‘Grimm’ creators on the tearful end of the show and the possibility of it being picked up
SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS DETAILS FROM THE FINALE OF “GRIMM.”
The final episode of NBC’s “Grimm” aired Friday, complete with tears, character deaths and a revelation of a new, powerful way to fight evil.
After 123 hours of shaping the “Grimm” universe for viewers, executive producers and show creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf developed a finale that included a Wesen, Zerstörer or the Destroyer, that wanted to bring about an apocalypse. Zerstörer, played by Wil Traval (human) and Douglas Tait (skull creature), needed a mystical object from Nick Burkhardt (played by David Giuntoli) to complete a mystical staff that would help it become all-powerful.
Surprise! Most of the cast dies — but not permanently. Well, maybe --.you decide. With that revelation, the final two episodes were filled with tearful goodbyes on set and online. Pleas by Grimmsters for another network or outlet to pick up the show have so far gone unanswered, but that wasn’t the mindset that Kouf and Greenwalt had as they prepared for the end.
What were your first thoughts, story-wise, on what you had to do once you found out that this was the final season for “Grimm?”
Jim Kouf: We thought we had a lot of explaining to do.
David Greenwalt: Yeah, we were somewhat daunted, grateful to know that we had this much time to arc out the series. Every year we’ve had this big, bang-up ending, so we had to come full circle somehow, some way.
Kouf: We wanted to explain the stick and where it came from. We wanted to explain the ring on Adalind’s finger and get rid of that. We had to fight some big bad evil.
In terms of the Wesen — or we think he’s Wesen — that you ended up creating, the Destroyer, was he already one you’d considered, or was he made up in service to the story in the end?
Greenwalt: Kind of both. We created him to match the myth of the staff, and we liked the idea of him being in his own world but he needed a way into our world. It had to be bigger and badder than anything we’d ever done before, which helps explain the high body count.
And that body count ... Everybody had to go. Were you guys on the set when the actors were filming their final death scenes?
Greenwalt: Yes, because we directed the finale, and we were there for the episode before as well.
Kouf: Yeah, we were there, and they all knew that we wanted to go out with as big a bang as possible. We wanted to give Nick and the audience a real emotional ride.
In terms of researching the Destroyer, it seemed like there were a lot of myths brought together to create him and his staff. How did that particular research go?
Greenwalt: The show has drawn on myths and legends from every culture basically from all over the world. We thought it was really important to not just say this was a Christian myth or even a religious one. We thought it was important to say how it fit into all myths.
Kouf: The fun of doing all the research was that you find out a lot of things. For instance, there are a lot of staffs throughout history that have power. There was the staff of Moses, and we started looked at that and wondering whatever happened to the staff of Moses that had all of this power and parted the Red Sea and turned into snakes. It’s never recorded what happened to it. So that was our big opus. Nobody know what happened to the staff of Moses — well, we explain what happened.
So directing the final episode, did you get to have a moment with the actors and actresses when you wrapped their final scenes?
Kouf: Oh yeah.
Greenwalt: You know, we’ve been very close to all these actors in doing this show for six years. We’ve been fortunate that it’s a wonderful cast, great crew ... and we all knew that this family was coming to an end. Whenever an actor was filming their final scene, and it was a death scene, the actor would give a little speech to the cast and crew, sometimes in front of other friends and loved ones. It was very moving.
Kouf: And the weather tried to keep us from leaving Portland. Ever. We lost four days to snow.
Greenwalt: Yeah, the Lord himself intervened. We were there an extra seven days through snow and ... it was just crazy.
Sounds like the city, kind of a character itself, wanted to be acknowledged. Besides the fact that it was set there, way back in the beginning what was the reasoning for going to Portland?
Kouf: Well, we wanted to match the Black Forest, where the Grimm fairy tales took place -- and you can’t do that in Los Angeles. We looked at a map of the United States and thought, ‘OK, where does this make the most sense?’ We saw Portland and saw that it had trees and mountains and rivers all within 15, 20 minutes of downtown Portland. It gave us all of these opportunities for dark, brooding scenes and locations.
What do you think is next for the characters? We got to see the “20 years later” and the kids all grown up at the end of the show, but in the meantime, for Nick and the rest, where do their stories go?
Kouf: The fight continues. Their mission in life is to fight evil.
Greenwalt: They’re out there continuing to fight the good fight. That’s what we want the audience to believe and grab hold of.
You have this Grimm universe now. Do you think you may get involved with the comic book?
Greenwalt: It’s a great tableau for the field. Telling a story without a budget.
Kouf: David and I tend to think in terms of television and movies.
What’s next for you guys? A sunny vacation, perhaps?
Kouf: Well, David Greenwalt is actually a Grimm, so he’ll be fighting Wesen.
Greenwalt: Yeah, we don’t make this stuff up! Well, it was 123 hours of this world that we’ve made up. We have some pretty cool irons in the fire. But that felt like a kind of once in a lifetime experience.
Kouf: The most fun of the series was dealing with all of these creatures and telling this story to help create an alternate explanation for human behavior.
You’ve probably heard of or seen the petitions. Almost 20,000 signed to save the show or have you go to Netflix, another few thousand imploring TNT to pick you up. If Netflix or Amazon or Hulu came to you, how open are you to continuing the series?
Kouf: I think the fans are fantastic for doing that. It just shows you how much they love the show. I think it’s great, who knows what’ll happen, but it’s hard to consider something that nobody has put in front of us.
Greenwalt: It’s a brave new world out there. You just mentioned a whole list of providers of entertainment who, 10 years ago, they weren’t doing that. There’s certain ways you could spin that show where it wouldn’t be the same. It’s fertile ground for sure — everybody’s got a myth or a fairy tale.
Sounds like you’ve put some thought into that?
Greenwalt: Well sure. Everything but the writing!
Kouf: The Trubel character (played by Jacqueline Toboni) was created as a spinoff possibility, but she wound up being part of the cast. She’s ready to go, though. She’ll be off on another adventure.
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