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Gilmore Girls on Netflix: what you need to know about the revival

Alexis Bleidel and Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls
Oh, my god, look who's back! Why, I believe it's those adorable Gilmore Girls.
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Ever since the news broke that Gilmore Girls would get a new life on Netflix nine years after ending its run in 2007, speculation has been running wild. Will Luke and Lorelai live happily ever after? Will Rory end up with Jess, Dean, or Logan, or someone else entirely? And most importantly: What will those final four words be?

We may not know the answers to those questions yet, but we do know lots of other things about the revival. If you want to go into the new episodes completely unspoiled, turn away now, because here is everything we know so far about the Gilmore Girls revival, slated to debut at the end of this year. (We'll update this post as new information becomes available.)

Gilmore Girls poster Netflix

The official poster for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Okay, I think I’ve heard of this revival thing. What is it?

Here's the first trailer, which features Emily on a Marie Kondo spree after Richard's death, Rory feeling wistful about her professional successes, and Lorelai feeling aimless.

The first teaser features Rory and Lorelai debating whether or not various late-night hosts might like Lorelai. (Amy Schumer: no, she likes sports. John Oliver? Undecided.) The footage here was all filmed specifically for the trailer, so don't expect to see this conversation in the show itself — it's just there to remind you how fun it is to watch Lorelai and Rory banter.

The revival, titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, will consist of four 90-minute episodes that take place in the present, about nine years after Gilmore Girls ended its seven-season run in 2007. Each episode will cover a different season of the year. We’ll begin with winter and end with fall, showrunner and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino says, because "it worked to open on snow and have a colder, starker environment. And then end on a lusher, warmer, golden-y town, which lends to where the story will end."

The seasons theme is an aesthetic choice that is very much in line with the original show. "Seasons were so big with the show," Sherman-Palladino says. "It was snow and fall and spring and festivals … it defined [Stars Hollow] a lot." Or as Gawker memorably put it:

Q: Why is it always fall there?

A: Sometimes it's winter!

It’s also a nod to "Sweet Seasons" by Carole King, who not only gave Gilmore Girls its iconic theme song but also appeared as recurring character Sophie on the show (the music store owner who sold Lane her drums) and will be reprising her role in the revival.

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bleidel, Gilmore Girls
Maybe Stars Hollow: The Musical has a hippie theme.

So am I going to be able to binge this thing?

Yes. Sherman-Palladino confirmed at the TCAs that all four episodes would be released at once, although she's previously stated she'd like them to be released at least a day apart.

When's it coming out?

It's premiering November 25, 2016, at 12:01 am Pacific. That's midnight Thanksgiving night, so prepare now to have some intense family debates about your holiday viewing plans.

Are any of the old cast members coming back?

Yes! Most of them are. Our three original Gilmore girls, Lauren Graham (Lorelai), Alexis Bledel (Rory), and Kelly Bishop (Emily) were the first cast members to confirm their appearance, but since then more and more of the original cast has been trickling in.

One of the last main cast members to confirm their return was Melissa McCarthy, who announced in April that she will be stopping by for a quick cameo to reprise her role as Lorelai’s best friend and business partner, Sookie. Initial reports said that McCarthy would not be taking part in the revival, but after a few weeks of increasingly confused public back and forth — Sherman-Palladino said she’d made an offer to McCarthy’s team and had been refused, while McCarthy said she’d never been asked — TVLine announced that McCarthy would indeed be returning to Stars Hollow.

Don’t get ready for the Sookie St. James spinoff, though — it’s just a quick scene. "I know what the scene is," Sherman-Palladino told Entertainment Weekly in a print article. "I’ll pre-light it for her. She can drive up, run in, shoot it, and run out. I can get her in and out in two hours."

