'Chuck' Series Finale: Executive Producer Chris Fedak Answers Fan Questions
In honor on the series finale of "Chuck" (Fri., Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. EST), we asked fans to submit questions for co-creator and executive producer Chris Fedak, and they, of course, came through.
On Twitter and in the comment area of our call for questions, "Chuck" fans had dozens of great queries; so many and so great, in fact, it was very hard to narrow the roster down to manageable size. So we didn't narrow all that much and let Fedak decide what to answer. Lucky for "Chuck" fans, he was game enough to answer more than 30 fan questions.
Below, find out why Jill didn't come back, the one song that got away, where Jeff and Lester could be a few years from now and much more!
Take it away, Mr. Fedak...
Hello "Chuck" fans! Thanks for the questions. I see that Mo has kindly sent me, let's see, whoa... okay, so I should get started...
What's Sarah's real last name? -chuckfan15 (Along similar lines, @xlilkrissyx asked, "We know her name is Sam Lisa... but what is her last name?")
Real last name: Ryan. Real first name: Mo.
Is there really going to be a "Chuck" movie? Are you guys thinking about it? -chuckfan15
There are no plans at the moment, but it sure would be fun. We could blow up so many Crown Victorias.
Whatever happened to Jill? She never came back after Chuck gave her a new lease on life. -Sean Goodwin
Well, that new lease on life pretty much depended on her staying away from spies like Chuck and Sarah and Casey. Jill's story is the opposite of Chuck's, where he found Sarah and Casey, she found Fulcrum.
Did Jill Roberts never return to "Chuck" due to Jordana [Brewster's] availability, or because she couldn't fit into the story? -@drosejr
We thought about bringing Jordana back this year, but with the short season, we decided that Shaw's story deserved one final chapter. Jordana was wonderful to work with, though. Like Timothy Dalton and our other guest stars, I only wish there had been more time.
Since Chuck and Morgan were such big "Star Wars" fans, did you ever consider having Chuck flash on a light saber and having him use it in a fight? -elliealexa
No, but I should have.
I've always loved how you have utilized popular music within each episode of "Chuck." Some selections seem almost serendipitous in how well they go within a particular episode's theme. That being said, how did you arrive at specific song selections? Did you have a particular song "feel" in mind? Or did you have specific songs in mind? Did you write any episodes with specific songs in mind for certain scenes? -kyrssy
There are a bunch of people involved in selecting songs for the show. First, [co-creator and executive producer] Josh [Schwartz] used music in such a special way on "The O.C." that we knew from the start that music would really be another character on the show. We also have Alex Patsavas as our music supervisor. If there's a great new band out there, Alex knows about them and makes sure we hear them. Our editors are also very hip to music and as they put an episode together, they're thinking about what song is going to make Act Five epic or add an emotional element to a giant action sequence. Then, Josh and I have our own ideas. Some are twisted. It was Josh's notion to put Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" over Emmett Milbarge's death. And, every once in a while, we actually plan for the song at the script phase. Anytime we use Jeffster, that means we need to pick out the song weeks in advance so Tim Jones (our composer) and Vik Sahay can prepare their version.
Aside from Arcade Fire, was there any song or songs you really wanted to be able to use but couldn't because of cost (or other) reasons? If so, what? -kyrssy
Bob Seger's "Night Moves."
Did you ever consider making a musical episode? (Excluding Jeffster of course!) -laurajeanb
It was a tempting prospect, especially after ["Chuck" star] Zac Levi showed off his singing skills in "Tangled."
As we understand Mary Bartowski's story, she is an incredibly unlikeable figure. Leaving a husband with two pre-teen children for a mission and never being heard from again? Is there more to that story? Will we learn it in the finale? -Bill Sweatland
Mary's story is a tragic one. So is [her husband] Stephen's, really. They were destroyed by the secret project that brought them together. She became trapped in the world of Alexei Volkoff, unable to return home to her family, fearing they could be harmed by this villain her husband created. It would have been cool to jump back to that time, but we instead followed Chuck as he discovered each piece to his parents' story.
Why was the intersect not removed from Daniel Shaw when he went to jail? Why did the intersect work well with Shaw though he wasn't a Bartowski? -soxfanjunkmail
I would assume the government might have wanted to study Shaw. Though I'm not sure it worked all that well. The man was a psychotic bent on revenge.
"Chuck" is a top three all-time show in my book, but I despised the angle with Sarah getting the intersect. What was the motivation in going after Sarah's memories? -soxfanjunkmail
Wait. What are the other two shows?
I'll let the finale speak to your question. It's all about the Chuck-Sarah relationship.
As hindsight is always 20/20, [do you] think that it was a wise decision to have the love trapezoid story for early Season 3? Chuck and Sarah are the heart of the show, so [do you] think that was worthwhile now? -sr barker
Philosophical question: Is it always 20/20?
We planned to put Chuck and Sarah together at the end of Season 3. We assumed this would be episode 13 and perhaps our last show ever. The image of them in Paris felt like a good way to go out. We also wanted that season to be about Chuck choosing to be a spy and the ramifications of that decision. In a way, it's one of the biggest changes we've ever done on the show. Our reluctant hero wasn't reluctant anymore. And this had a huge impact on Sarah -- was this the same guy she fell in love with?
