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Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC

Matt Lanter previews Timeless' possible forever ending ahead of the two-hour movie

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Dec 20, 2018, 4:15 PM EST

What. The. Hell?

Timeless’s second season culminated with Rittenhouse’s Emma fatally shooting Rufus. Then, in the episode’s final moments, another lifeboat emerged with Future Wyatt and Lucy emerging seconds later. However, perhaps the greatest blow came when NBC canceled the series, leaving the fate of the show’s beloved characters up in the air.

But, there’s good news. The network granted Timeless one last mission, a two-hour movie finds the Time Team racing to somehow resurrect Rufus, save the timeline and put an end to Rittenhouse… once and for all.

Matt Lanter, who portrays Wyatt, spoke to SYFY WIRE about Future Wyatt, new time periods, satisfying the shippers and going out in a blaze of glory.

How bittersweet is it for you to be ending Timeless, but getting to wrap things up with this two-hour movie?

I’m really thankful for NBC allowing us to do it. It’s a really nice move. It’s not something they had to do. I think they had this amazing fan group in consideration when they greenlit this movie. To be on a project that essentially is coming back for a finale wrap-up movie because of the fanbase, and the passion for the fanbase, is extremely humbling. It was a really amazing and unique experience that I have not felt before.

We all had a really good time doing it. I think Abbie [Spencer] said we knew that we kind of knew we were working on borrowed time. We just had a great time putting this finale together and we hope it serves the fans well and gives them some closure, but at the same time, lets their minds run wild with possibilities and imagination of what could be.

Last year, viewers’ mouths dropped at that season finale. What was your reaction to the script that left Rufus dead and Future Wyatt and Lucy showing up?

I had the same reaction. I had to pick my jaw off of the floor, too. The cool factor just went through the roof. You are talking the sci-fi realm of things. I thought it was awesome. It was interesting because in the pilot, the first version of the pilot at the very end, we did see a Future Lucy. They ended up rewriting it and cutting that whole portion out. I think they didn’t want to go there at that point. It was interesting to see that brought back, in a way, but we have Future Wyatt in there, too.

I thought they looked awesome, like battle-hardened warriors. Total bad-asses. It piqued my interest. I had no idea where the writers were going with that. To be honest, I’m not sure they did, either. I think they write cool stuff. I don’t know what happens in these writers’ rooms for all of these projects. Do they really know what’s coming up or do they not? I’m not sure. If they did know, genius plan. If they didn’t know, genius way to craft things together, because I think we have a really cool two-hour finale coming up that sums up a lot of things, answers a lot of questions and leaves things ambiguous at the same time.

How is Future Wyatt different than his present-day counterpart? 

It might be obvious to say he is older, obviously physically. We see a little more in the finale. We actually open up with a continuation of that final scene from the season-two finale. That scene gets extended and we do get to have a conversation with our selves. Future Lucy and Wyatt are a little cold. They do feel a little battle-hardened. It feels like some things have happened in their life. I don’t know if it’s three years or five years or exactly the time that they are from. It feels like some bad stuff has gone down. They don’t seem happy, and they don’t seem happy with each other. We are going to find out all about why in the finale.

When things pick up, is their top priority to save Rufus?

Absolutely. That’s how we start. In this finale, goal number one is finding Rufus. Along with his guilt of “letting it happen,” his friend’s death, you can imagine that Wyatt is pretty driven to get Rufus back, at all costs.

Where does Rittenhouse fit into all the mayhem? What kind of trouble are they causing for the Time Team?

Rittenhouse has sort of gone rogue. At the end of Season 2, we saw Emma and Jessica pretty much destroy Rittenhouse and everything we knew it to be. They are doing their own thing. It almost feels like a more unpredictable, more rogue and more violent Rittenhouse than ever before. It sort of feels like there are no more rules to play by. Whereas before, they were slightly structured and maybe had a hierarchy to their organization, it doesn’t seem like that anymore. Emma just kills whoever she wants to kill, and she’s going to do whatever she wants to do. It’s no longer about bloodlines. It’s just about survival of the fittest, in a way. So, it seems very dangerous.

