Gilmore Girls is coming back -- and so is Stars Hollow’s favorite bad boy!
To help curb your cravings, ET recently called up Ventimiglia while he was promoting his new Verizon's go90 streaming series, Relationship Status,
and got all the inside scoop on how Jess has changed after all these years, why he "pops into Stars Hollow," and what it was like to reunite with the cast on set.
The 38-year-old actor immediately revealed that he had absolutely no hesitation about stepping back into the mindset of Jess Mariano, Luke Dane's (Scott Patterson) book-loving, troublemaking, leather jacket-wearing nephew.
"For me, it was always one of those jobs where people would ask me the question, ‘If the opportunity came up...‘ or, ‘If they did a movie…’ or this or that -- and my answer was always, ‘Yes,’" Ventimiglia dished.
The Gilmore Girls revival, written and directed by series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino, will be comprised of four 90-minute movies with each depicting a different season's worth of events in Stars Hollow.
"First of all, it was a blast. It was fun," Ventimiglia marveled when asked about returning to the world of Stars Hollow. "I had such a great time at 25 and 24 years old being on that show… I really learned a lot about myself as a young man and learned a lot about myself as an actor -- from the quick pace, the chop-chop-chop and all that. So for me, of course I was going to go back."
Ventimiglia revealed that stepping back into the iconic TV town was like revisiting your "old elementary school" as an adult. "You’ve got all these memories and all this nostalgia, but then you're like, 'Oh, wait. But the desks are small and the lockers are little,'" he explained.
(Gilmore Girls Fun Fact: this is very true! ET has already visited the recreated TV town on the Warner Bros lot and we can confirm that certain Stars Hollow establishments, like Luke's Diner, are a teeny-tiny bit smaller than the originals.)
When it came to sharing scenes with all those wacky Stars Hollow residents, Ventimiglia confirmed that it was thrilling to "play" with these characters again. "It was an absolute blast to be back on set with all of them," he said. "From Patterson to Alexis to Lauren [Graham] -- you get to be on set with your pals."
"We laughed, we cried, we had all kinds of fun over years on set," he continued. "So to stand shoulder to shoulder again, those are the rare opportunities where you get to really appreciate the camaraderie of being on a set."
When we last saw Jess towards the end of Gilmore Girls' sixth season, he had moved to Philadelphia, where he had written a novel and was helping run a small publishing house. He and Rory shared a bittersweet kiss at Truncheon Books’ open house, but parted ways as friends when she went back to be with Logan.
Even though the character details of the four-part Netflix revival are being kept under lock and key, Ventimiglia did admit that "judging [Jess' past] trajectory," fans will not be surprised by the "guy he turned out to be at the very end." The actor added that Jess "pops into Stars Hollow" to "accomplish" something, but he wouldn't spill any more additional details than that. (Although you'd better believe we asked for more!)
"I really appreciate who he was, and knowing where we pick up with him and what he’s up to," he said. "What’s learned from his character, and what’s discovered from his character, and what’s earned from his character -- it didn’t surprise me."
Ventimiglia spilled that the Jess we'll meet in the revival will stay true to the wisecracking, smart-ass that we've come to know and love since season two.
"I thought it was nice that he's [still] that Jess-kicking-ass that everybody kind of liked -- the bad boy that he was," he shared. "But also, the kid always had a heart of gold, he really did. He was just a misguided, troubled, reckless, rabble-rouser."
Ventimiglia, who already filmed his last day on set on April 18, confessed that it wasn't difficult to say goodbye to Stars Hollow this time around.
"Even though the job is done, you still keep in contact with people," he said. "I’ve been fortunate enough, over the last 20 years, to work with a lot of great folks that you get to hang onto in life, and relationships live beyond jobs."
He added, "Saying goodbye, is more like, 'Hey, I’ll talk to you soon. I’ll talk to you next week. I’ll see you around.'"
We're keeping our fingers crossed that this means that this Gilmore Girls revival is just the first of many more Stars Hollow adventures…