Gilmore Girls found a new audience after it was added to Netflix’s massive catalog in 2014. Fourteen years after it premiered on the WB, the fast-paced, quick-witted television drama had its renaissance with a generation of viewers who were too young to appreciate its pop culture references and quotidian charm when it aired live in the early aughts.
While some of us found it through reruns on ABC family or DVD box sets back in the day, it was this final surge in viewership that led to a revival of the beloved series in 2016, nearly two decades after the original series.
While Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life had its flaws, the fanfare surrounding it demonstrated the passionate fervor of its loyal followers.
Viewers came out in droves to Gilmore Girls festivals, Luke’s Diner pop-ups, and release parties, armed with pop tarts and “Oy with the poodles already!” t-shirts to celebrate the second life of their favorite series.
While some Gilmore mysteries were solved in the revival, like the mysterious final four words, it introduced even more questions to be answered.
It also gave us more glimpses behind-the-scenes than ever before. Because there was no social media in the early days of Gilmore Girls, the on-set photos were few and far between.
One of the greatest gifts from the revival was the opportunity to see the cast taking as much delight in the revival as the fans.
Here are the 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Gilmore Girls.
20 Why Does Stars Hollow Have A Pool?
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life included a lot of out-of-character plotlines for our favorite small town residents.
Lorelai Gilmore would have never willingly chosen to spend time in nature, let alone “do Wild.” Rory Gilmore is driven enough to get a job as a reporter even if print journalism is struggling and Lane Kim would be independent enough to get gigs for her band outside of her mother’s church connections, even if she had twins.
Stars Hollow is as much of a character as any other Gilmore Girls star, and its big out-of-character moment was absolutely the addition of this public pool.
Here Alexis Bledel, Keiko Agena, and Lauren Graham are pictured at a pool that is never mentioned in the series, probably because it should never have existed.
19 Jess And Rory’s IRL Relationship
Most passionate Gilmore Girls fans know that Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia dated in real life, and they're pictured here goofing off during their coupledom.
The two luckily seem to be on good terms now, but we can’t help but wonder if their history is the reason Rory and Jess had so few scenes together in the revival.
While we hope their romance was less dramatic than Jess and Rory’s, knowing that Bledel and Ventimiglia weren’t meant to be makes rooting for their fictional counterparts more complicated.
18 Waiting For The Cameras To Start Rolling
It was well-established in Gilmore Girls that Stars Hollow had no seedy underbelly, no matter how hard Paris Gellar tried to find one.
While the secret bar introduced in A Year in the Life was a little surprising in this context, this photo of Jared Padalecki and Alexis Bledel in Doosey’s Market from the original series was even more surprising.
If we look closely at the details in the photo, the register has a sign that reads “Under 18, We Card. No Tobacco.” Not only does this imply that people in the idyllic town smoke cigarettes, but that at some point underage teens had tried to buy cigarettes illegally.
Maybe there was more to Paris’s theory on small towns after all.
17 Lane Kim and Kirk Fooling Around
Sean Gunn and Keiko Agena are pictured here goofing off behind the scenes during the filming of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
While Lane Kim is over a decade younger than Kirk in the show, in real life both Gunn and Agena are the same age.
Agena was actually portraying a teenager at the age of twenty-seven, and Gunn was playing a character that was age appropriate (albeit a deeply odd, seemingly ageless character).
Agena is seven years older than her on-screen best friend Alexis Bledel, and seven years younger than mother-figure Lauren Graham.
Gunn and Agena were both forty-two years old when this photograph was taken during the filming of the revival, but don’t let their serious expressions fool you: they’re both still young at heart.
16 Rory Drank Tea
The Gilmores are notorious for their coffee drinking habits. Lorelai Gilmore drinks eleven cups during the course of two days in the Gilmore Girls pilot episode, which could probably burn an acidic hole into your stomach and send your body into shock.
Fortunately for the actors, a little bit of television magic meant that they could put any beverage in their coffee cups and the audience would never know the difference.
If we look closely at this picture, we can see tea bags sitting on the counter at Luke’s Diner. While Rory Gilmore would be too busy making a beeline for the coffee pot to notice them, there’s a good chance Bledel would be drinking that tea while the cameras were rolling.
15 Fighting Rising Hemlines
When Gilmore Girls began filming in the early '00s, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera had brought super low-rise jeans into the zeitgeist and crop tops had come back into style.
Showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino didn’t want any of the characters on Gilmore Girls to show their bare midriff because it would be too cold to have exposed skin during the winter in Connecticut, even though it was sunny and warm at the Warner Brothers’ lot in Los Angeles.
Because of this, the actors had to regularly pull down on their shirts to keep them from riding up and showing their stomachs or they would wear a dress and weather-appropriate tights like Lorelai is wearing in this photo.
