Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images Photo: Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz at "An Evening With Bones" on May 9, 2011

It looks like Bones is going to end up with a whole new skeleton.

From the sounds of the title of the Season 6 finale, “The Change In the Game,” we’ve been led to expect a major reshuffling of the series’s status quo, and now the cast and creators have revealed even more details to Wetpaint about how the season ender will…wait for it…change EVERYTHING.

During a sneak peek of this week’s second-to-last episode at Beverly Hills’s Paley Center for Media, the creative team spilled at least some of the game plan for closing out the season and what lies ahead, not the least of which is the death of a regular character. As David Boreanaz (Booth) told us, on a shakeup scale of 1 to 10, it’s “close to a 10 — yeah, it's a pretty big change.”

“There was a lot of unexpected stuff that came in from the outside that kind of brought the two characters down a path, which needed to be addressed and will be addressed in the next two final episodes,” Boreanaz said, choosing his words carefully. “Because of that, I think the relationship will really take on a whole different turn. Not just a relationship like what it is now, because the two of them can go in and they can really feel for each other — you'll see that more heavily in the season finale and probably even more towards the end of the Sniper arc — and how they're there for each other. But that's not to say that things won't get messed up in Season 7, because I think that lends itself to the two characters splitting apart somewhat — but having to deal with something that's pretty big for them.”

“I think it resets the show in a different way,” agreed Emily Deschanel (Temperance Brennan). “It's hard to say, but things change in these episodes. There's a lot of drama, a lot of fun comedy, and some really big things that happen. There's a death in one of the episodes, and that has repercussions, beyond just the person's death, that could change things forever. The death creates a domino effect — it changes things and will affect next season, for sure. But I'm excited about new dynamics and all of that and how they work without this person.”

Best Finale Ever?

Bones creator/executive producer Hart Hanson confirmed that the changes are major, even at the risk of panicking the show’s devoted fan base. “I do feel that way, but I'm nervous to say so in case the audience doesn't feel that way,” he says, “because David doesn't get into trouble — I get in trouble. But I think it's the best season ender we've ever had, which some people will say, 'Big deal. You suck at season enders,' to which I say, 'Hey, ya'll came back.'”

“You have to switch gears every now and then,” added executive producer Steven Nathan. “I think that was our intention this year. The way the entire year has unfolded has been kind of a game-changer, getting Booth involved — which a lot of fans loved hating, other fans just loved it, and other fans just hated it. But it did provide us with a fresh way of looking at the show and a fresh way of looking at Booth and Brennan. So we didn't have to do the retread of a ‘will-they-or-won't-they’ — there were actual things standing in their way. That has been kind of our arc for the year and the last few episodes are very rich emotionally for both characters. They're put into situations that they never imagined that they would be in, and act true to character. So it will be looking at the show in a different way from the end of this season. Season 7 will be a bit of a different animal. It'll still be Bones. We'll still be killing people. You'll still be revolted, and hopefully you'll still laugh a lot. But it will be different.”

Boreanaz provided a few extra details leading into the finale, including the appearance of Tina Majorino (of Veronica Mars and Big Love) as Special Agent Genny Shaw. “I know that in Episode 21 we get introduced to a new FBI gal, who's great,” he said. “She's a really good character — really good, so she may be reappearing next season. She really complemented Booth's alpha-aggressiveness pretty nicely, so I really like working off of her a lot.”

Booth’s ever-evolving relationship with Sweets (John Francis Daley) also factors in, said Boreanaz. “I think the relationship with Sweets will be two-fold, because Booth has to deal with [...] what happens on the season finale and how he handles that going into Season 7, which I can't say what it is.”

“There are at least three or four things from [the episode before] the finale that I think people will be talking about for a very long time,” said TJ Thyne (Hodgins). “We had heard that rumor that someone was maybe going to die. We were kind of going through the season thinking, 'Oh my God, is someone really going to die?' We thought that we were in the clear. We thought, 'Okay, it's Episode 22 of 23 — we're safe!' And then we got this script. Suddenly, 'Oh my God, we're losing someone.' So that kind of changed everything. The season finale is ridiculously jaw-dropping for us all.”

The Baby Boom

Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Angela and Hodgins in Season 6, Episode 21: "The Signs in the Silence"

Yes, there’s the arrival of the “Hogela” offspring to consider (we’ll get to that), but even more significant is the impact of Emily Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy on the show. The star showed up looking very maternal, and she admitted that the team is still considering how to address her delicate condition.

“I've had thoughts, but I'd rather not say exactly what my preferences are,” said Deschanel. “Mostly, my preferences are that I have some time off after the baby is born so that I don't have to come back to work right away. So there might be some episodes that I'm not in next season — that's a possibility. Whether we hide Brennan's pregnancy or write it into the show, I see pros and cons to both. I can see hiding it for a long time and finding some body double. We've been doing that for a little while now, once I started showing a little bit, but it'll get harder and harder as I get bigger and bigger. Who knows? I kept telling Hart, 'I could get really big! We have no idea!'”

“It took a long time for us to get our [seventh season] pickup,” explained Hanson, “and during that time I was figuring out scenarios of how to do the maximum number of Bones [episodes] depending on how many episodes Emily will or will not be able to do. We have a ton of options, including guest stars, including a couple odd episodes in which Emily is there, but not there. I don't want to say any more than that, but we have ways of keeping her present. There are tricks with monitors and things like that. There [are] any number of ways, and it depends on how many we need to do. We're still working around figuring out a schedule to maximize how many Emily can be in. Initially, we thought, 'Oh my God, what if it's as low as 14? That's a really low number,' but now it looks like we'll be able to have Emily a minimum of 16, maybe 18. And so maybe we only do 20 instead of 23, or maybe we only do 22, but in the end the network will decide what appeals to them and choose what they'd like to do.”

“Obviously that's not something that we can close our eyes to,” added Nathan. “It's a little bit different than someone who works behind a desk where you can hide it. Also, I think television and the media in general has grown to the point where everyone knows she's pregnant. So we have to address it with the audience’s awareness of that fact as well. We're still debating exactly how to do that and how that will unfold in the next season.”

And then there’s that for-sure on-show baby — who will debut by season’s end, promised Michaela Conlin (Angela). The actress should know, because she shot a major birth scene. “I was very, very nervous about it — I didn’t sleep the night before we shot it,” admitted Conlin. “I didn’t want it to be a caricature of giving birth, but I will say I think it turned out very well.” Neither Conlin nor Thyne ‘fessed up to knowing exactly how big a role their characters’ new arrival will play in the season to come. “Maybe,” hinted Conlin. “I don't actually know the answer to that, but I'd love Angela to be a little bit more involved in the cases. There was one this season where she went out in the field with Brennan and Booth that I really enjoyed, so it's always sort of fun to get her out of the lab.”