There were a lot of big things happening in that season. They affected many of the core parts of the show. Were they risky? Yep. Should we have played it safe? Nope, not one bit.
Although I have loved the extras you have put on the DVDs, particularly the blooper reel, I have always been disappointed with the low number of deleted scenes, as I gather from ["Chuck" editor] Matt Barber that early edits can be about 50 minutes and that needs to be bought down to about 43 for broadcast. Is there any chance of some of these other deleted scenes seeing the light of day? Is there any chance of getting more extras, i.e. commentaries, [as you had in] Season 1 with some of the cast, particularly [actors] Yvonne [Strahovski] and [Zachary Levi] talking about favorite scenes or episodes? -sr barker
We've released almost all of our cut scenes on the DVDs. There are long versions of each episode, though most of these get down to time through a process of trimming and tightening scenes. This means we don't lose whole scenes, just a line here and there. We have some great extras for the Season 5 DVD release. I just watched a special goodbye to the fans our home video team put together. It's very touching.
With regard to Orion, you seemed to be setting up Chuck to take on that role and then seemed to have dropped that. Was that a lack of interest from fans, network or yourselves? And where has the Orion wrist device gone? -Robert McGovern
In a way, Chuck did become like his father. Or, better put, he became like the best parts of his father. If he had become truly like Orion, I think that would have been a far darker story about a lone wolf. Chuck has always been the guy who needs his family. And his team.
Stephen Bartowski was killed outside of the same medical ward that resurrected Bryce Larkin and Daniel Shaw. Was there ever any [thought] that Daddy Bartowski might also be resurrected? -rnorthro14
Yes. I resurrected Stephen a hundred times in my mind. Thing is ... it was so much stronger if he was really dead. So that's the way it stayed.
Any chance of getting tie-in novels? -BlackJAC
Don't know. Love the idea.
What one scene ended up on the cutting room floor that you most wish had been able to make the cut? (Either because it was to great, funny, or added to continuity.) Or, since you're a writer, I'll accept which idea stayed on the board, but never made it to script? -SerendipityWAF
In episode 203, Morgan and Lester described how they assumed they would die. Both in some bit of epic glory.
At the end of the pilot, Chuck flashed on Sarah's turquoise ring, and the reason behind the flash has been bugging me since then. Would we get an answer to why Chuck flashed on Sarah's ring and what's the story behind the ring in the finale? -tee sui
We don't touch the ring. It was from a mission back in Sarah's badass assassin days.
So how about a spin-off with Morgan and Casey then? -sigmatheta
Yes. Let's go sell that show.
Do you consider the Wildstorm comic canon? -AndreBurto
It's outside of canon.
Would you have done things differently if "Chuck" had received full-season orders off the bat for Seasons 3 and 4? Anything specific? -ardentspork
The episode orders certainly changed the way we break our seasons. But in some ways, this actually encouraged us to speed up the storytelling, which worked to our benefit when it gave us episodes like "Chuck vs. The Honeymooners" and "Chuck vs. Push Mix."
Any chance of Season 6 as a comic like Buffy is doing? What would Season 6 looked like if it happened? -@petermagulak
I can't talk about it. You haven't seen the end of Season 5.
Who was one character [where you wished you could have] expanded their story line? -George_Chuckfan
We would have loved to have further explored the relationship between the younger Mary, Stephen, and the-man-who'd-become-Volkoff -- which would include the origin of the Intersect. There's also Sarah's backstory, why she chose dad over mom, what happened when she first joined the CIA. I guess those are stories for another time.
Did you ever think about letting Jeff and Lester in on the spy secret earlier in the series? So many possibilities! -@AmberKinion
No. We knew they would only find out in the end.
What was the best moment you've had during the past five years with the cast of "Chuck"? -itsmejohnnyy
Too many moments. My brain just fritzed out!
Looking back, did you ever imagine this "Chuck" journey, i.e., fan campaigns, five years and getting to end on your terms? -RBhockey16
No. This show and its fans have delivered beyond my expectations. We couldn't be more proud or thankful of this story and the family it created.
What was the first thought you had when you finished the last script? -@ChuckGamble1968
Time for lunch! It was the middle of the night and I was delirious.
What is your favorite scene from Chuck out of all five seasons? -Bennyg93
Too many scenes. My brain is fritzing again. Why are you trying to hurt me?
When the final credits role, will you say that the story of Chuck, and, by extension, Sarah, is a story about determinism or free choice? -Dianekde
Free choice. No, determinism. Crap. What's the right answer?
When it's all said and done, what do you take away from the "Chuck" experience? Both within the show, and outside of it? And will "Chuck" Season 5 finally be available on iTunes after this Friday? -JemJoven
TV is about relationships. Don't mess with Mo Ryan. And I have no idea who I upset inside the Internet and why the show isn't there.
What will Jeff and Lester be up to a few years from now? Where do you see life taking them? -@MoRyan
Stay tuned. You just might get your answer in the finale!
"Chuck" comes to an end in two episodes on Fri., Jan. 27 on NBC. The first, "Chuck Versus Sarah," begins at 8 p.m. EST and the second, "Chuck Versus The Goodbye," follows at 9 p.m. EST.
Don't forget to come back here Friday night for my thoughts on the "Chuck" series finale. And check out the Swag for Charity auction, which has a very special "Chuck" item for sale (bidding on that one-of-a-kind memento ends Friday).