Wait, is Tristan — but not Chad Michael Murray — coming back in the 'Gilmore Girls' revival? We have six theories
No one ever remembers Tristan, the second strapping young dude Rory Gilmore encounters in the original run of Gilmore Girls. The prep school jerk played by Chad Michael Murray takes an immediate liking to Rory after she transfers to his school, Chilton. We know this because, much like the way a 5-year-old shows affection, he mocks her mercilessly, calling her "Mary" (because she's a virgin) and bothering her nonstop.
Tristan came up in a weird way today when Gilmore superfans Caitlin and Michelle were sleuthing to find out how many episodes of the new Netflix run, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory's other boyfriends were in.
Here is an edited version of their chat in which some surprising things surfaced:
Caitlin: Logan Huntzberger (4 episodes, 2016)
Jess Mariano (3 episodes, 2016)
Tristan's Girlfriend / ... (2 episodes, 2016)*
Michelle: LOL WHAT
everyone always forgets him
Michelle: 2 episodes?!?!!!!
hahah i know
some people speculate he was supposed to be the Jess, then CMM had to leave
Caitlin: yeah, I can totally see that
it's weird that "Tristan's girlfriend" is listed before Tristan, let me find him
Michelle: ahahah so weird
Caitlin: Anton Narinskiy ... Tristan (1 episode, 2016)
Caitlin: did they really (replace Chad Michael Murray)
That's right, folks, in the IMDB credits for A Year in the Life, there is a character named Tristan listed, and he is not played by Chad Michael Murray, but this guy.
Why? We haven't seen any screeners for the new episodes, which land on Netflix Nov. 25, so we can only speculate. But surely one of these theories is correct.
Anton Narinskiy plays a new Tristan. Look, it makes no sense to bring back the original Chilton Tristan. He was in a handful of episodes and made no lasting impact. But maybe Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted to mess with fans, and decided to write a NEW character named Tristan. Rory's Tristan would be in his 30s now, and I'm not buying that Anton Narinskiy is playing a 32-year-old. He looks awfully young, like he's a current Chilton student that Rory encounters when she visits her alma mater, or a new millennial coworker she has to deal with. Or ...
Emily has a new friend. Or maybe this new Tristan is a companion Emily Gilmore has hired to keep her company after Richard's death. Admittedly, this is a bit complicated by the appearance of "Tristan's Girlfriend" in the show's IMDB credits, because Emily would definitely want him all to herself, but it isn't out of the question. Remember when she had that male Russian dancer live at the Gilmore house in the Season 5 episode "Blame Booze and Melville" as some sort of weird sponsorship thing? There were definite vibes.
Chad Michael Murray is no longer available. Here's what happened. Amy's original plan was to bring back all of the men in Rory's life — Jess, Dean, Logan, Marty (remember Marty?) and Tristan. CMM was set to play him. Then, in a bizarre scheduling snafu, CMM was present when Amy's infamous Final Four Words (the four words she always planned to end the series with but didn't because she left before it ended) were uttered on set. Nobody is supposed to know the Final Four Words, so Amy needed to do something. She had CMM shipped to Russia (it's not like anyone in Hollywood would miss him much), and, in exchange, got Russian actor Anton Narinskiy to step in at the last minute. It's no coincidence that Narinskiy looks like CMM, is it?
He's playing the same Tristan, and Amy Sherman-Palladino is hoping we don't care/notice. I'm not going to lie, I think this new guy looks like Chad Michael Murray. It's less drastic of a change than, say, when Fresh Prince swapped Aunt Vivs on us. TV shows have been trading out actors since the dawn of time, including Gilmore Girls trading out Caesars on us, and Tristan probably only makes a brief appearance in one episode compared with the multi-episode arcs of other love interests. And when is the last time any of us actually saw Chad Michael Murray anyway?
Tristan got plastic surgery. Tristan was the vain rich boy type (a precursor to Logan?). He wouldn't be above a little nipping and tucking to look younger, right? I'm just saying, it's not totally implausible here. Maybe Tristan and his girlfriend run into Rory on the street, he recognizes her (because really, Alexis Bledel has changed so little) and she doesn't recognize him. He fesses up to said nipping and tucking — or hey, maybe he's even a plastic surgeon himself now. Did we ever know what Tristan wanted to do with his life other than not go to military school where his dad was sending him in Season 2?
Chad Michael Murray is making a cameo, but Amy Sherman-Palladino didn't want it spoiled. Listen, we all knew Logan and Jess and Dean had to come back. But Tristan? Everybody forgets Tristan. (And Marty, who was actually nice. Poor Marty.) And Chad Michael Murray became a hot commodity for a while after he left the show for One Tree Hill and rom-coms aplenty, then he just kind of fell off the radar. We would totally get a kick out of him making a cameo here, reminding us he was a thing. And what better way for us to be thrown off the scent than to insert another Tristan into the Gilmore Girls credits? It could totally happen, right?
* Upon closer examination, we realized this actress plays "Tristan's Girlfriend" in one episode (Winter) and in another episode (Summer), she plays "Wonder Woman." We think we've found her in the trailer: