While Williams and Phillips are real life BFFs now, Holmes explained, "I think we've all sort of seen each other over the years, but not everybody all together. And never for long enough."
Sitting down together for a group interview, Williams joked that she had to explain to her mother that they weren't regrouping for a reboot, but just a photo shoot. "I told my mom I was on my way to a reunion and she was like, 'You can't do that, you're dead.' I was like, it's a picture," she explained. In case you forgot (and how could you, we're crying just thinking about it), William's character, Jen Lindley, died in the series finale.
Reflecting on the show's enduring popularity, Williams added, "I loved that we were able to get in there in those formative years for people. That's why people, I think, are so connected to it. When something affects you while you were growing up, it kind of stays in there forever. When you're so permeable and open and trying to figure out who you are and what's going on, whatever reaches you in those moments really becomes part of you."
"I think, especially when we first started, I was a teenager and it was nice to read a script that I felt like expressed things I was still trying to understand for myself," added Holmes.
Jackson, who played Pacey Whitter, said he loved how refreshingly smart the script was for a teen series. "I enjoyed, being a kid at that time, playing a kid who wasn't an idiot," he said. "He never insulted the audience by dumbing us down in order to be believable teenagers." Chiming in, Smith added they "probably got viewers hitting the dictionaries in every episode" too.
"I remember loving the script and everyone was amazing, all the actors were perfectly cast," Van Der Beek told the publication. "I think it would be weird to have any expectation it would blow up in the way that it did. I think we were just excited about ..." he said, before Jackson interjected, "being employed!"
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Even Dawson's mama got in on the trip down memory lane, sharing how she witnessed a major moment in Van Der Beek's rise to stardom.
"I was actually with James when he signed his first autograph," said Mary-Margaret Humes, who played Gail Leery. "My husband and I had taken James up to Universal City in L.A. to watch a movie. This girl came up to James and said, 'Excuse me, aren't you that guy on 'Dawson's Creek'? May I have your autograph?' He signed it and said, 'Oh my God, Mary-Margaret, that was my first!' And, of course, my thought was 'Oh, honey, hang on.'"
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands Friday.