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Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Prison Break" EP on the Ending: "Everything is paid off"

Tuesday, “Prison Break” executive producer, Matt Olmstead, talked to the media via conference call about what’s in store for the end of the show.

And to be honest, I’m still not sure whether we’re going to be happy about it or not, but I’m leaning toward not…

So what did Olmstead say about how the show will end? “In episode 22, the series finale, everything gets wrapped up. And then that last act jumps forward four years to show the characters where they are and some are lost and it’s bittersweet…We didn’t want to end on a cliffhanger… Everything is paid off. We did the best that we can do and there are absolutely no regrets.”


Here’s a sample of what else Olmstead had to say…

On whether he was surprised when the word came down from FOX: “We kind of knew all along that this season would most likely be its last…We knew at the very beginning we weren’t going to hold back anything…It’s a benefit to us in that we were able to really set up things that were going to pay off at the end of the season and series. It was a bit of a luxury in a sense to kind of platform the ending.”

On what we can expect from the last episodes: “The mom character is obviously a big kind of revelation. She plays a big part of the last few episodes. A lot of secrets are revealed and Michael and Lincoln are certainly shook in terms of who they are and where they came from and at some point they’re wondering if this is the truth or if they’re being divided and conquered so to speak. And then we have a big surprise reveal of a returning character that comes in late in the game when the wheels are coming off everybody and he’s either there to save the day or hijack the whole thing for his or her own benefit. So there’s a big reveal of a returning character that having viewed it, obviously, pays off rather nicely.”

So who could Olmstead be referring to? He may have inadvertently given a clue later in the call when answering a reporter’s question about C-Note being the only character to get a happy ending. He said, “That’s not to say he couldn’t play a major part in the last few episodes.”

On whether the show could have gone a fifth season: “The ideas that were tossed around for what could be a season five were pretty thin. If it had went that way, [the show] would have limped out…There was a real feeling of accomplishment. It felt like the story played out…Everybody knew there was an expiration date on the show.”

So was the ending something the writers had in mind for a while? Olmstead says the writers made a quick list at the beginning of the season of where they wanted to see everyone four years in the future. He said it pretty much stayed the same all season.

Which leads to the question, where will Michael and Sara be? Olmstead said, “[Their story] is wrapped up unexpectedly.” Olmstead said they ran into some problems with the duo because they had to confront the issue of “What are we going to do with her once they’re together?” So the writers used Sara’s torture as a wall “that inhibits their intimacy. Finally at the end of the season, I can say that wall comes down but there are unexpected ramifications to that. There’s a bunch of curveballs thrown at them in the finale. So ultimately it’s bittersweet but very satisfying.”


And if you thought that sounded ominous, check out this answer to a reporter’s question about whether FOX had nixed the death of a character: “They came around. There was kind of a polarized viewpoint over at FOX in terms of killing or preserving a character and we made our pitch and turned in our script and they saw the merit in it and they were completely on board.”

Double uh-oh…

Here’s a few other interesting nuggets:

On the show’s legacy: “The show certainly had a graphic novel feel to it and not everything was perfect. I think that it will be looked back on as a pretty good piece.”

On the “Prison Break” spin-off centering on a female prisoner: “There’s no plan for a ‘Prison Break’ spin-off. There’s a host of reasons why that project cooled…I’m not counting on it.” Among the reasons he cited for it not working out were not being able to get the actress they wanted, the Writers’ Strike and the poor ratings of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

On bringing back the show as a stand-alone movie: “For me, the show is done,” but Olmstead wouldn’t say never.

On whether we’ll find out what happened to L.J.: “His character is addressed.” Olmstead said that Marshall Allman (L.J.) was the only character they couldn’t get for the finale.

On the biggest leap of logic the show made: “Michael getting his tattoos removed overnight…It was a little bit of a wank…[F]or me [it] was a little tough to swallow.” Olmstead said it became necessary because Wentworth Miller (Michael) had developed a skin irritation.

On the popular T-Bag (Robert Knepper): “He’s been like a real cockroach. In this four-year jump cut ahead when you see T-Bag—when we screened it for the cast and crew at the wrap party, the crowd erupted, obviously a big fan favorite—but it’s a bit heartbreaking to see where he ends up but it makes perfect sense. All I can say is that when you see it, let me know because I think we did a good job with his ultimate fate.”

Triple uh-oh…

Olmstead shared that there is something for fans to look forward to beyond the series finale. “When we were breaking the episodes we had a storyline that didn’t really fit. And then we had a conversation with the studio that this is a really cool story that we want to tell. We did it for episodes 23 and 24 without knowing where it would fit.” Olmstead explained that those two hours are what goes in the middle between the wrap-up and the four-year jump in to the future. “It will be at some point viewed by the fans.” is reporting that those two hours will be released on DVD July 21st as “Prison Break: The Final Break.”

“Prison Break” returns Friday, April 17th at 8 p.m. with an encore of the winter finale, followed by a new episode at 9 p.m. on FOX.

You can watch a great recap of the season so far on the “Prison Break”website

Photo Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX