How Losing Richard Will Affect The 'Gilmore Girls'

When the cast of your favorite TV show reunites after years of being away, there's this sense of happiness and nostalgia that makes you remember why you loved that show to begin with. After months of speculation, Netflix finally confirmed that we're getting a Gilmore Girls reboot, with four movie-length episodes that take us back to Stars Hollow. And while fans of the show rejoice at the thought of seeing Emily, Lorelei and Rory reunite once again so many years later, there's also a sense of sadness in the fact that the show's patriarch won't be there with them. Don't worry, though. Amy Sherman-Palladino says Richard Gilmore's death will play an important role in the Gilmore Girls reboot, because how could it not?

Edward Herrmann, better known as Richard Gilmore, passed away in 2014 leaving a hole in the hearts of those who worked with him on the show, especially since none of them even knew he was sick. When it was announced they were doing this reboot, many wondered how they would incorporate his death into the series. Would it get its own episode? Would it be referred to throughout? Would it be something that would get glossed over? But, as Sherman-Palladino told TVLine, “He was part of us, and he’s gone,” she said. “You couldn’t just say, ‘Oh, Richard died peacefully in his sleep, and now we’re going to go to the cherry-picking festival.’ It’s painful. I still choke up when I talk about it, because I wasn’t prepared for it.”

If Sherman-Palladino wasn't prepared for it, you can bet her characters won't be either. Gilmore Girls has never been a show that shied away from the emotional side of life. There were deaths covered, as in Richard's mom's (the original Lorelei Gilmore), Luke Danes' uncle, who no one seemed to like, and Fran Weston's, the original owner of the Dragonfly Inn. And there was loss like that which Richard felt for his mom Trixie, being unable to leave the room or put on his suit because he was so overcome with grief, or the loss that Luke felt for his mom and dad who were gone from the moment we met him, but were often talked about on the show. A sign that though someone was gone, they were not forgotten, as is so in real life.

The death of Richard is sad, but it also gives the Gilmore girls a reason to reunite. A reason for fans to check in with them to see how they're doing without their husband, their dad, their grandfather. To see how they handle this next part of their lives. As Sherman-Palladino told TVLine, the pilot started with all three women at different crossroads in their lives, and this revival needed to start with Richard's death as their new crossroads. "[A tragedy like that] brings up thoughts of, 'Where am I? Where am I going? What am I doing?' Because it’s mortality," Sherman-Palladino said. "Something they loved is gone, which means things you love will not be around forever. And you can’t take them for granted."

With death comes change, especially in one's mindset. You start to see your own age and worry about what you're doing with your life, since it feels like it could end any second. But, as she explains, this can also be a good thing — a way to start over, to make sure you're not taking anything for granted. The Gilmore Girls reboot will touch on Richard's death and its effects on these women, but it doesn't have to be sad; it can be meaningful. It can be a chance to dive into these serious topics with a maturity that network TV didn't really allow for back when Gilmore Girls had its first run. This time around, they can be honest, and, while they may not be dropping the F-word, they can delve into the complexities of death and loss unlike they ever have before.

Tackling this weighty topic over the course of four jam-packed episodes — since making time for commercials is not an object with Netflix — Gilmore Girls has a chance to get at that emotional core that shows like Parenthood and Friday Night Lights (both produced by Jason Katims) were known for. Stars Hollow may be a fairytale of a town, but the lives that are being lived in it are anything but. The loss of Richard is not the end; it is the beginning of something new. But I definitely still recommend you bring the tissues.

Image: Warner Bros. Television