11:34am PT by Philiana Ng
'Gossip Girl' Boss Reveals Final Season Secrets and a 'Satisfying' End (Q&A)
It's time to say goodbye to your favorite Upper East Siders.
The final season of The CW's Gossip Girl begins Monday, and if the teasers are any indication, trouble will be brewing in the Big Apple -- moreso than ever before. When the sixth season kicks off, viewers will see some major changes for the core group: Serena (Blake Lively) has moved on to a new boytoy (guest star Barry Watson), Blair (Leighton Meester) and Chuck's (Ed Westwick) relationship remains in the gray, Dan (Penn Badgley) is ready to take on "Manhattan's elite" with a new book, and Nate (Chace Crawford) is on his own with The Spectator.
As executive producer Sara Goodman tells it, the final 10 episodes of the series will end on a high note -- which now includes the identity of the anonymous blogger. “How we end Gossip Girl will be satisfying. I think everyone will be happy," the series' showrunner tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Goodman, who co-wrote the first of the two-part series finale, offers hints in a chat with THR about the drama's final run, where the characters ultimately end up ("where they belong," Goodman teases), the never-ending Blair-Chuck dilemma and the one word that best describes Gossip Girl's swan song.
[Warning: Some spoilers ahead.]
The Hollywood Reporter: The biggest question revolves around Blair and Chuck and whether they get their happy ending.
Sara Goodman: What we tried to do for this season -- we knew we only had 10 episodes – is bring the characters where we felt they should be and where their hearts would take them, along with their minds. In the first episode, you know Blair and Chuck made a pact. They’re going to try and keep that pact. They love each other. They’ve said they love each other, and they’re going to try to be together. What we all hope and what we all tune in for, is that the world – whatever happens within that – doesn’t screw it up for them.
THR: How would you describe their journey in the final 10 episodes?
Goodman: If they can each win their individual battles, then they can be together forever.
THR: In the perfect world, if everything worked out, that would be their ultimate ending?
Goodman: In the perfect world, if Chuck can beat his father and Blair can take over her mother’s mother and if they both can be the people they want to be, then they can be those people together for the rest of their lives.
THR: As the series has gone on, Dan has laid everything out there. Can you expand on whether that becomes more apparent and what this “new” Dan may be like?
Goodman: He absolutely has. He always has been the voice of reason and kind of been the voice of truth. He’s going to realize that there’s power in this world in that. With this [new] book, in knowing that he’s using real names, I think that’s really going to change the amount of power that he has in this world and what he’s going to do with it.
THR: You’ve described Steven (Barry Watson) as a much more grown-up match for Serena. Does he represent the type of man she should be with?
Goodman: We really wanted her to be in an adult relationship. We wanted her to have that change. I guess we’ll see if she’s ready for it or not, or if this is who she belongs with. But he absolutely is the most viable love interest than we’ve ever had for her – in a long-term way.
THR: How much of what Serena was up to in the summer be revealed?
Goodman: We’re more moving forward. We’ll just take it at face value [from what is said during the premiere].
THR: Were there key moments from the past that you wanted to revisit or pay homage to this season?
Goodman: Yes, absolutely. It was important to us to go back to those character origins and make sure we go back and honor those. We definitely have some good callbacks, not just in terms of old faces coming back but in terms of old episodes or old scenes. Even thematically, that scene with Chuck and Nate in the pilot where they said, “Are we just going to turn into our parents?” We definitely paid a lot of attention to what we have built.
THR: Can you tease a specific moment this season that is a callback?
Goodman: That moment [between Chuck and Nate] is a key moment this season.
THR: Will we see different pairings in the core group of Serena, Nate, Blair, Chuck and Dan?
Goodman: We really tried to focus mainly on our core characters and their core relationships – even Blair and Serena – and tried to deal with them in a final way.
THR: What was the inspiration for this final season? Were there things you knew you had to include?
Goodman: We wanted to see who these kids we met in high school would become as adults. Would they become their parents? Who belongs on the Upper East Side? Who doesn’t belong here at all? Who can survive? What does power mean? Who belongs with who? Where haven’t we been in the city? What event do we want to come back to? We do cotillion again this year. What are those moments that we’re building to for five years?
THR: Are there still places that you haven’t taken the story that you wish you could if there were more episodes, or have you exhausted every possible idea?
Goodman: Interestingly enough this year, since we only had the 10, it’s such a tight container, all kinds of new things started to occur to us especially now that our characters are adults. There are a lot of other places we could go. But I feel like it’s always really satisfying to take your characters to where they belong.
THR: So by the time the finale comes, every character will have ended their story where they should have ended up?
Goodman: Where the writers believe. The thing that I love about the way that we did it is that we never stopped being Gossip Girl about it. Even in the finale, there are crazy twists and turns, there are surprises, there’s more fashion this season than ever – with Blair’s fashion stuff – and I think all the characters are going to end where we feel like they belong. Some people will agree with us and I hope that the fans are happy about it.
THR: Happy endings for everybody?
Goodman: You know, it’s Gossip Girl. [Laughs] My answer is: It’s Gossip Girl.
THR: How did you prepare for the final episodes and scenes?
Goodman: When we sat down at the beginning of the season, we knew where we were going and I feel like we knew where we were going for a long time. We definitely knew where we wanted to get.
THR: How would you describe the series finale?
Gossip Girl premieres season six 9 p.m. Monday on The CW. Check back following the East Coast airing of the premiere for a post-mortem on the episode's biggest developments.
E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com'Chuck' to a network executive who just looked at me when I finished and said, 'Why would you want to write that?'" Schwartz says."]