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Everything we know about Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival

See the first photo of Melissa McCarthy on set

(Michael Courtney/The WB)

Sixteen years after fans first met Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and the rest of the eccentric residents of Stars Hollow, the series is returning to television. Netflix confirmed the Gilmore Girls revival in January, announcing a long-hoped-for final season, with series creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino at the helm.

Officially titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the revival will give the co-creators (who left the series before its controversial seventh season) a chance to finish the story the way they intended. Here’s what we know so far about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which is set to hit Netflix before Christmas 2016.

The format

With four 90-minutes movies — in part inspired by Sherlock — the revival will take place over the four seasons of a calendar year, beginning with the winter episode, then heading into spring, summer, and finishing with fall. It will take place in present-day, approximately eight years after we last saw everyone in the town square.

Returning cast

Here’s everyone that’s confirmed to return: 

Lauren Graham (Lorelai)
Alexis Bledel (Rory)
Scott Patterson (Luke)
Kelly Bishop (Emily)
Melissa McCarthy (Sookie)
Sean Gunn (Kirk)

Rose Abdoo (Gypsy)
Liza Weil (Paris) *Update: Weil told E! News she will appear in only two of the four episodes.
John Cabrera (Brian Fuller)
Todd Lowe (Zack)
Sebastien Bach (Gil)
Liz Torres (Miss Patty)
Michael Winters (Taylor Doose)
Carole King (Sophie Bloom)
Mike Gandolfi (Andrew)
Yanic Truesdale (Michel)
Tanc Sade (Finn)
Jackson Douglas (Jackson)
David Sutcliffe (Christopher Hayden)
Danny Strong (Doyle)
Vanessa Marano (April)
Emily Kuroda (Mrs. Kim)
Matt Czuchry (Logan)
Milo Ventimiglia (Jess)
Jared Padalecki (Dean)
Sally Struthers (Babette)
Dakin Matthews (Headmaster Charleston)
Jim Jansen (Reverend Skinner)
Alex Borstein (Drella, Miss Celine)
Brian Tarantina (Bootsy)
Grant Lee Phillips (Town Troubadour)
Sparky (Paul Anka)
Aris Alvarado (Caesar)
Nick Holmes (Robert Grimaldi)
Alan Loayza (Colin McCrae)
Ted Rooney (Morey)
Biff Yeager (Tom)
Gregg Henry (Mitchum Huntzberger)

One person who’s definitely not returning? Sorry, Max Medina fans. 

RELATED: Watch the Gilmore Girls reunion from ATX Festival

New cast

According to E! Online, the revival will feature a number of new characters, from Berta and Alejandro, a Peruvian couple, to a man who never smiles. Also in the mix are Lane’s twins, Stevie & Kwan, who are now 9 years old, along with a three or four other kids under the age of 14. 

Also, there will reportedly be a bunch of hippies at a commune? Sure, why not. 

Finally, there’s a magazine editor named Jim, an “eager 20-something” named Damon, a 30-something named Paul, and Dwayne, who’s simply described as being blue collar.

But will any of those characters be played by Sutton Foster, who’s been announced as a new cast member in the revival? From what we know, Foster will appear in two episodes — spring and fall — and interact with Lorelai (along with a number of townies). Even more than that, she’s set to sing in a Stars Hollow musical!

But Foster isn’t the only Bunheads star heading to Stars Hollow. Stacey Oristano, who played Truly on Bunheads, is also joining the revival. 

In other exciting news, Graham’s Parenthood daughter, Mae Whitman, is set to cameo in the revival. Her cameo is reportedly brief but will involve an interaction with Graham’s Lorelai.

GALLERIES: Gilmore Townies, Ranked | Gilmore Girls: Then and Now | EW Exclusive First Look Inside Stars Hollow

Richard’s absence

With the revival picking up months after Richard’s death, Amy Sherman-Palladino told EW“It’s safe to say that the death of Richard Gilmore, the death of Ed Herrmann, looms large over everything. Dealing with the death of Richard is going to impact all of them, because when somebody close to you dies your whole life comes into a weird focus for a minute. Like, what direction am I walking?”

