Here's my interview with David Rosenthal, conducted immediately following today's Gilmore Girls press-tour session. Luckily, he was much more forthcoming during our little Q&A than he was on the panel.

Ausiello: What can you tell me about the first six episodes?
David Rosenthal:
Obviously, the repercussions from the end of last season [will play out]. That's something that is not going to just disappear. It's a major shift, a major change in everybody's lives. It affects not just Lorelai and Christopher and Luke, but Rory as well. There are a lot of consequences, and we fully intend to explore them - the positive and the negative. It's a big deal, not just for the fans, but for us, the writers and producers of the show.

Ausiello: Fans are holding out hope that maybe Lorelai and Christopher didn't sleep with each other.
Rosenthal:
No, no, no. That's a pipe dream. Those were two grown-ups who woke up in bed together after spending the night together.

Ausiello: Is Matt Czuchry off the show?
Rosenthal:
No. God, no. Rory's going to try to engage in a long-distance relationship. He's going to be in London; she's going to be in college. Obviously, it's a very challenging and difficult thing, and it's going to present obstacles for the two of them. But they're very much in love, so they're really going to work hard to make it work. He's very much on the show and very much a part of her life, but it's from thousands of miles away.

Ausiello: You hinted during the session that there will be other boys in her life.
Rosenthal:
There will be people in her life, male and female. Perhaps the return of characters from past seasons.

Ausiello: Marty?
Rosenthal:
Marty perhaps will be returning in her social circles, and perhaps some new friends who we have yet to meet. Again, not only did Logan graduate, but Colin and Finn, too. A lot of the people she spent a lot of time with over the season have moved on, so she has to find a new life for herself at Yale.

Ausiello: I heard the first couple of episodes are dramatic.
Rosenthal:
Certainly. It's a big thing we have to deal with, but there will be plenty of humor. We're not shifting gears here. We're not suddenly going to lose that spark and that humor that people know and love about Gilmore Girls. We work very hard to maintain that balance between the comedy and the drama. One of the things that I love so much about the show is the ability to shift back and forth between the comedy and the drama. And also to play so much comedy through the drama, and vice versa. That's something that we work very hard to maintain.

Ausiello: Amy told me she believes Luke and Lorelai are soul mates. Do you agree?
Rosenthal:
[ Tentative] Yeah. That doesn't mean that we're going to see them behind a white picket fence a month from now. But they have a very, very deep bond. I certainly see it and feel it. But sometimes soul mates spend a lot of time not together. Just because someone's your soul mate and may be your ultimate destiny does not mean that there's not a lot to go through before you reach that destiny.

Ausiello: Will April be back?
Rosenthal:
Yes, absolutely. April is a part of his life. Luke is going to have some issues this year in terms of his deepening relationship with April and his relationship with Anna. There's a lot to get into there, and we will spend a great deal of time exploring that as well.

Ausiello: Are you aware of all the anti-Gilmore sentiment out there?
Rosenthal:
I'm aware of it. I do pay attention to it, but I try to keep my eye on the ball. I try to keep focused on the long term and the arcs for the season and where we want to take these characters - and keeping the show alive and growing so that it can go more than just this season. So this won't have to be the last season of Gilmore Girls, 'cause I do feel like there's a lot more life left in the show. But I think it's up to us, the writers, to make that a reality.

Ausiello: I've never seen Luke and Lorelai fans more riled up. Do you look at that and go, "Maybe we need to do something about this. We don't want to lose these viewers."
Rosenthal:
We don't want to lose the viewers, but I gotta say, in our [writers'] room, half of the people don't understand at all, and the other half understand that she's been waiting around for a year for this guy and she feels like he's made a choice. That she's no longer the No. 1 priority in his life. He has other priorities now, and at the end of last season she was really at her wit's end. So I think a lot of people are sympathetic to that and understand that. Again, we're creating situations where the characters can learn things from choices they make and choices they don't make. We're just trying to keep the drama alive. If everything's settled and happy and nobody has any problems or issues, man, that's not going to make for a great TV show. But we respect and honor Luke and Lorelai's history, their relationship and whatever their future holds for them. It's a journey they're on together.

Ausiello: Do you see potential with Christopher and Lorelai as a couple?
Rosenthal:
They certainly have to deal with what happened, and it is not a simple thing; it has far-reaching consequences. So, yeah... he's in the show a lot. He's going to be around a lot. I don't want to give away too much, but yeah, he's a major part of her life this year. Absolutely.

Ausiello: At what point does everyone have to get together and decide if this is the last season?
Rosenthal:
You know, that's above my pay grade. That's a network and studio decision. Look, the studio and the network I'm sure want it to come back. I know it's going to be one of the signature shows for the CW. We'll just keep doing our work and hopefully make shows that people respond to and like, and we'll see what happens.

Ausiello: Did Amy offer you any advice before she left?
Rosenthal:
She did. She wished me luck. I spent a terrific year last year working with Amy and Dan, and she was incredibly supportive, and she told me from the beginning that this was a distinct possibility that she would be moving on and I would be running the show. When she brought me in at the beginning of last year, that's one of the things she told me. She brought me in as an executive producer for that reason. So I feel very honored that I was her hand-picked successor. That was a great thrill for me. At the end of last season she wished me luck, and I'm thrilled to be doing it.