[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SEASON FINALE OF THE FOLLOWING!!!!]
Last night’s season finale of The Following left us shocked but also full of questions. EW talked to executive producer Marcos Siega to clear up who’s dead and who’s alive as well as what’s in store for season 2.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I legitimately did not know what was going to happen in the last five minutes — I mean I knew Ryan and Claire weren’t going to have a peaceful dinner. I thought Weston might show up at the door.
MARCOS SIEGA: We didn’t actually distribute the last scene to anybody. It was never part of the script. So when the crew showed up on the call sheet it just said “Scene: Ryan’s loft.” I got the crew together and said, “Clearly you’re about to see what’s going to happen. Of course we’ll give you whatever information you need to do your job.” We started talking and the crew was guessing, “Is Shawn the guy at the door? Is he evil? I knew it!” I hope people think that because it’s nice to keep them guessing.
So the big question is: Is Claire dead?
It’s tricky. We want the audience to go on this fun ride. We understand the pitfalls of having to wait. We certainly don’t want to piss anybody off. But we look at this as when we watch television shows what is it that we enjoy? We enjoy the screaming at the TV, the guessing. I think consistently throughout the season, whether people like it or don’t like it, we’ve been true to that. I see it as a very fitting way to end an exciting and fun season one. It would be very easy to answer a couple of questions and reveal the things we’ve worked hard to build but I don’t want to do that.
You admitted that you had shot multiple endings for the finale.
What I meant yesterday when I said we shot stuff is that we’re going to be able to come back in season 2 and answer all the questions that people have by basically showing them how things ended up without having to shoot something new.
So you basically shot the aftermath of Molly stabbing Claire?
Yeah there’s another three minutes of scenes. There’s versions of that. Throughout the episode, there were things we shot so that we could go back if we needed to in season 2 maybe in flashback and answer questions.
What did Natalie Zea think of the cliffhanger?
She loved it. She’s been a real team player in terms of whatever we need to do to service the story. When the actors read the scripts, they were genuinely excited. That’s always a good sign.
The other big question is: Is Joe actually dead?
That’s the brilliance of Kevin Williamson. He has these ideas and sometimes when he pitches them to me, I pause and think, “How is that going to work?” We talk about it and I’m left going, “That’s great.”
I’m clearly avoiding your question but you will have an answer when you come back. My father in law texted me this morning and said, “Oh my God. Best episode so far. I can’t believe you killed Joe.” And then I’ve had people texting me, “Eyeroll.” And that’s what we expect. We expect people to go, “Oh come on—you didn’t kill Joe.” And we expect some people to go, “I can’t believe you killed Joe. What the hell are you going to do with the new antagonist?” That’s the fun of it. You just have to wait and see.
Was Parker’s death always planned from the start?
Yes. Like a lot of people we’ve killed on the show, you start to fall in love with them and you’re like, “Dammit, why? Why do we have to go there?!” But we designed it a certain way and the writers have really thought about how these things service our lead. Ultimately, we have an antagonist and protagonist that need this color for their character and these things that inform who they are and who they’re going to be moving forward. So these are building blocks for that. I fell in love with Annie as a person and Parker as a character and just like the audience we’re left going, “Man this is hard to do.” But it’s an important part of building the series.
You directed the finale. Those scenes with Annie buried alive must have been incredibly difficult to film.
When they dig her out, we had to bury her. We certainly do as many things in cuts and cheats as possible but there are always things that the actors have to experience because there’s just no way around it. So there was a moment where it was, “Here’s the box. We’re gonna put you in.” We walked through it and the first time we put her in, she broke down. She even said to me, “I 1000% understand that all I have to do is say, ‘Stop’ and you guys will open the box but my brain can’t register.” So it was emotional and difficult for her and difficult for the crew. Some people couldn’t watch.
We saw Emma had escaped to Alabama. Will she be back next year?
Yeah. Valerie is going to be back.
Will she be the main villain?
Things always evolve. What I can say is from the conversations that Kevin and I have had about where some of these characters are going to go and what potential new characters are going to come in, I’m really excited because it’s new but it does also feel like the series continues. But it’s definitely different.
Are there still followers of Joe that still haven’t revealed themselves?
Absolutely. If you really look at the season and look at the timeline, since the pilot, it’s only been 3 and a half months. Geographically in terms of the United States, we’ve been in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland coasts. But clearly we’ve set this up that we don’t know how far this reaches, how many people it’s touched. There’s people on the West Coast. There’s people in the middle of the country. Joe has acolytes everywhere.
What did you think about season one? What did you learn? Is it that you like polarizing people?
I don’t know that I’d say we like to polarize people but we completely understand that people are going to be upset about certain things because ultimately we’re just trying to service this story. This is a work of fiction. It’s like reading a good book. My favorite books I buy into the moments that are clearly absurd because I’m invested. We try our best when we hit those moments to not distract from the story in a way where it takes you out of it. Kevin even said last night on the panel, “I’m trying. I’ve learned the FBI needs to be smarter.” He really does think about these things. But we are a serialized show and if the FBI solves everything at the end of every episode there’s no The Following.
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