With the Sex and the City reboot — And Just Like That — right around the corner, chatter about the beloved show has seriously ramped up in recent months.
And perhaps the most prominent talking point of all — aside from Carrie Bradshaw's outfits — is the absence of Kim Cattrall.
If you weren't already aware, we have known for a while now that — much to fans' disappointment — Kim definitely will not be returning to reprise her role as fan-favorite character Samantha Jones.
Fans of SATC will be very much aware of the longtime rift between Kim and her costars — namely Sarah Jessica Parker.
In case you needed reminding, Kim’s absence comes after a messy feud with her costars, spanning over 20 years since the show first aired in 1998.
And while murmurs about the cast not getting along have persisted for decades, the rift between the central cast members — which was long believed to be over money and competition for the spotlight — became evident back in 2017.
So, here's where things get messy — allow me to explain.
After a ton of speculation about the offscreen relationship between Kim and Sarah in particular, the situation quickly escalated when it was revealed that the thirdSATCmovie would be scrapped at the last minute, despite there being a script and production at the ready.
It was also rumored at the time that Kim had been responsible for holding up production on the sequel and therefore was the reason that the third movie would not be going ahead.
However, Kim very swiftly shut down the rumors and instead informed fans that she never had any desire to reprise her role as Samantha in a third movie.
Not long after this, the actor shocked fans by confirming once and for all that she and her fellow costars were “never friends” during an interview with Piers Morgan back in 2017.
"Nobody ever picks up the phone and tries to contact you and say, ‘How you doing?' That would have been the way to handle it," she said of her former castmates. "This is, it feels like, a toxic relationship."
And things certainly didn't end there. The feud reached its climax just a year later when Kim publicly slammed Sarah Jessica in a scathing Instagram post after her former costar offered her condolences following the sudden death of Kim’s brother.
“Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now,” Kim said. “Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend.”
And so it came as no surprise when it was confirmed that Kim would not be returning for the reboot, which was announced in January this year.
Speaking in 2017 about her decision to leave Samantha in the past, Kim told Piers Morgan, "This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life, to end one chapter and start another. I'm 61. It's now."
And despite fans' inevitable disappointment, most have been supportive of Kim's decision to step away from the show.
In fact, Sarah Jessica herself even spoke out in support of Kim, telling a fan on Instagram that Kim/Samantha "will always be a part of us."
And now, joining SJP in backing up Kim's exit is SATC's original author, Candace Bushnell.
In case you weren't aware, the original TV series is actually an adaptation of Candace's bestselling book, which was inspired by the column she wrote for the New York Observer in the 1990s — so, yes, she's kind of the real-life Carrie.
So, this week Candace shared her thoughts on the whole feud between Kim and her costars, and suggested that the actor has happily moved on from the role.
"I absolutely love Kim," she told the New York Post. "But it seems she wants to do other things, and she doesn't feel like doing the show. Maybe she doesn't want to be that character anymore. Maybe she doesn't want to put the Spanx on!"
"In real life, those women are not those characters — they are the opposite," she went on. "Sarah Jessica Parker, she's been married forever to the same guy. She's got kids. I don't know her very well, but she seems to be very family-oriented [in a way Carrie is not]."
The author — who does not have any involvement in the reboot — also weighed in on HBO Max's decision to revive the show one last time.
“HBO’s going to make money on it. They’re going to exploit it as much as they can,” Candace said. “They rebooted Gossip Girl. If they didn’t reboot Sex in the City, it would be really strange.”
And in case you were wondering, Candace will definitely be tuning in.
"Of course I’m going to watch it...I hope it runs for six seasons. I get paid a little bit of money," she added with a laugh.
Candace's recent comments on the feud come two months after fans of the show accused Kim of shading her costars, who at the time were filming the reboot in NYC.
The drama fired up in August when SJP shared a photograph of herself cuddled up to her original costars Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis along with Nicole Ari Parker — one of several new additions to the cast.
The photograph of the four women had fans speculating whether SJP was hinting that Nicole — who is set to play a new character, Lisa Todd Wexley — might be stepping in to fill Samantha's place in the iconic foursome.
And in coincidental timing, a day later Kim shared a video of herself with a ~different~ kind of costar — along with a caption some fans deemed to be a shady dig at her former SATC castmates.
Kim shared a video of herself cuddling up to a cute pup called Pixel and captioned the post “When your co-star is a real dog.”
Inevitably, eagle-eyed fans were quick to put two and two together and began to speculate whether the caption was a subtle dig at the rift between herself and SJP, with one fan writing, “I’m sensing a little shade here?”
And while it still remains unclear whether the post was an intentional dig or merely an innocent snap, fans remain intrigued about how the SATC writers will tackle Samantha’s absence in And Just Like That.
Interestingly, an HBO executive revealed earlier this year that Samantha's departure will almost reflect the real-life conflict, explaining, “Just as in real life, people come into your life, people leave."
“Friendships fade, and new friendships start. So I think it is all very indicative of the real stages, the actual stages of life,” said HBO's Casey Bloys.
And it's not long until fans will get to see things unfold for themselves, with the reboot set to premiere on HBO Max in December this year.