The death of Willie Garson (1964-2021) took the “And Just Like That…” team by surprise. The 57-year-old actor died unexpectedly in September 2021 after undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. However, Garson’s character Stanford Blatch lives on in the series: as a monk in Japan.

Showrunner Michael Patrick King (68) explains in the latest episode of “The Writers Room” podcast that he didn’t want Stanford to die on the series: “We wanted to keep Willie alive as Stanford somewhere in the world.”

The fact that he became a monk of all things goes back to a private experience of King and his leading actress Sarah Jessica Parker (58), as the showrunner continues to report. During a difficult promotional tour for the second “Sex and the City” film through Japan, King found peace himself in a temple.

“The reviews of this film weren’t kind,” King recalled at the time. “We went to Kyoto and I was in a kind of emotional shock and I was going from temple to temple with Sarah Jessica. I was sitting there trying to let go of these complicated feelings and I felt kind of at peace.”

So is Stanford now. In a letter to his best friend Carrie, played by SJP, he writes, “Carrie, for the first time in my life I felt peace, real peace.”

King also said that he wanted to pay tribute to Garson with this ending – “and take Stanford to a place where it’s gold and full of light, because I hope Willie is in a place that’s gold and full of light.” It’s poetic and very emotional, according to the showrunner.