12:15pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Comic-Con: 'Bones' Team Teases Final Season Deaths, 447 Reveal and "Faster Pace"
The air was thick with nostalgia in Ballroom 20 on Friday when the Bones cast and executive producers returned for their final San Diego Comic-Con panel.
The panel kicked off with an extensive look back at the series' biggest moments, all the way from Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth's (David Boreanaz) first meeting to the birth of their baby and beyond.
The panel came a day after the season 11 finale of the Fox drama, in which Dr. Brennan was kidnapped by ex-squint Zack (Eric Millegan). Zack not only returned, but with a mysterious scar on his forehead that has yet to be explained. After the long clip package, the final scene of the season 11 finale was shown once again for fans in attendance.
"You asked for it, we brought him back," co-showrunner Michael Peterson teased about Zack's return, saying the writers hope to bring him back for three or four episodes in season 12. "There is an arc and a story left to be told, so don’t assume anything."
Production on season 12 of Bones begins Monday, with Deschanel set to direct the season opener. "The season premiere is a continuation of the episode some people saw 20 minutes of last night," Deschanel teased about the finale, which was partially preempted on the West Coast for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The overrun caused some to miss as much as 40 minutes of the episode, if not the entire hour, which was entirely preempted in some markets. The finale will re-air in its entirety on Friday, July 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Questions about the upcoming season were particularly meaningful since season 12 will be its last. Bones was renewed for a shortened 12-episode final season back in February.
"I think the next 12, we're just excited to say goodbye the right way," TJ Thyne said, giving a shout-out to the fans for helping the show get to do "one last hurrah."
Michaela Conlin shared his sentiment: "I'm also really glad that we have the opportunity to honor this show with a proper ending. After all the episodes we've done, that's really special."
Although 12 episodes is a far cry from Bones' normal 22-episode seasons, co-showrunner Jonathan Collier promised "a lot is going to happen in the new season. Because we have 12 episodes and not 22, it's going to happen at a faster pace."
When asked how the cast wants the show to end, Deschanel said she's leaving her character's fate in the hands of the writers. "Hopefully not in death," she said. "I hope that there's some kind of happy ending on some level, although I know there's going to be some sadness in the season."
That sadness may come via the death of two characters in the upcoming season, as teased by Peterson. It's "no one at this table," Peterson said of the show's core cast in attendance, which also included David Boreanaz, Tamara Taylor and John Boyd. "But there are two other people from past seasons who will die in this final season."
Looking ahead to the rest of the final season, Peterson promised that the meaning behind "447" will finally be revealed in the series' penultimate episode. "You will find out what '447' means," Peterson says.
Collier also teased an undercover episode that will be "the best one ever." It's "a world we've never been that I think only Booth and Brennan can do justice to," he said. Collier went on to offer that the duo will be wearing "grey shirts and maybe suspenders."
As for the relationships on the show, Thyne gave fans a glimmer of hope for Jack and Angela. "I think Jack and Angela will always make it. I think we'll be OK," the actor said.
Taylor also expressed optimism about Cam tying the knot in the final season. "I thought the writers were going to cheat me out of a wedding but … I think Cam and Arastoo are doing it," she said.
Peterson and Collier did not spill much on the plans for the actual series finale, but Peterson made a big promise to fans: "We're going to make that the best episode ever."
Although the writers are eager to go out on a high note, they expressed sadness at saying goodbye to the series. "I can't imagine life without it, so I'm in denial," added Peterson.
Bones returns for its final season midseason on Fox.