Unlike the Gilmore Girls reunion, the Dawson’s Creek reunion featured the writers, instead of the cast.
— BuzzFeedEntmnt (@BuzzFeedEnt) June 6, 2015
So, Dawson’s Creek may have been just a couple of years before your time, but you couldn’t be a human in America without knowing it existed. You either heard your older siblings talking about it or your grandparents disapproving of it’s racy teenage themes. The ability to capture the nation’s attention came from good writing, so it’s only fitting that the show’s writer’s room reunited for an ATX Television Festival panel.
For those of you who were lucky enough to watch it during the show’s heyday or who went back and checked out the series through a streaming service or on DVD, you’ll get some of those burning questions answered. That includes why Jen’s life took a tragic turn and the reasons for Joey’s decision between Dawson and Pacey.
1. It was two years before the show was picked up by The WB.
Show creator Kevin Williamson admitted he was “winging it” when he pitched a show based on his life, but it was well-received by fellow writer Paul Stupin. The coming-of-age series was originally sold to Fox, but they dropped it.
“I was told they were struggling with Party of Five and they didn’t need another one,” Williamson said.
2. Williamson always knew Jack was gay, but never told anyone.
Williamson gave a part of himself to each role, choosing to include a gay character, something he said wasn’t very common at the time. He decided it would be Jack (Kerr Smith), but didn’t tell anyone until after he was introduced in the series. (He didn’t even tell Smith.)
The coming-out storyline for Jack resulted in the first gay kiss on network television. The network didn’t give them much freedom, though, hovering over the crew to make sure they met certain guidelines about length and camera angles.
3. Jen’s death was necessary for the growth of the other characters.
This was one of the show’s most heartbreaking moments. In the series finale, Jen (Michelle Williams), now a single mother to a 1-year-old, dies of a heart condition. She leaves custody of her little girl to Jack. While we literally teared up just writing about her death, the writers said it was crucial to the plot.
“Dealing with death is one more coming of age, and this was a coming-of-age story, Williamson said. “And when you start to realize how precious life is, that is when you start to make decisions. And that is what forced Joey to make a decision.”
4. Joey almost ended up choosing Dawson in the end.
Williamson actually left the show he created after the second season. They brought him back to write the series finale, for which he planned to have Dawson and Joey end up together.
Halfway through the script, he started to have second thoughts. He decided on an ending that would give everyone what they wanted—Dawson got to focus fully on filmmaking and Pacey accepted himself as a man worthy of Joey’s love.
In the end, of course, it wasn’t really all about the romance. At the end of the day, they all had one another’s backs.
“We find our soulmates in our best friends,” Williamson said during the panel. “It’s not always romantic love.”
There was also a gender-swapped script reading at the festival.
Celebrities who participated in the reading included Parenthood‘s Mae Whitman as Dawson and Suits‘ Patrick J. Adams as Joey.
— ATX TV Festival (@ATXFestival) June 7, 2015