Jill Soloway explains why ‘Transparent’ is ending on a musical note

"Transparent" cast members Gaby Hoffmann, left, Amy Landecker, Judith Light and Melora Hardin from a Season 2 episode of the Amazon comedy.
(Jennifer Clasen / Amazon Studios)

Details are relatively scant about the feature-length musical episode that will serve as the series finale of “Transparent” this year, but Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke promises that it “brings the whole thing full circle.”

During an appearance at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, Salke addressed the decision to move forward with a movie-like conclusion for the Jill Soloway series.

“For us, we would never want to take a special incredible show like that and just end it unceremoniously,” Salke told reporters. “It was Jill’s idea to do a musical movie. We signed off on that idea, trusting [them] that [they] would come up with something incredible, which [they] did.”

Taking the stage later in the day, Soloway talked about the thinking behind the musical send-off that will be sans star Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from the show last year after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. (Tambor has denied the allegations.) It’s the latest series that has had to contend with moving on without a disgraced star in the #MeToo movement era.


“When everything went down last year, and we lost Jeffrey Tambor and we went through so much as a family, that felt very emotional. There are no words, there was no way to really go back to a plain old season 5 and try to repair by going back, “ they said. (Soloway prefers gender-neutral pronouns.)

Jill Soloway, photographed here during the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, addresses the decision to end "Transparent" with a musical finale
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The groundbreaking, award-winning series is based on Soloway ’s own experience with their parent coming out as trans and was critical in establishing Amazon’s profile in original programming. It introduced viewers to the Pfefferman family and helped bring stories about the trans community into the mainstream.

Salke said that she — along with the company’s co-heads of television, Albert Change and Vernon Sanders — got a front-row seat to a musical run-through of the movie.


“It is really special,” Salke said. “I think it’s going to be an incredible. It brings the whole thing full circle at the end. I don’t want to give away much about it. It does everything you want it do.”

Production on the musical opus wrapped Friday, and Soloway is hopeful it will “astonish” and “reward” fans of the series.

“It was a way to take music and transform the family … to have that kind of feeling of transition,” Soloway said. “The show isn’t necessarily ending. It’s transitioning into a musical.”

Discussions are in play about creative ways to market the send-off.


“We’re talking about all kinds of things,” Salke said. “There will be a lot of creative thinking about how to get the message out about event-izing that ending because it deserves to have a lot of eyeballs on it. And it’s really truly special.”

A premiere date for the finale has not been announced.

Twitter: @villarrealy