By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated April 17, 2011 at 11:51 PM EDT
David Giesbrecht/USA Network; Kevin Parry/

Tonight’s Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe is more than an opportunity to see a slightly younger version of Bruce Campbell’s former covert op in Colombia kicking butt first, asking questions later. It’s an exploration of the man we’ve come to know and a preview of where his story will go in Burn Notice‘s upcoming fifth season. Oh, and it’s also an opportunity to see Bruce Campbell kick butt first, ask questions later.

EW hopped on the phone with Burn Notice executive producer Matt Nix, who previewed the movie, airing tonight, and told us about a few of the nuggets he put in there especially for hard-core fans.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how did the idea for a Sam Axe-centered movie even come about?

MATT NIX: Really, the general idea for it came up really early. I grew up watching Bruce Campbell in movies, and he has his own following as a movie star in his own right. I think it was in season 1 that I said, ‘Hey, this is something we could do!’ We put that out there and I think it percolated for some years. I think they sort of thought that we had the Burn Notice fans for it, and the Bruce Campbell fans for it. It was also a good time in the life of the series to introduce some complicating factors in the series from Sam’s life before the series.

Yeah. So it’s not necessarily about season 5.

It’s not what season 5 is about, but certainly some of the things from the movie are going to come into season 5 and make life more complicated for everybody. And one of the things that Jeffrey Donovan, who directed it, did was give it his own feel and it’s own look. Shooting in Colombia gave it an enormous amount of production value, and it looks like a movie. At the same time, there are enough elements that anybody who is a fan of Burn Notice is going to get what they’re hoping for.

How was it for you, as the writer of the movie, to explore who Sam was five years ago?

It’s funny, a lot of it was that I know where Sam is now, and I live with Sam every day. This meant thinking about who Sam was before. On a deep level, it’s kind of a movie that says [Sam is] not every ex-SEAL who hangs out in Miami relaxing. When his friend comes around and says, “Hey, want to run around with guns and help people?” he immediately says, “Yes I do!” A lot of this movie for me was why is Sam that kind of guy. What happened to him that doing what happens on the show makes perfect sense to him? At one point, he was a soldier who followed orders. Now he’s in Miami, and most of what he does is breaking laws and helping people in action-tastic ways. How do you become that guy? Those are the questions this movie answers. It also answers a lot of questions like, why every time Sam has to give a fake name on the show, he gives the name Chuck Finley. This movie answers that.

It’s so cool that there are little fan nuggets in there.

Yeah. Also, what did Sam think of Michael Weston back in the day? There’s also some fun Easter eggs that are dropped in there. There’s an oblique reference to Fiona in there. I think it’s very rewarding if you’re a fan of the series.

So are we going to see any characters from the movie pop up during season 5?

Hmmm…wouldn’t that be interesting. [Pauses]


The answer is yes, yes you will. Sam makes some enemies in this movie. And some of those enemies might show up in season 5.

For more on Burn Notice season 5, check out Tuesday’s edition of Spoiler Room.