Here are the other returning characters we know we’ll see again in the revival:

  • Luke (Scott Patterson)
  • Paris (Liza Weil)
  • Lane (Keiko Agena)
  • Jess (Milo Ventimiglia)
  • Logan (Matt Czuchry)
  • Dean (Jared Padalecki)
  • Kirk (Sean Gunn)
  • Christopher (David Sutcliffe)
  • Jason "Digger" Stiles (Chris Eigeman)
  • Doyle (Danny Strong)
  • April (Vanessa Marano)
  • Sophie (Carole King)
  • Jackson (Jackson Douglas)
  • Michel (Yanic Truesdale)
  • Gypsy (Rose Abdoo)
  • The Troubador (Grant-Lee Phillips)
  • Miss Patty (Liz Torres)
  • Babette (Sally Struthers)
  • Morey (Ted Rooney)
  • Taylor (Michael Winters)
  • Mrs. Kim (Emily Kuroda)
  • Gil (Sebastian Bach)
  • Zach (Todd Lowe)
  • Brian (John Cabrera)
  • Finn (Tanc Sade)
  • Colin (Alan Loayza)
  • Robert (Nick Holmes)
  • Mitchum Huntzberger (Gregg Henry)
  • Headmaster Charleston (Dakin Matthews)
  • Lulu (Rini Bell)
  • Caesar (Aris Alvarado)
  • Andrew (Mike Gandolfi)
  • Tom (Biff Yeager)
  • Reverend Skinner (Jim Jansen)
  • Miss Celine (Alex Borstein)
  • Paul Anka (Sparky the dog)
Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson, Gilmore Girls
You forget how many townies there are in Stars Hollow.

Who even are these people?

While most Gilmore Girls fans will recognize Miss Patty and Taylor, even the Stars Hollow obsessives might have to Google a few of these character names. Here are some refreshers: Andrew ran the Stars Hollow bookstore, Rory’s favorite non-coffee-serving haunt. (She worked there for extra cash for a couple of episodes, but she found herself spending most of her money on books.)

Caesar was Luke’s right-hand man at the diner, although Rory and Lorelai both agree that his pancakes are only a distant second to Luke’s. Tom is the contractor with the deadpan delivery who suffered through all of Lorelai’s puns while remodeling her house. Brian, Zach, and Gil are the other members of Lane’s band Hep Alien. (Founding Hep Alien member Dave Rygalski, a.k.a. Adam Brody, a.k.a. Seth Cohen, will most likely not be making an appearance.) Lulu is Kirk’s girlfriend. Finn, Colin, and Robert were all part of Logan’s secret society, the Life and Death Brigade.

Scoop: At some point, Luke and Lorelai go to the movies. Netflix

Scoop: At some point, Luke and Lorelai go to the movies.

Ugh, April, really?

Suck it, April haters. (Not really. I get where you’re coming from; giving Luke a secret daughter was definitely not a great writing move. But April is adorable.)

Don’t worry, Luke and Lorelai fans: April’s not planning on breaking anyone up this time. Probably. "April is not breaking up any major couples right now," Marano tells Just Jared Jr., adding ominously, "We’ll see how that goes…"

Any new faces?

Yes! Including some Sherman-Palladino favorites from her short-lived ABC Family show Bunheads, like Sutton Foster, who plays a struggling actress who just scored the biggest role of her life: the lead in the Stars Hollow musical. The musical will feature lyrics by Sherman-Palladino and her husband and writing partner, Dan Palladino, and music by Jeanine Tesori, the Tony-winning composer of Fun Home. It will also star Tony-winning Broadway star (and Foster's IRL ex) Christian Borle.

Stacey Oristano, who played the shopkeeper Truly on Bunheads (and Mindy on Friday Night Lights), will appear as well. Lauren Graham’s other TV daughter, Parenthood's Mae Whitman, will also make a brief appearance.

They’re not the only new faces in town, E Online reports:

We'll meet Berta and Alejandro, a Peruvian couple. Alejandro is both a handyman and a solid family man. Viewers will also meet Nat Compton, an incredibly miserable looking man who never smiles. Plus, there's 13-year-old Dewey, Clementina, a Portuguese nanny, 7-year-old Tim and his 5-year-old sister Gabriela, 9-year-old Korean-American twins Stevie & Kwan and a whole bunch of hippies at a commune.