Scott Patterson added: “[Herrmann’s death] left a big void, but Amy honored it beautifully. He’s throughout … these stories. It’s a wonderful homage to him as a person and to his character as well. It’s nice to have him around.”

Does season 7 exist?

As Amy Sherman-Palladino explained to TVLine, they aren’t just going to act as if season 7 didn’t happen. The events of season 7 will have taken place within the world of the revival. But Sherman-Palladino also revealed that season 7 didn’t touch on a number of the stories she wanted to tell, so they can both allow season 7 to exist without it affecting their storytelling.

Rory’s love life

Amy Sherman-Palladino also told TVLine that the revival picks up with a single Rory, in the sense that she’s not married, though she does say she’s dating. As for whom she’s dating, there are at least three options that we know of with all of Rory’s exes set to appear. It’s unclear how many episoes Czuchry will appear in, but according to Ventimiglia’s interview with TVLine, Jess is back for three of the four.

And as Padalecki revealed at a Supernatural fan convention, Dean is back for one scene, which takes place at Doose’s Market, and there’s a good chance it’s with Alexis Bledel considering Padalecki said his scene was with an actress who worked every day of the revival’s shooting schedule. “Dean has a cool scene in the market he used to work in,” Padalecki said. “It’s a really nice scene that gave me closure.”

Then again, there’s always the possibility that Rory turns away from her three exes to someone new, especially because TVLine reports that one of the four main characters — Luke, Lorelai, Rory, or Emily – will be getting a new love interest. 

Luke and Lorelai

When the show returns, Luke and Lorelai are not married. However, they are engaged, so perhaps fans will get to see the big day?

The Dragonfly Inn

Not only is Michel back, but he’s back behind the front desk of our favorite Connecticut Inn. Truesdale tweeted a photo with Lauren Graham showing Michel and Lorelai standing on the staircase that Tom so proudly built all those years before.

But Michel isn’t the only one ready to get back to work. In a photo posted by Gilmore Girls costume supervisor Brenda Maben, Sookie can be seen in her finest kitchen-ready gear. (Yes, she’s wearing a bandana!)

 

#gilmorecostumesjoylove

A photo posted by brenda maben (@brenmaben) on

 

Those final four words

One of the biggest question marks hovering over Gilmore Girls has revolved around the series’ final four words. Amy Sherman-Palladino has said she’s long known the four words she’d write to end the series. After she departed the show before its seventh and final season, never using the planned four words, many fans thought she’s spill. She didn’t. And it’s a good thing, because now she has a chance to put the final phrase in writing.

In an interview with TVLine, Lauren Graham revealed that she does know the four words, and that when she asked Sherman-Palladino who spoke them, she told her, “Both of you.” However, Graham revealed that they’re not spoken in unison. Rather, it’s an exchange.

Could there be more Gilmore Girls?

As Graham told EW, the final four words won’t necessarily feel like the end. “To read the final episode, it’s not totally final,” Graham says. “I keep saying, ‘Hey, does anyone else notice this isn’t actually an ending?’ Amy and Dan just giggle at me.”

And according to Dan Palladino, they might not have to be final. “We just never say never,” he said to the idea of more Gilmore. “The cast is not killed in a terrible explosion at the end.”

UPDATE: As of May 12, production on the revival has wrapped, as captured by this amazing Luke-Lorelai photo that Scott Patterson posted on Twitter. Additionally, Patterson returned to the Gilmore Guys podcast to talk about his experience shooting what he says is a “deeper” version of the show, at least emotionally. “We’re going to places that these characters haven’t gone before, emotionally speaking,” he said.

And speaking to how the revival ends, Patterson mirrored Graham’s sentiments that it’s “not necessarily a cliffhanger but it kind of is.” As Patterson put it. “There’s room for more.”