“The Best Man: The Final Chapters” premiered on Peacock Dec. 22 and there’s already rumors buzzing about whether it’s the end, the end.
The limited series released all eight episodes, reuniting the original cast of “The Best Man” to finish telling their stories. The show stars Morris Chestnut (Lance Sullivan), Taye Diggs (Harper Stewart), Nia Long (Jordan Armstrong), Sanaa Lathan (Robyn Stewart), Terence Howard (Quentin Spivey), Melissa De Sousa (Shelby), Regina Hall (Candace Sparks) and Harold Perrineau (Julian Murchinson).
Malcolm D. Lee, the creator and director of the original film, its sequel, “The Best Man Holiday” and the series, tells TODAY.com he initially intended to make four movies total.
“After ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ the intention was to make another feature. I had one more feature in my brain that I thought could close out the series,” Lee says. “But we couldn’t mount a movie. It was tough with actors’ schedules, with a budget that I thought was required for it.”
“The Best Man Holiday” came out in 2013. Lee says since then, he’s been thinking of how he could package the story he knew he wanted to tell.
“Over the years, the idea of a streaming platform occurred to me and we could do maybe like a 10-episode limited series. So I aimed toward doing that,” he says.
Lee says pivoting to a series came with a silver lining: “I had the two movies in mind and I thought, ‘OK, well, (a series) is a chance for us to be a little more expansive in our storytelling.'”
With the limited series now out, the movies Lee intended to make no longer interest him.
“I closed the books,” he says of the franchise. “We don’t have any other story to tell, at least I don’t.”
The series ends with a question about whether Harper and Jordan end up together. Similar to the first movie, the two share a kiss, then are interrupted by an emergency phone call. Robyn, Harper’s wife, later finds out about Jordan and it’s the final straw on an already stressed marriage. She files for divorce and moves to Ghana with their daughter, Mia.
Lee says the possibility of a Harper-Jordan relationship is not a cliffhanger, nor is it enough to warrant another movie or series. “It’s up for the audience to decide (how their story ends),” he says.
Lee knows ending the series means this cast will never work all together again. “I think you should get a good look at them right now. Get a good look,” he says.
Saying goodbye to the legacy characters drums up some excitement for the possibility that their impact will continue in a potential spinoff series following their kids.
The series is the first installment of the franchise to dedicate storylines to the main characters’ kids, so it’s the first time the audience really gets to learn who they are. Murch and Candace’s daughters, Keisha and Kelly, struggle with anxiety and perfectionism and have some triggering moments.
Quentin and Shelby’s daughter, Alexis (yes, the series confirms she is his daughter!) is a spoiled princess who needs a humbling dethroning. Lance’s oldest kid, LJ, comes out as nonbinary. And there’s still Lance’s three other kids and Harper and Robyn’s daughter.
Lee did not completely rule out a spinoff with the kids.
“It’s possible,” he eked out hesitantly. “Maybe something inspires (it).”
Lee says he wouldn’t be involved in any hypothetical spinoff and neither would the legacy characters.
“We’ve told the story and it feels like there’s other stories to tell,” he explains. “At this point, I think these actors have done, and admired, these characters really well and they have other stories to tell. I have other stories to tell.”
The end of an era is a celebratory moment, Lee says.
“I didn’t know that it would have this cultural impact, but I certainly intended to make a classic,” Lee says. “I felt like people that I went to school with (and myself) were not being reflected on screen in the late 90s … I really wanted to tell a story about four Black male friends who are college educated and went to school together and just dealt with life and dealing with these rites of passage in a young, professional Black life.
For the last hoorah, Lee wants fans to be “happy with what they saw.”
“It’s a love letter to the fans,” he says. “Hopefully they will feel like they spent time with old friends.