WARNING: This interview about “Unbroken Chain,” the WGN America series finale episode of Outsiders, contains spoilers.
Is Hasil dead?! Will Wade Houghton find a lasting relationship with Dana, and will he avoid jail time now that Matt Myers has evidence that he helped Lil’ Foster escape from prison? Who, if anyone, will emerge as the new leader of the Farrell clan, now that things have dissolved into chaos up on the mountain? And will the family be able to stave off the coal company and remain on the mountain they’ve occupied for so many years?
All are questions that remain unanswered at the end of the Outsiders Season 2 finale, and now that the drama has been canceled by WGN America, only a new network home can ensure that we ever get answers. Yahoo TV talked to Outsiders creator Peter Mattei about the show’s future, the stories he still has to tell if there is a Season 3, and about the mysteries he and the writers did solve in the finale (hint: that little boy really was Big Foster’s son, Elon). And Mattei asks that the show’s fans continue to show their Farrell love on social media, in the hopes of keeping the Farrells and their friends (and enemies) alive in TV land.
Can you share any good news, that this is not the last we will see of all these characters?
Well, unfortunately it’s not really up to me to generate that news. I wish I could. We’re still looking for another home, but that’s still in process.
How do you feel about that process at this this point?
You know, it’s kind of in the middle of it. We’re working right now on Season 3, breaking stories and everything for Season 3, so we’re in the thick of it, and we’re ready to go. I’m not really ready to give [these characters] up either. I still dream about them, and they’re a big part of my life, so if in fact they aren’t coming back, it’s going to be a big adjustment.
Did you have the chance to tweak anything with the Season 2 finale, or was everything set when you got the news the show wouldn’t continue at WGN America?
Oh yeah, that was all set. That had been finished weeks ago.
Whose story would you be sad not to continue if the show doesn’t find a new home?
Oh wow, that’s a good question. I don’t know if I have an answer to that to be honest, because it is such an ensemble. I guess I would say the story of the family and how this is going to resolve is the thing that I’m most engaged in in terms of thinking about a new season. Where do the Farrells go from here after what happens at the end of Season 2? I feel like I’m really invested in these people and what their fate is.
A kind of civil war has broken out amongst the Farrells at that final meeting. G’Win suggests that Little Foster should be the true leader of the clan, and I think that’s something that probably a lot of viewers have felt all along. What can you say about that, and where that might go in a third season?
Well, civil war is one way of looking at it, and another way of looking at it is it’s just anarchy, in the sense that we would begin a new season without them having a real leader. And I think Little Foster has a really good point, which is that the fight over who’s the leader has really created so much division in that family, and that maybe not having a leader at all would be way more beneficial to them in the long run. I think we don’t know, but it’s a question mark that we would explore in the future if we can.
It’s tough to imagine people like Big Foster agreeing to live in a community without a leader, even if it isn’t him.
Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that would be the conflict moving forward, how would he exist within that family? I’m not at liberty to tell you what we’ve decided about that, but we have a very interesting solution to that question.
In that meeting at the end of the episode, G’Win is talking about the people who were killed in Big Foster’s attempt to blow up the coal company’s construction equipment, and she says Hasil died. We saw him in the previous scene, and he was still alive. Is she just assuming he died because she knows he was shot?
Yeah, I think so.
So, it’s not definite that he’s dead?
No. But he could be. I’m not going to divulge.
I’m sure you know what fan favorites Hasil and Sally-Ann are. It’s easy to understand Hasil’s frustration, torn between his two lives.
That was always the definition of his character, was that he was one of the Farrells who just was fascinated by the real world, and that’s what attracted him to Sally-Ann. He wanted to know more, but he’s conflicted, and he represents sort of the back-and-forth between the two worlds. It would be great to see him in a third season try something new. But that was always a big part of who Hasil was.
Wade finally got good news this season: His sister Ledda is doing well after her cancer went into remission. And Wade even found himself a love interest! If Season 3 is a go, will that romance continue for him?
We’re hoping so, yeah. We had so many things going on in his life that were difficult and dark and hard, and we just thought, “Let’s bring in a little sunshine, a little bit of hope into his life and see where he takes it.” And there was a scene between Wade and Dana that was going to be in the finale that we ended up cutting, so that might end up being a DVD extra. Rather than resolve it, we decided to kind of leave it open-ended for Season 3.
About the little boy that Big Foster and the others see in the woods, the boy they assume is Big Foster’s dead son Elon — we see later that a little boy is found dead after the flood. Is that the little boy whose family Big Foster killed at the beginning of the season?
No, that’s Elon.
So where has Elon been this whole time?
Well, Elon sort of has always existed. Since his death in the pilot episode, he’s always existed in this kind of in-between world… whether he’s alive or he’s a vision or something like that. So he kind of comes and goes as he’s needed, as a manifestation of the mountain’s powers and magic, and I think that at the end of this finale, with Elon dying there in that disaster, that changes things. He will no longer be around to create change the way he does with Ledda, the way he does with Big Foster in that scene where Big Foster’s going to kill himself. At various times in the series, Elon appears to change things, and he’s no longer going to be around for that. So the Farrells are more and more abandoned as time goes on in terms of their battle to survive.
It’s interesting that Little Foster is willing to give up the mountain to get away from the fighting and power grabs, to raise his child with G’Win. What would be his biggest motivation, aside from the baby, going forward?
Interesting, good question. I think at the beginning, coming out of the Season 2 finale, he would definitely feel like there’s enough strife in the family and enough of this kind of stuff, and he would be forced to make a decision. And you can’t run away from something that big. You have to take a stance. So I think his big decision would be, what is his stance in terms of do you stay put and fight to the death, or do you try to make a home somewhere else.
Is he willing to consider that he may be the best choice to lead the Farrells?
You definitely put your finger on it, that’s a big question for him: would he consider that if they came to him, if they desperately needed a leader? But do they need a leader? Does a family, does a country, need a strong leader? I think those are questions that people are asking themselves every day in the news right now.
I was just going to say, all of this seems familiar right now in the real world.
Well, it’s funny. I originally wrote this show three and a half, four years ago, well before Trump — but I think that there’s a lot of things about it that are pretty before their time in the sense that the show really is about what Trump ran on, in terms of parts of rural America that have been devastated by their lack of jobs and so on. And in particular, as we know, Trump talked about coal mining as an example of that, and that’s what we have in Blackburg. It’s a coal industry town that has seen way better days because there just aren’t those jobs there anymore. And what are we going to do about it? And who do you blame when you’re angry and you don’t have a job?
What we’re kind of looking at is, is the story heading toward a sort of Waco showdown? Or you could also look at it as a Standing Rock kind of showdown. Either way, stuff that’s in the headlines today is kind of unavoidable in the show right now. That sort of conflict is inherent in the show, and I really, really, really hope that we find a new home for it so we can continue telling that story.
You have had a lot of support on social media. There’s definitely an Outsiders fan base out there.
Totally, yeah. And they are expressing themselves. There’s a bunch of different hashtags: #saveshaymountain, #shaymuststay, #saveoutsiders. But really, I encourage you to encourage your readers to go to social media and express their desire for Outsiders to find a new home.
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