Meg Ryan Returns to Rom-Coms After 14 Years: Watch the First Look at What Happens Later

After a 14-year hiatus from the world of romantic comedies, Meg Ryan is officially back in the game as she stars in What Happens Later alongside David Duchovny.

By Alexandra Bellusci Aug 30, 2023 12:00 PMTags
Watch: See Meg Ryan Make a RARE Appearance at NYC Film Screening

We'll still have what she's having.

Meg Ryan is making her long-awaited rom-com comeback with the upcoming film What Happens Later alongside David Duchovny, and fans finally got a first look at the 61-year-old reclaiming her throne when the trailer hit their inboxes Aug. 30.

In true rom-com fashion, the movie starts with the perfect meet-cute between exes Willa (Meg) and William (David), who find themselves snowed in at a regional airport—their first encounter since their breakup 20 plus years ago.

And when only their flights are indefinitely delayed Willa and William once again find themselves facing the same issues as when they dated decades prior. As the night goes on, the two rediscover that Willa is still independent with no ties holding her down, stating that kids just "wasn't in the cards" for her, while William is navigating how to maintain relationships with his ex-wife and daughter.

Of course, the "what ifs" start trickling in, sparking the age-old thought of what could have been between the former flames.

Meg Ryan Through the Years

The trailer also includes nods to the loyal romance fans, like when William goes to plug in his phone and unplugs a movie poster that reads: "Rom Com coming this summer. Fall in love with love again."

And although it's been quite a bit since we've been sleepless in Seattle, What Happens Later officially marks 14 years since Meg's last rom-com in 2009, Serious Moonlight, also starring Kristen Bell and Timothy Hutton.

But despite her time away the You've Got Mail star—who also co-wrote and directed the upcoming movie—still knows how to tug at our heartstrings.

"Sometimes there's a question of: Will they be together? Will they not be together?" Meg teased to Entertainment Weekly Aug. 29. "For that reason, What Happens Later sort of evolves the rom-com genre just a little bit. It's also about old people, and it's still romantic and sexy."

And perhaps the film's leading man was brought to Meg by the fate of the universe, as David's portrayal of her love interest was exactly what the When Harry Met Sally actress was looking for.

"My character, Willa, is a magical thinker and David's character, Bill, is a catastrophic thinker," Meg continued to the outlet. "These rom-coms really work when the two characters are somehow opposites and yet have a rhythm of intellect and humor and dialogue and banter that sort of indicates their compatibility."


Taylor Hill/WireImage

She added, "So, it's just been really fun to see David embrace this guy who I don't think is anything really like David. Whereas the Willa thing I can really relate to. To see him dive into every single scene in the fullest way, he's funny, and he's smart, and he's dear, and irresistible."

So, the countdown is on until What Happens Later hits theaters Oct. 13. And although the days of dial-up connections and chat rooms are long gone, keep scrolling to take a trip down romance lane with Meg's best rom-com roles...

When Harry Met Sally

College graduates Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) debate whether men and women can strictly be platonic friends during a contentious car trip and the pair test their theories when they are reunited ten years later in this 1989 rom com.

Joe Versus The Volcano

In this 1990 film, Joe (Tom Hanks) is a hypochondriac who after learning he's dying decides to quit his job and accepts an offer to throw himself into a volcano on a tropical island. He didn't expect that along the way he would learn to live and fall in love with a woman named Patricia (Ryan).

Perlude To A Kiss

Ryan takes on the role of Rita Boyle, a free-spirited graphic designer, who marries Peter Hoskins (Alec Baldwin), a conservative employee of a Chicago publishing house. At the wedding, she is approached by an elderly man named Julius (Sydney Walker) who asks for a kiss from her. When he does, their spirits switch until her new husband can see beyond the physical and Julius agrees to return his original body.

Sleepless in Seattle

Ryan and Hanks reunite for this 1993 iconic rom com. Sleepless in Seattle tells the story of a man, Sam Baldwin (Hanks), who moved to Seattle with his son, Jonah, following the death of his wife. Jonah sets out to find a new partner for his father by calling into a radio program and Sam joins in the conversation. Annie Reed (Ryan) hears the show and falls for him. She then asks him to meet her at the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day.


The Connecticut native portrays Catherine Boyd who is the niece of physicist Albert Einstein. Despite being engaged to another man, a mechanic falls for her and gets the help of her uncle and his mischievous colleagues to make Boyd reciprocate his feelings.

You've Got Mail

The actress plays Kathleen Kelly, the owner of an independent bookstore The Shop Around the Corner in New York City, who starts to email with a mystery man only to find out that she has been corresponding with Joe Fox (Hanks), the man behind her competition, Fox Books.

French Kiss

When Kate (Ryan) discovers that her fiancé, Charlie (Timothy Hutton), has fallen for a Parisian woman, she decides to go to France to confront him. On the way, she is seated next to Luc (Kevin Kline), a charming crook who uses her to smuggle a stolen necklace. As the pair get to know each other, they begin to have feelings for each other and Kate must decide where her heart lies.

Addicted To Love

Things get complicated when astronomer Sam (Matthew Broderick) moves to New York City to stalk his ex (Kelly Preston) and her new boyfriend, Anton (Tchéky Karyo). He later meets, Maggie (Ryan) who is Anton's former girlfriend. The pair bond over their need to separate their exs and eventually fall for each other.

Kate & Leopold

Ryan is Kate McKay, a modern day business executive, who falls in love with Leopold (Hugh Jackman), the third Duke of Albany from the late 1800s, when a rip in the fabric of time thrusts him into present day New York. An old-fashioned romance ensues between the duo.

In the Land of Women

Carter Webb (Adam Brody) is a successful writer who returns to his hometown of Detroit to help his grandmother (Olympia Dukakis) who is in failing health and begin work on his long-planned novel. While staying with his grandmother, he gets to know her neighbors—mom Sarah Hardwicke (Ryan) and her two daughters, Lucy (Kristen Stewart) and Paige (Makenzie Vega).

The Deal

A struggling Hollywood producer cons a major studio into financing an action film following the adventures of 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He tries to get a studio executive (Ryan) to fall for him in the midst of making the film.

Serious Moonlight

Ryan takes on the role of Louise, a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, who is shocked to discover her husband's (Hutton) affair with a much younger woman. Rather than letting him go, she decides to hold him captive until he commits to trying to make their marriage work.  

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