By Jamie Ruby
Chris Fedak is the creator and executive producer of the popular action-comedy series Chuck
on NBC. The series follows Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) as a computer nerd turned spy, when a database of government secrets and deadly fighting skills that was meant for someone else is downloaded into his head. Chuck is assisted by Colonel John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and CIA agent (and now wife) Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski).
This season everything has been turned on its head as the team no longer work for the CIA, but rather their own private security company Carmichael Industries. The "Intersect" has also now been downloaded into Chuck's best friend, Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez), so Chuck must learn to work with his own set of skills.
Fedak recently discussed the new season of Chuck
with the digital media.
NBC Conference CallChuck
November 02, 2011SCIFI VISION:
So obviously there's a lot of big changes this season. They're not with the CIA. Chuck's now kind of the handler and doesn't have the Intersect. Can you talk about how those changes came about and what it means for the future of the series?CHRIS FEDAK:
When we built the season finale last year we really wanted to go out with a bang, and in doing that and taking down (Volkoff) Industries and going up against the CIA, we thought it'd be cool to take us into kind of more an A-Team direction with our crew.
And so yes, we essentially set ourselves up for a really big, big change for season 5. So it's certainly a different show. I mean, we have a different dynamic in regard to how the team gets missions and who we're meeting in the world of espionage. We're going to be meeting Gertrude Verbansky, who has her own private spy company.
So it's certainly a shift for the show, but it's also still the Chuck show. It's still action comedy with this team of characters.
So it was funny. It was like when we didn't know...this would be the final season of the show. We didn't know that was the dynamic, but it was still fun for us to come into this season and know that we were going to be building something a little bit different.QUESTION:
Is Chuck going to be without the Intersect for the entire season? I think it's really interesting to see the new dynamic with Morgan having the Intersect. But will we get to see Chuck in action with it before the show ends?CHRIS FEDAK:
Well, I don't want to give anything away so I'm a little bit hesitant to actually tell you if he's going to get it back or not. However, I think that one of the things that we looked at and that we were thinking about in last season was you know, Chuck with the Intersect was - it was a little bit too easy.
And, I think that we wanted to have more fun this season going back to the season 1 and season 2 Chuck
where things were difficult and complicated and he had to come up with his own Chuck solutions to problems.
So I'm not going to tell you if he gets it back or not, and if we're going to go into the (Chuck Fu) world, but it is something that - I think one of the unique changes for this season is that Chuck doesn't have it. And that the spy world is going to be getting a lot more difficult.QUESTION:
I've been a Chuck
fan ever since the beginning. I'm one of those diehard fans that just likes the whole premise of a computer geek being a super hero, but his getting the girl too, which is I think pretty cool. I saw the first episode this season and it was great that you had him use his computer skills again, just to remind everyone that Chuck is still a computer geek at heart.
When you started to conceive this show, and I want you to be honest here, did you really forecast how it was going to evolve like this? Or, were you going seat of your pants, hope we're picked up next season. Hope we're picked up the next season, which is sort of how it happened right?CHRIS FEDAK:
QUESTION): Did you have a greater arc and this would be it, where he becomes the leader of his own organization?CHRIS FEDAK:
It was all planned every step of the way. I planned everything. I knew exactly that I was going to be sitting here behind my desk answering your question right now. There's been no doubt whatsoever.QUESTION:
I'll - okay. Well first I want to tell you two things. One, I totally agree with you in regard to the Chuck computer skills because that was something that got - going back to the earlier question, it's like as we had Chuck doing more and more - you know, (Chuck Fu) and fun Intersect stuff was we got away from the computer side of Chuck.
And here in the first couple of episodes of the season we're going to have a lot of fun with going back to Chuck as being the amazing computer guy.
Zachary Levi directed an episode - episode 5 of this season, which is called "Chuck vs. the Hack Off" and it's probably one of the nerdier episodes we've ever done but it's got some amazing hacking sequences. You know, we really took our lead from Swordfish.
And it's a really, really fun episode and we get back into who Chuck was.
We actually learn that Chuck was known as the Piranha and that the movie Swordfish
was based on him. So there's some really fun computer stuff coming up.
Two, in regard to planning it all out - I think Josh and I, we always had an idea. You know, we had a world that we wanted to go into and we had shapes for the show that we were excited about. And the idea of the private spy team was something that we imagined as far back as season 3 and how much fun that would be to go out into that world and have Chuck put together a Sneakers
But for the most part, it's one combination of the dreams we have and the second part is seat of your pants.
