The friends at the center of "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" are just as close in real life.
The limited series premiered on Dec. 22 on Peacock, reuniting the iconic cast that first came together in 1999 for "The Best Man." Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, TODAY's parent company.
Morris Chestnut, who stars as Lance Sullivan, tells TODAY.com that working with Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Terence Howard, Melissa De Sousa, Regina Hall and Harold Perrineau again was so much like a family reunion that it was actually distracting.
"It's always like a family when we come together because we genuinely love being around each other," Chestnut says. "We have a great time with each other. It's not good for the directors and the producers, because when we're on set all at the same time, it's hard for them to keep everything focused."
Malcolm D. Lee, the creator and director, cosigns Chestnut's point — but from another perspective. The reunion was only "somewhat" enjoyable for Lee, he says, because he often had to be the adult in the room amid the merriment.
"It's incredibly difficult to manage all the personalities, the expectations, the studio, the network and also try to maintain the integrity of the piece and the vision," Lee says. "And it's not always fun."
Below, Chestnut walks us through the next chapters in Lance's life – but are they really the final ones?
Chestnut says this part of Lance's journey 'shocked' him
The series opens with Lance at a low point. He's searching for who he is following the events of the series' second movie, "The Best Man Holiday:" Lance retired from professional football and his wife died of cancer.
Chestnut says when he read the script for the first time, he immediately felt the history of the past two movies in it.
"I really enjoyed reading it," he says, grinning. "I was shocked at a couple of things, but the one thing that I was happy about is that I felt that it was in line with what the films are."
Given all that transpired in his life, it's no surprise that Lance is soul searching — but his methods surprised Chestnut. "I was shocked that I was naked all over the place," he says. "That was shocking."
In the opening episodes, Lance is in a pit of despair, grieving the death of his wife. To cope, he hooks up with random women in an attempt to fill the void. Translation? Yes, he's naked — a lot.
Lance of the miniseries is a callback to the Lance of the first movie. A player, Lance only settled down after he met and married the love of his life, Mia Morgan, played by Monica Calhoun. In the second movie, he's a Jesus-loving family man enjoying his wife, kids and football. So the "new" Lance is actually more like the old Lance returning.
Chestnut says the change makes sense to him: "It was really an exploration of himself and that learning process."
Lance and LJ's relationship
There are more learning moments to come for Lance.
Lance adjusts, not always gracefully, after his oldest kid, LJ, comes out as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Lance initially confiscates the clothes LJ wants to wear and prays for God to change them. But by the end of the series, Lance changes his prayer and asks God to help him accept LJ for who they are.
Chestnut says Lance's response tracks with who the character is.
"He's been able to control so much. If he wants to go out there and get a touchdown, he was able to go out and just do it. And then now, he lost his wife — he could couldn't control that. And then now, he's faced with the situation with LJ."
Chestnut says Lance's family circumstances cause him to have a revelation revelation: He has to take responsibility and stop blaming LJ for his problems. "I can't blame him. We can't get mad at everybody else," Chestnut says of his character.
What comes next for Lance and 'The Best Man'?
Throughout the series, Lance processes everything that’s happened and ends up feeling whole again. He starts coaching for the NFL team he once played for, the New York Giants, and he gets engaged to a woman he’s admired the whole series.
“I think they possibly could” have more kids, Chestnut says, “if we were to go on.”
But that probably won't happen — Chestnut says the series is most likely the last installment of the franchise. He credits Lee for creating a cultural staple that’s stood the test of time and jumpstarted the main cast members’ careers.
“Malcolm Lee created a great world, a great universes, with these characters and storylines. People really, really gravitated towards that,” he says.