'Nashville' showrunners Dee Johnson, Callie Khouri reveal Rayna and Deacon aren't done with each other yet
Fans of the couple at the center of "Nashville" -- Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) -- have had a pretty rough time in Season 2. After Deacon caused a car crash that almost took Rayna's life, the former loves have spent much of Season 2 apart from each other.
But time for the good news: Executive producers Dee Johnson and Callie Khouri reveal that all might change sooner than you think. "Rayna and Deacon are always going to be our star-crossed lovers. They are tethered to each other," Johnson tells Zap2it. "We began the season with them in the worst possible situation. They'll always be drawn to each other but she's in a completely different world now. She's dating someone who's a celebrity peer and it's working really good for her. But when you have the kind of love that they have, can you really deny it?"
Khouri adds that sharing a daughter, Maddie, will help bring them closer. "That's a spark that is never going to be fully extinguished just because they are just as star-crossed as two people can be, and they are now literally sharing DNA," Khouri tells Zap2it. "Rayna had all of that pretty well put to bed but with the revelation of Maddie's paternity and all of that coming out and her having to face him with that information, it brought it all back."
However, those hoping for a Rayna and Deacon romantic reunion should be warned that it won't be an easy road. "Yes, there are very real things that happen when those two try to get together but Rayna is consciously trying to be a realist about things," Khouri says. "These are two characters who are never going to have an easy answer. He's involved with Megan and this relationship that she's having with Luke Wheeler, that's a relationship that actually makes sense. For the first time she's in a relationship that she can go, 'This could work.'"
Khouri continues, "As difficult as it is to have a relationship between two people who are doing the same thing, she certainly sees the merits of someone who is in her world and on her level. Whatever her feelings are for Deacon, neither one of them are in a place where they're like, 'We're going to make this work.' That accident changed everything."
Luke may be on Rayna's level when it comes to fame, but Deacon's not out of the game. In fact, he's going to really try and make a name for himself as a solo artist. "Deacon's trying to make something happen. He's a mature artist now, and he's in it for the music," Johnson says. "He doesn't want to be a superstar but he's going to make a go of it. To watch someone who has been there and done that go back and try and do it again, you learn that some things are a lot more pleasant when you're 25 than when you're 45. It will be an interesting, fun road for him."
So what's coming up for the rest of our favorite "Nashville" characters?
After some creative non-fans released a doctored video of Juliette claiming that "There is no god," the public opinion of Juliette is as low as ever. "Juliette can't get out of her own way sometimes," Johnson says. "But in order to rise, you do have to hit rock bottom. She has hit rock bottom, but she might find an unlikely lifeline. She is not one who's going to be kept down. She's got a lot of moxie. She'll spring back again."
Will's failed suicide attempt has only pushed himself deeper into the closet in the name of furthering his country music career. "Will is going to try very hard to remove all temptation from his life," Johnson says. "He probably thinks that it all rather simplistically lies in the hands of one guy. He thinks that if he puts his blinders on and if he just keeps his eyes on the prize and meets a nice enough person that maybe it will be okay. That's his plan. He needs to do this in order to continue on the career trajectory that he's on."
Of course, secrets don't stay secret forever and his demons will rare up sooner or later. "How could that not loom always?" Johnson says. "Whether or not it blows up is a different story. But that threat is always going to be there. It's certainly not going to go away."
Thankfully, Will has his best friend Gunnar to lean on for support, especially after he stepped up to find his friend after he disappeared. "I love their friendship," Johnson says. "They have such a great friendship and rapport. It's interesting because Gunnar's straight, Will tried to kiss him months ago, but they've managed to get through all that. But as Will continues to pursue his dream in the way that he thinks he can achieve it, there are going to be some bumps in the road between them because Gunnar knows. Gunnar knows the reality whether or not Will is willing to admit it to himself."
One of the most rehabbed characters of the series is Avery. He's come a long way since his early Season 1 days as a jerk, and Johnson is happy with how the writers were able to reform him. "I always knew we could do it. I never thought of him as a villain," Johnson says. "We always viewed him as someone who was very ambitious, started believing his own hype, and succumbed to the mistakes and bottomed out. He had it all and had to eat a fair dose of humble pie to become the person that he was when he first met Scarlett so long ago. It was always going to be a journey in our minds for him to ascend too quickly to experience all of these other things."
While Avery is finally achieving success -- and not letting it go to his head -- his now-ex-girlfriend Scarlett won't be dealing with her success in a healthy way. "I think Avery's going to do pretty good now, but the question is how does everybody handle success? Because you can be successful and still be a wreck," Johnson says. "Scarlett was always an artist but she doesn't have the thickest skin, so how does she handle the stress of being out there all the time? She's grateful but it takes a toll. We wanted to show that side of the journey. The reality of what you have to do to make it is grueling and demanding, especially for women. We wanted to show that side of it."
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.