Dawson’s Creek’s Mary-Margaret Humes Reflects on Show 20 Years Later, Reveals Reboot Ideas

The WB aired the first-ever episode of Dawson’s Creek on January 20, 1998, and the show went on for six seasons. From that day forward, audiences were under the trance of Dawson or Pacey (or both) until its finale in 2003. For years, there has been the question about whether the show would return for some sort of reboot. Stars Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson have both said that it wouldn’t work – but one star believes it would!

Mary-Margaret Humes, who played Dawson’s mother, Gail Leery, throughout the entire series, spoke exclusively with Us Weekly about her time on the show, the toughest story lines and her hopes to bring back the drama.

Us: Let’s start with your Instagram! You share a lot of behind the scenes photos of Dawson’s Creek. How did that get started?
HUMES:  I swear to you I took hours and hours of behind-the-scenes video footage and was always taking pictures. That’s just something I do. I put one up and saw thousands of people liking it and I thought, “This is very cool. It’s the one thing that I have that nobody else has seen.” So many people liked the show and it meant so much to them and now I can give back something! I’m just trying to make people happy! Live vicariously through me. This is what my life was for six years on set with these kids growing up … I just like sharing and make people happy. In this world, anything that makes people happy, I’m all for it.

Us: We need to ask about the photo you shared of you and Josh [Jackson] kissing on a hammock!
MMH: Oh yeah! That was the very first day of our very first photo shoot. There are several photos from that photo shoot that The WB put out, but Josh was in there with Meredith [Monroe] and for fun, I jumped in! Just for fun, Josh laid a big, old kiss on me and they took Polaroids. I remember The WB was grabbing them, gasping and saying, “Don’t publish those!” Of course, I put one in my back pocket! It was all innocuous – just silly, silly fun!

Us: There was nothing like Dawson’s Creek on TV when it was on – and there’s nothing like it now.
MMH: It’s a different era because of the internet. Back then, we didn’t have that. I mean, we had cellphones but not texting. We weren’t always looking at our phones, we were having conversations with each other. It was a magical time. Thank God that we were sequestered away in Wilmington, North Carolina, away from Hollywood and we didn’t have any of that. I think that’s one of the magical qualities of Dawson’s Creek and I would love for kids to see that again.

Us: How do you think the show would be different if it came back today?
MMH: That’s one of the reasons Katie thinks it wouldn’t work because of the internet and all that. I think there’s a way of doing it. Everything in moderation. Everything doesn’t have to be about social media. I think they could do a show and maybe make a point about the overuse of social media. I never say never. I’m one of those eternal optimists.

Katie Holmes James Van Der Beek Michelle Williams Joshua Jackson Dawson's Creek
Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson on ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ Getty Images

Us: So you’re up for some sort of reboot or reunion?
MMH: Everybody talks about, “Oh is there gonna be a reunion? Is there gonna be a convention? Is there a way to bring everybody back together again?” Some say too many people are dead and yada, yada, yada. But in my mind, I have this thought that there’s a way to suspend your disbelief where everyone can get the happily ever after. I’m just putting it out there into the universe because I’m harboring a little secret idea and we’ll see what happens!

Us: Where would Gail be today?
MMH: She would not be happily married to this random man! I think probably she would have realized after a year of marriage that she was on the rebound and “I love you, but you’re not the man for me. I was only in love with one man ever. This man was Mitch. Bye bye.” It’ll just be me and Lily living happily ever after in the same house. Maybe the hair’s a little grayer.

Us: OK, so you didn’t like the story line of her getting re-married!
MMH: In the season finale, they just married me off to an arbitrary guy. I remember fighting [with the writers] about it. I understand that they needed a reason for all the kids to come back to Capeside, but don’t marry me off because it diminished how sacred my relationship had been with John Wesley Shipp’s Mitch. We were married, I was unfaithful, I had a lovely wonderful life and yet, I needed something else so I had an affair. I came clean about it, eventually he forgave me, we got back together again because we were soulmates. We were always supposed to be together. So, they killed him which OK, but don’t diminish what we have by marrying me off. It’s been a beef of mine ever since. If you were rooting for Dawson to be with Joey or Pacey to be with Joey or whatever, that was a writer decision and I think that probably went the right way. I just thought that they did a disservice somehow to our relationship and if kind of pissed me off!

Us: How tough was it when they killed off Shipp?
MMH: “That was the hardest one for me because I knew that they were gonna kill him off and they wanted to keep me on because Dawson did need to have one parent. I knew it was going to change the dynamic but I wanted to stay because I loved the show. He lives in New York, but we converse once a week. He truly is like one of the loves of my life. When they killed him off, they might as well have cut off my left arm, it was so tragic for me.

Us: You spent so much time with the cast on set. Do you have any specific memories that stand out?
MMH: Every weekend we’d go out to the beach and we’d have Jet Skis and we were just like a normal family. The one I was closest with was Katie. I remember she picked me up in her little black convertible and we were gonna go to the movies one day. She says, “Oh, my God, Mary-Margaret, I have to play a song for you. You’re not gonna believe this song. It’s so beautiful.” So, she puts on this song and I started singing the lyrics and she looked at me and said, “How do you know this song? I just heard it for the first time yesterday!” I’m like, “Honey, it’s a classic.” It was a 1956 song by Jerry Vale, “You Don’t Know Me.” They we’re going to use it for one of the scenes. She thought it was so beautiful, we were crying in the convertible. It just kind of showed the age difference. I don’t know why I remember that! She had tears rolling down her face.

US: It must be incredible for you to see how all of them have grown up into such successful stars.
MMH: Oh, my God, yes. A few weeks ago, I went to see Michelle [Williams]’s movie, All the Money in the World. I thought she was phenomenal and I think she should win awards and I loved the film. There’s controversy and all of that and I’m on Michelle’s side of that. Afterward, I went home and was writing in my journal about Michelle. I got a text message from my niece who is 10. She was in the Bahamas with her family and said, “Look at who we just ran into.” And it’s a picture of Michelle! She said they were in this tiny airport in the Bahamas. “We saw her and we just went up to her and said, ‘Hi, were Mary-Margaret’s nieces!’” They had a little conversation and Michelle says, “Can I take a selfie with you?” There’s no coincidences in life. Everything happens for a reason. I was so thrilled.

One moment that I really remember was with Michelle at a Cher concert. Cher and I have a common friend so I was able to get front-row seats. Dawson’s Creek had only been on maybe a year. So, we were sitting there and singing and dancing and people started noticing us in the front row. Michelle was getting really nervous about it. She’s like, “Why are all these people looking at us?” I said, “Honey it’s because you’re a television star!” So afterwards, instead of going out to this big afterparty, she wanted to go back to the hotel. She’s very shy! She never seeks attention. So we went back to the hotel room and put on our pajamas and watched a movie in bed!

Dawson’s Creek is currently streaming on Hulu.

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