Bones Creator Hart Hanson on Season 7 and the Looming Pregnancy Question
With the Bones spin-off The Finder hitting the air this week, a season finale to shoot, and real and fictional pregnancies to deal with, series creator Hart Hanson is a busy man. But he still took time out of his hectic schedule to do a Fox conference call with a group of grateful reporters — including Wetpaint. Hart teased some new details about both shows; spoke about how the show will handle Emily Deschanel’s (Brennan) off-screen pregnancy, while also plotting out Michael Conlin’s (Angela) on-screen baby drama; and considered whether The Finder will be another “will-they, won’t-they?” series.
The season finale is titled “The Change in the Game.” What can you tell us about it?
The last two episodes of this season are going to run the whole gamut of tones that Bones does. A lot happens. The title “The Change in the Game” is about as much as I want to say about [the finale]. It’s going to be one of those episodes that Bones fans will talk about and enjoy hugely. If anyone feels there’s an anti-climax to it, then I’ve totally failed in my job.
Booth seems to keep blaming everyone but himself for his troubled relationships. Will there be a point this season when he takes some of the blame on himself?
If that moment happens to him, then it happens in a flash of light. That’s about all I’m willing to say about it. [Laughs] I can tell you this: We’ve been building all year to something. I would hate to say what it was. I would hate to do anything to cheat the audience out of the experience we’ve worked really hard to get them too.
Is there any concern on the part of the writers that the finale title may set fans up for a step they aren’t ready to take?
Oh I wouldn’t answer that in a million years. Go ahead and watch and then you can tell me afterwards what you think.
What was it about The Locator novels that made you want to create a spin-off from them?
“Spin-off” has always been a troublesome term to me. It’s more like we did a crossover episode for a series that doesn’t exist yet, and we hope it does come to exist. I have an overall deal at 20th [Century Fox]. I either write or work on a pilot each year, it’s part of my deal. This year I was kind of laying low and then Lisa Katz at 20th gave me The Knowland Retribution by Richard Greener, and it is such a good idea — a simple, clear, good idea for a network series. A guy who can find anything, can find people or things. There’s a line that I put into The Finder crossover/pilot episode where Walter says, “It’s amazing how often people ask me to find something and the real treasure is something else altogether.” Good stories are inspired by people after a tangible thing or outcome, and what they really want, their desires, are at odds with that.
And the idea of it being a crossover really appealed to me because last year when I went to do a pilot I was away from Bones for weeks and weeks. This being a Bones episode meant I didn’t have to leave home. It just all came together. It’s a really good financial model for the studio. It just seemed like a good thing to try and it turned out quite well.
Casting The Finder was hilarious. The part played by Michael Clarke Duncan was originally written for an old, skinny white man, and instead we got Michael Clarke Duncan, who is none of those things. And Geoff — the role of Walter Sherman was a bit darker. Then Geoff Stults came in to read and he was just really funny and charming. It feels to me like if we don’t make him a star on Finder somebody else is going to grab this guy. It was akin to how they must’ve felt when they first saw Tom Selleck. A big handsome guy who’s very funny and doesn’t seem to be at all vain about his looks.
How much of the episode is Bones and how much is The Finder?
My worry is that the Bones fans will feel away from their Bones people more than they would be comfortable, unless these guys charm them instantly, which I hope happens. The only character from Bones that doesn’t appear in it is Sweets.
If you could crossover Bones with any other show, what would it be?
I think it would go really well with Treme, don’t you? [Laughs] Okay, not really. I’m guessing we’d like to do a crossover with House. It’s already on the right network. I always thought a Fringe-Bones crossover could be a lot of fun.
How will you incorporate Emily Dechanel’s pregnancy into the series?
Those are big Season 7 questions. We have a lot of decisions to make as we move forward. Season 7 would probably be a curtailed season. We have a lot to figure out about how to deal with Emily’s pregnancy, never mind anything we decide to do with Brennan. We can hide it, we can not hide it. We have a plan, but I’m kind of stubborn about saying what our plan is going into Season 7.
What’s the latest on whether there’ll actually be a Season 7?
Everything is tied up right now. It’s just business stuff. It’s just licensing negotiations. They’re talking like crazy over there, I know. In 2009 it wasn’t settled until the week before Upfronts. So I imagine this could be anywhere from now to May 15th. We’ll come to a deal.
Can you expand on that?
We’re still contending with the effects of Emily’s pregnancy on the show. One possibility, if we had enough scripts in the pipeline, [would be] to keep going through the summer instead of taking a hiatus and then take a hiatus once Emily was unable to work. But we didn’t have any scripts in the pipeline because we haven’t been picked up for Season 7. There are any number of possibilities. Do we do shows without Emily? Do we shut down when Emily’s not available? Do we do 16 or 18 episodes, or do we do a few episodes without her? Those are all choices that we have to make.
Speaking of babies, how will having one affect Angela and Hodgins’s professional lives? Will the baby just be part of the lab?
The person of course who is most concerned about this is Michaela [Conlin], saying, “What? Does this mean I’m staying home?” As far as that baby goes, it burrows into the family. I think the Jeffersonian probably has top notch day care. It will become another source of stories. I don’t expect it to diminish Michaela/Angela’s participation in the show one jot. Although we would like to show that it’s not nothing to have a baby in your life. […] The season-ender has a lot to do with the birth of Angela and Hodgins’s baby, and we’ll see then how they will proceed in their life as a family.
If The Finder does get picked up, what additional characters will we meet?
Aside from the three central, the other main character will be Annabelle, who is attached probably to the Miami field office of the FBI or the Miami police force. She is Walter’s main squeeze on and off. I’d like to avoid doing another “Will they or won’t they?” It’s more emotional than romantic.