Carrie Bradshaw’s story continued in more ways than one after the Sex and the City series finale aired in 2004.
Alongside Kim Cattrall (Samantha), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) and Kristin Davis (Charlotte), Sarah Jessica Parker starred as Carrie on the HBO series, which premiered in 1998. After six seasons — and countless love interests and pairs of shoes — Carrie reunited with Big (Chris Noth) in Paris after a romance with Russian artist Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov).
While many fans celebrated Carrie and Big’s reunion in the two-part series finale, Candace Bushnell, who penned the books in which the show was based off, doesn’t believe they would have ended up together in real life.
“Viewers got so invested in the story line of Carrie and Big that it became a bit like Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett,” the author told The Guardian in 2017. “They had become an iconic couple and women really related to it; they would say ‘I found my Mr. Big’ or ‘I just broke up with my Mr. Big.’ It became part of the lexicon. And when people are making a TV show, it’s show business, not show art, so at that point, it was for the audience and we weren’t thinking about what the impact would be 10 years later.”
Darren Star, who developed the books for television, has expressed similar issues with the original ending of the series.
“For me, in a way — and I didn’t [write] those last episodes — if you’re empowering other people to write and produce your show, you can’t … say certain things,” he said in a 2016 Kindle Singles interview. “But I think the show ultimately betrayed what it was about, which was that women don’t ultimately find happiness from marriage. Not that they can’t. But the show initially was going off script from the romantic comedies that had come before it. That’s what had made women so attached. At the end, it became a conventional romantic comedy. But unless you’re there to write every episode, you’re not going to get the ending you want.”
Less than four years after SATC wrapped on HBO, the four actresses reunited for a feature film. After the success of the movie, Parker, Cattrall, Nixon and Davis reprised their roles for Sex and the City 2 in 2010. While the second film wasn’t as beloved as the original series and first movie by fans and critics, rumors of a third film or reboot resurfaced every few years.
Scroll through for a complete timeline of what happened after the SATC series finale aired in 2004: