In case you didn’t know, Aidan was one of Carrie Bradshaw’s two main love interests in the SATC franchise, alongside Chris Noth’s Big.
Big was introduced in the very first episode of the show back in 1999, while Aidan made his debut in Season 3. Carrie’s relationship with Aidan was constantly tested by her inability to move on from Big, with whom she eventually cheated on Aidan.
Then, in the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2, Carrie shocked fans when she kissed Aidan after they bumped into each other in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — despite her being married to Big by this point.
Big ended up forgiving Carrie for the indiscretion, and this was the last time we saw Aidan on our screens. Until this week.
Season 1 of And Just Like That premiered in 2021 and revealed that Carrie and Big had remained together in the years since the second movie and were enjoying a happy marriage.
But tragedy struck at the end of the first episode when Big died suddenly of a heart attack, with the rest of the season exploring Carrie's efforts to deal with her grief.
In Season 2, however, Carrie was ready to move on and reached out to her former lover via email in last week’s episode of the show, with John making his much-anticipated return as Aidan on Thursday.
Following the onscreen comeback, And Just Like That’s executive producer Michael Patrick King opened up about the way he approached John to reprise his infamous role — and he did not hold back.
In fact, Michael told the actor that before filming began, he needed to have a full makeover, which included getting in shape — to which John apparently acknowledged that he had gained weight in recent years.
“We gave him a makeover,” Michael said on the Writer’s Room podcast. “We cut his hair, we took the turquoise jewelry away, we told him he had to be rock hard when he came back.”
Michael was speaking with fellow executive producers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky and supervising producer Samantha Irby at the time, and when they questioned whether that was what Michael had actually said to John, he doubled down.
“No, it’s true. I said it to John; John knows,” he told them. “He was eating fried chicken when I told him, and he dropped the fried chicken on the plate and fell down in the booth that we were sitting in and said, ‘I knew I was a fatty.’”
But the actor dutifully got on board with Michael’s notes, with the showrunner adding, “Then he came back rock hard with short hair.”
Despite how it may seem, Michael then insisted that the changes to John’s appearance were not for aesthetic reasons, arguing, “It’s not an aesthetic choice to come back differently, because I thought he was perfection; it was a story choice. If we are bringing somebody back, we have to find some way to bring them back in a new way.”
He concluded, “So here we are now, bringing Aidan back again, and we have tricks up our sleeve as to how he is new and what we can actually do with the storyline, considering all the water under the bridge.”
Michael’s podcast guests praised him for the firm stance that he took with John as they acknowledged that traditionally, it is women who face pressure to change their appearance.
“I just want to give Michael Patrick King props,” Elisa began. “You might be among the few showrunners who actually clamp down on men to hit the gym and actually put a little pressure on their appearance, which most women would say tends to fall onto female laps.”
Michael responded by referencing the way that women are the more sexually empowered characters on And Just Like That and saying, “As I say, we’ve flipped the switch on this show!”
When Aidan’s return was first announced, not everybody was impressed — especially when photos of Aidan and Carrie kissing emerged online.
The decision to rekindle the old romance divided fans, with many pointing out that the relationship had already failed several times more than 20 years ago.
Others were upset that Carrie would bounce back to her old flame after her husband’s death, and that Aidan would let her. One comment at the time read, “he shouldn’t be going back to her just because the man she cheated with died!!!”
But the team stood by their decision to bring Aidan back on the podcast, with Julie saying, “In the discussion about bringing Aidan back for Season 2 of And Just Like That, for me it had to be about what would really happen and I believe it. I think that’s what happens when we are older, especially after a tragedy like Carrie has suffered.”
“Let’s face it: You have fewer and fewer really powerfully strong people in your life who have known you for a long time,” she added. “So I believe that she would have reached out to him.”
You can listen to And Just Like That’s official companion podcast, The Writer’s Room, here.