‘Timeless’ Series Finale: How Shawn Ryan Set the Stage for Another Comeback
[This story contains spoilers from the two-hour series finale of NBC’s Timeless.]
Timeless has finally ended for good — probably.
The NBC time travel drama managed to cheat death twice, coming back for a second season after being canceled and then, a year later, revived for a two-hour wrap-up movie after being brought back from the dead, again. This time, though, is really, definitely, probably the end, co-creator Shawn Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter about Thursday’s Christmas-themed episode.
The two-hour adventure saw Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Jiya (Claudia Doumit) travel back to the 19th century California gold rush in an attempt to stop the evil organization Rittenhouse from carrying out its evil plan, but it was actually the formerly evil Flynn (Goran Visnjic) who managed to prevent Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) from dying (the character was killed in the second-season finale).
In the second half, the Time Team traveled to 1950 North Korea, where they managed to reunite a Korean family just before U.S. troops left the country and war broke out. Flashing forward to 2023, Wyatt and Lucy were happily married (with twins), Rufus and Jiya were happily together, and the team reunited to travel back to 2014, where Lucy gave Flynn the copy of her journal that started the whole adventure.
Below, Ryan talks with THR about pressure to provide the show’s passionate fans what they wanted in the finale, the importance of giving Lucy and Wyatt a happy ending and whether it’s possible that Timeless could get revived for a third time.
Timeless has a very passionate fan base that is definitely a huge reason why you were able to cheat cancellation multiple times. How did it feel to know that people were so invested in its future?
It’s very humbling. When you write for television you want people that feel as passionate about the show as you do watching it, and that’s not always the case, even if they enjoy it. In this case it really feels like the fans are almost more passionate than us. Not that we’re not passionate — we are! — but it really is amazing the lengths that they’ll go to to fight for the show.
It really has an impact on the way that we made this finale, because from the writers, to the actors, to our director, to our producers, there was a real sense of, “This happened because of the fans, we’re continuing to make this because of the fans and we’ve really got to make this good.” This is not such a cute story if we make a piece of crap at the end of this. So it was really a motivating factor to try to get every moment, every scene really right. People will judge for themselves whether we did or not, but certainly our intention and our efforts were, “This has to be as good as we can possibly make it or otherwise we’re cheating the fans who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to give us this opportunity.”
Once you knew you were coming back — again — what did you need to definitely include in the episode?
We had save Rufus. Can you imagine the fan backlash if we hadn’t saved Rufus? We had to bring Flynn’s character full circle. We had to address the Lucy/Wyatt, Lucy/Flynn love triangle one way or the other. We needed to address the idea that even when Rufus and Jiya get back together, there is something that’s changed since she had been stuck in the 1880s for three years. She had changed a lot in the episode that aired back in March, and I think we needed to deal a real death blow to Rittenhouse.
Eric Kripke, Arika Mittman, Lauren Greer and I — it was the four of us that were working on this — we wanted to feel a real sense of victory. I know people are sad and like, “We don’t want it to end, we don’t want this to be the finale,” but one of the advantages when you’re writing something [like this] is that you don’t have to hold stuff back and say, “Well, we’ve got to make eight more episodes after this so we can’t really resolve this.” You can really dive in and resolve things with Jessica, and resolve things with Emma and Rittenhouse. So that was all important, and we wanted to, selfishly for each of our seven series regulars, make sure that they all had specific great moments for their characters.
How did you go about picking which eras the Time Team would travel to in the episode? Did you think about current politics at all and pick places that would feel extra relevant today?
Well, there’s two different time periods, so it was two different decisions. The Korean one was actually the first one that we came up with, and really it was born out of a request from NBC when they picked up the movie to do something that was Christmas-themed. They had figured out that it was going to air sometime in the Christmas season, and so we were looking for historical events that happened at Christmas. It took a while to find this, but when we started digging into this historical event that none of us had really heard of before and we saw the sort of beauty of that story and the way that it could affect our characters, that was sort of a no-brainer.
It took a little bit longer to come up with the 1848 gold rush, but ultimately what sold us was the idea of meeting this Joaquin Murrieta character and the parallels that he has with Flynn, so that Flynn can see some of the horrors of his past actions in the reflection of Joaquin in a way that motivates him then to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and to help Lucy, and to help the whole the team and to stop Rittenhouse. We always are looking for time periods that are actually going to allow us to tell stories about our characters, and those were the elements that ultimately led us to the miracle of Christmas story in Korea in 1950, and the 1848 gold rush story. It allowed us to tell these really important character stories.
