How’s that for a cliffhanger, Chuck fans? In the last 30 minutes of the Chuck season finale, Chuck and Sarah became nearly-billionaires, got married, bought the Buy More, and started a rogue spy group. And we haven’t even mentioned Morgan.
Luckily, EW spoke with Chris Fedak, exec producer/puppet master of the madness, who explained how what we saw in this epic finale is going to impact the show’s fifth and final season. “What we’re really excited about is that season 5 is very much a return to Chuck season 1 and 2. Chuck doesn’t have the Intersect, but there’s a new fish out of water who has to go on these missions,” he says. “Chuck is in the position of having to protect his buddy, like Sarah and Casey protected him season 2.” Read on for more of our chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You all had said all season that you sort of saw Morgan as the mini-Chuck in the spy world. Was this just a way of bringing that idea full circle?
CHRIS FEDAK: I think there’s two things. I think the first is that Chuck is so great as Chuck Bartowski, and we were really excited to take him back to the guy who doesn’t have a supercomputer in his head. And now he’s had all this experience and training, following that character without the Intersect is something we really wanted to do. On the flip side, we have Josh Gomez, who is so comedic and wonderful. And because the show isn’t the show without the Intersect, we thought, “What if he got the intersect in his head?” And the moment the writers started thinking about it, we got that goofy smile on our face. That’s the show: Chuck having to protect his little buddy, Morgan Guillermo Grimes. We love that evolution. So it’s certainly based on, like you said, the full-circle nature of season 5. Also, Zach and Josh are just great.
What made you want to take them out of the CIA environment?
In season 4 and 3, we took a big CIA angle. We gave them the resources of the CIA and they went on missions to Iraq and Moscow and Russia. And there was a part of me that was, like, “What happens if you take away all those resources? The protection of the CIA?” And even though they have the Volkoff fortune, there’s something, too, about working for the government that protects you. Season 5 will be more dangerous than ever before. They’re on their own. Chuck also doesn’t have the Intersect any more.
I love how you took away the protection but they still have money so they can still go overseas.
Oh yeah! I still love to go overseas. I’d love to find myself in a Swiss vault at least one point next season.
Tell me about the decision to let Sarah and Chuck have a happy ending. You could have easily played with fans’ hearts — don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you didn’t! But as a fan, it’s satisfying. Was their happy ending important to you?
For us, we have done three seasons of the will-they-won’t-they. I think that, for us, we didn’t [necessarily know] that they were going to be a couple together. But in the “Honeymoon” episode in season 3, you see how great they are as a couple. They’re so funny, charming, and romantic. I think, for us, we weren’t afraid of allowing them to be a couple and allowing them to be married. We all get married; we all grow up. This story is about Chuck’s evolution from being a 20-something to now being a guy who knows what he wants to do, has a job, and has a beautiful girl. But that doesn’t make life any less complicated.
Maybe you expected this the whole time, but has it ever surprised you how getting them together didn’t soil the chemistry at all? Obviously, that’s always a worry in these situations.
I was, of course, nervous, like any producers. But we knew that it wasn’t the will-they-or-won’t-they that made them fantastic. It was the actual, natural, movie-star chemistry they have.
Now that they’re hitched and happy, what adventures can we expect from them?
They’re happy and married, but it doesn’t mean their lives aren’t going to be complicated and dangerous. And starting up this spy firm, there are a lot of emotional and epic things that are going to happen in season 5. It’s going to test their character and their relationship. We haven’t seen them ride off into the sunset. I think that there’s still a lot more for them to deal with.
I guess I’m not seeing a how a baby might fit into the new spy team. I actually spent too much time thinking and talking about the prosthetic baby bump for Sarah Lancaster [when her character was pregnant]. So I think I’d like to steer clear of that. [Laughs.]
Speaking of Ellie, how do Ellie and Awesome fit into this?
She’s sort of found herself involved in Chuck’s world, with the computer. So for season 5, they’re going to be a little closer to the spy world than they have in the past. But they’re also two brilliant doctors, and we have fun looking at their lives and how different it is from Chuck’s. It’s still going to be a different world.
So you did you plan out this season knowing there was a season 5?
We didn’t know until a few days ago. We were locked into the finale before there’d be a season 5. We called it “Chuck versus the Cliffhanger,” but it was a cliffhanger in the most fun sense of the world. We knew there wasn’t going to be a cliffhanger in that Chuck and Sarah get into a limo, and there’s a bomb — even though we tried to hint at that.
Lastly, how did it feel to get a chance to close it out properly?
It’s great. That’s something unique and we’re very thankful to NBC and Warner Bros. for giving us the opportunity to close out the show in a satisfying and great fashion. It helps us as storytellers and gets us ready.
Any pressure knowing that this is the final season of a show people are so heavily invested in?
I always feel the pressure. We’re excited, though. That’s the great part of having a show like this.
Follow Sandra on Twitter @SandraG