1. The show's fictional Stars Hollow—which has gone on to become one of TV's most beloved settings—was inspired by Amy Sherman-Palladino's unexpected visit to Washington, Conn. Charmed by the people she met, traditions she witnessed and the inn she stayed at, she left the small town with the concept for the series—including some of the pilot's dialogue.
"If I can make people feel this much of what I felt walking around this fairy town, I thought that would be wonderful," Sherman-Palladino told Deseret News.
2. Alexis Bledel had only uncredited acting role on her resume and was a student at New York University when she decided to audition for Rory.
"I was very sick, I was a student at NYU, and they kept calling me back up to audition," Bledel recalled during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. "I think I went, like, six times. Oddly, I wasn't a very seasoned actor at all. I didn't know the process. I grew a tad bit impatient. I had a little attitude and our boss really liked that a lot. She was like, 'That's our girl!' I was like, 'Are you guys going to bring me back again?' and she was like, 'I like that, that's perfect.'"
3. Gilmore Girls without Lauren Graham as Lorelai? Unimaginable, right? But it almost happened.
"When I got the script for the Gilmore Girls pilot, I was in New York, staying in a friend's studio apartment, waiting to hear if the series I just completed for NBC — Don Rooses' M.Y.O.B.—was going to be picked up for a second season or cancelled," Graham wrote in her 2016 book, Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between).
Fortunately for us, M.Y.O.B. was not picked up, allowing Graham to play the fast-talking lead, which was also good for any other actress in consideration for the part.
"There's a sort of manic recognition that happens very rarely when I read something that I want so much that I go briefly but totally bonkers," she explained of her connection to the character after reading the script. "That feeling is a combination of 'Hello, old friend,' meets EVERYONE GET OUT OF MY WAY SHE'S ALL MINE."
4. Scott Paterson was the only actor to audition for Luke, winning over the casting directors immediately with his charming yet curmudgeonly take on the diner owner and Lorelai's future husband.
"Amy said, 'I don't need to see anyone else. He's 100 percent it,'" casting director Jill Anthony told Vanity Fair.
But Paterson never thought he was going sport Luke's signature hat and flannel shirts.
"I had three auditions that day, and this was the second one," the actor detailed to Glamour. "I had prepared one scene, but I was supposed to have prepared two. So I went in and I did my thing. I didn't care anymore...I knew I wasn't going to get [Gilmore Girls]. The script was too good. The pilot script was so good; they were going to offer it to stars, so what was I wasting my time for? I'm late for this other [audition], I'll probably get a ticket [outside], so can I get out of here, please?"
5. Before Jared Padalecki could land his first starring role as Rory's first love Dean Forester, two other Canadian actors had to be fired after the character having been altered to be less "alternative," Anthony explained to Vanity Fair.
6. Ryan Gosling and Chris Pine both auditioned for the series. Gosling was brought in to read for a small part, with casting director Jami Rudofsky admitting at the 2015 ATX TV Festival that his audition fell—gasp!—flat.
Pine, meanwhile, revealed his father, actor Robert Pine, had secured him an audition (his first professional one), though he couldn't remember for which part. "I dunno, maybe a boyfriend," he said in a W Magazine video.
7. While the actress gone on to become one of the biggest comedy stars in Hollywood, Sherman-Palladino revealed she "had to fight" to cast Melissa McCarthy as the lovable and kooky chef Sookie. "They weren't sure. It wasn't that people didn't like her, but she was a different energy. She was a different kind of chick," Sherman-Palladino explained during the cast's reunion panel at 2015 ATX TV Festival. "And the part was just written for a woman, There was no body type, there was nothing specific about it. I was like, 'I need someone funny who could really act.'"And while Sherman-Palladino knew from the minute McCarthy walked in the door and auditioned that she was the perfect person for the role, she said, "It was a tricky sell. And it took awhile…everyone came around, but it took a few shows."
8. In the pilot, Sookie was played by Alex Borstein, but she had to drop out of the role because of her obligations to MADtv. She would take on small recurring roles later in the series as a harpist and stylist. Sherman-Palladino would later cast Borstein in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the actress going on to win two Emmys for her work on the Amazon comedy. 9. Jackson Douglas, Borstein's then-husband, however, landed a more permanent role on Gilmore Girls after Sherman-Palladino wrote the role of Sookie's farmer love interest Jackson with him in mind. Meant to only be in a few episodes, his chemistry with McCarthy landed him a seven-season stay.
10. Liza Weil originally auditioned for Rory, and while producers were impressed, they knew she wasn't the right fit."I got a call and they were like, 'They really liked you but it wasn't quite right. But if [the show is picked up] maybe they'll find something for you to do,'" Weil recalled during the ATX Festival panel. "I thought that was probably the end of it."As it turns out, they didn't just find something, they created something for Weil to do, writing the role of Paris, Rory's foe-turned-friend, specifically for her. And while Paris went on to become a fan-favorite, Weil was initially unsure about the prickly part.