Paris, of course, was practically raised by her Portuguese nanny, so expect to see her with Clementina. And Stevie and Kwan are Lane's twins, born in season seven and now old enough to have lines. Mitchell Gregorio, who will likely be playing one of Lane's twins, has already taken to Instagram and will soon be breaking the internet with his cuteness.

Having fun on Gilmore Girls set!

A photo posted by Mitchell Gregorio (@mitchellgregorio) on

How will the show handle the absence of Edward Herrmann?

Edward Herrmann, who played Gilmore Girls patriarch Richard throughout the show’s run, sadly passed away in December 2014. Sherman-Palladino says his absence will loom large over A Year in the Life:

What does it mean for all three of the girls? [A tragedy like that] brings up thoughts of, "Where am I? Where am I going? What am I doing?" Because it’s mortality. Something they loved is gone, which means things you love will not be around forever. And you can’t take them for granted.

Kelly Bishop confirms that much of the arc of A Year in the Life, at least for Emily, will be about finding a way to move past Richard’s death. By the fourth episode, she tells Ausiello, "a whole year will have passed. And I know from my experience, that the first year [after losing a loved one] is awful. But when you hit that first year you start to emerge from it."

Many fans have speculated that the revival will begin at Richard’s funeral, and although that hasn’t been confirmed, it would explain why Digger is hanging around. (Digger was briefly Richard’s business partner — and, equally briefly, Lorelai's boyfriend — and although the partnership dissolved acrimoniously, with Richard selling Digger out and Digger suing him, Digger is enough of an old-school WASP to make a point of attending the funeral anyway. With flowers.)

Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls
Emily's arc will be about dealing with Richard's death.

Is season seven canon?

The WB famously removed the Palladinos from the show’s original run after the sixth season, leaving the seventh season in the hands of David Rosenthal, now writing for Jane the Virgin. Gilmore Girls aficionados often argue over whether season seven "counts," and many fans of the show refuse to watch it as a matter of principle.

Sherman-Palladino hasn’t watched the seventh season either, but she’s still calling it canon. "I wasn’t going to say to the fans who stayed through Season 7, 'Hey, you all wasted your fucking time for a whole season,'" she tells Ausiello. So she asked some Gilmore Girls–obsessed pals to fill her in on what she missed. Luckily, she says, season seven didn’t take much off the table for her. "The elements that we really wanted to play were not taken or destroyed by whatever they did in Season 7," she says.

Will we be getting those final four words?

Sherman-Palladino used to tell interviewers that she knew exactly how the very last episode of Gilmore Girls was going to end, down to the final four words. Those four words have now acquired a kind of legendary status (We’re the Gilmore girls? I really like coffee? Gosh, we talk fast?), and one of the reasons fans were so disappointed in the Palladino-less seventh season was that it didn’t end with Sherman-Palladino’s planned last words. (The actual last words of Gilmore Girls’ broadcast run: "I guess they will.")

Sherman-Palladino has confirmed that she’ll be ending A Year in the Life with the four words she always planned. Graham has some additional details: "I asked [Sherman-Palladino], ‘Who says them?’ And she says, ‘Both of you.’ That’s all I can say. It’s not, you know, in unison." The "both of you" is presumably Lorelai and Rory, but it’s possible she means Lorelai and Emily instead.

What are our Gilmore girls up to when A Year in the Life starts?

Entertainment Weekly has released the first page of "Winter," so we can tell you exactly what they're up to: drinking coffee and trashing Gwyneth Paltrow. Seems right, doesn't it?

You know Lorelai has a Goop subscription. Netflix

You know Lorelai has a Goop subscription.

More broadly: per an Entertainment Weekly print article, Luke and Lorelai are engaged but not yet married. Lorelai is still running the Dragonfly Inn, with Michel still serving as concierge. Meanwhile, Rory is dating, "like any young woman with that face would be," says Sherman-Palladino, but she’s still single. She’s published one article in the New Yorker, but her journalism career has otherwise stalled. She’s been living what Entertainment Weekly calls "a vagabond life," and because of that she hasn’t been able to spend as much time with Lorelai as she used to.

