It's official: the hype has begun for Sex and the City 2. Since filming began in earnest – and even before then, with the will-they-won't-they-make-another-one industry and internet speculation – it's been crazy.
Over five thousand women queued in the streets of Manhattan when the studio put out a call for open auditions for extras in the hope of starring alongside the famous four; crowds during filming have been so huge that the stars have had to stop shooting some street scenes and retire to their trailers, and already there has been much mulling over the potential storylines and, of course, the fashion.
But will this sequel, due for release next summer, succeed where others have, in the past, failed? And, more to the point, is it even relevant any more? The first film, which was, as predicted, an enormous global box-office hit, neatly tied up the loose ends. Carrie finally got her happy ending, Charlotte had her longed-for baby, Miranda and Steve got back together and Samantha was single and fabulous at fifty after leaving long-term boyfriend Smith – so really, what's left? If the rumours are to be believed, one strand is based on Carrie's husband, Mr Big, running into financial problems as a result of the economic crisis. The characters' wardrobes, however, look like being as extravagant and designer-led as before.
It's all about balance. While it's a good thing to reference real life events, there's no doubt that the show's fans crave a bit of good old-fashioned escapism in the mix too, especially in today's purse-tightening, slightly gloomy times. They didn't watch the first film wanting to see an unhappy ending to the plot; they like to feel reassured that before the credits have even started rolling, and despite the characters' ups and downs, friendship and true love will win out in the end. Equally, the costume flashbacks to the 80s, the Christian Louboutins, the fancy frocks stylishly mixed with vintage finds, are what half the fans will flock to see the film for. In short, they expect it. There was talk that the producers wanted to make Carrie's wardrobe reflect the financial crisis too, a suggestion which unsurprisingly didn't go down well with the costume designer Patricia Field.
As the women have grown up over the years, now reaching their 40s and 50s, so too have the fans. The issues covered in the films have changed – there are not so many one night stands now and there's a lot more baby talk – and they can still be vaguely comparable, even if in a far glossier way, to real life. Fans have always had a favourite character, one whose problems and life seems to fit far more with their own than the others, and there's no reason for this to change in the sequel just because the characters are older and the issues different.
Even those who think that the producers and actresses should go out on a high and quit while they're ahead, having a brilliant series and a massively successful film under their belts, will go and see the second one out of curiosity if nothing else. After all, many people felt that even making a first film was unnecessary yet the box office shows it was wildly popular. Fans will be hoping that this second one will work out just as well. The anticipation will be immense, building as every last detail of plot and costume is obsessively analysed and pored over. But this time the sequel may not live up to the hype.
'Sex and the City' is scheduled for release on 24 May 2010