Warning: This article contains spoilers for the series finale of iZombie, “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
There were so many exciting surprises in the iZombie series finale, especially in the final 10 minutes, but we have to talk about that cameo.
During the flash-forward epilogue, the CW’s zombie rom-com had some fun recapping the sudden 10-year time jump in a “virtualcast” (think a futuristic version of a podcast… with virtual reality), hosted by America the Virtual’s Byron Deceasey. This host was a new character, and therefore could have been a random face to help with exposition. But showrunner Rob Thomas had some fun by casting Veronica Mars alum Chris Lowell in a role that felt, well, extremely familiar.
Lowell previously played a well-known and respected podcast host before… in the Veronica Mars movie as the adult version of Piz, working at NPR. The similarities between Piz and Byron can’t be denied, and for good reason. “It’s very much intentional,” Thomas tells EW with a laugh about making those characters essentially the same. But despite the perfect connection Lowell had for the cameo, it turns out he wasn’t the first choice to play Byron.
“I will confess that — and I do believe I told Chris this — I went to Dax Shepard first, because Dax is doing such an incredible podcast [Armchair Expert] that I thought it would be great to have a real podcaster in that role,” Thomas says. “But Dax was already booked with stuff. So then I thought, well, who would be podcasting now? I somehow worked my way back to Piz!”
Lowell was last seen as Piz in the Veronica Mars movie, when his character broke up with Veronica (played by Kristen Bell, a.k.a. Shepard’s real-life wife, which makes this all come full-circle) after she kept prioritizing Logan (Jason Dohring, who previously guest-starred on iZombie as Chase Graves) over their relationship. Piz never appeared in Hulu’s revival season, but he was name-checked by Logan as a joke about Veronica’s exes in one episode.
“Our audience would believe that Chris Lowell is now a future podcaster,” Thomas adds. “So that’s where we went with it.”
As if this web wasn’t tangled enough, Thomas also reveals that this wasn’t the first time he wanted Lowell for a role on iZombie.
“We’d been trying to get Chris on the show for a long time, but he’s just had a busy schedule,” Thomas says. “The reason that Liv’s first boyfriend is named Lowell was because we had Chris Lowell earmarked for that role. Unfortunately he was not available to play that role, but we kept the name there.”
Lowell (eventually played by Bradley James) recurred in iZombie’s first season before he was cruelly murdered right in front of Liv’s eyes. (Sound familiar?) And now according to Thomas, both the real-life Lowell and Dohring could have played romantic interests for the same character again? And both would have ended up dead in front of the heroine’s eyes?! That might be too much heartbreak to pile on for Veronica Mars fans still mourning Logan’s season 4 death, so maybe it’s a good thing Lowell didn’t play the fictional Lowell. And at least the iZombie series finale gave everyone a happy ending to soothe those broken hearts!