'And Just Like That' adds Rosie O'Donnell to cast, and there's no sign of Sara Ramirez

Production on Season 3 of “And Just Like That” has begun, and Sara Ramirez, who played the divisive nonbinary comedian Che Diaz in the first two seasons of the “Sex and the City” reboot, is not involved.

But, in a plot twist that is sure to get fans of the Max series talking, Rosie O’Donnell is joining the cast in Season 3.

On Wednesday, star and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker shared a post on Instagram from the Season 3 table read with the caption, “Here. We. Go.” She tagged several cast members, including Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Nicole Ari Parker and Sarita Choudhury — but not Ramirez, who reportedly was let go from the series after Season 2. Karen Pittman, who will not be reprising her role as Professor Nya Wallace in Season 3 because of scheduling conflicts, also was not tagged.

On Instagram, O’Donnell also shared a picture from the table read, showing a card with her character’s name (“Mary”) on it. A spokesperson for Max confirmed that O’Donnell will star in Season 3 but did not offer additional details.

Max also declined to comment on Ramirez’s status on “And Just Like That,” but Parker’s post appeared to confirm a cast change that has been rumored for months.

Speculation about Ramirez’s status began in January. In a series of posts on Instagram, the actor hinted that they were no longer a part of the production — and implied that their support of Palestine played a factor in their departure from the show.

The actor has been among those in Hollywood to call for a cease-fire in Gaza, posting regularly about the casualties sustained during the Israel-Hamas war, which is nearing its seventh month, and in support of recent protests held at universities across the country. But it was unclear if the posts were related to Ramirez leaving the show. Cynthia Nixon, who stars in “And Just Like That” alongside Ramirez, also has been vocal about her support for a cease-fire, even joining a hunger strike.

“While they give awards away, casting directors and agents are making black lists of actors and workers who post anything in support of Palestinians and Gaza to ensure they will not work again,” Ramirez wrote in a post in January, the day after the Emmys, where Black and Asian American performers were honored in record numbers and many winners shared political messages — though not about Gaza. “It’s wild how performative so many in Hollywood are. Even more performative than the last character I played,” they said, in what was widely interpreted as a reference to Che Diaz.

In February, Variety reported that Ramirez was leaving the series, citing unnamed sources. Max declined to comment at the time.

In addition to Parker’s post, co-star Choudhury spoke to Radio Times about Season 3 of “And Just Like That” and appeared to confirm Ramirez’s exit. “I know they’re doing other things now, so I’m happy for them,” she said of her departing co-star.

“And Just Like That” stars Parker, Davis and Nixon, who reprise their iconic roles from HBO’s “Sex and the City,” which ran for six seasons and spawned two feature films. The new iteration of the series added several cast members, including Choudhury, Parker and Ramirez, whose character had an affair with Nixon’s Miranda Hobbes in the first season and hosted a podcast featuring Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw.

Ramirez, like Che, is nonbinary and uses they/them prounouns. While Che has been a breakout on the series, inspiring a deluge of memes and think pieces, viewers and critics alike have derided the character as grating and self-absorbed and argued that Che was part of a clumsy, overdue attempt to bring diversity to the white, straight world of “Sex and the City.”

“It’s interesting how many conversations this character has brought,” Ramirez told the Times last year. “I think it’s great that people have critiques, that people have thoughts about the writing. I encourage people to talk to the writers about that. That is who they need to be conveying this to.”

Despite the backlash against Che, the character remained central to Season 2 — even after their breakup with Miranda and the end of their professional collaboration with Carrie. “We wanted to let people see who else Che is. I felt like everybody judged a book by the cover. So we wanted to open the book and show new sides to Che,” showrunner Michael Patrick King told The Times.

Season 2 of the series premiered in June 2023, and HBO announced in December that a third season wouldn’t premiere until 2025, due in part to the dual strikes that gripped Hollywood last summer and delayed numerous productions.

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