'Chuck': Co-creator Chris Fedak talks romance, Chuck's dad and ... Season 4?
Wait -- Season 4? Have stumbled onto a big scoop about the show's future? Alas, not yet. "There's no news there," Fedak says. "We're still waiting on NBC to make a decision."
Fedak does allow, though, that he and the rest of the "Chuck" team are optimistic about their chances for renewal. "I'm not a person who walks around with a great deal of confidence -- I have a great deal of neuroses and anxieties, sure," he says. "But we feel good -- we have a great relationship with NBC and with Warner Bros. Everyone really digs the show. So we're hopeful."
More immediate, though, are the six episodes that remain this season, starting with "Chuck vs. the Honeymooners" on Monday (April 26). In some ways, the final six episodes are like a head start on a fourth season, with Chuck ( Zachary Levi) and Sarah ( Yvonne Strahovski) finally together but very much still figuring out how to be both a couple and a spy team.
"Relationships take work," Fedak says. "There relationship is certainly still a big part of the show, and there are things they have to learn about each other. They're going to have to deal with challenges. It's not like -- there's no riding off into the sunset. Where would the fun be in that?"
Fedak also teased some of what's coming up for the rest of the season, including the return of Chuck's father ( Scott Bakula); how Ellie ( Sarah Lancaster) and Captain Awesome ( Ryan McPartlin) will figure into the story; and a return performance by Jeffster! Some highlights:
Ellie and Awesome
Monday's episode has Chuck's sister and brother-in-law preparing for their departure to Africa to work with Doctors Without Borders, but Fedak says they're not going away for good: "We have restructured the show a little, but Ellie and Awesome are very much part of the next six episodes. ... We'll actually follow them to Africa in [the May 3 episode], which is really great."
The smooth sounds of Jeffster!
Lester ( Vik Sahay) and Jeff ( Scott Krinsky) horn in on Ellie and Awesome's going-away party in the episode, and they perform a surprisingly sweet rendition of "Leaving on a Jet Plane." "We didn't realize last year when we came up with Jeffster! how much fun they were and how important they'd become to the show," Fedak says. "So we were thinking about that famous album cover with Simon and Garfunkel ['Bookends'], and we thought we needed to see what the Jeffster! version of that would be.
Was the song choice in any way in homage to "Glee," which had a version by Matthew Morrison in its pilot? "It wasn't. I didn't know they used it," he says. "[With] 'Leaving on a Jet Plane,' I always think of Ben Affleck serenading Liv Tyler in 'Armageddon.' Which I guess would make it our first Michael Bay reference on the show."
Fedak didn't want to spoil much about Bakula's return as Steven J. Bartowski, but he does promise big things in the season's final three episodes. "The return of Steven J. is an epic thing for the show because if you think about last season, Steven spent all this time trying to get the Intersect out of Chuck's head so he would be free and clear of the spy world. And Chuck this season made the decision that he wanted to be a spy. A lot of what we deal with in the final epsidoes are the ramifications of that. ... It's that classic father-son story of, You decided to pursue the thing I didn't want you to.
"But we also have a lot of fun with it -- it's always good to ahve [Bakula] come back to the show. He's such a kind of classic hero with 'Enterprise' and 'Quantum Leap,' and it's neat to see him side-by-side with Chuck. And he also knows about Chuck's spy life, so they can be heroes together."
"Chuck" is back from its brief hiatus at 8 p.m. Monday on NBC. Take a peek at what you'll see in upcoming episodes:
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Photo credit: NBC