Amy Sherman-Palladino Explains The ‘Gilmore Girls’ Final Four Words With A ‘Lion King’ Analogy

By the time Netflix unveiled the much-hyped Gilmore Girls revival on Nov. 25, its famous last four words were near mythologized. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino had exited the original series just ahead of its final season, ostensibly squashing any hope of seeing that final mother-daughter exchange play out on screen. But, a decade later, when those four little words finally made their way to air, it wasn’t what fans were expecting. In fact, many viewers were flat out fuming. But, with an assist from another beloved classic, Sherman-Palladino’s explanation of the Gilmore Girls final four words might help soothe some open wounds.

First things first, if you’ve yet to make your way through A Year In The Life, turn back now. Here there be spoilers, and big ones. Exactly a week after the revival’s debut, Sherman-Palladino emerged with a batch of interviews defending that now-legendary ending. You know, the one where Rory tells Lorelai she’s pregnant, the credits roll, and we’re all left screaming franticly into a dark, black abyss. Much of the backlash has been tied to the lack of a concrete answer about who the father is, but Sherman-Palladino has news for you: it’s not about the boy, and it was never about the boy, so can we all just stop talking about the boys? It’s called Gilmore Girls for a reason.

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During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter , Sherman-Palladino said she was frustrated with the obsessive debate surrounding Rory’s love life. Rory was so much more than her boyfriends, and Gilmore Girls reflected that. As she told THR,

It really wasn't about the father; it was about the event. People can make their own conclusions about who the father is, there's not a thousand choices out there, but it really wasn't about the boy because, quite frankly, one of the things that's always been a little weird is how obsessed with Rory's love life everybody got when the point of the show was never about their love lives. Their love lives were a part of their lives, but these were women really grappling with who they were as people… it felt like the moment was on Rory and her future and not on, 'Gee, which boy is this?' That's always taken a backseat when we've broken stories on Gilmore.

But, beyond solidifying Rory as her own woman, the final page in the GG book signaled something much larger. Gilmore was always about mothers and daughters, and Rory getting pregnant when she’s still lost and largely alone was a very deliberate callback to Lorelai’s own pregnancy 32 years ago. Sherman-Palladino likened it to The Lion King’s circle of life. Like Mufasa passing Simba the crown as King of the Jungle, Lorelai too passed on a torch of her own: the chance to become a strong, fearless, and totally independent mother.

Even though Sherman-Palladino initially intended for Rory to get pregnant around 22, she said the revival’s timing fit flawlessly. As she explained to THR:

These two women are very tied. They're very tied and to me, that history repeating itself and daughter following in mother's footsteps, where you lead, I will follow – we took the [theme] song very seriously. When we picked those words and we went down that path, it just felt right then and it actually feels even more right now especially because Rory is older. She's the same age Lorelai was when the show started. It really does feel a little Lion King-y, the whole circle of life.

That may all sound a little too perfect, but the plot itself was left intentionally messy. Gilmore has a proven knack for portraying tangible, real, and human characters. Closing things out on a happy, perfect note just wouldn’t have been true to the show. As Sherman-Palladino told TVLine,

The thing about these women is their lives keep going. And keep changing. I like that we end with Emily being calm and settled. Lorelai, for the moment, is calm and settled. And Rory is, “Holy sh*t. What the f*ck?” That’s more real than if all three of them had lovely endings and we tied it up with a bow and everyone went home with a unicorn.

So there you have it, Gilmore Girls fans. The final four words may not have been what we wanted, but they were wholly and irrevocably Gilmore. That’s really all we can ask for, isn’t it?

Images: Saeed Adyani/Netflix; Giphy