Flynn sacrificing himself to save Rufus almost seemed like the only way you could’ve gone because it really was a perfect way to redeem his character and bring Rufus back. How much back-and-forth did you have about it?
We certainly talked about it. It wasn’t the first thing that came to mind for us, but when it came to mind and we started talking it through, it made a lot of sense. And then we were sad that we had no more Flynn in the movie, but Eric was always insistent that at some point we had to show Lucy giving Flynn the journal in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We realized, oh, well now if we could actually sort of see Flynn again and see the origins of this and with Lucy’s speech about how maybe he’s the greatest hero of them all, it really made everything come full circle for us in a very beautiful way.
When you tell these finale stories, whether this is an NBC finale or whether this is ultimately a series finale — we never really know with our show — you want to give yourself the license to really go big and to go big with Flynn here and have it come out of character and have him do it for Lucy, essentially. He knows that she loves Wyatt and if Wyatt were to go back and die, then that’s not going to make Lucy happy. So really it’s an unrequited love and he’s able to use that as motivation to go do this very selfless act. We thought it was beautiful moment for Flynn and thought Goran played it fantastically.
You mentioned this as an advantage, but it could have been a hindrance, too: You do only have these two hours to wrap everything up, so do you wish you were able to build up tension and spend more time with some plot points?
There were some moments or storylines where I thought, “Wow, if we had like four episodes to play this out would have been great,” but pretty early on we adopted the mind-set of making more of a movie here than making 10 episodes of television. Our models here have to be more Back to the Future than Quantum Leap in that sense. I think the total running time is like an hour and 25 minutes. We have this time, and what’s the best usage of this time?
Also, we don’t want this to only be something that can be viewed by hard-core fans of the show. If someone never even heard of Timeless before and they’re flipping around and they come across NBC at 8 p.m., how can we grab their attention and go, “OK, I don’t know everything that’s going on here,” but it’s kind of like going and watching a Marvel movie and maybe you haven’t seen the Marvel movies that have come before it, but you have enough of a sense in what’s going on that you can enjoy that. We just wanted to create something that the people would be able to watch and enjoy.
The endings you gave to Wyatt and Lucy (and their twins) and Rufus and Jiya were very happy, but they were also very feminist — Lucy is a tenured professor who teaches her students about female historical figures, and Jiya is a famous scientist. Was that on purpose?
I think that’s on purpose. Listen, we had two women who wrote this finale. But I’d like to think that Eric and I supported this vision. One of the things we stumbled upon on this show [was that] all of our earlier episodes were about famous people like Abraham Lincoln and JFK, these powerful, iconic male characters. As the series went on we got more and more interested in telling the lesser-known people of history: Women, people of color, people that historically were pushed back to the margins but actually had a big impact. That comes full circle, really, when the last half of the movie focuses on this pregnant Korean woman who is not famous at all. But that doesn’t mean she’s not important. We consider ourselves a show that certainly doesn’t ignore or downplay the famous historical figures that everyone has heard of, but there’s definitely a sense to this show that we wanted Lucy to be a true heroine. Not a sidekick to a hero, a true heroine. Wanted Jiya to have her own license to be a successful woman in 2023, etcetera.
And in the final scene of the little girl coming up with plans for her own time machine, was that you leaving the door open for a potential sequel or spinoff or continuation of some sort?
There’s definitely a door open if someone is interested in opening it further, absolutely.
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Everything You Need To Know About Timeless Season 3 Cancellation
Timeless season 3 didn't happen, with the show wrapping up in a two-hour TV movie after season 2 - here's everything to know about the cancellation.
Timeless season 3 didn't happen since the NBC TV show was cancelled after season 2, though it did get a two-hour series finale wrap-up movie - here's everything you need to know about the Timeless cancellation.
Created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield), Timeless premiered on NBC in October 2016 and went on to garner a small, but dedicated fan base. The series follows a group of time travelers: history professor Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Army Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter) and time machine pilot Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett). The three were tasked with following terrorist Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić) through history and fixing what he changed after stealing the Mothership time machine - the Time Team pilots the prototype time machine called the Lifeboat. However, the Lifeboat team begins to learn Flynn is targeting the mysterious organization Rittenhouse, which has its fingerprints all over history.
Related: Winter TV 2019 Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series
Timeless was never a massive ratings hit for NBC, but it did have its own legion of devoted fans who managed to keep the show alive despite low ratings. As such, Timeless was actually cancelled twice, but revived twice as well, before finally wrapping up with a two-hour series finale movie. Now, we break down the confusing history of Timeless season 3's cancellation.
