It looks like NBC's Chuck might be facing its biggest challenge yet, and we're not even talking about moving to Fridays or premiering against the seventh game of the World Series on Fox tonight! As Chuck kicks off its fifth and final season, executive producer and co-creator Chris Fedak admits he's facing some pressure from fans to give our heroes a happy ending.
"There is a little pressure," said Fedak in an exclusive interview. "But there's also pressure to ... it's like, where is the drama if I tell you everything's going to be happy at the end? We have a very big and very dramatic season in front of you. I love the Chuck, show and I hope for a happy ending, but it's a scary spy world out there, and I hope our young couple will make it."
He hopes Chuck and Sarah will make it? What? Seriously?!
"I don't want you mad at me," said Fedak. "I know those legion of fans. Our fans make their wishes known."
For a show that was saved by those legion of fans eating mountains of Subway sandwiches and writing endless emails and letters, you bet there's a lot at stake.
"Here in the last season of the show we're deciding to almost re-launch the entire show," he said. "We ended last year with Morgan Grimes having the Intersect in his head. Chuck and Sarah are married, and they also have their own new spy company."
Considering last season things ended on a mostly positive note for our heroes, this season "it's like, what could go wrong? The answer is a lot! I mean, I think that we'll find that the Intersect affects people differently. It definitely has an effect on somebody by the end of episode three. Morgan ... will have dyed his hair," said Fedak. Yes, he told me what color, but I'm not spilling the beans on that bit of classified information.
"This year there's more of a return to basics for the Chuck show. [As] Sarah and Chuck get this spy team up and running, a lot of their missions are going to be like season missions from season one and season two. More domestic, closer to home. And I think that brings up a lot of really neat opportunities for us to have missions that mess up Chuck and Sarah's home life. It's neat for us to kind of go back to where we started."
One big difference is that Chuck isn't the Intersect, and he won't be anytime soon. "Chuck needs to use his brain and use his smarts and use these skills that he's learned over the last couple years to be a great spy on his own," said Fedak.
And then there's the Chuck and Sarah of it all. This final season focuses on Sarah and Chuck's relationship as newlyweds. They've gotten married and are in love, but "it doesn't mean that's the end of the story. You don't get to ride off into the sunset. Chuck and Sarah are going to be struggling to achieve those dreams" as a married couple who run their own spy company.
As for Casey, "here's a man that's not working for the government. So he's a little stressed out about the idea that he's turned into a private contractor/mercenary working with Chuck and Sarah. It's a big change for Casey. He also has a relationship with Alex, and he's trying to become a dad figure to her. And the other big, big part of the story is that this year Casey's going to have a love interest," said Fedak. "Her name is Gertrude Verbanski, and she runs Verbanski Corp, which is Chuck's ... Carmichael Industries' chief competition."
The Matrix's Carrie-Anne Moss joins the cast for several episodes to kick butt and turn Casey's head.
On the home front, Awesome takes some time off work so Ellie can can get back to the business of being a doctor. But there's also something very different about this season when it comes to the couple's relationship with Chuck. "They know that Chuck is [a spy], so the dynamics are a little bit different. Which is great, because it allows Chuck and Ellie to have a much more honest and open relationship."
And at the Buy More, "Big Mike is just returning from his nuptials to Morgan's mom," and Jeff and Lester suffer through some relationship problems.
"I don't want to spoil anything, but their relationship is going to change. There's going to be a bit of friction between the two of them. I will say since they're in a rock band together, it's Jeff and Lester, it's Jeffster! ... Maybe we're going to find ourselves in a Lennon/McCartney situation," he said.
So Chuck's not the Intersect, Ellie knows he's a spy, Morgan is the Intersect and he's going to dye his hair, Jeffster might split, Casey's in love with Trinity, and Big Mike is Morgan's new daddy. Yikes, what else could possibly happen in this new season?
Well, how about lots of guest stars? This season we'll run into Mark Hamill in a wild cameo, Craig Kilborn, Rebecca Romijn as an evil spy, Stan Lee, Tim DeKay as Sarah's former CIA handler, Bo Derek and Charlie's Angels' Cheryl Ladd as Sarah's mom.
"We have a lot of really big stories that we want to tell, and it's exciting to be able to close out [our] story on [our] own terms, which is something you usually don't get in television," said Fedak.
"This show is about the romance of Chuck and Sarah, and that's certainly at the heart of this season, too. [But Chuck] has become an ensemble. We've found stories in Casey and Morgan and Alex and General Beckman and all of our characters at the Buy More. ... You know, we really want to tell an end story for all of them," he said.
Here's a Chuck preview and sneak peek:
Chuck premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Are you ready for the final season of Chuck?