14 The Show Ended When Lauren Graham Wanted To Leave
Gilmore Girls’ demise was inevitable after showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino left due to a dispute with the network about hiring more writers.
Season seven was out of character and overly-kitschy and even Lauren Graham wanted to leave after Lorelai’s impulsive marriage to Christopher.
With producers credits during the final season and stints behind the camera as a director, Graham made it clear that she wanted more than her role as an actor and the deterioration of the show must have made her decision an easier one.
The CW briefly considered a Rory-centric spinoff, but abandoned the idea early in the process and left Gilmore Girls alone until Netflix financed Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life nearly ten years later.
13 Trouble In Paradise
Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes were clearly the central couple of Gilmore Girls. While Rory had her three beloved boyfriends and Lorelai had the occasional boyfriend, Lorelai’s relationship with Luke was filled with the most will-they-won’t-they tension and developing depth.
The revival introduced problems into their relationship that built off of issues that were included in the original series, unfortunately not showing maturity in their characters.
We were just as surprised as Lorelai in this photo that there was still a long road for the characters to go to get their happily ever after.
12 Jess Was Team Dean and Dean Was Team Jess
Dean Forester was the perfect first boyfriend for Rory, but Jess Mariano challenged her intellectually and emotionally.
Naturally, Gilmore Girls fans are torn between which boyfriend to support, and that’s not even mentioning supporters of the wealthy but immature Logan Huntzberger.
Surprisingly, Milo Ventimiglia strongly believes that Rory was meant to be with Dean, while Jared Padalecki is solidly #TeamJess.
The two actors seem to get along well behind the scenes, happily reuniting here for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
The one thing that all three actors who portrayed Rory’s former boyfriends can agree on is that she can do better than Logan Huntzberger – even Matt Czurchy admitted that he is rooting for Team Jess.
11 Luke Without A Hat – He’s Not (Completely) Bald
Grumpy diner owner Luke Danes was so rarely seen without a baseball cap that some fans speculated that Scott Patterson was the victim of early male-pattern hair loss.
To be fair, the few times Danes was seen hatless, his hairline was so far back that on most men, it would have been an indicator of balding yet to come.
However, Patterson is pictured here sixteen years after the first season of Gilmore Girls aired with costars Milo Ventimiglia and Sean Gunn, who played the eccentric town jack-of-all-trades, Kirk.
While all three men have visible signs of aging, one thing that has not changed is Patterson’s hairline. It is in the same place it was at the beginning of the series, proving that the actor has just had a huge forehead all along.
10 One Big Happy Family
Scott Patterson, Milo Ventimiglia, Jared Padalecki, Matt Czurchy, and Keiko Agena all lived vastly different lives after Gilmore Girls was canceled after its seventh season.
Czurchy got a plush role on The Good Wife before getting his own medical drama, Padalecki and Ventimiglia’s careers took off with longstanding roles on Supernatural and This Is Us, respectively.
Scott Patterson didn’t really find new acting sucess, and Agena wrote a book about improv comedy.
Reuniting after leading their separate lives seems like it was a piece of cake in this silly photo of the cast behind the scenes at a promotional photoshoot.
It shows how special this show was in their hearts that theses actors would take time out of their schedules for filming and have such a fun time together. Once a Gilmore, always a Gilmore.
9 Learning About The Brigade
This photo of Tanc Sade and Alan Loayza, who portray Colin and Finn on the show, was shared by fellow cast member Nick Holmes.
As members of the Life and Death Brigade, fans have heard about Colin and Finn cliff diving, partying, and causing mischief throughout the series.
The secret society, based on a group at Oxford University that invented bungee jumping, is introduced to the viewers when a student in a ball gown and a gorilla masks yells “In Omnia Paratus” in the women’s bathroom.
Since then, the masks weren’t used again, and fans assumed they were just a one-time stunt like many of the group’s other escapades.
The reoccurring use of the masks in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life show fans that we have a lot more to learn about the Life and Death Brigade.
8 Literally Why Is Robert Here?
Matt Czurchy, Tanc Sade, and Nick Holmes relax during the filming of the Life and Death Brigade surprise in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
It’s nice to see that Logan Huntzberger and Finn still get along after their wild college years, but Robert and Logan were never friends.
After Robert tries to date Rory during season 5, Logan admits that he thinks Robert is a jerk and that he hates him, and not much was seen of him after their ill-fated date.
So, why was Robert a part of the intimate group of Life and Death Brigade members that surprised Rory in Stars Hollow? This is yet another detail of the revival that makes little sense in the context of the series.
7 Relaxed Rory
Rory Gilmore is a perennial over-achiever. In the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls, she was most often seen in a slick, professional headband with her school uniform perfectly to dress code and a book in her hand.