Because I think that when it comes to network television you're always kind of - you're dealing with the situation week-by-week and season-by-season, and when you get an order for 11 or 6 more, you figure it out as you go. So it's really a combination.QUESTION:
Now that you're wrapping up the series and...hitting the final days of writing, [are] there any people or storylines you hope to bring back in those final few hours?CHRIS FEDAK:
You know, right now we have episode 13 up on the board and it's kind of like my panic attack that's just waiting for me every day. It's like we go in there and...the second half of the season kind of drives us into the Chuck
finale, and it's some big, emotional epic things and we still have mysteries we're going to learn about Sarah, and Casey, and Chuck.
And that last episode is - we're really looking to blow it out in a way that we've never done before. So there's a number of stories that are currently in play. But if I had my druthers I would try to do everything, and that's what I think I'm going to try to do.
So the answer to your question is a number of story lines and characters that we've set up in the past that I'd love to see one more time.QUESTION:
So given how many times Chuck
has had to work around whether they're going to get renewed or not every year, knowing this is the last season, how is your approach different this year?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think our approach has been to - in the past we've always painted ourselves into a corner and then prided ourselves on the ability to extricate ourselves so that we could do a second half to the season. And usually what that meant was that we kind of did two seasons. We did the first season, which was the tightly wound 13 episodes. And then we built a second season based around either 11 or 4 episodes, or whatever we were handed.
This year the painting that we're doing as we head toward the - sorry, this metaphor is going all over the place, but we actually kind of paint ourselves into the corner. It's a really complicated job where - it's a big epic corner that we're paining ourselves into. And, I think that's been an amazing opportunity being given a final season. Being given a chance to take the story to a big epic conclusion. And to design it that way.
So even more than in the last couple of years, these 13 episodes this season of Chuck
is heading toward that final chapter and we knew that from the get-go so it's helped to define the story.QUESTION:
In a lot of ways, is this an ideal situation? There's been so many shows that died, that got canceled at the end of the season and you never knew what happened.
now we get to see what happens. You get to realize the whole dream. Do you like that or would you just still like to play it by ear?CHRIS FEDAK:
No, I love it. I got to say that I love the ability to actually - to finish out a show, a network television show, and that's something that you usually don't get to do. You're absolutely right.
There's so many television shows out there that have left with cliffhanger finales and you don't know what happened in the end. You don't know what was the next part of the story. And I use the example of Alf
. Alf was captured by the authorities. That's it. That's the end of the story.QUESTION:
That's it. Bye.CHRIS FEDAK:
So for us, we've built this season to be a final chapter. To take our characters to a really exciting end point. Comic. Tragic. Exciting. And, that's the great thing, it's the best of both worlds to be able to take a fifth season of the show and to tell the final story on it. I couldn't be more excited.QUESTION:
When I talked to Scott Bakula he was still doing Men of a Certain Age
, but of course not that's been canceled. Is he going to be making any appearances?CHRIS FEDAK:
Well, I can't promise anything. Unfortunately Stephen J. Bartowski is dead, which I still think is amazing because Scott Bakula is the most fantastic person to work with. So the fact that we killed him was - it was I think for storytelling wise...QUESTION:
So he is dead?CHRIS FEDAK:
He is dead. He is dead.QUESTION:
Okay. We were - he escaped a weird way or something like that or...CHRIS FEDAK:
He escaped in a weird way. Let me tell you, a number of times I've imagined how he could've have escaped in a weird way. But I think for our show that was such a kind of (unintelligible) moment for the show.
Kind of an epic - I couldn't imagine trying to undo that by bringing him back to life. But you should take that with a grain of salt because I have been proved to be untrustworthy when it comes to spoilers, so you never know what I might do.QUESTION:
Well just remember, you never know. He could've been a double or something.CHRIS FEDAK:
You never know. Exactly.QUESTION:
I was wondering if you were going to talk about what we can expect with Cheryl Ladd coming on as Sarah's mom and (Tim Takai) as Sarah's old handler and peeling back the layers of what is a pretty mysterious character.CHRIS FEDAK:
[When] we first started working on the season of the show I didn't think we'd have time - I didn't think we would have the ability to tell that story..you know, the Sarah's mom story. It was something that we had built out over the course of the years, touching upon it in very small ways. And I thought that would be one of the story lines that we wanted to be able to address.
