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'Homeland' Writers Originally Planned a Very Different Brody Death

Speaking at a Friday TV Academy panel, showrunner Alex Gansa and star Claire Danes rehash the third season finale and talk about the timing of Damian Lewis' exit.

Homeland Finale Still Lewis Daines - H 2013
Showtime

Nicholas Brody still isn't coming back. Though Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa made it very clear in the wake of his Showtime drama's third season finale that Damian Lewis' character had unequivocally died, swinging on that crane, the executive producer is still getting questions about the possibility of a return.

"I got so many emails about a story in the press about a man in Iran who was hanged, but he actually was alive and his toes started wiggling in the morgue," Gansa told the crowd at a Friday TV Academy panel hosted by producers Fox 21, noting that the 2013 story fueled speculation he was pulling one over on viewers.

No, Brody's death was planned from the beginning of the season -- "Truthfully, we've been trying to get rid of the guy since season one," Gansa said to a round of laughs. -- but the initial plan for his exit was very different.

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"Originally we thought Saul was going to kill Brody," Gansa said of Mandy Patinkin's character. "But it became clear Claire's Carrie had to send her soulmate someplace he wasn't going to come back from."

Gansa mentioned the only option to keep Lewis on the show, which he toyed with, was to have the character seek political asylum in Iran.

Claire Danes was also in attendance. And while she admits she's still largely in the dark on the details of the upcoming fourth season, which begins filming in Cape Town this summer, she was quick to note that her real life sadness over losing her co-star will likely inform her performance.

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"I don't think it's really going to occur to me until we start filming again and Damian's not there making fun of me in the makeup trailer," she said. "I think [Carrie] shelved a lot of feelings. And they will dog her through the season. ... Realistically, Brody was broken in a way he couldn't be mended. What was his place in society?"

Putting the Carrie/Brody discussion to bed, Gansa was sure to praise his current lead for her ability to have chemistry with anyone. "Everybody always asked me why the show works, and it worked because of Claire and Damian," he said, "Is there any man on the show Claire doesn't have chemistry with?"

"Or sex with," Danes joked.