Obviously, we are going to tackle that. Rittenhouse is the reason Rufus is gone. You are going to see the Future Lucy and Future Wyatt still dealing with Rittenhouse, which is not a good thing because according to present-day characters, they would have thought five years from now that Rittenhouse would be gone, but it seems they are not.

How confusing did it become keeping track of what has transpired in the past, present, and future? There’s all the potential paradoxes, rules and timelines …

I would say this finale does sort of challenge that idea and that theory more than it has been challenged in the past. The writers do a really great job of making this a show that’s more of a historical, action-adventure as opposed to a time-travel drama. Sometimes those can get a little cerebral and confusing and all that. That’s one thing that I think Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan have done really brilliantly, is make a fun, action-adventure show.

But, that said, we do get a little more into the aspect of these different time periods and there could be parallel words happening at the same time. There was a little bit of having to reread the script a couple of times just to make sure I was on the same page. At the end of the day, once you watch it, it’s going to be a lot easier to understand than reading it in a script. It shouldn’t be too complicated.

But you did mention the time-travel rules. There is a rule we have established, which is you can’t double back on yourself. We made that very clear throughout the first couple of seasons, and what might happen. Some of the things were a little bit ambiguous. I think we heard Connor Mason talk about people dying and awful things happening to their bodies because of time travel. We are not ignoring that rule, but there is some bending to that rule, which I think was a brilliant move because it doesn’t contradict what we established. It fits in with what we’ve established, but you’ll have to see how we bend it.

What can viewers expect in terms of time periods and costumes in this finale?

We do go to two different time periods. One is international, which is kind of fun, because we don’t really get to go international too often. They look different. They feel different and the clothing is much different. One of them is wartime, in frigid temperatures. The other is a Gold Rush time period, where we are wearing cowboy hats and riding horses. We rode more horses in this finale than we have had the whole first two seasons put together.

Audiences shipped Wyatt with both Lucy and Jessica. How important was it for you that it wasn’t an easy decision for Wyatt?

I know people shipped Wyatt with Lucy a lot more. Obviously, prior to us finding out that Jessica was Rittenhouse, or had something to do with Rittenhouse, I think people just shipped Lucy and Wyatt more because they know Lucy. They know Lucy and Wyatt together. They didn’t really get a chance to know Jessica or them together. But it was important for me to take it seriously and for us to show Wyatt’s struggle. There were some audience members that I saw online, just on my social media, that really dismissed the Wyatt/Jessica relationship. I don’t think they were taking into consideration that they were married. It wasn’t just a girlfriend that he “chose” over Lucy. This is his wife that died five years ago. I can’t imagine what that would be like to lose a spouse like that. You dwell on that for five years about, “What did I do wrong? What did I say wrong? Could I have done anything different? What if I had just not had that argument that one night?” It’s a lot to deal with.

It was important for me to show the difficult choice. I think Wyatt’s heart has always belonged with Lucy, but I think his brain was telling him to do the right thing and still be the husband to his wife. But I don’t think his heart ever left Lucy. Wyatt was just trying to do what was right. Despite some of the fandom not really caring much about Jessica, the character of Lucy is very understanding of Wyatt and she is sincere. We see her understanding why he made that choice and why he had to do that. We see mature conversations between the two.  

If this is the last time we see Wyatt and company, how happy are you with this farewell?

I think it’s a great send-off. It sums up a lot of things. It closes up a lot of our storylines. It answers a lot of questions. At the same time, it does leave some wonder. It leaves room for them to possibly come back if they need to save the world again. It leaves us with the feeling that time travel and time machines are bigger than these three characters. It’s bigger than this program. Who knows? One day, time travel might come into play in this world and who knows if these characters are going to be part of that or not. I think we do a good job of closing a lot of things and leaving some open. Fans are going to be happy.