However, as we got into the season, especially the second half of the season -- and you're talking about episode 8 -- we decided to do the focus on Sarah for that episode. And I have to say for those fans who love Sarah Walker, it will be your favorite episode ever.
And considering phase 3 and all those episodes that have come before it, it is an amazing epic story that reveals a lot of amazing...secrets about Sarah that you could never have imagined that are actually back there.
So we have (Tim Takai) as Sarah's original handler, and (Tim) is fantastic in the show. He brings incredible gravitas to this back story. And it's not our funniest Chuck story. We're going into epic land in regard to Sarah's past.
And Cheryl is wonderful and warm and caring and fantastic as her mother. And this is an episode we're cutting at the moment. And yes, for the Sarah Walker fanatics out there, it will be your favorite episode ever.QUESTION:
Tell us about some of the other guest stars that you've got coming up this season.CHRIS FEDAK:
This week on Friday we have Carrie Ann Moss for the first time playing Gertrude the improper - and probably named Gertrude Verbansky and she runs Verbansky Corp. And Carrie Ann is the competition to Carmichael Industries, Chuck's new private spy company. And we have a lot of fun with the intermingling of these two companies - the competition between these two companies.
And Carrie Ann is wonderful. She's funny and she's scary, and she has the most amazing relationship with John Casey and Adam Baldwin. It's like the chemistry in between Adam and Carrie Ann is amazing. In our third episode we have a fight between the two of them which is the most erotically charged thing we've ever done on the show.
And going forward we have some really exciting people coming onto the show. We have Bo Derek, we have Angus Macfadyen, we have - oh I'm sorry, I always blank when I have to...I'm literally blanking and it's my television show.
Oh well, it's okay.
But we have a ton of people coming to the show and it's been the kind of thing that we've realized over the year is that this show is - you know, we made the joke back in the day that we were the Love Bug of spy shows, but it's neat to still be building out that spy world and bring people into it.
So we have Stan Lee doing a cameo in one of our episodes. And from our first episode we had Mark Hamill on the show for our first villain, so it's exciting. It's exciting to bring those people to the show.QUESTION:
What kind of a journey would you say that Chuck was on this season?CHRIS FEDAK:
From our first episode, when we first started thinking about season 5, we've always used the show from the Chuck relationship - I'm sorry, from the Chuck emotional journey in the sense that if you look at the first season of the show, it's about a guy who doesn't know what to do with his life. It's the quarter-life crisis.
And over the intervening four seasons, we've taken him from the guy who doesn't know what he wants to do to he knows what he wants to do but it's really hard. He wants to be a spy. And then he falls in love -and then the love story with Sarah Walker.
And I think that the show has very much become Sarah and Chuck's emotional journey because when you're married you start sharing your dreams with your wife and your husband. So this season of the show is about those intermingling of dreams. About Sarah and Chuck wanting that house. You know, thinking about their future. Wanting this company to work.
And over the course of this season, realizing just how crazy it is to want to think about the future and think about the house, think about maybe a family, and also being a private spy company. So that's been unlike The A-Team
or unlike The Equalizer
Unlike other shows about people in private industry doing detective or spy work, our team is also considering their future from a family perspective. And I think that's the neat thing about this season is how that family perspective affects the spy team and the missions that they're going to go on and what they want to do and who they want to be. So it's very much about Chuck and Sarah and their dreams.QUESTION:
So a lot of my fans have been really, really not so happy about Morgan. And since I've seen the next few episodes, they probably still won't be happy. However, what can you say to assure them to stick with the ride? Either that there will be an expiration date or that they will understand and be on board with the decisions you guys have made for season 4 Morgan?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think that you have to imagine that we're telling the first - these are the first two chapters of the final season of the show. So with the Morgan story - and I love Josh Gomez and the Intersect, and I think that what he's done with it has been really, really funny, and we have some incredibly funny stuff coming up, but it's testing the bounds of the show.
Especially here in the first half of the season, the Chuck/Morgan bromance is very much at the heart and the center of the show and how Morgan getting the Intersect affects that is a real change for the show. So of course if your fans, we're looking at a show that's changing and also at a relationship which has been the same - for the most part the same since Morgan learned about Chuck's being a part of the spy world and joining the team.
And so things are changing and that relationship is going to be - and having seen episode 3, you can see that there's a really big difference in what's happening to Morgan and how that affects the Morgan/Chuck relationship.