Scott Patterson and Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls
Actually, finally getting married?

Are Lorelai and Luke actually getting married this time?

We all remember what happened the last time Luke and Lorelai got engaged: Luke’s secret daughter April showed up, and Luke postponed the wedding until Lorelai got fed up and called the whole thing off.

We don’t know for sure that Luke and Lorelai will say "I do" this time around, but we can say that pictures of the set marked "wedding" have been floating around the internet. It would certainly be symmetrical for the show to start with a funeral and end with a wedding, but that’s pure speculation at this point.

Alexis Bleidel, Gilmore Girls
Rory Gilmore, teacher?

I thought I saw something about Rory being a teacher. Is that a thing?

Probably not. Entertainment Weekly released a picture of Rory standing in the front of a Chilton classroom, but the accompanying story identified Rory as a journalist, not a teacher. It’s more likely she’s an alumna guest lecturer or something along those lines.

But she’s engaged, right?

Also probably not. Fans have been speculating wildly over the picture above, which some say shows Rory wearing a wedding band. I’m fairly certain, though, that the "band" is just the shadow from where her fingers are folded.

Which of Rory’s boyfriends is she going to end up with?

We don’t know! (Team Jess, though.) Here’s what we do know: All three of her main love interests are going to appear — Jess for two or three episodes, Logan for at least two, and Dean for one.

What will they be doing? Well, Milo Ventimiglia says, "Jess is just up to Jess shit. … He’s a little salty and ornery and kind of doing his own thing and has zero tolerance for anything. Or anyone. But he’s also there to, kind of, push the ball forward for some folks in Stars Hollow, which is something that Jess has always done, whether intentionally, maliciously, or positively; he’s always sent people in a direction."

Jared Padalecki and Matt Czuchry have been more tight-lipped about what their characters might be up to, but we know that Logan will likely be spending time with his old Life and Death Brigade crew.

And it looks like a storyline for one of Rory’s harem ended up on the cutting room floor, probably for budgeting or scheduling reasons. "Certain storylines — one of which involved one of the boys — had been taken out of our hands," Sherman-Palladino says. The most likely guess is that this was a storyline for Dean, who is rumored to be appearing in only one scene of the revival, probably due to Padalecki’s commitments to Supernatural.

But odds are good that Rory will be ending up with one of these three characters. Michael Winters (who plays Taylor) told the Gilmore Guys podcast that one of them "has an edge" on ending up with her, in a moment that has now been bleeped out of the interview.

Ugh, really? Can’t she end up with someone else if she has to be with anyone?

Maybe — Ausiello says one of the main characters has a new love interest. The new character could be making eyes at either Lorelai, Rory, Emily, or Luke.

Is this going to be the end of the show forever?

Who knows? But the ending leaves room for more. "I keep saying, ‘Does anyone else notice that this is not actually an ending?’" says Graham. Daniel Palladino will only say cryptically, "We’ll never say never."

Is Stars Hollow still unbelievably cozy?

Of course. Check out this festive cheer.

Are there town meetings?

Yes! Two of them, says Winters.

And festivals?

Also yes. Besides the Stars Hollow musical, there also seems to be a festival involving a hippie commune (which explains Rory’s tie-dyed vest in some of those set pictures).

Is Paris ruling the world?


Update: Lauren Graham revealed that the show would be titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in a segment scheduled to air May 23, 2016, Michael Ausiello reports. The title replaces the previous working title of Gilmore Girls: Seasons. Ausiello also unveiled the show's new poster, which is captioned, "Live more. Laugh more. Eat more. Talk more. Gilmore." And at the Vulture TV Festival, Alex Borstein revealed she would be reprising her role as Miss Celine, the stylist who calls Rory Audrey Hepburn and Lorelai Natalie Wood. We've also updated the post with the trailer and release date.

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