We got our full five minutes with Chuck Executive Producer Chris Fedak and Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome). The fun thing about Chris Fedak is he knows how to dump a lot of info in five minutes. Being the showrunner, he was the one to dump the most spoilers, but they're more teasers really than anything. He and Ryan had plenty of things to say about how great their fans are as well as what is to be expected in season five.
I cried during the panel.
Fedak: It was a lot of fun.
I already asked Baldwin, Are you guys going to get all misty eyed when you start filming the final episode?
Fedak: Are you talking about Baldwin getting misty eyed? He doesn’t have tear ducts.
McPartlin: He’s just a puppy underneath. Don’t let him fool you. Yeah, we’re already getting lumps in our throats now, so absolutely when it comes to the final episode. I cry at the end of every season. It’s just my thing. Every episode.
Can you tell us about the new season, what the plan is?
Fedak: The plan? Shit. (whole table laughs). The show is different. It’s still the Chuck show. We’re still going to have fun, comedy, action, adventure. But a lot of things have changed. Chuck is now not a part of the CIA. He’s got his own spy team. They also own the Buy More. Part of the season is about getting Carmichael Industries up and running. They’re gonna have competition, they’re gonna have Verbanski Corp out there. We have a lot of fun with the idea that they have to pay the bills. They’re going to work with people that are on the nefarious side of things.
Of course the other thing is Morgan has the intersect, which is a huge difference for the show. Chuck doesn’t have the supercomputer in his head, his best buddy does, he’s going become like Sarah in season one, being Morgan’s handler. It’s a real twist up on the season. It’s been a lot of fun to write it because it allows us to tell new stories in an interesting way.
Is Beckman be part of this?
Fedak: Yes. But of course it’s not Beckman on the monitor any more. She’s much more like our Deep Throat character. She’s the person on the inside in the government.
You have a really close relationships with your fans. How important have the fan efforts been?
Fedak: It’s absolutely critical. We’ve always been a show that has survived because of our fans, because of the loyal fan base. Here at Comic Con is the perfect example, seeing that fan base and communicating with them and just talking with them about stuff. Our fans are also very smart. It’s very much people who like TV and movies, that fusion of stuff, it’s a very savvy crowd. A lot of our “Save Chuck” campaigns were created by our fans.
McPartlin: I think our fans have re-invented what it is to be a fan and have a fan base. Other shows now are trying to copy how innovative they’ve been. It was first with the Subway campaign and now they’re doing stuff like using Twitter to say, “I’m not a Nielsen viewer,” and tweeting that to all these sponsors of all the commercials they see on Chuck. To let them get all these tweets of hundreds of thousands of people saying, “I’m going to buy your product because you’re advertising on Chuck and I want my viewership to still count.” Who would have thought that up? It’s amazing what they’ve been able to come up with and I think everyone’s trying to duplicate who wants to save their show the way that Chuck fans are doing.
Don’t you think the way Nielsen measures viewers is outdated?
McPartlin: They have a strong monopoly that’s for sure.
It’s outdated in the way it’s done, people are using the DVR and everything. It’s not fair.
McPartlin: You would think with technology now they would be able to. (Fedak nods wholeheartedly in agreement).
Don’t you think it’s risky for a TV show to change your premise?
Fedak: If you’re doing a television show that doesn’t take chances, that totally makes sense from a producing perspective, telling the same story over and over again. But we’ve done it over and over again on our show, we’ve adjusted the premise of the show. we’ve changed the premise. And we’ve done it aggressively. We gave Chuck abilities, we put Sarah and Chuck together as a couple. All those decisions are really scary things, but the thing about us we’ve never felt like we’ve been able to sit back and not tell an aggressive story because of the fact we’ve never known when our end is. So we’ve been very much like push the story, put Sarah and Chuck together, lets tell the story we want to tell right now. There’s never been a matter in our show of sitting back and going, “Oh, that’s a great idea, let’s do it later.” We do it next week. That’s been neat for me as a writer to do that because you don’t have to do that kind of padding and other stuff. We’re very aggressive, we like to tell big story changing stories. Story changing stories, that sounds stupid.
The 13th episode, you’re writing it as a series ender, no cliffhanger or maybe?
Fedak: Don’t take away my cliffhanger. (laughs). We are treating it as the end.