'Bones' Boss Previews a Time Jump and a "New Social Order" in Season 11

"Time doesn’t stop," exiting showrunner Stephen Nathan tells THR of the aftermath of the season finale.
Jordin Althaus/FOX

[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the June 11 episode of Bones.]

Can there be a Bones without the show’s two leads?

The Season 10 finale of Bones saw what many may have thought was impossible —Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) left the Jeffersonian for a fresh start.

Exiting showrunner Stephen Nathan tells The Hollywood Reporter says the duo will be back at the lab next season, however just when that happens remains to be seen.

Nathan spoke with THR about the thinking behind that big exit, Angela and Hodgins' decision and what changes are ahead.

Why did you decide Booth and Brennan should leave D.C.?

We had to do an episode that would be worthy of our audience that had committed to us for so many years. We wanted to give them a satisfying conclusion if in fact the show didn’t come back. We also somehow had to have that vibe in the show that it could continue for another 10 years. It was really walking a tight rope. Hopefully, we did it [because] I don’t think there’s a net.

Will they be back at the Jeffersonian in Season 11 or part of the show in a different capacity?

Bones is still going to go on as Bones. From a practical standpoint, we can’t build another permanent set. We were told it was the biggest permanent set every built for a television show — so they are going to be back on that set. The mystery and the fun of Season 11 is how is this team going to reassemble. How is life going to go on? At what point do we pick them up?

At what point is that?

There will be a time lapse. We will be picking them up as they have been living a life that they have been wanting to live. From that they'll have to go back to the lives they had before, and clearly they will be different people and different circumstances will allow us to continue in a new life.

Angela and Hodgins decided not to go to Paris. Does that mean they’ll take over the lab with Brennan gone?

Yes, the dynamics of the lab will definitely change. When Booth and Brennan return, life has gone on without them. People have become entrenched in a new structure, a new social order. Time doesn’t stop. You can’t go back and pick up where you left off. You can only pick up from where you are at any given moment. That’s going to have a lot of great conflict and a lot of surprises for the characters and the audience.

Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) also makes a return in the finale with that video message. What’s the significance of him not really being gone even though he’s dead?

The thematic through line of the series has always been that life is about change. Nothing is static. Nothing is solid. We wanted that articulated in some way. When Pelant is there you would think [Brennan] would say, “Oh I want to hear this. What’s going on?” and this is going to pull them back into the Jeffersonian. [Instead], she said, “No, there’s always going to be something that can pull me back. There’s a time to just move on. There’s no such thing as closure.” There’s no such thing as the perfect time or the ultimate resolution to a person’s life. It always ends inconclusively.

Does that mean Brennan has completed her arc in a way?

At least for me, there was no way for any ultimate resolution in the finale. The series needs to have a life of its own. It goes on and on and on, and all we can do is end this chapter.

Bones returns in the fall on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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