Of course, Cattrall played Samantha Jones, a fan favorite in the original series. And while she opted not to return for the spinoff amid reports of a feud with her co-star Sarah Jessica Parker, the character had been present throughout the series via text exchanges with Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw.
That changed on the season finale released on Thursday.
The last supper
As teased in the episode trailer — and originally leaked at the end of May — Samantha emerges in a short scene that sees her talking to Carrie on the phone.
During their quick exchange, Samantha, who is calling from her new home in London, said she was "f***ing furious" that she wouldn't make it to New York City to see her old pals Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) for a "last supper" in Carrie's old apartment.
— Andrew McBride (@andrewmcb) August 24, 2023
"My flight's three hours delayed, Carrie. I won't be able to make it there in time," Samantha says while sitting in the back of a black town car. When Carrie appeared confused as to why Samantha would fly all the way to New York "for an overnight," Samantha replied: "Well, it is your apartment and I have to pay my respects."
“Thank you for everything, you f***ing fabulous, fabulous flat," Samantha says of the iconic apartment, which witnessed plenty of shenanigans in the original series.
The improvised farewell
After saying goodbye, Samantha kisses the phone. That bit, according to showrunner Michael Patrick King, was totally improvised. Speaking on The Writers Room podcast, King said the sweet moment was "not in the script" and that it "was totally [an instance of] of an actor playing a moment. And it's really nice.”
It was a full-circle moment for King: "In my multiverse of And Just Like That... and Sex and the City, [Carrie and Samantha] are always talking," he explained. "[Samantha]'s always texting and talking, [and] not just [with] Carrie, but Miranda and Charlotte."
Fanfare over Cattrall's 'fabulous' cameo
SATC fans agree with King. After counting down the days until the epic appearance, the reaction on social media was overwhelmingly favorable despite Cattrall's short cameo.
"We're less than 24 hours away from the television event of the millennium, when Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte will ALL be back on our screens,” pop culture critic and Cattrall superfan Evan Ross Katz wrote on Instagram leading up to the finale. "Let’s f***in' go!"
Minutes after the finale was released on Max at 12:01 a.m., fans took to social media to praise the performance — with one calling it the "the best 1 minute of our lives!" Others used adjectives like "perfect" and "fabulous" and "the absolute best," which mirrored thousands of others.
It’s the absolute best…I had no idea. Baby girl is now 2 1/2 and they are expecting my second grandchild in June. The best years of our lives!
Enjoy every minute!!!
It’s what keeps me going! Thrilled for you my friend!
— LaurieS (@wclauriecal) April 13, 2023
‘And Just Like That’ is so wild because I watch every episode through my fingers like a horror movie and when it’s over I wish it was 5 hours longer
— Tom Zohar (@TomZohar) July 7, 2023
#AndJustLikeThat Samantha was there, and just like that, Samantha was gone...
Lovely to see Annabelle Bronstein aka Samantha Jones aka Kim Cattrall back "on the 'telly" however briefly it was. pic.twitter.com/C9YHgGO4N7
— Karen (@CallMeMissRoss) August 24, 2023
Cattrall's beef with the SATC spinoff series
Cattrall was not asked to star in the spinoff, stemming from long-running conflict with Parker, an executive producer, and others involved with the franchise. The original series, which ended in 2004, spawned the films Sex and the City (released in 2008) and Sex and the City 2 (2010), which she appeared in. However, when the third film was in the works, Cattrall couldn't come to terms on a deal due to money and it the film fell apart. There has been resentment over how it played out.
In an interview with Variety last year, Cattrall confirmed she didn't call a call for AJLT, saying, "I was never asked to be part of the reboot. I made my feelings clear after the possible third movie, so I found out about it like everyone else did — on social media."
She also took a dig at the show's storylines, which shipped her character off to London, saying it was "basically the third movie. That’s how creative it was."
As for what she would have liked to see happen to her character, Cattrall said, "Why can't Samantha, who owns her PR company — maybe she had to sell it because of financial woes? 2008 was tough. Some people are still recovering. She had to sell it to some guy who's wearing a hoodie, and that's the dilemma she has."
She continued, "I mean that's a scenario that was kind of off the top of one of my reps’ heads, and I thought, 'That's a great idea.'"
Can we expect more Samantha?
Although And Just Like That… was renewed for a third season — and the season-capping cameo left room for a return — there has been no indication from Max, King, Parker or Cattrall that Samantha will make more appearances.
However, when Cattrall appeared on various programs ahead of the cameo, she described the moment Max CEO Casey Bloys pitched the idea to her, noting that she only agreed to do it on her terms.
"It's very interesting to get a call from the head of HBO saying, 'What can we do?'" she recounted of Max CEO Casey Bloys. "I went: 'Hmmm… Let me get creative.'"
.@KimCattrall speaks on her scene in the new season of 'And Just Like That...' where she reprises her iconic role as Samantha and tells @TheView: "It's very interesting to get a call from the head of HBO saying, 'What can we do?'" https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/Sam3mX9b81
— The View (@TheView) June 28, 2023
"One of those things was to get [former SATC costume designer Patricia] Field back,” Cattrall continued. “I just thought: If I'm going to come back, I gotta come back with that kind of Samantha style. I got to push it — and we did."
For the time being, Cattrall isn't waiting for another call anytime soon.
"I moved on," she told the Sunday Times two weeks before her cameo was announced. "I think the greatest place to negotiate from, whatever the situation, is from strength and self-knowledge."
Likewise, Parker and co-stars Nixon and Davis, all of whom expressed disappointment that Cattrall's cameo was leaked before Season 2 premiered, have hinted that the cameo was a one-off, especially in light of the backstage drama among the cast. That's at least one sentiment Cattrall agrees with.
"Also," Cattrall added to the Times, "at this point in my life I don't want to be on a set and be unhappy. I want it to be on terms that are artistically fulfilling and also that I am happy."