Timeless Was Cancelled After Season 1 - Then Revived
In May 2017, NBC cancelled Timeless after season 1. It was revealed by co-creator Shawn Ryan that the decision was based on financial reasons; Timeless was produced outside NBC by Sony Pictures Television. However, just three days after news of its cancellation broke, Timeless was renewed for season 2 by NBC, un-cancelling the show. It was announced the series would return for a shortened season 2, running only 10 episodes, compared to the first season's 16 episodes. Timeless season 2 premiered in March 2018, concluding in May 2018.
Timeless Was Cancelled After Season 2
Toward the end of season 2, co-creator Eric Kripke warned fans that Timeless was once again on the bubble, meaning its ratings weren't high enough to guarantee a season 3 renewal. The creators and the fans had every reason to worry the show would be cancelled once again, with it seeming unlikely Timeless would get another hail mary like after season 1. Still, the Timeless season 2 finale cliffhanger caused fans to hope that the show would be allowed to wrap up in some way. NBC cancelled Timeless (again) after season 2, but left the option open for the series to be given a two-hour finale movie in order to wrap up its storylines.
Timeless Had A Finale Movie - But No Season 3
When Timeless season 3 failed to find a home after the show was cancelled by NBC, the producers came to an agreement with the network for a wrap-up movie. NBC officially announced the Timeless series finale movie in July 2018 and production began. The Timeless two-part series finale aired on NBC in December 2018, wrapping up Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus's storylines, as well as those of Flynn and the show's supporting characters. It was a deserving, if rushed, conclusion to the fan-favorite TV show.
As such, Timeless season 3 never happened and likely never will. Though certain beloved television series with dedicated and vocal fans have managed to get those productions revived multiple times (Arrested Development and Veronica Mars in particular), Timeless is cancelled. At least, for now.
Next: The TV Show Revival Trend Needs to Die
The Book Of Boba Fett Proves Disney Has A Star Wars Prequel ProblemAbout The Author
Molly Freeman is the lead news editor of Screen Rant and one of Screen Rant’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved movie critics. She’s been writing for Screen Rant since 2014 and has appeared on the Total Geekall podcast. Previously, she’s written entertainment news for Bustle and had personal essays published on HelloGiggles and Femsplain.
A graduate of Ithaca College’s Journalism program, Molly originally planned to be a music journalist before moving into entertainment journalism after spending so much of her downtime binge-watching all manner of movies and TV during her formative years. Still, she enjoys every chance to put her music and musical theater knowledge to good use, particularly when it intersects with her love of superhero movies.
Beyond that, Molly spends her free time reading young adult and romance novels, rooting for the New York Rangers hockey team (LGR!) and going out to brunch. Follow Molly on Twitter and Instagram @mollyrockit, or contact her directly: molly(at)screenrant(dot)com.
Could ‘Timeless’ Come Back as Another TV Movie?
By Steve Weintraub
Co-Creator Eric Kripke chimes in.
If you were a fan of NBC’s time travel series Timeless, then you remember that it was a roller coaster marriage. The first season was originally going to be 13 episodes, but while filming, NBC raised its order by three to have it run 16 episodes. Then shortly after the first season ended, the network canceled the series, only to renew it three days later for a shortened ten-episode season. As that season ended, NBC once again canceled the series, but revealed they were considering wrapping up the series with a two-hour movie. While fans were doubtful it would actually happen, NBC shocked everyone about a month after the cancellation by deciding to reward the fans with a two-hour movie finale, which concluded the series at the end of 2018.
While the finale did a fantastic job resolving the big storylines of the series (props to creators Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke), if you were a fan of the show it was bittersweet. Sure we got a great ending, but this was one of those shows that had the potential for more. After all, you had a great central cast (Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett), the ability to time travel, and showcasing historical events in a fun way. I would have followed this gang of adventurers wherever they went.
I recently landed an extended interview with Eric Kripke for his awesome Amazon series The Boys, but before we talked about that show, I brought up Timeless. The main thing I wanted to know about Timeless was if the series was really over. While I expected him to say the ship has sailed, or something else that put the final nail in the coffin, he actually did the opposite. Kripke said:
“There is always the possibility of more TV movies. I know the actors are game to do it. Shawn (Ryan) and I, I can’t say we’ve talked about it a lot, but we’ve chatted back and forth in emails and said, 'One of these days we should try and get another Timeless TV movie going.' We don’t have any immediate plans for it. Everyone’s busy and working on all their various projects. One day it might happen.”
While I know it’s a longshot we might ever get another TV movie, if they make it, I’ll tune in.
In addition, Kripke and I also talked about Revolution, which was a post-apocalyptic science-fiction series that ran for two seasons on NBC from 2012 to 2014. The show took place in the year 2027, about fifteen years after a permanent worldwide blackout. The series explored what happened and how the world changed.
