanted to somehow pay tribute to Willie and put Stanford someplace where it was golden and filled with light because I hope Willie’s someplace that’s golden and filled with light and it was poetic and it’s very emotional.”

Carrie and Anthony closed out the scene by toasting “Stanny” with Cosmopolitans. “Sarah Jessica chose to drink the entire drink in one gulp,” King quipped of Parker’s “baller” improv moment. “It says so much to me about how big that toast is for her, to Stanford and I think Willie.”

New episodes of And Just Like That drop Thursdays on Max.

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