Malcolm D. Lee Talks ‘The Best Man: Final Chapters’ Without Monica Calhoun

The director touches on the actress’ possible return and his passion for telling Black stories through the upcoming limited series.

The Best Man: Final Chapters is finally making a return to the small screen. Its first official teaser is out, and the beloved Black cinema franchise will premiere this winter. Malcolm D. Lee has returned to the director’s chair alongside the film’s original cast of the inaugural 1999 film. Actors Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, and Harold Perrineau will all reprise their roles, except Monica Calhoun — whose character, Mia Morgan, died of cancer in The Best Man‘s 2013 sequel. 

“We all love Monica Calhoun,” Lee exclusively told VIBE during a private screening of episode one. “But when we were getting set to make this, it was like, ‘Well, that’s how it has to be.’ She may make an appearance in the Final Chapters. We’ll see. But we all love Monica. I loved working with her. She’s a great actress and really was the key to getting people emotional about Best Man Holiday.

Back in 2014, it was announced that a third installment of the movie franchise would be hitting theaters. The Best Man Wedding was set to arrive in 2016, but due to scheduling conflicts around Lee’s other film projects, it never made its way into production.

“I think it’s twofold,” Lee said. “It’s both artistic and about commerce because we couldn’t get a movie together with the budget that we really needed, and it was hard to get everybody’s schedules. And so what the series allows us to do is just to allow them to chew more scenery and tell us some unfinished stories. So those are the main things that I think are really good about making it more than just a two-hour movie.” The Best Man: Final Chapters will follow the evolved cast as they experience new relationship challenges, reoccurring grievances, and life-changing decisions. Lee serves as the creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner alongside Dayna Lynn North.

North served as executive producer and writer for the HBO hit series Insecure. Now, she and Lee have teamed up in their passion for telling Black stories through a series birthed from an iconic Black movie.

“It’s always difficult to create any story,” Lee added in regard to making Black films and television programming in 2022. “There’s an extra microscope on us for sure. But I don’t feel like there’s a dearth of content out there. There’s a lot… if anything, and I think it’s all the different kinds of genres, too — whether it’s dramatics, melodramatic, comedy, horror, or historical drama. I think there’s a lot that is being done. So I don’t feel like we’re lacking right now.”

All eight episodes of The Best Man: The Final Chapters are set to premiere on Dec. 22 via the Peacock streaming app. Watch the limited series’ latest sneak peek below.

Written by Lee, the new limited series will tell “unfinished stories” of the original characters. Its eight episodes will also introduce a slew of new roles played by Nicole Ari Parker, Ron Canada, Brandon Victor Dixon, Michael Genet, Yvonna Pearson, Aaron Serotsky, Terrence Terrell, Tobias Truvillion, and Eric Scott Ways.