SAN DIEGO — Josh Schwartz shocked audiences when he was able to switch from angsty teen dramas like “Gossip Girl” and “The OC” to the action and nerd filled NBC comedy “Chuck.” With “Chuck” now going into its third season, Schwartz sat down with Blast to talk about the fan response, the possible return of Bryce Larkin and what season three will contain.
On giving the fans what they want:
Everything people asked for (at the panel) we now will deliver. Jeffster on the web; musical episodes; clearly Casey and Ellie can never even look at each other; Sarah and Chuck can never have any emotional issues, it can only be flowers and daisies and rainbows. Coming here this early in the season for us, we were sort of joking about taking ideas from people, but it was great to see what everybody sort of responds to and what the no-nos are. Things that people don’t want you to do are sometimes the most fun things to do, because it makes people really go crazy. I’m not committing one way to anything today, I’m just saying, expect the unexpected. I don’t know. I got nothing. [..] This show has benefited greatly from fan reaction and being in sync with the fans and we wouldn’t be back if it wasn’t for fans of the show, so we definitely do feel a real responsibility to deliver the show that everybody wants.
On bringing new fans to the show:
We went into this last year, you know, we had the writer’s strike and we only got to do 13 episodes and were really building our momentum, and then we had to go off the air for an incredibly long period of time, and we sort of reset the show in a way that hopefully didn’t feel redundant for viewers of season one but at the same time allowed you to join the show if you hadn’t, and we will do the same here, but obviously we just pushed the show forward in a big way at the end of the season, and next season will start as a direct pickup from “I know kung fu.” So we will pick up from there in a way that hopefully isn’t confusing to new viewers, and look, for something like this, we’re just hoping for word of mouth.
On the Jeffster panel performance:
They’ve taken on a life of their own. I think spin-offs is what Vik [Sahay] is going to be demanding.
On using Chuck’s new skills:
The biggest thing the new powers does for us is to be able to take advantage of Zach Levi’s gifts as, you know, you obviously saw him do the kung fu, so he clearly can move, he’s a very physical actor, but he’s also great into physical comedy. So there’s opportunities for these things to go awry and push him into like a Steve Martin place, where suddenly he doesn’t have control over his body in the same way, and that’s something we’re really excited for as well.
On the return of Bryce Larkin:
Well, he was pretty dead, at the end. You really do get to see him expire this time, but I guess you do never know. It’s all going to depend on how his show does on DNA. His twin brother, Lyce Brarkin. It doesn’t work as well.
On bridging the show’s break:
That’s one of the things we’ve talked about is, how can we create little episodes or vignettes or seeing somebody privately that at least will allow you to keep these characters alive. And then if we want to seed some storylines too, it’s like all of the sudden we’ve been given this great toy to play with, and I think we’re always looking for ways to kind of build out on the show and keep people, especially if we’re not going to be on, because who knows: we could be on in November, we could be on in January. So we want to be able to keep people interested; keep people invested in the show.
On keeping Zach and Josh’s beards:
We’re going to try to take advantage of his beard for at least three minutes of the first episode, and then we’ll do the classic “lose the beard” moment. We’ll see if he has a face left under there because that is a bushy, bushy beard.
On Chuck and Sarah being together:
I talked about a volatile Chuck/Sarah situation coming into this year and something is going to have happened that between where we pick up in real time and when we jump forward, there’s an expectation between them that is not fulfilled and that is going create a major issue. And that will keep you watching!