When viewers left Will Truman and Grace Adler, they were reminiscing about the old days a couple of decades down the line and preparing for their now-adult offspring to marry each other in the finale of the eighth – and originally, final – season.
So given there’s a new series of Will & Grace landing in September, 11 years after they were last on our screens, we’d already assumed that we wouldn’t be picking up at that particular point. Perhaps action would take place before then – a few years on from the other events in the finale, say.
But that has its problems too, as in the final episode Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) fall out over Grace getting back with Leo – the father of her unborn child – and they’re not friendly again until their respective children meet at university.
Now one of the NBC show’s creators has revealed that the new series will scrap the storylines from the finale, and continue as if it never happened. Which is fair enough – a Will & Grace without Will and Grace speaking to each other probably wouldn’t be all that fun, and fans would want to see the pair living together again.
However, not only are the creators disregarding that episode – a huge storyline from the last season has been completely binned, too.
Executive producer and creator Max Mutchnick tells Entertainment Weekly that the team wanted to make the “best version” of the show they could, and staying true to that format meant disregarding a 2006 finale that “really caused us a lot of grief.
“You write a finale because a show is over. You never think that it’s coming back again.”
Thus, he says not only will the new series not see Grace settled with Leo and Will settled with Vince, but they won’t have children either – given Grace was pregnant for several episodes in the eighth series, and the plot line worked towards her getting back with Leo because of it (after initially thinking she’d bring up the baby with Will), it’s a massive chunk of story to gloss over.
Fellow executive producer and creator David Kohan says: “We were like, ‘Well, we left them with kids, right?’
“And if they have children, then it has to be about them being parents, because presumably it would be a priority in their lives. And if it wasn’t a priority in their lives, then they’re still parents, they’re just bad parents, right?
“We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents. We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”
So the winning formula – Will and Grace in an apartment together, with struggling actor Jack (Sean Hayes) still their neighbour and pickled Karen (Megan Mullally) still living it up in a mansion – is being returned to.
However, Mutchnick did tell the publication that Leo – played by Harry Connick Jr – will make an appearance.
Sorry Laila Adler and Ben Truman – looks like your romance (and, er, existence) is on hold.
Will & Grace returns to NBC in September.
Image: Rex Features