9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Nashville' Cast, Creators Offer 10 Teasers on the Hurdles to Come (Exclusive Videos)
When ABC's Nashville returns from its month-long hiatus, Scarlett and Gunnar will face the awkward morning after their steamy hookup as the series begins its run down the home stretch to its May season finale.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the Nashville cast and creators to get the scoop on what's next for Scarlett and Gunnar, Rayna and Deacon, Juliette and more. Here are 10 things to look forward to when the musical drama returns, as well as two spoiler-filled exclusive clips (above and below) previewing what's ahead on the ABC series.
Rayna on the prowl?
Given her single-lady status, star Connie Britton told THR that she's been talking to series creator Callie Khouri about Rayna playing the field a bit. "It would be interesting to see that," she said. "But I figure Rayna and Deacon will eventually find their way back to each other -- but I don't really know yet."
Deacon's new love interest
Showrunner Dee Johnson says Rayna and Deacon are in an interesting place now that the former is free to explore those lingering feelings for her former guitar player -- except for maybe his own bustling love life. "What we wanted to explore was what's it like when your whole world is around music; it's nice when you're with someone who is from outside of the business entirely. It's a totally different vibe and very grounding, and we toss that into Deacon's world," she says of Charles Esten's new love interest -- who will be played by Susan Misner (The Americans).
Teddy's changing world
Producers are aware of the lack of love for Rayna's soon-to-be ex-husband Teddy. "He starts in one place as this good guy and has done all the right things for all the right reasons and now we're trying to see his different colors, and that will make him a much more interesting character as he goes forward," Johnson notes. Adds Khouri: "It's a really interesting facet of Nashville to watch a guy who is trying to put his life back together, who has been the man behind the woman for a number of years, and watch what he ends up doing with his life."
More Stella Sisters!
Fans of wunderkinds Lennon and Maisy Stella should keep an eye out for episode 16, which will be a good one for the musical duo. "They're doing another number, and the crew was just weepy on the set," Johnson says. As for the paternity of Rayna's eldest daughter, Johnson remains mum: "I'm not going to touch that one with a 10-foot-pole!" she laughs.
Gunnar and Scarlett face the morning after
After finally hooking up in the Feb. 27 episode (grief sex, anyone?) Gunnar and Scarlett are in that oh-so-awkward morning-after place. "Gunnar is in this head-space that isn't good for him," Sam Palladio says. "He's grieving, depressed, and he's going through a hell of a lot after finally forging this relationship with his brother and having it taken away so soon. Scarlett, as a comforter and shoulder, feels like Gunnar takes that as pity at some point and it causes some friction between the two of them."
Personal becomes a professional obstacle
While Palladio says Gunnar will soon realize that Scarlett's feelings for him are sincere, the new couple's blossoming relationship will create a professional obstacle for them. "There's some jealousy that starts building, and music conflicts come into it," Palladio says, noting they'll be offered a contract to be part of Rayna's new label. "That causes a lot of tension for them."
Gunnar heads to the slammer
Still grieving over his brother's slaying, Gunnar will head to what Palladio referred to as "the law house." "Gunnar's bad choices end up causing problems," he notes. "He feels responsible for his brother's death and tries to find out the details of what happened, and is down at the precinct a couple times."
Juliette will continue to stand in her own way
Hayden Panettiere tells THR that Juliette's self-destructive ways will continue until she can get her head and heart in line. "There have been very few things in her career that haven't come back to bite her in the butt. She really does try to head in the right direction, she just doesn't know how to make it come to fruition," she says. "She doesn't know how to handle it, and she handles it in these awful, terribly self-destructive ways. She's an extremist, but she's also used to being a fighter and she's running from a very dark past that was very abusive and took a major toll on her. She's used to having this defense mechanism, and that is usually barreling head-first into things and not really analyzing them and constantly thinking with a very business mind -- and not with heart. Business and heart and ambition and goals need to come together to make it graceful. It's a mental game."
Avery has a new mentor
Esten teases that Deacon will find a new young mentor in a surprising person: Avery Barkley, who will wind up joining Rayna and Juliette's tour for "reasons that would surprise most." "Deacon sees an awful lot of himself in Avery -- way more than in Gunnar or anybody else," he says. "Deacon will have some advice for Avery, and giving advice is one of the things Deacon does best. He can't fix himself, but he'll damn sure try to fix everyone else."
Khouri, who won an Oscar for penning Thelma & Louise, was coy about the May 22 season finale, offering only one hilariously funny tease: "We're looking at putting them all on a bus and sending them over a cliff!" she said with a laugh at the Thelma & Louise-themed reference. "We're making a lot of decisions right now. We're very hopeful we'll be back in the fall. It won't be my first cliffhanger, I'll put it like that."
Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Hit the comments with what you're looking forward to seeing.