ET spoke to King after the first two episodes of the series aired on Thursday, and he admitted that it was his idea to have Carrie Bradshaw's (Sarah Jessica Parker) husband, Mr. Big (Chris Noth), tragically die of a heart attack.
"It was mine because I wanted to see if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," King explained. "And I wanted to do an amazing arc for Carrie and Sarah Jessica, because I knew she could be amazing playing both the dark and the light. I wanted everyone to see that, and I wanted to write that. Also, the thesis of the show and Carrie says it in the finale voiceover, everybody thinks it's about Big calling and saying I'm coming, but really the most significant challenging relationship of all is the one you have with yourself."
He continued, "If you have that and someone else comes along, that's fabulous. So this is now the significant challenging relationship she has with herself and with others."
Big's death also allows for the friendships of the three women in the series, Carrie, Charlotte York, (Kristin Davis) and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), to be put to the test.
"These three friends to me are so solid and so golden, and then I thought the friendships really show up in the hard times, and I really wanted to see what happens when your friends show up for you when the most difficult thing happens in life, which is a death," King added.
While the moment was difficult for fans to watch, it was equally trying for Parker and Noth to bring to life.
"Seeing it on the page is one thing, and then seeing it, even though it's fake, seeing them play the reality of it was shocking and harrowing," King explained. "For me, and I am directing it, and thinking, 'Wow this is more in theory,' and when Carrie's wedding shoes just blew off her feet I was like, 'Yeah, that's the difference between rom-com and reality, is when you are in crisis those shoes don't stay on your feet ,and I thought it was significant."
Big's last breaths came at the end of the first episode, when he completed his 1,000th ride on a Peloton bike with his favorite instructor, Allegra, played by real-life instructor Jess King. As he goes to take a shower, he drops his phone and clutches his left shoulder in pain. By the time Carrie gets home from Charlotte's daughter's piano recital, Big is barely alive as Carrie screams and cries with the shower running over them both.
The devastating moment had fans wondering why Carrie didn't pick up the phone and call 911.
"First of all, his phone was in the shower and was soaked," King said. "She didn't pick up that phone because what we did in filming that isn't a real moment, that's a split second before she ran over to him. We made it be what they felt, time stopped, that's not real time. Time stopped. It wasn't a casual moment; it was what they were feeling in that moment."
King continued, "I had someone say to me, 'She knew this day was coming. She just didn't know this day was it.' Look at what Chris is doing, he's communicating with her. If it had happened to me, I wouldn't know if the first thing to do was to get him up. All she keeps saying is, 'Help me, help me, help me, get up John, help me.' She's still trying to make him be alive."
At the end of the day, for King, that moment is about the choices people make.
"I love the debate, are you someone who would stand there or run for the phone? It's another choice people make," he shared. "Are you Carrie Aiden or Carrie Big? All the Carrie Aidan people are running for the phone, and Carrie Big people locked in the moment."
While Big's death has spawned plenty of debates, it got the attention of the employees at Peloton, who have since released a statement on his death and a tongue-in-cheek commercial featuring Noth and King, in which Peloton stresses that their bike is not to blame for Big's passing. While Peloton has had a big response since Thursday's episode and even suffered a stock loss, King shared that just like how Big smokes and drinks with the best of the best, he'd be using the best of the best to exercise at home, and that's Peloton.
"Peloton is in the show because I wanted to show that Big was current. It was healthy and alive and current. The most current thing that I know about everybody right now, including myself, is we're on the Pelotons. Our show has always reflected what is hot in the world, whether it's Manolo Blahnik's or Pelotons," King maintained. "In Big's case, he is on a Peloton because that is the premium bike for home exercise, that is the Gucci of home exercise. That's what Mr. Big would have, and he is on that bike. That's why it's in the show, [it] reflects reality."
As far as how King feels about the fans' reactions over Big's death, the And Just Like That show runner says their outrage means they care.
"I love that people are upset," King shared. "It means they care, they felt lost. It's fiction, so it's fun to feel sad if it's not real. It's fun to feel pain if it's fortunately not your pain. Fictional pain is what art is for. It helps us get through real life sometimes."
New episodes of And Just Like That drop every Thursday on HBO Max.