True Blood showrunner Brian Buckner made the rounds and gave interviews to TV Guide, TV Line, and the Hollywood Reporter about the True Blood season 6 finale and the possibilities for season 7. Buckner defended the choice to leave Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) sizzling in the sun of the Swedish mountains, explained the Hep-V epidemic, and explained different character choices among other issues. All three interviews opened in a similar fashion, but TV Guide’s Natalie Abrams received the most prolific answer about the decision to “blow everything up” at the end of the season.
In previous years True Blood has done an adequate job setting up for the next season. This year he says is a bit of a reset. Brian had mentioned at Comic Con 2013 that the show would be returning to its promise of season 1 which is how do vampires and humans relationships work:
“It’s to try to return to the show’s promise in Season 1, which is if vampires exist, let’s examine the relationships between humans and vampires. Now we get to do it with many different pairings rather than just Bill and Sookie. The hope is — and this is what I was hinting at Comic-Con — that by putting all of our characters essentially into one story, now it’s Bon Temps vs. the world, the characters people love will get more screen time because these stories don’t have separate demands. We just get to tell a simpler story and then experience them through our characters.”
Setting up those characters in donor/recipient type situations will create tension according to the showrunner. The Hep-V virus that claimed Nora’s (Lucy Griffiths) life this year has mutated and caused those infected to want to feed more in order to survive, hence humans donating for the protection of a vampire and the vampire getting clean blood. But as we’ve seen, feeding can be an intimate experience and it creates a relationship of sorts between the human and vampire. These new relationships alongside existing ones can create that tension.
Bon Temps as a town represents a small part of the worldwide Hep-V pandemic and because of it they are isolated from the rest of the world, so they only have each other to depend on. Andy (Chris Bauer) has obvious trust issues regarding vampires and yet Sam has come up with this solution in an effort to try to keep everyone safe. It’s an uneasy alliance to start with and already it is being tested.
“In the olden days, this was a fun tease for an audience [Laughs]. The actor Alex Skarsgard and the character of Eric Northman will be back on the show next year. He’ll be a series regular. We’ve obviously promised a “Where is Eric?” story and it would feel incredibly cheap to deliver the goods right away. We sent Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) off in search of him and if she were to find him right away, we would be doing a disservice to ourselves and to the audience.
But I’m not promising how we’re going to use [Eric]. But I also don’t want to incite more controversy…The anger is surprising. But I understand he’s beloved, and he understands he’s beloved and he’s going to be a part of this show going forward. We should be allowed to put characters in jeopardy — and people can hope we didn’t just do that — without death threats.”
As the vampires and humans of True Blood come under attack, we’ve seen the new additions of Violet (Karolina Wydra) and James (Luke Grimes). The two new vamps serve as love interests for Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) respectively. Buckner calls both of the new cast members work “stunning.” And though Violet is keeping Jason from sex, she will still protect him and Sookie no matter what. Despite being bitchy, we’ve seen that she has a code and she’s sticking to it.
Bill (Stephen Moyer) is also experiencing changes of his own. In season 7, True Blood will be asking if Bill can be forgiven. Yes he has done some questionable things in the past two seasons, but now is the time for redemption and the proof that characters can change, something that Buckner would like to show:
“One thing that I noticed – and I probably shouldn’t read as much as I’ve been reading, but I have been, in terms of audience reaction – is the idea that characters can’t change. I will put to bed one thing for you: this idea that Lettie Mae is trying to poison Tara? It’s absurd. That is genuine. And I realize that on our show, because it’s been so incredibly plot-driven for the past several years, you insert a Big Bad and then have the characters react in the way we expect them to react. That’s sort of what’s been going on. When we let characters change, when we let the show be character-driven, I think people don’t know what to do with that. So with Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) and Tara (Rutina Wesley), not to say that everything is going to go great, but the conflict is not going to be she’s poisoning Tara. By the same token, I think Bill doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve this time. I think he’s genuine. The real question is about forgiveness.”
Alcide (Joe Manganiello) might know about forgiveness given that he’s now together with Sookie (Anna Paquin). The pairing was designed in part to bring Alcide back to a the guy we knew him as before the warewolves. And in terms of Sookie, by the time Warlow (Rob Kazinsky) came into her life, she had sworn off vampires. Alcide is a continuation in that promise and since the idea of Sookie and Alcide together was offered up in season five, now the fans get to see what happens. Plus Buckner confirms it does set up a triangle between Sookie, Bill, and Alcide. Eric is confirmed to be off doing his own storyline so he won’t play into this it sounds like.
Andy and Jessica will have some interesting story together as time goes on as well. In the last few minutes of Radioactive, the two shared a very tense conversation in which Jessica offered to protect Andy and his daughter against Hep-V infected vampires without the expectation of anything in return. In the early part of the season, she killed 3 of 4 of the half-fae children Andy was given responsibility for and the consequences for that action are still very much present:
“There’s always going to be tension there, but if he were going to hold her responsible, he would’ve pulled the trigger. Chris Bauer has really been an MVP for us this season, because we took a character who was usually comic relief and asked the audience to care. I think he did an amazing job. Andy deep down knows that even though he’s the sheriff and even though he has guns, he’s up against something much bigger. Jessica did the right thing in saying, “I’m not asking for anymore of this family’s blood. I’m giving you my protection, you don’t have to say yes.” He shuts the door. To me, that moment is about her standing guard out there and he knows it. I don’t think they’re all the way healed, nor do I think they can ever be all the way healed.”
The decision to bring the show forward six months at the end of the season is of course interesting. We’ve seen this scene between Andy and Jessica, Sookie and Alcide are together, Merlotte’s is now Bellefleur’s among other things. To do so gives the chance to reset according to the showrunner. In a series where almost nothing is skipped, the audience does not have all of the information it once did and that brings interest. Whether or not flashbacks will be part of season 7 remains a mystery.
Also a mystery is how long True Blood will continue to go. Season 7 will begin production in December or January 2014. For now the longevity of True Blood remains in the hands of HBO. Buckner has requested that he be notified when the final season is upon the production:
“I do hope to get that answer. The show is viable as long as the audience still cares. They might be mad right now, but they care.”
Sources: TV Line.com– “True Blood Scoop: Alexander Skarsgard’s Season 7 Fate Revealed! Plus — EP Talks That Nude Scene, Bill-Sookie-Alcide Triangle and More”
TV Guide.com– “True Blood Boss Defends Season 6, Teases What’s in Store for a “Simpler” Season 7″
The Hollywood Reporter.com– “‘True Blood’ Showrunner on Shocking Finale Reactions: ‘The Anger is Surprising’ (Q&A)”
Image Credits: HBO, Inc. and True Blood Fan Source.com