Great GMMR Interview With The Castle Showrunners About Season 8

“It’s going to be a great year…we have a delightful launch, these wonderful tentpoles where things are changing and evolving,” Winter shared. “And for the whole season, we’re telling a wonderful story from beginning to end that will further the love story of Castle and Beckett.” 

I spoke with Winter and Hawley about taking over showrunner responsibilities, what’s in store this season, and more… 

You both have long — and different — histories with the show. What are the emotions now that you’re running the series? Alexi Hawley: I was excited to come back and do this with Terence; we worked together for three seasons when I was here last. He’s a great storyteller, so I took this as an opportunity to come in and have fun with a show that we both love. Terence Paul Winter: This show has meant so much to both of us. Because it does mean so much, for us to have that challenge of the first 151 episodes that were made [before this season] and to build off of that is an incredible challenge. But [it’s] exciting. And I can’t think of a better person to do it with than Alexi Hawley. It’s great, because we hadn’t worked together in years, but kept in touch, and when we got back together, it’s like we fell back into our old rhythms. We started breaking stories and we came up with the arc of the season, and the two-parter we’re starting the year with. It’s going to be a good year. 

The season 7 finale had a very series finale-esque quality to it. Where does the show go from there? TPW: What was delightful about what Andrew and Terri did with the end of last season was they didn’t put anything in a box; they left things open. [There were] a couple of options for Beckett as far as where she’s going to go, and they let us run wild with it. We could build off any of those ideas, and we are. And ultimately, it wasn’t as [final] as it seemed, because it gave us something to launch off of. 

What can you say about the two-part premiere, and what’s in store for Castle/Beckett? AH: We wanted it to be dynamic and exciting. I think, ultimately, there are some ghosts from the past that come back in an unexpected way. But we really wanted to use the opportunity to re-pilot the show a little bit. After seven seasons, it’s still the same show, it’s still fun, it’s still romantic, it’s still exciting — all those same elements are still there. We wanted to add new characters, we wanted to change up relationships a little bit. We wanted to make Alexis a grown-up. We wanted to give the boys some content. We wanted to do a lot of things to lean more into [the] characters of the show than it has been the past couple of years. Come up with clever cases that are perhaps simpler so we have room to tell more character stories. 

What is Castle’s path this season? AH: What we’re excited to see is a new relationship with his daughter. Again, making her a grown-up, connecting her to the cases in an interesting way will be a lot of fun. How does he deal with her when she’s a 22-year-old woman? I think, ultimately, long-term, we do want to get into some of the mysteries that have been unanswered about his missing time. To delve into some of the things he doesn’t remember he did that impacts everyone around him. TPW: All that without losing the fun, and losing the love story which is steeped in the DNA of CASTLE. What we’re doing this year is what we’ve been doing every year — continuing the story of Castle and Beckett, and them falling in love, and the furthering of their romance. 

And where does Beckett go this season? And how does Jack Coleman’s Bracken tie into everything? TPW: [Joking] Jack is back?! Oh my goodness. AH: It’s meant to come out of nowhere. Clearly, it won’t come out of nowhere. I’ll say this: it definitely is a huge twist and surprise for our characters. And ultimately…yeah, I don’t want to give that away. TPW: I’ll say this: it’s going to be an unexpected way how he comes back. I think a lot people who are big fans of the show like we are, if I say Bracken’s coming back, [the response is], “I’m sure it’s going to be because of this thing.” I think they’re going to be surprised, pleasantly surprised, with what Bracken is going to do. 

What cases are in store for season 8? AH: Once we get through the two-parter, we’re going to be telling our cases of the week. We have some really fun stuff going on. We might go back to college in one episode. What we’d like to do, in diving into the character stories, is bring in some memorable guest cast of characters — both new and maybe old, hopefully, if we can make deals. Part of the show isn’t necessarily the procedural beat. It’s about what you do when you get them. It’s less important how you get them as what you do when you get them. We want the cases to be clever and surprising, but we don’t want to be hung up on the procedural [aspect]…what is the story? What is the character story? TPW: And how do the cases affect our characters? How does it create change in our characters and create story for our characters to deal with? Toks Olagundoye has also joined the show.

What can you say about what Hayley brings to the series? AH: She’s just got a very different energy than anyone else on the show. It was exciting to find new voices, going into season 8. She comes in as an independent investigator with a little bit of a shady past, who bounces off Castle in that first two-parter. But ultimately, she comes in and out of our world. She’s not just a part of Castle’s world — she’s a part of Beckett’s world [as well]. To a certain extent, she brings a different way of doing business to Castle. He’s used to working with the police who do things a certain way. She does things very differently. And it’s fun to see how Castle has to deal with it. TPW: And it’s fun to see how Beckett has to deal with it. AH: Exactly. 

Since Beckett is now the captain, is Castle working cases more with Hayley? AH: Beckett as captain is a very proactive part of the investigation. She definitely will be interacting [with the crime solving]. [Hayley] comes into our universe through Castle, but she’ll interact with Beckett. TPW: She’ll interact with Alexis. AH: She’s added flavor to the show, without being [overwhelming]. There is some concern on Twitter [that she’s] a love interest, right? I thought Toks had a wonderful response to that which was why does everyone have to be a love interest? She is in no way, shape or form, a surrogate for Beckett. She’s not meant to replace Beckett or be Beckett in any shape or form. I thought that was a great way to say that. 

And what is Lanie up to this season? AH: She plays a big role in the show. She’s a valuable member of the cast. She has [had] an intimate relationship with [Esposito]. We’ll continue to tell her stories. 

Is the Esposito/Lanie relationship truly done. AH: We’ve been going back and forth on that; as to whether there is more story to tell there, or whether it’s time for other things to happen. It’s a discussion. TPW: It’s important for us to find the most honest place of that evolution.

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The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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