So the first half of the season is certainly - especially the first three episodes of the season are certainly about that. And that's the first part. That's the first chapter. The first section of this season.
I don't want to give anything away, but we wanted to address all of our big stories here in the final season of the show. And I think that considering where we left last season, focusing on Chuck and Morgan and how this affects them is something that is certainly important. It's not the entire season. We have Casey. We have the Chuck/Sarah relationship. But it's certainly where we began.
Where we start now, each episode will change. From the episode that comes on Friday night, we will end in a far different place than where we began at the beginning at 501, and by the end of 503 things will have changed again. So this season of this show, every episode will be different, and by the end of each episode, the dynamic and the core dynamic of the show will be changing.
So it's not as if we're settling in. The only respect of settling is going this is the show from here on out. There's 13 episodes. We will be trying to blow it out each episode this season. So if this feels like we're pushing the story and we're being dramatic and we're messing with the foundations of the show, the answer to the question is yes, we're doing that because it's the final season of the show and we want to tell the most exciting story possible.
And nobody's safe. There's no part of the show that isn't game right now, and that's been a fun part of breaking the show and writing the show and watching what our actors do with it. So there's a lot of things that are going to be changing even here in the beginning of the season.QUESTION:
You say nobody is safe. I'm sure you can't reveal anything but...CHRIS FEDAK:
Yes. I'm sorry. I'm just going to leave it with that.QUESTION:
is done, has there been talk of continuing it in another medium like comic books or something like that?CHRIS FEDAK:
We did comic books in our first season of the show, and that was great. I would love to, if Chuck survives episode 13. I love the character and I love the show, and if there was another way to do it, that would be awesome.
But right now we're just focused on delivering an epic finale to the show, but you never know. You never know what would happen out in the future, but then again that's of course if Chuck and Sarah and Casey and Morgan and the rest of the team survive episode 13. You never know how cruel a writer I could be.QUESTION:
From a showrunner perspective obviously it's wonderful that you get a chance to finish this on your own terms and how you want the show to end, but do you prefer to have a show that ends with a definitive ending so feels like a bookend? Or do you prefer to have an open-ended show where the mythology could go on depending on how you choose to finish it, for movies or even for fans to muddle and decide where there characters go next?CHRIS FEDAK:
In the past I've always been a person who enjoys an ending that feels more like a prologue than an epilogue. I love those endings and I think that that's what we've done in each season of the show.
The real question right now is will we do that for the finale, and I have to be honest with you, that's what we're working on at the moment up on the board in the writer's room. I know I have to go in there and I know I have to work on that episode and I know we need to do it, but it's quite an emotional thing to try to find that perfect ending and we have a number of them right now.
I have a natural inclination to love those moments of thinking "What's the exciting story that's going to happen next that we can imagine?" But we also have a unique opportunity to actually do a proper epilogue ending here at the end of season 5. So you've found a man in debate with himself at this moment.QUESTION:
Going back to what you said about changing the dynamics of the show almost episode to episode this season, how has that been as a writer and a show runner? Like making sure that all the pieces fit? Is it more difficult than in past season?CHRIS FEDAK:
You know what? I would say that it's challenging - it's a challenge, but it's a challenge that we've always embraced. The weird thing about the Chuck
show is that if you've noticed that with each one of our opening episodes - the opening couple of episodes we're always kind of rebuilding from where we started at the end of the previous season. From Chuck learning Kung Fu at the end of season 2 to the mom story at the end of season 3, and to the spy company at the end of season 4.
So this has always been something that we prided ourselves on. It was like coming up with a slightly new show each season. And I know that that's not usual, but because we've always been an unusual show that has skirted cancellation and come back each year - it's been one of the challenges, but also that's exciting for writers.
And as well as our actors on the show. It's like so many shows you have - there's the show and it's the show and it's always the show. For us, we love the opportunity to be able to come back and do Carmichael Industries. Even though we have 13 episodes, coming up with how Carmichael Industries works and who their competition was, that for us was a great opportunity to do something new. And I think that here in network TV you're not always allowed to do something new, so it's the fun of it is what I'm saying.QUESTION:
One of my favorites on the show is definitely (Jeffster), and I was wondering are we going to see any more from Lester or Jeff in maybe a spin-off or a web series, or maybe even mini-comic book?CHRIS FEDAK:
I love all those ideas. I would say...QUESTION:
You can have them for free.CHRIS FEDAK:
I love them all. I love them all. I love watching Vic and Scott together. They're an incredible duo. And in regard to the band, their story is going to change in a very big way in the next couple of episodes. And we're going to - like everything else I described in regard to the changing dynamic of the show, everything will change inside the Buy More, especially in regards to Jeff and Lester.
