11:52am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Homeland' EPs Talk About Shifting Series' Focus in Season 3 and Beyond
Season three of Homeland might not be on the horizon until the second half of next year, but the wheels already are turning for how the show will reboot itself in the wake of Sunday's finale.
[For readers who haven't seen the Showtime series' season ender, spoilers follow.]
Executive producers and co-creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon spoke with reporters the morning after the episode, and in addition to revealing that they originally had discussed killing Brody (Damian Lewis) halfway through the season, they seemed to confirm that the series will one day be forced to undergo a fundamental change.
"It's an open question, but I think inevitably that's going to happen," says Gansa, on the possibility of focusing on just Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin). "If you look at these two seasons, the Carrie-Brody relationship, we've told a significant part of that story. If there's a chapter three, it's going to have to be a reinvention of some kind. There is a point at which we will fall back on the franchise, which is Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson trying to keep the world safe."
Their relationship, both professional and personal, is what the episode's title ("The Choice") really was referring to. "Carrie made a choice," said Gansa. "She chose Saul, not Brody."
The real fate of Brody -- outed as a terrorist, presumed dead by everyone but Carrie and on the lam -- is something that Gansa and Gordon haven't committed to. The writers have had just two meetings about the third season, and the extent of its Emmy-winning lead's involvement hasn't been decided.
STORY: THR TV Critic Tim Goodman on the 'Homeland' Season 2 Finale
"We have the prospect that he could come back at some point, if not next season," says Gordon. "If we had given in to this shocking impulse to kill Brody in the middle of the season, we would have sacrificed a lot of those moments between Carrie and Brody as the season drew to a close -- and we would have never been able to tell the finale."
The duo says Lewis and the rest of the Brody clan's future on the series is "very much up in the air," but there's one character with an ambiguous end they're definitely bringing back: Quinn (Rupert Friend), the black ops agent who set the finale in motion by refusing to carry out the hit on Brody and inadvertently sending Estes (David Harewood) to his death.
As for Estes, Harewood also spoke with reporters and offered a simple eulogy on his slightly misunderstood character.
"We have this saying on Homeland, that the story is everything," he says. "We all as actors will go where the story takes us."
Gansa and Gordon, surprisingly candid in their indecision about the course of the third season, wanted to emphasize that the clean canvas left by the finale's explosion is something they were working toward throughout the entire season.
"It was just [about] getting to the moment when Nazir [Navid Negahban] and Walden [Jamey Sheridan] were dead, and there was this deluded possibility that [Carrie and Brody] could be together," says Gansa. "The last season started with Carrie being the only one who thought Brody was guilty, and this one ended with her being the only one who thought he was innocent."
Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV