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Why A Sex And The City 3 Movie Never Happened

And just like that, after being dormant for over a decade, HBO has revived one of the shows that helped launch it into the 21st century. Sex and the City premiered in 1998 and became a bona fide cultural phenomenon, thanks to the quartet of strong female characters at its core and the series' frank discussions of taboo cultural issues. After the show ended in 2004, two feature films followed. And now, news has dropped that a ten-episode revival of the series titled And Just Like That... is underway at HBO Max, minus one of the show's original stars, Kim Cattrall.

That's only part of the story, though. In between the second film and the upcoming revival season, there were plans for a third Sex and the City movie. According to reports from some of those involved, the movie was quite far along in the development process before series star Sarah Jessica Parker, a.k.a. Carrie Bradshaw, confirmed in 2017 that the project had been called off (via Extra). Considering the popularity of the series and the fact that both previous films did well at the box office, the cancelation of an in-development third movie sounds like a strange decision. What happened to Sex and the City 3?

While there are conflicting reports about exactly what torpedoed the project, there are many factors that seemed to play a role. Here are reasons why a third Sex and the City movie never materialized.

Sex and the City 2 was a critical flop that was accused of racism

One thing that has to be acknowledged in any discussion of why Sex and the City 3 fell apart is that Sex and the City 2 was, in many ways, kind of a disaster. While the film made nearly $300 million at the box office, it received a notably terrible reception from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds an abysmal score of 16% with over 200 reviews counted.

The movie was seen as being too long, way too materialistic, and overall, too far from what made the original series essential viewing. Writing for USA Today, Claudia Puig advised fans of the series to "steer clear of the mortifying mess that is Sex and the City 2." She went on to write, "An insult to the memory of the cleverly written show and its celebration of friendship, it's a slap in the face for the four gal pals."

A significant portion of the film takes place in Abu Dhabi, and many writers heavily criticized the movie's attempt at commentary on the differences between western women and those who live in the Middle East. Genevieve Koski at AV Club wrote, "The characters' engagement with Muslim culture is lazily conceived and often painful to watch," while Hadley Freeman at The Guardian called the film "cliché-ridden, materialistic, misogynistic, borderline racist" and criticized the film's portrayal of its Abu Dhabi setting by saying, "Not since 1942's Arabian Nights has orientalism been portrayed so unironically."

So, despite its financial success, it's hard to imagine that the movie's overwhelmingly negative reception didn't put plans for another sequel in a precarious position. But according to some, the departure of one of the original stars of the series was the final nail in Sex and the City 3's designer coffin.

There's speculation that Kim Cattrall's exit ended the possibility of Sex and the City 3

When it was confirmed that the dream of a third Sex and the City movie was officially dead, the rumored reasoning behind the cancelation was that Kim Cattrall, who played unabashedly promiscuous Samantha Jones, refused to return. The Daily Mail reported that Cattrall had allegedly played hardball, demanding that Warner Bros. finance several film projects in exchange for her participation, and when they didn't, she walked away from the project shortly before filming was set to begin.

As with most reports from showbusiness gossip publications, the rumors are unconfirmed, and Cattrall rebutted the accusations by tweeting, "The only 'DEMAND' I ever made was that I didn't want to do a 3rd film....& that was back in 2016." Later reports claimed that Cattrall had major issues with the proposed script for the canceled movie, including a storyline involving Samantha accidentally receiving nude pictures of Miranda's (Cynthia Nixon) teenage son (via W).

During an interview with Piers Morgan (via TVLine) around the time the cancelation was announced, Cattrall confirmed that she was officially done playing the character. She went on to suggest that if they wanted to do a third movie without her, they should recast the role of Samantha Jones: "Another actress should play it. Maybe they could make it an African-American Samantha Jones, or a Hispanic Samantha Jones."

Whatever the exact reason for Cattrall's decision to not appear in a third movie or the upcoming revival series, it's not a shock, considering her well-known feud with Parker. The good news is that no matter what the exact reason for Sex and the City 3's cancelation, fans still have And Just Like That... to look forward to.