Spoiler alert: This post contains plot from the series finale of Nashville.
With one final song, Nashville has ended its six-season run. And for fans of the show, the final hour held a number of big moments, from that brand new Rayna-Deacon flashback to the last musical performance, which saw a number of returning faces reuniting on stage at the Ryman Auditorium.
Speaking to the decision to bring Rayna back — yes, it was a new scene — showrunner Marshall Herskovitz tells EW, “Once we understood that the show was going to end, we said, ‘We’ve got to figure out a way to [bring her back].’ We tried several different story ideas but this one felt like the most organic and real and Connie [Britton] liked it, so it all worked out.”
As for the other ideas of how to see Rayna again, Herskovitz says they briefly considered having Deacon see a “vision” of her — not a ghost, but a vision — but they felt that plan wasn’t substantial enough in the end. But of course, the flashback wasn’t the only place that fans got to see Britton. In the show’s final moments, characters new and old joined producers, writers, and more on stage to say thank you to the fans in a moment that completely shattered the fourth wall.
“We did a similar thing at the end of Once and Again that just ended up working out very well,” Herskovitz says of another series he created with writing partner Ed Zwick. “It was connecting directly to the audience and saying thank you and we’re grateful that we’ve been able to share these years with you. It just seemed like that was the most respectful way to do it.”
Speaking to the various character endings in the final moments of the show — which flashed forward a few months to find everyone at different places in life — Herskovitz says not everyone got a happy ending. “We went through each character and asked ourselves: What is the right way to end this story? For each character there was a different answer. I wouldn’t say every single story had a truly happy ending but some of them were and some of them were in the sense of them moving on in life. For instance Maddie, I wouldn’t say that’s a happy or unhappy ending. I felt that it was an honest ending, that it was time for her to move on with her life. Same thing with Deacon, people were wondering is he going to end up with Jessie? What’s the story with Ilse? Is he going to be with her? No one knows, but we know he’s going to move on with his life and we know he’s surrounded with love. That’s a happy ending. The happiest ending of course is Avery and Juliette and that was very much earned. They’d gone through such hell apart and together that they earned it and you want to see them together.”
Then there’s Scarlett, who ended up engaged to actress Clare Bowen’s real-life husband. “I called Clare and said, ‘How would you feel about this,'” Herskovitz says. “She burst out laughing and she said, ‘I had this idea 20 minutes ago and I thought how could I ever ask Marshall to put my husband on the show?’ So everybody was really happy with that one.”
So maybe we can call it a happy ending after all.
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