Power creator on Ghost's fate and that 'nice, juicy, big fat' death
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Power‘s midseason premiere.
Power returned for the series’ final five episodes on Sunday and killed off one of its main characters — just not who we expected.
In the November midseason finale, Ghost (Omari Hardwick) was shot, and fans were left wondering not only what his fate would be, but who shot him. And we didn’t definitively learn either of those answers in “Still Dre,” with the episode unexpectedly focusing on Dre (Rotimi) and what he was doing in the lead up to Ghost’s shooting. But, by the end, we did know a few things: Dre wasn’t the shooter, Ghost is dead according to a news report (call us skeptical), and Dre is absolutely dead. The wannabe kingpin finally met his end when — after he was arrested because Blanca (Monique Gabriela Curnen) spotted him at Truth post-shooting — 2-Bit (Michael J. Ferguson) and Spanky (Omar Scroggins) set him on fire in his cell
To recap the fiery death and unorthodox format for the final episodes, EW talked with Power creator Courtney Kemp about why the show went in this direction, what she expects the reaction to be, and why she’d have to change her name if Dre didn’t die. (Read our exclusive interview with Rotimi, here).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So Ghost is 100 percent dead, right? The news would never get something wrong.
COURTNEY KEMP: Yeah, Ghost is definitely dead [laughs].
Are there any hints that we can take away from this episode about his fate?
I think it’s self-explanatory and I’ll just say that. I don’t want to give you anymore than that.
When we talked for the midseason finale, you teased that the final five episodes by saying, “It is a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a new way of telling story for us, and it’s going to push the audience to look at the show in a different way. It’s not the same old Power as you’ve seen it. It will feel different.” And that’s a super accurate description after having seen this first installment. So why did you decide to tell this story in this way?
It was an idea that came out of the writer’s room last year that I thought was so interesting because no one had ever done it, which is to retell the same day in premium television. Obviously inspired by Rashomon, but given the idea that we could see this last day of Ghost’s life, which was previously all in his perspective, from the perspective of all of the suspects. So each of these really is a companion piece to the midseason finale in a way. That was what the idea was, because it’s also inspired by people always asking me if there are deleted scenes. And a lot of our deleted scenes over the years have been any scenes that Ghost wasn’t in. If episodes were too long, we would get rid of scenes that didn’t have Ghost in them, because it’s ultimately from his perspective, so this gives us the chance to show the audience what’s happening when you’re with Ghost and not the other characters.
Dre is the focus of this episode, but moving forward what should we expect with this new format? By my math, we have more suspects left than episodes. Will each of the following episodes focus on a different character?
Yes, each episode is going to be about a suspect.
Does that mean that we’re not going to find out who shot Ghost and what his true fate is until the series finale?
I’m not going to answer that question. C’mon, Derek!
Fair enough. After you teased that these final five episodes would be “different,” I was braced for it, but it was still jarring when I realized what was going on. Power fans are very passionate and might be frustrated to tune in and not immediately get the answers they’re anticipating, so what do you expect the reaction to be?
Well, I hope they would be fully educated on what the structure is going to be by the time they tune into it. I think people will be annoyed at first, but once they get what’s happening and they see Ghost and they see a scene they’ve already seen, they will start to get it, and by the time it ends they will be cheering. I mean, weren’t you happy at the end?
Absolutely, especially because I always ask you, “How the hell Dre is still alive?” As you mentioned, are you anticipating some celebrating in the Twitter streets now that he’s finally dead?
I think the reaction to his death, finally, the fans are going to spoil that really quickly. By 12:45 a.m., I think that is going to be out.
So, after all that he’s done and escaped, why was this finally the end for Dre?
Obviously, we knew he was going to have to die. I’m not sure there’s a way to tell this story where he’s still running around. But it’s his own hubris and his own desire…we really wanted a version of the end of Heat where Robert De Niro’s character goes back to kill Waingro (Kevin Gage) when he could have gotten out of town. He’s got Amy Brenneman in the car and he can leave but he’s got to go kill Waingro, and it’s the same thing here, where they’re in the car, the baby’s in the car, they’re good, but instead he turns around and decides to go get Ghost. And so then he dies.
I agree that it had to be this way, but I definitely would have watched a spin-off of Dre trying to take over the Las Vegas Strip.
If we had ended Power and Dre was still alive, I don’t think I would have been able to live in New York or Los Angeles or any urban area. I would have had to move somewhere rural and changed my name.
You said that you felt like Dre had to go, but did you feel like he really had to go? Hence setting him on fire. Like, he couldn’t have some easy, traditional death.
I mean, I don’t know that we ever kill anyone in a small way on the show, but, yes, he needed the nice, juicy, big fat death that he earned. And Rotimi did a great job in the episode. And I was really psyched that I got to work with Ami Brabson, who plays his mom. I thought those scenes were really effective.
At the end, you leave us with Paz coming in to talk to Blanca. Is that a transition right into the next episode and suggesting that we will pick up following her?
Yes, it is Paz for next week.
Now that people have seen how the remaining episodes will be structured, what can you tease about what’s to come?
They should expect some surprising endings for some of our favorite characters, and some surprising deaths, and some surprising consequences for our characters, who have done some wrongs.
And one final question, which should be an easy one: Who shot Ghost?
Oh, Derek. [Laughs] The answer to that question is me, I’m the one who shot Ghost. Ultimately, no matter which character we say their bullet landed, I’m the one responsible.
Power airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.