And so there's a lot of really interesting things that are happening there. It's one of the things I'm really exciting to see what you guys think of when those changes start to happen.
So in regard to the band, we will not see for quite some time because of those changes. I don't want to give away too much, but there's a lot of really crazy things happening there.QUESTION:
Okay. Okay. You're worrying me a little, but I'll just wait and see.CHRIS FEDAK:
Oh, you should be worried because - by episode 5, we're going to see Lester in prison.QUESTION:
Oh, no. Well, that's not such a surprise I guess, considering what those two do.CHRIS FEDAK:
There you go. An actual spoiler. I said something.QUESTION:
And I've also been brainstorming on a couple show plots and wanted to run a couple by you.CHRIS FEDAK:
Do I need to have legal on the phone call for that, or is this like a...QUESTION:
Just for your enjoyment.CHRIS FEDAK:
First we have Chuck vs. the Joint Checking Account. Chuck and Sarah decide to combine finances revealing that Sarah has spent a disturbing amount of money on collectible toy clowns.CHRIS FEDAK:
That's weird. That's - wait, Sarah's into the toy clown game? That's strange.QUESTION:
Oh, yes. Definitely. She definitely has daddy issues, and so she's trying to fill the hole.CHRIS FEDAK:
No, that's too creepy. We want to do an episode at one point. I don't know if we even actually - I don't think we did it...we wanted Chuck to be concerned about how much money Sarah spent on shoes and clothes, but I don't know if we actually ever did that episode.QUESTION:
Right. Yes, I don't - no, I don't think so.CHRIS FEDAK:
I don't think we did.QUESTION:
Okay, and then I've got Chuck vs. Lupus. Chuck decides to self-diagnose a cold using WebMD and the Intersect. The answer comes back lupus. And I was thinking maybe there could be a House
crossover, but I think that's on a different network, so probably not.CHRIS FEDAK:
It is a different network and a different studio, so it would be super complicated to do, but I love where your head is.QUESTION:
I'm shooting for the moon. Shooting for the moon.
And then the last one, which I think is definitely the winner, is Chuck vs. Glengarry Glenn Ross. Castle has a new manager, Jack Casey, played by Alec Baldwin. The team has 24 hours to identify and shut down an IRA terrorist cell or their jobs are on the line. The only problem, Jack Casey is sitting on the leads - the Glengarry leads.CHRIS FEDAK:
Got it. Got it. I like that one too. That one actually I think has some legs. We might need to consider that one if ABC orders more episodes.QUESTION:
I think - yes, you could do the fast pace talking back and forth. I think you might be on to something there.CHRIS FEDAK:
As we're heading into the final episodes, whose story do you think has the greatest payoff?CHRIS FEDAK:
That's a very interesting question. I have to say it'll be the Chuck/Sarah story that you're talking about.
That doesn't mean that there aren't crazy things happening in the world of every other character in the show. But I still think in the end - going back to the question on what did you learn about the show as you began to work on it is that when we began to work on the pilot it was a show about a guy who gets a computer in his brain and it's the adventures that he goes on.
And very soon after that, we realized there was a love story between Sarah and Chuck. And so keeping that in mind and knowing the show that you know, Sarah/Chuck relationship will be the huge epic emotional payoff in a good way or bad way at the end of the season.QUESTION:
Why you got to be like that, Chris?CHRIS FEDAK:
What do you mean why do I got to be like that?QUESTION:
In a good way.CHRIS FEDAK:
I just don't want to...QUESTION:
Good way. (Unintelligible) good way.CHRIS FEDAK:
I can't say - just say good way. Should I just say good way?QUESTION:
You should take that with a grain of salt if I just say good way. Fantastic. (Unintelligible). Grain of salt. Don't trust me.QUESTION:
Which episode are you most excited for fans to see this season?CHRIS FEDAK:
They're all crazy. Each one of our episodes this year is pushing the bounds of what we do on the show and they're all - they all have outrageous components. So I'm really excited for each and every one of them.