As a fan of the series, I always felt like they had a great idea that was killed by trying to pull off too many episodes in its first season (20). Unfortunately, this is what kills many network shows. While a sitcom or a procedural can pull off twenty-something episodes a year, high concept stuff needs less so the storylines can be stronger to keep people invested. Also, writing any series is difficult. But writing something loaded with mysteries that you want to slowly reveal is a whole different beast. Recently, the networks have learned less is more, but back in 2012, that wasn’t the case.
After talking Timeless, Kripke and I got into Revolution and high-concept network shows. Check out what he had to say in the player below and look for more from our interview soon.
- Does he think Timeless is over?
- Why can’t more series get a TV movie after the shows have ended?
- One of the big challenges is trying to put together a writer’s room, the actor’s schedules, and having the budget to build sets for a two-hour movie.
- What will it take for the networks to realize doing too many episodes of a high concept series like Revolution in the first year does more damage than good?
The dark thriller will make its way to theaters everywhere on February 4, 2022.
Read NextAbout The Author
Steven Weintraub launched Collider in the summer of 2005. As Editor-in-chief, he has taken the site from a small bedroom operation to having millions of readers around the world. If you’d like to follow Steven on Twitter or Instagram, you can expect plenty of breaking news, exclusive interviews, and pictures of cats doing stupid things.
Timeless Season 3: Cancellation Updates And Much More You Need to Know !!!
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Timeless season 3 didn’t happen since the NBC TV show was canceled after season 2, though it did get a two-hour series finale wrap-up movie – here’s everything you need to know about the Timeless cancellation.
Timeless was never a massive rating hit for NBC, but it did have its legion of devoted fans who managed to keep the show alive despite low ratings. As such, Timeless was canceled twice, but revived twice as well, before finally wrapping up with a two-hour series finale movie. Now, we break down the complicated history of Timeless season 3’s cancellation.
Timeless Was Cancelled After Season 2
Toward the end of season 2, co-creator Eric Kripke warned fans that Timeless was once again on the bubble, meaning its ratings weren’t high enough to guarantee a season 3 renewal. The creators and the fans had every reason to worry the show would be canceled once again, with it seeming unlikely Timeless would get another hail mary like after season 1. Still, the Timeless season 2 finale cliffhanger caused fans to hope that the show would be allowed to wrap up somehow. NBC canceled Timeless (again) after season 2 but left the option open for the series to be given a two-hour finale movie to wrap up its storylines.
Timeless Had A Finale Movie – But No Season 3 After NBC Canceled
When Timeless season 3 failed to find a home after NBC canceled the show, the producers reached an agreement with the network for a wrap-up movie. NBC officially announced the Timeless series finale movie in July 2018, and production began. The Timeless two-part series finale aired on NBC in December 2018, wrapping up Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus’s storylines, and Flynn and the show’s supporting characters. It was a deserving, if rushed, the conclusion to the fan-favorite TV show.
As such, Timeless season 3 never happened and likely never will be. Though specific beloved television series with dedicated and vocal fans have managed to get those productions revived multiple times (Arrested Development and Veronica Mars in particular), Timeless is canceled. At least, for now.
We will keep you posted with the latest updates.
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3 movie season timeless
After the NBC show ‘Timeless’ ended with a cliffhanger in season 2, and then came back with a season finale to wrap things up as a 2-hour movie, the co-creator Shawn Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s definitely a door open if someone is interested in opening it further”, leaving behind a somewhat faint hope for season 3.
- ‘Timeless’ Season 1 was cancelled, then again revived
- ‘Timeless’ Season 2 was cancelled, then again renewed
- ‘Timeless’ Season 3 was cancelled, to again come up with a 2-hour movie to wrap things up
If you are an ardent fan of this historical time-travel drama, you will realise that the whole show was a literal roller coaster and filled with uncertainty. Created by Eric Kripke (‘Supernatural’) and Shawn Ryan (‘The Shield’), ‘Timeless’ premiered on NBC in October 2016. The primary characters play the role of a group of time travellers: History Professor Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), and time machine pilot Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett).
‘Timeless’ was revived several times after cancellation
The show has had its share of bad times. Season 1 of the show was originally set at 10 episodes, which was later jolted to 16. The second season was cancelled on account of low budget, as according to the creator Eric Kripke, the show was produced outside NBC by Sony Pictures Television. However, it was quickly renewed just three days after its cancellation, and it was announced that it would run for a short 10 episode season, which premiered in March 2018 and concluded in May 2018.
