'Mad Men' Season 7: The airport means nothing and more from creator Matthew Weiner
Per usual, there are no details about the story, how far ahead in time the show moves between seasons or which non-regular characters might return. But a few common threads emerge in his answers that can shed at least a little light on what the bifurcated final season -- seven episodes starting April 13, then the final seven in the spring of 2015 -- will be, and what it won't be.
The split season
Writing to the way AMC will air the episodes has been a bit different, but Weiner notes that "We have a turning point in the middle of every season. 'The Suitcase' is an episode 7 [in Season 4], 'The Gold Violin' is an episode 7 [in Season 2]. ... If we had gone off the air for 10 months after the merger [in Season 6], it definitely would have felt like a cliffhanger. I try and view the season as its own structure. But it's different. I think it's that they're denser. I think that because you're trying to do something as contained as possible, because there are things in the first seven that are paid off in the second seven, that's all related to each other, but you definitely start advancing pretty quickly on the stories. In a way, it has made us really focus on the main characters. And I think we would have done that anyway, because it's the end of the show."
Season 7's theme
Expanding some on a comment he made when the show's key art was released, Weiner says, "[W]e're acknowledging what happened to Don at the end of last season. That really did happen. ... The consequences of that activity were kind of what we're writing about on some level. What part is irrevocable? Just because you feel different doesn't mean the world thinks you're different. And it's hard to prove that you changed or to know if you've really changed. ... Specifically as the show comes to a close I was interested in the material versus the immaterial world. The world of money, ambition, possession and the concrete and not-so-concrete expressions of love. For Don it definitely seems like an acquisition on some level. And then the immaterial, which is that, on some level inside these characters there is a world beyond that that is not what we see. If those other needs are met, or not met, how will that affect them?"
"There's no mystery to solve, so I've never had that pressure," Weiner says. "I had an image in between seasons 4 and 5 of how the show would end. ... This particular ending is something I've had in mind, and I don't want to over-promise anything, but I'm worried only in the sense that however it ends will reflect on the entire thing. That's why I haven't wavered from what I wanted to do. Will it be satisfying? I have no idea. It will be for me."
The promo images
People searching for clues in the cast photos ( see them here) and their airport setting will come away frustrated: "We pick a milieu for the publicity photography every year where we can lean on the good looks of the cast and place them in an environment that puts people in the mood for the show. We love the contrast because there is zero glamor in air travel right now. It was just an environment to take pictures."
Season 7 of "Mad Men" premieres Sunday, April 13 on AMC.