Sleepy Hollow wrapped up its freshman season Monday night with a finale packed full of major twists and a whopper of a cliffhanger that left pretty much every major character in a terrible, life-threatening position. (Head thee to EW’s Sleepy Hollow recap for all the details.)
With Ichabod (Tom Mison) buried six feet under (while still alive), Abbie (Nicole Beharie) trapped in Purgatory, and Katrina (Katia Winter) kidnapped by the headless horseman, executive producer Mark Goffman had a lot to answer for when we called him up after viewing the heart-stopping episode. Luckily Goffman, who penned the extraordinary second hour with fellow EP Alex Kurtzman, was more than happy to break it all down for us — and give us some early scoop on season 2!
Read on for his take on all the twists.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have to start with the Henry Parrish/Jeremy twist. How long was this the plan and how long did John [Noble] know this was the plan?
We knew from the beginning. We had told John Noble about it, and I actually gave him the bible for the season when we first brought him on. So it’s been something he’s been sort of building into his performance from episode 5. And we really thought it was important to establish the Sin Eater as a character before we even heard of Crane’s son. And then to try to put to bed the idea of his son in a couple of episodes later in the back half of the season. So it’s kind of brought up, then dismissed and we move on with the story and the mythology. Hopefully we buried the ball pretty well in terms of the reveal.
You did! How long did Tom and the rest of the cast know?
You know, at the very beginning of the season, we told Tom he had a son who we were going to play as somebody — before we had been looking to cast John Noble — who was older than him because we thought that would be a really interesting way to play it. And we knew this reveal, really, at the beginning of the season. It was part of our initial pitch to [network president] Kevin Reilly. So we shared as much as the details as we had with the cast. And there are some actors who don’t like to know where you’re going; they just want to play it in the moment. Others like feeling where the season is going. So, Tom and Nicole , we brought them into the writers room, and they’ve been incredible generous with sharing the things they love about the show and their characters with us. And that helps us.
One of the biggest moments of the episode was learning that the prophecy was, indeed, going to come true, with Abbie sort of being hand-delivered to Moloch. Was there ever a moment where you considered having Ichabod stay in Purgatory so that the prophecy wouldn’t have to come true? I understand that it sort of had to unravel the way it did in order to have all the pieces together for that final moment. But was that ever a discussed in the writer’s room?
I feel like we had shown Ichabod a few times over the course of the season in Purgatory, and it seemed like just a much more exciting way to leave us if we were back in our world and that’s where Crane was in jeopardy at the end of the season cliffhanger. So it just felt like a much more exciting way to go. And also, having each of them isolated felt like a much stronger cliffhanger.
Yeah, I honestly don’t know how you’re going to get yourself out of this. How far are you into planning a way out of this huge pickle?
We definitely have ideas. Part of the fun of this show is taking these really big swings. So we’ll have to take some more to get them out.
Is there going to be a time jump when we come back for the next season? Or do we pick up right in the moment of this chaos?
I don’t want to say yet. But the great thing about the way this show is crafted is that we don’t have to start in real time. We can begin in dream sequences, we can begin with a flashback to parts of the past and tell some of these stories. But I think it’s pretty important to me that we get them both out pretty quickly. We know that Crane is in the coffin, so the clock is ticking quickly. He’s in a lot of jeopardy so we have to face that very quickly and not take too long before addressing it.
Since we’re talking about next season, what’s the theme? And how are you going to play with this War reveal?
Well, the idea of war, when you read it in the Bible, it’s not only bombs and troops. War is really man against man and turning against himself. So, really, what we’re going to be looking at in season 2 is how does having the horseman of War here in the Sleepy Hollow influence our town.
Are y’all looking to introduce any new characters next season?
We actually do plan to introduce some new characters. One of the big goals, which goes along with the idea of war in Sleepy Hollow, is that we need to populate the town more. So we expect to build out and get to know more of the town of Sleepy Hollow and that will definitely mean bringing in some more characters. And some of them, I think, will be supernatural.
Let’s talk about Capt. Irving. We all love Orlando [Jones]. Can you talk to me about what’s coming up for his character?
He’s innocent of the charges he confessed to, so I think we’re going to have to play out how he is able to get himself out of this situation because he’s confessed to two murders that he didn’t do. And he has very special knowledge that only a small handful of people do about what’s happening in Sleepy Hollow. He’s very critical to our group, but he’s trapped in this situation with his family. But I think he’s very clever and he’s going to figure a way out. I hope. [Laughs]
You all had promised some deaths. Is it safe to say we’ve seen the last of John Cho?
Well, dead is not always gone on Sleepy Hollow. He’s so beloved and such a fantastic character. I really hope that he’s able to return. I think there’s still more to tell both in the past about his story with Abbie and I think there’s still some more that he can do as a character looking for reception but stuck because he sold his soul. I think there’s still some really fun stuff we can do with him.
Does Jenny count as a death? I didn’t see X’s on her eyes or anything.
We’ll have to find out. I certainly hope not. I’ve loved the relationship that she and Abbie have developed over the season, and I think they still have some reconciliation. She’s also a critical part of the show. I’m curious to find out what happens with her as well.
Last, I have to point this out — but poor Ichabod went through a lot of trouble to get new clothes from those reenactment people and he ended up getting buried in his brand new clothes.
[Laughs] That’s true. Maybe he should have stayed in the old one.
He should have worn the old one for traveling to Purgatory, of course! But are you going to have more fun with his clothes next season?
I think the reenactment he went to, we didn’t get to show it, but he actually bought a lot of clothes. They’re all still from the 18th Century — or at least costumes from the 18th Century. But he’ll have a larger wardrobe to choose from next season, and now he knows where to shop.