I love episode 4, which is a very different type of show. It's about Chuck and Sarah going undercover at a Buy More convention - and I love it. It's a very sweet, very different type of show.
Zach directed an epic episode in "Chuck vs. the Hack Off." In episode 3 this year, we've got the Chuck/Morgan relationship - it comes to an amazing head and I'm excited about...each episode really just takes the show in a new and exciting different direction.
Episode 7, which is our Christmas episode, which currently is airing after Christmas, is also an incredible, high-intensity episode. And I'll say it again. episode 8 this season, of Sarah Walker's back story, is for those fans of the show who love Sarah, and I certainly count myself as one of them. It'll be a jaw-dropping episode.QUESTION:
Sorry to say everything.
Everything. Everything. I'm saying everything.QUESTION:
No, that's good. That's how we want the final season to be.CHRIS FEDAK:
You had Mark Hamill and Craig Kilborn on the season 5 premiere, and since this is the final season, did you guys put in extra effort to get the guest stars you've always wanted on the show?CHRIS FEDAK:
Since season I think 3...no, really season 2, we have started casting the show in such a way that when we're in the writer's room we like to think of who's the person that we would love to see in this part? And then we have an amazing casting director in Patrick Rush. And he tries to make our dreams come true. And amazingly enough, we've done it from episode to episode.
So yes, there's going to be - this season like season 3 and season 4 and season 2, because you would usually 3, 4, then 2, is certainly going to be a (unintelligible) of exciting guest stars. And so the answer to your question is yes, but we've been doing it for a while that way.QUESTION:
After it was announced that this would be the final season of Chuck
, what was the vibe like in the writer's room? To make sure that you guys had everything sewn up by the end?CHRIS FEDAK:
We had already wrapped production in the writer's room on season 4 when we were picked up for season 5, so when we got back into the writer's room it was great. After five years it's been fantastic amongst the writers as well as the production and the crew. We love these characters, from myself to Josh, to the writers and the cast. These are characters that are very near and dear to our heart.
And so I think the vibe has been fantastic and we just want to tell this last chapter in an amazing way. And I think you can see it in all aspects of the show.
I don't think it really dawned on us until Comic Con that we were ending the show. I think that it was that moment when we - it was kind of like, "Oh, this is coming to an end." And it's a big emotional thing. This has been the last five to six years of our lives. So I couldn't be more proud of our team.QUESTION:
After Chuck (unintelligible) destroying (unintelligible) which he adoringly want to make perfect for Sarah obviously, and assuming that they will try their hardest to achieve that, how much impact will it have on the team and Chuck especially, since he feels he's lacking now without the Intersect? Will it make him more feisty? Will it give him an extra push to find (unintelligible), or go really into (deficit) about it, considering that much more is depending on it.CHRIS FEDAK:
I think that with Chuck now - the fact now that Chuck has a company, that he wants to succeed and that he wants to give Sarah the life that she's always dreamed of, and that he doesn't have the Intersect is that he's now not - and he's not rested - and Chuck has found himself in a certain way. It's that he now wants to (succeed).
Oh, I can hear my echo of myself. It's very scary.
He wants to succeed in a big way, and - the echo has now gotten so incredible that I realize how annoying my voice is.
So he wants to succeed in this huge way and it's like he's driven. And I think that that's the new thing about Chuck is that - and going from the season 1 where it was the guy who didn't want to be a spy. It's like you now have - am driven to be a spy. And I think that this is going to be very much an exploration of what his dream is and this season is very much an exploration of what his dreams are and what he's willing to do to get them.
And I think that it's changed. I think that it's changed from season 3, where Chuck was willing to do some very heavy things to become a spy. Now Chuck -- and now that he shares his dreams with Sarah -- is a different guy.
And I think that you'll notice through this season, it's like him struggling with the idea of what it means to have your own spy company and what are you willing to do to be a success and to have that house and to have the perfect life? And that's definitely at the very heart of the Chuck/Sarah relationship.QUESTION:
Hi. I'm a massive Chuck fan and I was absolutely devastated when they announced it was the final season. I was awe struck. I'm glad that we're going to get a finish, but I was devastated because I just wanted it to keep going.
And the reason why I rate Chuck so highly is the fact that I can keep watching it over and over again and never get bored because of the characters. And I think a lot of fans are like that. Why do you think the fans have such a loyal connection to the show?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think that our fans - and I'll speak generally. I know that each and every person that watches the show watches the show for different reasons. We have so many amazing characters that when we built the show - sure, we knew Chuck was the star of our show, but we also had Sarah Walker who could be the star of her own show, and John Casey who could be the star of his own show as well.
