Sex and the City’s revival And Just Like That… may be going forward without Kim Cattrall returning as the iconic Samantha, but her replacement cannot be a thinly-veiled clone or it will risk further alienating fans of the original. Sex and the City was a huge hit for HBO in the ‘90s, with the comedy-drama pushing television’s boundaries through its frank discussion of sex, love, and modern dating. However, for all the show’s provocative moments and its salacious name, Sex and the City was always a series about friendship as much as it was a show centered on the bumpy love lives of its heroines.
The central quartet of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda was as solid a set of archetypical characters as the cast of Girls, Friends, or the similarly soon-to-be-rebooted How I Met Your Mother, and the series was beloved for its believable depiction of friendship thriving in the face of career struggles and rocky romantic lives. The HBO hit is now set to return to screens, but not all of Sex and the City’s major players will be making a comeback this time around, with a newly-revealed character replacing one central figure. Samantha will not feature in And Just Like That…, and will be replaced by a new cast member glimpsed in star Sarah Jessica Parker’s Instagram post.
Cattrall’s bawdy character was central to the appeal of Sex and the City, and her unapologetically sex-positive attitude made her both the most adventurous and often the funniest of the central quartet. Despite her enduring popularity, though, Samantha will be replaced by series newcomer Nicole Ari Parker playing a new character, Lisa Todd Wexley. While some fans felt that a Sex and the City revival without Samantha could be a major mistake, Cattrall herself voiced her support for Parker’s casting adding diversity to the quartet. However, while little is known about Lisa Todd Wexley’s characterization, attempting to make the character a copy of Samantha would be an egregious misstep for the show.
Subbing out Samantha for a suspiciously similar new character who shares her outspoken love of sex would be an insult too far for fans of the original Sex and the City. Samantha was one of a kind and Cattrall gave the character a playful, often surprisingly romantic lust for life that made even her wildest exploits charming, something a replacement couldn’t hope to recreate despite Ari Parker’s impressive screen CV including roles on Empire and Soul Food. Sex and the City’s reboot could offer a compelling story of Carrie outgrowing her closeness with Cattrall’s character thanks to her increasingly domestic lifestyle and Lisa Todd Wexley could be nothing like Samantha, cementing how much the show’s heroine has changed in the intervening years. However, this poignant possibility would be squandered if the series opts instead to make Lisa a Samantha replacement and hope viewers don’t care about the substitution.
Sex and the City would be a fundamentally different series without Samantha, similar to the fact that How I Met Your Mother would be a tonally unrecognizable show without Barney Stinson. That said, the reboot could potentially work if it embraces this change and accepts that Carrie is in a different life stage, resulting in her having a new social circle and severing ties with even one of her closest former friends. However, what the Sex And The City revival will not be able to pull off is trying to replace one of the show’s most iconic characters with a newcomer modeled after the original.