Post season 2, ‘Timeless’ was again cancelled on account of low ratings, but a month later it was renewed by announcing the wrap up of the show not with season 3, but with a 2-hour movie. After the movie was announced, fans were quite doubtful about its arrival, considering the uncertainty that came with every season of the show. Though the movie provided a partial closure to the show, fans are not very happy and find the conclusion to be rushed. ‘Timeless’ never had a massive fan base, but it had its own set of dedicated and passionate fans, thereby allowing the show to keep the popularity despite being cancelled several times.
Click here to watch Abigail Spencer talk about moments from ‘Timeless’!
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The ray of hope for season 3 still remains
There have been numerous instances before wherein several shows have decided to come back with a season only on fandom demand. We will not be surprised if the same happens with ‘Timeless’. ‘Timeless’ has already made comebacks twice.
In an interview with Collider, Kripke mentioned, “There is always the possibility of more TV movies. I know the actors are game to do it. Shawn (Ryan) and I, I can’t say we’ve talked about it a lot, but we’ve chatted back and forth in emails and said, ‘One of these days we should try and get another ‘Timeless’ TV movie going.’ We don’t have any immediate plans for it. Everyone’s busy and working on all their various projects. One day it might happen”.
Not just the creator, but in an interview with Variety, Abigail Spencer, mentioned she would be more than happy to do another ‘Timeless’ movie if she is given the opportunity. She said:
‘Timeless’ Season 3, as of now has not been able to find a new home for itself. However, we can never rule out the possibility of the same. With the showrunner Shawn Ryan exceptionally optimistic about the revival of the show in some form or the other, there is huge hope in the hearts of the ‘Timeless’ fans for the revival of the show and the launch of season 3. It gives its fans a faint glimmer of hope, to cling on to. Unless the hard-fought campaign by ‘Timeless’ fans affects the producers, or there is any other solid reason for the show to come back, it is difficult to see another season of ‘Timeless’. Meanwhile, we can just wait and wait for our hopes to come true.
Are you a fan of the show? Do you want ‘Timeless’ to get a reboot? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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The Lifeboat is officially making one last trip through time and space — and the stars of Timeless couldn’t be happier about it.
NBC announced on Tuesday that its cult drama, which was cancelled for a second time in June, will tie up loose ends via a two-hour finale, set to air sometime during the holidays.
Per the Peacock Net, the entire cast — including Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Višnjić, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit — is on board for the finale, and several stars of the beloved series quickly took to social media with their reactions to the news.
Spencer, who stars as Lucy Preston, thanked fans (aka Clockblockers) in a Twitter video for supporting the show so passionately — and she was so excited about Tuesday’s announcement, she spilled her coffee while celebrating:
Barrett (who plays Rufus Carlin), Lanter (who plays Wyatt Logan) and Goran Višnjić (who plays Garcia Flynn) all got into character for their Instagram video reactions, in which they reference Season 2’s cliffhanger ending:
Jaffrey and Doumit — who co-star as Denise Christopher and Jiya, respectively — were also overjoyed after news of the wrap-up movie broke:
As recently as July 2, co-showrunner Shawn Ryan had told fans that the chances of Timeless finding a new home were very slim, given “considerable economic obstacles” and the actors’ expiring contracts, though discussions of a wrap-up movie were said to still be taking place despite the grim update.
“While we wish we could’ve made another dozen seasons of Timeless, this is the next best thing,” Ryan and co-showrunner Eric Kripke said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re thrilled to take the Lifeboat out for one last spin and bring closure to our story. The studio, network, cast and crew are all doing this for one reason only: the fans. Because they deserve it. Because the fans made this happen and we thank them for their passion, support and helicopters. So? You guys want to get Rufus back or what?”
Your reactions to this Timeless news? Drop ’em in a comment below.
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How to Watch the 2-Hour Series Finale of Timeless
Clockblockers, rejoice! That Timelessseries finale you all fought so very hard for has arrived, just in time for the holidays.
Set on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Timeless finale will pick up after that Season 2 cliffhanger, following Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Lucy (Abigail Spencer) as they hop across a few centuries and continents to undo Rufus' (Malcolm Barrett) death. Goran Višnjić, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit are also reprising their roles in the two-hour event.
The finale is expected to tie together some of the show's loose ends -- including the big reason why future Lucy and Wyatt are willing to break all the rules to face their past selves -- and hopefully bring a satisfying conclusion to those characters who became so important to fans that they flew a helicopter over Comic-Con to save them.
For those Timeless fans who want to ~live in the moment~ here's what you need to know.
How to watch: Timeless' two-hour finale event will air on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8/7c on NBC. You can also watch on fuboTV -- start a free trial today!