And I think that this show gives everyone a different opportunity to come into it. That it's a different show for different people. And I think that's really exciting and that's what I like about doing a hybrid show which is part comedy, part spy show, part action/comedy. And I think that everyone has a different thing that they love and that's a really neat thing.
And I think that in talking to our fans, you'll see that - we went to Chicago with Vic and Scott and (unintelligible) and it was amazing in Chicago at the convention there. The passion for Jeffster. The passion for Jeff and Lester and for Ryan's character, and that's amazing for me, which is the idea that these characters who when we did the pilot you probably could count their number of lines on my left and right hand.
There's an audience for them as well and the people that are passionate about their characters, much like we are on the writing staff and the actors.
And so I think that that's a neat part of the show, and the other part about the show is that it's a show about spies and it's about spies stuff, but it's also about their home lives and it's about their families, and the fact that Adam Baldwin who plays John Casey is not only amazing in the spy role but also in his relationship with Alex and his back story.
And we've found that our back story episodes are so much a part of the show that the show as a way to explore these characters. And so I love it because the show's - it just shows a lot of things.
And I think that Chuck
fans are people...that watch TV, and they know TV, and they know movies, and they know music. And so I think that in some ways the show is also a conversation about things that we love.
So sometimes it's in jokes and references, and sometimes it's the structure of the show and also what are we doing? Are we telling a Superman story? Or are we telling a - even the show itself is an allusion to other things that Chuck and the Chuck family is passionate about.QUESTION:
Can we expect anything special for the DVDs with it being the final season?CHRIS FEDAK:
Right now the DVD people at Warner Brothers DVD are working on some really cool stuff, and most of it's tied to the idea that this is our final season of the show. So we'll have some really emotional stuff there.
I think I was talking to Yvonne and she was talking - it's that every night when we wrap our episodes and we go home from work it's an emotional experience because we know that there's an end date - an expiration date on the fact that we won't be doing this after the New Year. And so yes, I think that the DVD extras will certainly reflect that.QUESTION:
Mad props for getting a Sneakers
reference into the conference call. That was very awesome.CHRIS FEDAK:
It's so easily done.QUESTION:
It's still very fitting that on the premiere episode Chuck
, always the underdog, went up against the World Series. Was that planned, that little rant by Morgan? Was that shot...or was it just random and it just happened to be kismet that you guys would be going up against Game 7?CHRIS FEDAK:
Well first off, I have to address your question in parts. One, that is the deepest reference into Sneakers
I have ever heard. That's a deep, deep reference. That's the snarkiest cite he makes to one of the NSA - non-NSA bad guys in that movie. That's amazing. Amazingly deep reference.
The second part of your question is absolutely no. We did not plan to go up against the most exciting Game 7 of the World Series ever. If there's any lesson we learned on Friday is do not mess with baseball.
So in regard to that - no, we didn't know when we did that joke, which is the - think about baseball joke, which before Morgan prematurely zooms. I think that's my joke and I think that I was tempting the fates. I should've known. Could the series go up against baseball? I'm tempting the fates, and unfortunately I did it and I blame myself.QUESTION:
Well, mad props. It was very fitting that Chuck is always the underdog, even when he does compete in the show, he's still coming up from behind and I thought it was a wonderful episode.
And also mad props on however you got the toes in the sand acronym through sensors. I don't know how you guys did that. That was all kinds of awesome.CHRIS FEDAK:
It's all about the periods. You'll be amazed at how many times I spend - you know, a guy spends quite a bit of time talking to really, the really nice end of some fantastic people and standards and practices at NBC. They're- really, really nice and fantastic for us.
But it was all about the periods that we had to - so long as it was an acronym. And then there was a point where we had to argue that we wanted to be able to spell it out, but so long as it was an acronym and we weren't doing a really spot-on joke.
