New hair, same heart. Aidan is back on And Just Like That, and while John Corbett’s weight loss, haircut, and lack of turquoise jewelry may be noticeable to Carrie and Sex and the City fans, the franchise’s creators have a good reason story-wise for his physical transformation.

Aidan Shaw, played by Corbett, was introduced in Season 3 of Sex and the City—HBO’s comedy series following the love lives of four best friends in New York City—as Carrie Bradshaw’s first serious boyfriend after her breakup with Big. Carrie and aidan broke up at the end of the season before getting back together in Season 4 and breaking up again. Carrie and Aidan ran into each other in Season 6, Episode 1, “To Mark to Market,” where Aidan revealed that he was married and had a son named Tate. The episode was Aidan’s last appearance on Sex and the City. However, he later appeared in 2010’s Sex and the City 2, when Carrie runs into him while on vacation in Abu Dhabi. 

Hannah, Isaac - Too Hot to Handle

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More than a decade later, Aidan came back to the Sex and the City universe in Season 2 of And Just Like That—a reboot of Sex and the City—after Carrie emails him and the two agree to meet up for a date. “I was especially excited, probably in large part, because I just love working with John Corbett so much,” Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie, told The Wrap in July 2023.“We just think he is very special and brings so much more—always—than what’s even written.”

She continued, “I could easily recognize and understand that the Carrie-Aidan relationship is worthy of revisiting and that they might find one another again, given that Carrie is now single and that relationship was important and probably ended not in an ideal way.” 

As Carrie (and viewers) notice in And Just Like That Season 2, Aidan looks a lot different than when he was on Sex and the City—and that wasn’t a coincidence, according to the creators. Read on for how Sex and the City’s writers wrote in John Corbett’s weight loss in And Just Like That, and how his physical transformation played a role in Carrie and Aidan’s relationship. 

John Corbett’s weight loss in And Just Like That explained 

Photo: Courtesy of Max.

John Corbett’s weight loss in And Just Like That was explained by showrunner Michael Patrick King in an interview on the podcast, “And Just Like That… The Writers Room” in July 2023. On the podcast, King explained that And Just Like That writer Julie Rottenberg wasn’t a fan at first of Aidan returning to And Just Like That after appearing in a guest role in Sex and the City Season 6 and again in the Sex and the City 2 movie. “She was worried about re-trod turf and wanted to say, ‘Haven’t we already done him?’” King said. 

Rottenberg also shared her concern about Aidan’s style and how it would fit into Carrie’s world in And Just Like That Season 2. King agreed with Rottenberg’s concerns, and shared them with Corbett, who was eating fried chicken at the time King introduced the idea of Aidan’s return. King told Corbett that, in order for Aidan to return to And Just Like That, he needed to be “rock-hard,” which led to Aidan’s body transformation. “We gave John a makeover. We cut his hair, we took the turquoise jewelry away. We told him he had to be rock-hard when he came back,” King said. “It was a story choice: If we’re bringing somebody back, we have to find some way to bring him back in a new way.” He continued, “So here we are now, bringing Aidan back, again, and we have tricks up our sleeves as to how he is new and what we can actually do with the storyline considering — and it’s a very big consider — all the water under the bridge, all the pain they’ve already been through, how much Carrie has hurt him in the past — according to fan boards… twice — and how badly he took the break up.”

King also confirmed that Corbett was on board with Aidan’s physical transformation. “No, it’s true. I said it to John; John knows,” King said. “He was eating fried chicken when I told him, and he dropped the fried chicken on the plate and fell down in the booth that we were sitting in and said, ‘I knew I was a fatty.’” He continued, “Then he came back rock hard with short hair.” King also clarified that Corbett’s weight loss wasn’t for “aesthetic” reasons but to drive the storyline between Aidan and Carrie. “It’s not an aesthetic choice to come back differently, because I thought he was perfection; it was a story choice,” he said.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.

And Just Like That writer Elisa Zuritsky also defended King’s choice on the poddcast to have Corbett lose weight for the role of Aidan. “I just want to give Michael Patrick King props,” she said. “You might be among the few showrunners who actually clamp down on men to hit the gym and actually put a little pressure on their appearance, which most women would say tends to fall onto female laps.” King added, “As I say, we’ve flipped the switch on this show!”

The And Just Like That writer’s team also revealed on the podcast that they didn’t consider bringing Aidan back in Season 1, even after Corbett’s joke to Page Six in 2022 he would be in a “few episodes” in Season 1. “I’m going to do the show,” he said at the time, adding that the return was “very exciting” for him. He continued, “I think I might be in quite a few. I like all those people, they’ve been very nice to me,” During the podcast, King and Rottenberg explained that the writer’s room never considered bringing Aidan back in Season 1 because of Carrie’s relationship with Big. “There was no way he would ever exist in Carrie’s mind,” King said of Carrie’s state of mind after the death of Big. Rottenberg continued, “I think if Big hadn’t died, I don’t think she ever would have reached out to [Aidan] again.”

Carrie Bradshaw, Aidan Shaw - And Just Like That
Photo: Courtesy of Max.Photo: Courtesy of Max.

King explained that Carrie’s mindstate was different in And Just Like That Season 2, which opened the door for Aidan’s return. “The tone immediately should be different to people. Carrie is like, ‘I want to go on a date with him.’ Right up front. She’s not downplaying it. She’s like, ‘I said yes to the date. I knew it was Valentine’s Day. I want to have a date with him,’” he said. “Carrie points out in the scene that it’s been 13 years since she’s even seen Aidan. Which is kind of shocking to think about the stuff we’re about to pull off, which is John Corbett, Sarah Jessica in a scene after [13] years of an absence. That never happens, because no one plays a character for 25 years. Sarah Jessica did.”

Rottenberg also explained on the podcast why it made sense to bring Aidan back in And Just Like That Season 2 instead of Season 1. “In the discussion about bringing Aidan back for Season 2 of And Just Like That, for me it had to be about what would really happen and I believe it. I think that’s what happens when we are older, especially after a tragedy like Carrie has suffered,” she said. “Let’s face it: You have fewer and fewer really powerfully strong people in your life who have known you for a long time. So I believe that she would have reached out to him.”

And Just Like That isn’t the first time Corbett has been asked to lose weight in the Sex and the City universe. In an interview with E! News in 2013, Sex and the City executive producer Amy B. Harris revealed that Corbett was also asked to lose weight in between Seasons 3 and 4 of the series. “We told Corbett to lose weight between seasons three and four,” Harris said. “When we talked about whether or not we wanted to see John come back, we basically said we want him to come back so hot that she cannot believe it. Like, he looks so much better after she left him. And we made him lose weight. And then we made Chris lose weight for the movie.”

She continued, “It’s hilarious. The women were, like, perfection, and no one ever mentioned anything about their weight ever. It was just the two guys! I think the women were just predisposed to be lucky and didn’t have to worry.”

And Just Like That is available to stream on Max. Here’s how to watch it for free.

Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Books.

For more about And Just Like That and Sex and the City, read HBO’s official companion book, Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell. The book, written by dating columnist and screenwriter Amy Sohn, is filled with behind-the-scenes secrets from Sex and the City‘s six seasons and details on the real-life stories that inspired the show’s shocking episodes. The book also includes 750 full-color photographs from filming the series, as well as an introduction written by none other than Sarah Jessica Parker. With fun facts on how many dates Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda really went on to never-been-told secrets about Carrie’s most outrageous (and fabulous) outfits, Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell is a must-read for any SATC superfan.

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