Because Gilmore Girls was Alexis Bledel’s first professional acting job, it would make sense for Bledel’s off-camera persona to echo that same buzzing, hyper-alert energy she effuses in her acting as Rory.
However, seen here running lines with Keiko Agena, Bledel looks like a relaxed, normal teen in her loose braids and casual denim jeans.
If she was stressed about the newfound pressures of a starring role on television, her younger self showed no signs of nerves or fear as she hung out behind the scenes.
6 An Empty Diner
Luke’s Diner is a unique establishment. The hardware store turned restaurant was the primary meeting place for the Gilmores, whether it was for a cup of coffee or a game of bagel hockey.
Rose Abdoo, Sally Struthers, and Lauren Graham reunited in Luke’s for a meeting about the Stars Hollow musical, and are shown here relaxing during some downtime.
It is so strange seeing Luke’s so empty, with the tables and chairs pushed to the side, and Scott Patterson’s empty chair shows that there are even more actors scattered throughout the set out of frame of the camera.
It doesn’t look like Babette is holding onto Luke’s famous pancakes or a burger – maybe he brought back the Monte Cristo sandwich for one night only.
5 What’s With All The Pilgrims
Broadway stars Sutton Foster and Christian Borle appear in the Gilmore Girls revival as actors in the Stars Hollow musical, which details the often-retconned story of Stars Hollow’s history.
The weird thing is that in most of its iterations, the story of Stars Hollow has began during or after the Revolutionary War in 1776, but Borle and Foster appear as pilgrims during the beginning of the musical, even though the pilgrims settled over a hundred years before Stars Hollow was said to be founded.
While audience reactions to this particular manifestation of Daniel Palladino’s love of musical theatre have been mixed, we can all agree that the origins of our favorite small town are as vague as its geographical location.
4 Eerie Eyes in Stars Hollow
It looks like aliens have invaded the set of our favorite television revival.
Alexis Bledel and Tanc Sade have otherworldly green eyes in this picture, which are contrasted with Matt Czurchy's brown eyes.
In fact, their eyes are so dramatically green that all signs point toward the use of Photoshop. Seeing photo editing used on our favorite small town resident and her friends almost ruins the timelessness of Stars Hollow and the world it has created by bringing overused modern technology into its realm.
FaceTune is a problem from the 2010s, but now it’s invading a show that embodies the simplicity of the early '00s.
The cast of Gilmore Girls is beautiful just as they are, and FaceTune is something best left in the modern world.
3 Worlds Collide
Christian Borle, Lauren Graham, and Sutton Foster’s lives intersected in strange ways before leading them to the set of the Stars Hollow musical.
Foster was the lead in Bunheads, a post-Gilmore show by Amy Sherman-Palladino, and her role was directly compared to Lorelai Gilmore.
The two actresses even look similar, and Foster’s role on A Year in the Life was a vessel used to explore Lorelai’s emotions surrounding Stars Hollow, her life, and her relationship.
Tightening the tangled web, Foster only agreed to be in the revival if they also included Borle, her ex-husband. Borle and Foster watched Gilmore Girls together during their marriage, which ended after Borle was unfaithful to Foster with Laura Bell-Bundy.
Apparently the exes are on good enough terms to enjoy reconnecting with their past, but the relationships in this photo have more layers than an onion.
2 Maybe She’s Born With It
Rory Gilmore was a natural beauty. She barely knew what to do with a tube of lip gloss, her alabaster skin was naturally clear, and we all fully believed that she simply woke up looking perfect.
Thankfully, behind the scenes photos like this remind us viewers that even perfect people like Alexis Bledel have help from a team of trained makeup and hair professionals.
Maybe if we all had access to a glam squad, we could also achieve the shiny-haired level of youthful perfection reached by Bledel in Gilmore Girls.
Pictured here with a book in her lap, fans could even convince themselves this was Rory Gilmore sitting in that chair as she goes from perfect to picture-perfect.
1 A Distinguished Man Eating Chips
Edward Herrmann was a beloved actor who portrayed the stern but well-meaning grandfather Richard Gilmore during the original run of Gilmore Girls.
Herrmann tragically passed away before the filming of A Year in the Life, and is fondly remembered and missed by his cast mates.
Here, Herrmann is pictured with his on-screen wife Kelly Bishop doing something that Richard Gilmore would never do: eating a bag of chips.
Herrmann’s passing was a driving force of the revival as A Year in the Life addressed his absence head-on and used the opportunity to mourn the passing of the great actor through Emily Gilmore coping with the loss of her husband.
Seeing Herrmann happily out of character in this behind the scenes photo shows the actor in a different, personal context outside of his performance on the show.
What do you think of these behind-the-scenes photos? Are there any other images of the Gilmore Girls cast that fans need to see? Let us know in the comments!