Sept. 27 marks the end of an era at Amazon.
That’s when Transparent‘s musical series finale movie debuts on the retail giant/streamer, bringing an end to the show that helped cement Amazon as a home for award-winning scripted originals.
Creator and executive producer Jill Soloway was joined by the cast and sibling Faith Soloway on Saturday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour for one final victory lap to celebrate having completed going out as they came in: taking risks.
“We were all just flying in our risk spaces and today, we’re still flying in risk spaces having made a musical finale,” Soloway said. “Make no mistake, it’s meant to be awkward.”
Soloway introduced their sibling, Faith, who wrote the music and lyrics for the musical finale (watch the newly released full-length trailer, below). They noted that they turned to a musical to wrap up the series after star Jeffrey Tambor (who played Maura Pfefferman) was fired from the series following allegations of sexual misconduct from his former assistant Van Barnes and co-star Trace Lysette.
“When people talk about musicals and turn to song instead of conversation, it’s because there are certain things that can’t be said with words,” Soloway said. “Everyone knew what we went through. If we were to come back, we had to find a new way to enter this story.”
As it turns out, Faith had been writing songs that come from the heart of Transparent for years. (The siblings revealed they actually had been collaborating since they were very young.) The musical finale kicks off when Maura’s family learns of her passing. Tambor never appears onscreen in the series finale. Soloway, who along with her cast regularly referred to the “great fracturing of 2017” or the “rupturing of 2017,” noted there were many times when she questioned wrapping the series with a musical.
“There were many pauses,” they said. “We could have just said goodbye and backed away and waved and been grateful for the love and trans liberation. But as storytellers and artists, this was actually not just the finale but it was our chance to heal together. Everything we did every time we got together … we were just trying to find our way back to that belief that what we were doing mattered and was important. Making it into a musical, in some ways, just rescued it from being overly serious. We didn’t want to tell a story of Maura’s death that was complete mourning and a sad farewell. We had to come back to complete joy and the musical allowed us to do that.”
Transparent broke ground and helped usher in a new era of more inclusive programming focused on the transgender community. Tambor won an Emmy for his role as Maura Pfefferman.
Soloway described the finale as a “thrill ride for neurotic people,” and said they hoped viewers would take the episode as a “celebration” that also happens to explore Jewish pain: “This idea that our legacy of pain and feeling like we deserve [what happened to the show] and it’s our fault needs to be exploded, and the movie attempts, and I hope is successful in, offering a legacy of something more than self-pain.”
Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Alexandra Billings, Kathryn Hahn, Shakina Nayfack, Trace Lysette and a number of fan-favorite characters will return for the series finale.
Watch the trailer, below.