"The younger version of myself was really freaked out that that's what they wrote," the How to Get Away With Murder star joked. "I couldn't fathom that they would think that they could do that! But now I think it's really flattering and I'm really glad."
11. Graham and Bledel's chemistry? A total stroke of luck as the two stars didn't meet until their first day on set. And Bledel was so new to acting that Graham would have to grab her onscreen daughter's arm to make sure she hit her marks. "People are like, 'You have such great chemistry.' And I'm like, ‘I'm mauling her. That's why,'" Graham joked on Today.
12. Unlike most other actors, Graham and Bledel really ate most of the food Lorelai and Rory consumed during the series, which, any fan knows, was a lot."It really bothers me when actors don't eat the food that's in the scene," Bledel explained on the Today show. But after several takes and upset stomachs, Graham says they eventually relied on spit buckets to get them through it.
13. Throughout the series' run, Bledel dated two of her main onscreen boyfriends IRL, according to casting director Mara Casey.
"We did have a joke about casting all of Alexis' [real-life] boyfriends," she revealed to Life & Style in 2016. "She dated Jared and Milo. And she also dated a young New York actor named Chris Heuisler, who played a guest role. Real sweet kid."
14. While Sean Gunn initially was introduced as Stars Hollow's DSL installer Mick, he would eventually become a series regular as Kirk, who would have a different odd job in every episode. So why the name change? Gunn revealed Sherman-Palladino had simply forgotten he already had a name.
15. The WB was interested in a spinoff starring Ventimiglia, with the season three episode "Here Comes the Son" serving as a backdoor pilot for the new series. Windward Circle would've centered on Jess' life in Venice Beach, Calif., but the series ultimately didn't go forward due to budget concerns.
16. As Gilmore Girls was ending its seventh season, there were talks of continuing to follow Rory in her adult life after Graham decided she was not going to return.
"I did formally say at one point, "I'm not coming back,'" Graham revealed to TV Guide. "Then they thought, 'Well, can we do it with just Alexis?' I don't want to speak for her, but we both went back and forth. Ultimately, neither of us wanted to do it without the other one.
She continued, "They were trying to think of everything. There was a time when we thought maybe I would produce and not be on the show in the same capacity."
17. After contract negotiations stalled, Stars Hollow was rocked when it was announced the Palladinos would not be returning for the seventh (and ultimately final) season.
The short answer really is that we just could not come to terms with the studio for a new contract, Palladino told TV Guide at the time, with Sherman-Palladino adding they "tried" to get a multi-year deal.
"Deals have options," she explained. "There are all sorts of things that go into deals. What we were asking for was not crazy. It was not insane. It was not the moon. It was really about, frankly, protecting the show."
While the couple had hired their replacement, Dave Rosenthal, Sherman-Palladino admitted passing over the reigns was "horrifying. It's like a freaking nightmare."
And she's since revealed she's never watched the final season.
18. For years, there were rumors of tension on set between Paterson and Graham, despite their undeniable chemistry as Luke and Lorelai. The couple's rabid fanbase believed it was the reason their favorite pair broke up in a polarizing season six storyline, but Graham denied those claims in an interview with TV Guide after the series ended.
"Yes, it was overblown," she said, though she admitted she was "closer" to David Sutcliffe, who played Rory's father Christopher. "I always thought that maybe people thought I was trying to give him some sort of advantage because we're friends. But that's not it."
And Graham was just as disappointed and frustrated as the fans were with how Luke and Lorelai's relationship ended on an ambiguous note in the series' original run.
"I just love the tension between [Luke and Lorelai] so much…For me, it didn't end in a satisfying way," she explained to TV Guide. "We weren't sure it was the end. Amy wasn't with us in the last season. I can't answer it because it didn't really end. It didn't resolve satisfactorily."
19. Because of her exit from the series after season six, the show did not end the way Sherman-Palladino originally intended to. And she wasn't shy about voicing that, teasing fans for years with the lore of the "last four words" she had planned to end the Gilmore women's run with.
Almost every interview with the Palladinos in the years that followed included a question about the mythical words, though they never spilled any details for a hopeful reason. "I don't want to totally say [what my ideas were], because if there is a movie in the making, I'm going to be basically delving back into where I left off, and then I'm kind of [screwed]," Sherman-Palladino explained to Entertainment Weekly.
And when the Netflix revival was announced in 2016, it was confirmed that the four-episode miniseries would end with the long-awaited four words. Which you can read all about right here. (Yes, they were worth the wait.)
20. Cast as Lorelai's waspy-but-loving parents Richard and Emily Gilmore, Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop became quite close and his spouse Star Herrmann even referred to Bishop as his "second wife." Herrmann died in 2014 at the age of 71 after a battle with brain cancer. In the weeks just before he passed, Star invited Bishop to visit with him.
"She was the only person we had come," Star told Vanity Fair. "It was important to him, and it was important to her."
Bishop called the invitation "wonderful and sad and surprising." At the cast's reunion panel at the ATX TV Festival, a chair was left open on the stage in honor of Herrmann.