By Maureen Lee Lenker
April 05, 2019 at 01:00 PM EDT
Scott Everett White/The CW; Inset: Kit Karzen
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When Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was renewed for a second season back in 2016, it brought with it some disappointing news — that Santino Fontana, the Broadway star and voice of Frozen’s Hans, would be leaving the series.

In the uncertainty surrounding the series renewal, Fontana had accepted other opportunities that then left him unavailable to return to the show — leaving the Greg-Josh-Rebecca love triangle that drove much of the romantic action of the first season missing one of its key points.

But co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna says the Greg-Rebecca break-up, which came in a momentous airport scene in season 2, was somewhere they were always headed. “We always imagined they would break up because their thing was so toxic and terrible, and that they would become close friends,” she tells EW of their original plans for this story line.

What did change was their opportunity to explore Greg’s journey and growth outside of his role as a love interest, as they ultimately did with both Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) and Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster). “We always intended to take the guys and explore them as individuals outside of the love story. That’s the thing we didn’t get to do as much with Greg because Greg ended up spending a lot of his time on the show as a love interest because Santino left. And when he came back [played by Skylar Astin], he came back as a love interest right away,” McKenna explains.

The thing she says they most wanted to explore was Greg’s own journey of recovery and sobriety as it related to his alcoholism. In essence, his journey would have paralleled Rebecca’s own four seasons of self-discovery and healing. “We probably would’ve spent more time on his day-to-day transformations,” she says. “We would’ve seen him in recovery, which was something we were very interested in, so we would have seen him going through that process, and instead, it all happened offscreen.”

But for those who wonder if Nathaniel might never have entered Rebecca’s life (and the show) had Santino stayed, McKenna immediately dismisses that theory. “We would’ve needed to bring in another love interest once she and Greg became friends, so there would’ve been another love interest,” she says. “We entertained a few different shapes for what that guy would be and the [bad-boy a—hole] was the one we loved and gravitated to….Nathaniel’s the most screwed up character on the show, [co-creator] Rachel [Bloom] and I think. He’s a certain kind of snob that I really find very amusing.”

So, while Rebecca never got the chance to settle for Greg as played by Santino Fontana, it’s interesting to imagine what could have been (perhaps in musical number form).

The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series finale airs Friday, April 5 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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