Is Julia a Sequel or Prequel to Julie & Julia? Is Julie Powell in the Show?

Image Credit: Seacia Pavao/HBO Max

Created by Daniel Goldfarb, HBO Max’s biographical drama series ‘Julia’ centers around the life of celebrated television chef and author Julia Child. The first season of the show depicts Julia’s efforts to launch her cooking show ‘The French Chef.’ The show also offers an admirable look at Child’s relationship with her husband Paul Child, editor Judith Jones, and close friend Avis DeVoto. Since Nora Ephron’s 2009 film ‘Julie & Julia’ also portrays a specific period of Julia’s life and the aforementioned relationships, one must be eager to know whether the show is a prequel or sequel to the Meryl Streep-starrer. Let’s find out!

Is Julia a Sequel or Prequel to Julie & Julia?

Even though ‘Julia’ is conceived and produced as a standalone series by creator Daniel Goldfarb, showrunner Chris Keyser, and HBO Max, the show can be seen as an unofficial sequel to ‘Julie & Julia.’ Nora Ephron’s film portrays two parallel storylines, one being Julia Child’s life in the 1950s. In the film, Julia attends a French culinary institution, Le Cordon Bleu, upon moving to Paris with her husband Paul Child. She collaborates with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle to write a cookbook, introducing French dishes to American housewives. The film ends with the book getting accepted by the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf upon being rejected by Houghton Mifflin.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child in ‘Julie & Julia’

‘Julia’ begins with the aftermath of Knopf’s decision to publish Julia’s book and her appearance on WGBH-TV to promote the same. The television appearance motivates Julia to propose a cooking show to the producers of WGBH-TV. Even though producer Russ Morash initially rejects Julia’s proposal, her pilot gets picked up and she launches a cooking show named “The French Chef.” Since the show continues the narrative of Julia’s storyline in the film impeccably, it is fair to acknowledge that the former is, at least, an unofficial sequel to the latter.

Thematically, ‘Julie & Julia’ and ‘Julia’ are distinct and standalone creations. While the former depicts Julia’s introduction to authentic French cooking and her influence on the next generations, the latter focuses on her struggles to establish herself as a television personality. In the show, Julia fights the notions of ageism and sexism in the American television industry to find her footing as a TV show host. Still, ‘Julie & Julia’ can be recommended to the viewers of ‘Julia,’ especially if one is interested to know more about Julia’s emergence as a chef and author.

Is Julie Powell in Julia?

No, Julie Powell is presumably not in ‘Julia.’ Julie Powell, based on a real person, is one of the two principal characters of ‘Julie & Julia.’ In the film, Julie tries Julia’s recipes and writes a blog about the same. Since Julia and Julie had never met in real life, there isn’t a considerable scope for the latter to feature in the biographical show as a character. In addition, ‘Julia’ is set in the 1960s, while Julie’s attempts to try out Julia’s recipes happened in 2002.

Amy Adams as Julie Powell in ‘Julie & Julia’

Since the show hasn’t been renewed yet for a sophomore season or multiple seasons to continue its narrative till 2002 to portray Julia’s influence on Julie, we will not see the latter featuring in the show, at least for now. The only other way Julie may feature in the show as a character is through a narrative flashforward, potentially to acknowledge Julia’s influence on the later generations. However, the unlikeliness of it happening, even in the possible seasons to come, leads us to believe that the character may not feature in the show.

Read More: Where is Julia Filmed?