But yes, I assumed at some point we would pull out one of those references, but that's a fun part of my job is doing things like getting T.I.T.S. and words like "pussy" on the show.QUESTION:
You said there were some things that you were hoping to try to bring back in this final season, some characters. I recently rewatched all the shows on Blu Ray, and of course I love it. One of the things that you guys mentioned but then leave it open for - that you could come back is that you guys cover up Tony Hale's desk who play Emmett from Buy More.CHRIS FEDAK:
Yes. Yes. Yes.QUESTION:
And is that something that might come up, or is that something that there are other things from the past that might be coming back with (unintelligible)?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think there's other things from the past that will come back to haunt Chuck. We've heard quite some time, because Tony Hale is a national treasure, we for the longest time tried to figure out a way to bring him back into the show. And we had come up with idea of he would have a brother and we had a great name, and I don't remember the name, but he would have a brother who would be searching for him, and he would of course be an identical twin played by Tony Hale.
But, we never found the perfect place to do that story. But just imagine a - you know, it's not canon but you know that he did have a brother and he's still trying to figure out what happened to his brother.QUESTION:
You also said before that you might not be as nice as a writer finishing up the season. Will that be something that you're going to go (unintelligible) on everybody - in terms of killing off characters?CHRIS FEDAK:
You know what? I'm always very gun shy about killing off characters. It's like we've done it in the past and it's been these epic moments with Tony Hale and Steven J. Bartowski.
You never know if we certainly have some very big epic things and I don't want to give anything away.
I'm always a little gun shy about killing off characters - but then again, it is the final season of this show, so we certainly want it to be - everything will change by the end of the season.
I'm going to skirt around that question.QUESTION:
No, I understand completely. Because you said you are (unintelligible) and that you are practically giving away you're going to mass (suicide) everyone, which you know you don't want to do.CHRIS FEDAK:
I just love being compared to (John Sweet) and that's fantastic for me. I'll take that - he's a hero to us here at the show.QUESTION:
We haven't heard much about what's going to be going on with Ellie and Awesome in these final episodes. What can you tease about their journey?CHRIS FEDAK:
Their journey is kind of like Chuck's in a way in that you they started off the show being more mature than Chuck. You know, being they had jobs and careers and now they have a baby. And here at the beginning of the season, we're certainly clocking back in and checking in and seeing what's going on in their family life.
But I think going into the second half of the season their big overarching story is that...they've got big success in their future. And it's time for them to start making decisions about where they want to go and what they want to do. And for Ellie to think about is it time to cut the strings and not feel like she has to take care of her brother at every turn?
And they've got a big future in front of them, so that's something that we're going to be getting into.
And the other part of the show too is that...over the course of the first few seasons Ellie didn't know about Chuck's spy life. This season she does and she's probably the brighter of the two siblings, and she's certainly - it can be helpful to Chuck and the things that are going to be happening in the spy world as well as the mythology of the Intersect.QUESTION:
So honestly, all this talk about the final season, you seem really ready to close it out. But on the off chance that something happens - NBC orders more - you joked about it earlier. But if the offer happened to be there, would you accept it or would you tell them that this is the way you wanted to finish it?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think that if someone were to offer me the chance to write more Chuck
stories, I would always say yes to it because I love these characters. What we would have to do is we would have to shut down our - what we've done in the past is we've shut down the show and reconvene in the writer's room and start over again. We'd probably have to do that in a much bigger way.
So it's something we've done in the past and we've been able to figure out how to do. But, we would need to reconsider some things and start over. Essentially build out a season 5.2 like we've done in the past. It's exciting the idea that you could keep going and tell more story, but it's a daunting task that we've done in the past. We could do it again, but I don't think about that bridge until I'm half way across it and both sides are burning down.
So you know, that's the usual here at the Chuck
Well, then there's a little hope. I mean a small flicker.CHRIS FEDAK:
A small flicker, or is it the fire burning on both sides of the bridge?
But yes, we adore the shore. We adore these characters if there was a way, be it comics or more episodes, or whatever it may be, that would be neat. But right now, we're focusing on these 13.QUESTION:
Have you guys over the years marveled [at] the fact that nerds and geeks have become cool since Chuck
's on the air?CHRIS FEDAK:
I think that Chuck
came on at a very specific time where everyone was really getting to know their IT officer at work. And it's an amazing age we live in right now where everything is changing to such an extent that the people that make computers - computer companies and nerdier side of the world are famous as well. That they're people that we look up to.
So I think it's just how the Internet and the media and communications as a whole are changing the world, so it's a really exciting time. And I think that Chuck Bartowski was there in 2007 as kind of a hero for this group. So I think that it's neat and it's neat to see the things that Chuck [is] obsessed about and that we were obsessed about here at the show are things that are changing the world right now.
So it's certainly an exciting time.