What Happens Later: What We Know So Far About Meg Ryan’s Return to Rom-Coms


Apparently Meg Ryan’s been reading your forced-proximity fan fiction, and it was just the push she needed to end her acting hiatus—or something like that, anyway. The actress, beloved for her memorable roles in such classics as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, is returning to the big screen for the first time in eight years, in the co-leading role and the director’s chair for the snowed-in rom-com What Happens Later. The film will land in theaters in October, just in time for you to unbox your thickest cable-knit sweater and embark on your Meg Ryan Fall. Here’s what we know about the movie so far.

What is What Happens Later about?

Starring Ryan and David Duchovny as one-time lovers who split decades ago, What Happens Later sees the duo unexpectedly reunited at a regional airport. When the building gets shut down thanks to a snowstorm, they’re forced to spend the night catching up. “As they unpack the riddle of their mutual past and compare their lives to the dreams they once shared,” the film’s official synopsis reads, “they begin to wonder if their reunion is mere coincidence, or something more enchanted.”

Ryan herself has described the film as reminiscent of ’40s pictures like Bringing Up Baby, “in terms of the banter and the rhythm of things and a lot of that era of filmmaking,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “Nora Ephron used to say about rom-coms that they were really a secretly incredible delivery system to comment on the times, and we do that in this movie.”

Is there a trailer?

In the official trailer, Ryan and Duchovny laugh, dance, lament their bygone youth, and question their lost romance from the vantage point of the airport floor. “If we could see our memories in advance, would we do anything different?” Ryan’s character, Willa asks, to which Duchovny’s Bill responds, “Please don’t ruin this.” Watch the full trailer below.

When does the movie come out?

What Happens Later will open in theaters on Oct. 13, 2023.

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Culture Writer

Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE. 

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