Preacher showrunner answers our questions about Sunday's crazy series finale
Warning: this article contains spoilers for the series finale of Preacher.
“I have so many questions.”
So said Dominic Cooper’s Jesse Custer when he finally sat down for a good old chinwag with Mark Harelik’s God in Sunday night’s series finale of Preacher. And we have questions, too, about the final episode of AMC’s comic book adaptation. Questions like, were Jesse and Custer always destined for a happy ending? Why did the vampire Cassidy decide to take a walk in the sunlight? And how much fun is it to oversee a fight between Jesus and Hitler?
Below, Preacher showrunner Sam Catlin — who also wrote and directed the finale — reveals all.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it always the plan for Jesse and Tulip to get a happy ending?
SAM CATLIN: Yeah, we always wanted Jesse and Tulip to sort of live happily ever after. The spirit of it was, what more perfect place? They’re parents, and they finally have a kid, and they’re at a drive-in, which felt very Americana in the way that Preacher is, and watching John Wayne explain his moral version of the universe. We thought it was important that they had a child and we showed that the child actually turned out to be a pretty normal kid. Like, they did a good job, even though they’re probably bank robbers until the very end. They raised a good kid, which is sort of the most hopeful thing you can do, in some respects.
We definitely wanted that for Jesse and Tulip, because it felt like they’d earned it. But we didn’t want to have all the bad guys get punished and all the good guys live happily ever after. We wanted to have some of the characters have morally ambiguous conclusions. Like, for the longest time, we were thinking that Featherstone would be the one that would kill Starr. Then, as we got closer to it, it felt a little perfect, and we liked the idea that, after everything, Starr flourishes and succeeds [laughs] and escapes justice, and all of that, something more in the chaotic world of the show.
What are we to make of Cassidy’s decision to let himself get burned up?
There’s this trope that vampires live forever, and they learn all these languages, and they learn how to play the cello, and all of this stuff. We always loved the idea that Cassidy just did the same s— over and over and over again. He didn’t really make the best use of his eternal life. I think he sort of comes to terms with, he’s just hiding out here, and there’s something about the passing of his old friends, even though he hasn’t seen them in a long time, that gives him a little nudge to move on to the next thing, which is — whatever — the undiscovered country, the thing that he’s afraid of.
I never thought of it as a moment of despair. It isn’t about suicide, it’s just about, it’s time to move on, it’s time to try this next thing. He doesn’t know what’s waiting for him out there, just like none of us do, but I think it sort of gives him permission to confront his fears, and break the cycle of his life, and try something new.
So, is the Saint of Killers now God?
He’s sort of occupying the throne of God. But the sense of it isn’t that he’s going to lay waste to the universe or anything like that. It’s sort of like Prince Charles wearily takes the throne after the Queen dies. I don’t think there’ll be any big changes.
How fun was it to write and direct a fight between Hitler and Jesus?
That was fun. The very last thing we ever shot on the main unit was Hitler saying, “Jew!” and Jesus saying, “You’re damn right!” and killing him. That was how we wrapped the entire show. So, that felt pretty fitting.
We don’t really get to see it, but it’s clear that Eugene does ultimately become a rock star, as happens in the comic.
Yes, he does. He becomes a huge rock star. Eugene’s story is really about finding his voice, and getting in touch with his anger, much as it was in the comic, in a lot of ways. Once Eugene gave over his Top Forty mentality and embraced punk-rock, then it sort of released him.
What moment from the Preacher shoots will most readily spring to mind when you’re sitting around in the Home for Retired Showrunners many years from now?
[Laughs] That’s where you’ve reached me! I’m actually there! I remember when we first saw the church in season 1. We were in Albuquerque, and we were using the same stage as we’d used on Breaking Bad [on which Catlin also worked], and I remember going out on my first scout, and driving into the desert where Dave Blass, our production designer at the time, had built [the church], against the mountains and all that. That just felt very much like, “Wow, we’re really doing this! We’re really doing this!” I won’t forget that I’m sure.