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How Reaper would have ended, straight from the creators

Want to know how CW's 'Reaper' would have ended? So did I, so I went right to the source.

How Reaper would have ended, straight from the creators [reaper cw picture 425x246] (IMAGE)

In case you don’t know me or haven’t read much from me here, I have this obsessive disorder where I need the TV shows I love to be wrapped up all nice-like, whether it’s through a graceful end-of-run for the series, or a flat-out cancellation that leaves fans with innumerable questions of how things would have gone, had the show continued.

Starting with my interview with Defying Gravity‘s creator James Parriott late last year, I came to the conclusion that if you want the answers, sometimes you just need to go to the source. Since it worked so well with Defying Gravity, I went ahead and contacted the creators of another short-lived show I loved, one with its own mythos that was left very much unresolved when the cancellation hammer came down: Reaper. And, wouldn’t you know it, I got most of the answers I’d been looking for.

Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters are the creators of Reaper, which only saw a measly two seasons before it was yanked from CW’s programming slate. Michelle’s and Tara’s resumes go back some 11 years, starting off as assistants together on The X-Files, then leading into Law & Order: SVU, Reaper, and serving as consulting producers for Dollhouse. You may have also heard of their recently pilot-ordered show, Cutthroat.

So, how forthcoming were Michele and Tara in spilling how Reaper would have continued? Very. In fact, the only reason they hadn’t told the world of how things would have gone down on the show was simple: nobody ever asked. That’s both surprising and sad.

It was mentioned some time ago that Buffy alum Anthony Stewart Head had auditioned for the role of the Devil, the role that Ray Wise wound up taking and completely owning.

“I had so much fun writing the Devil character,” said Fazekas, who Butters said “was somehow always stuck with writing for the Devil.” “Not that that was a bad thing!”

And why didn’t they go with Anthony Steward Head, even though Ray Wise was so great? Fazekas went on: “I loved him. There were two things, really. One, the British thing did not suit how we wrote the Devil. How we wrote him, you’ll remember, he was always kinda using this hipster lingo and kinda talking hip-hop sometimes. And we always knew we’d kinda have the inevitable Buffy comparison, and as much as we love Giles….”

But wouldn’t they have benefited from the cult following of Buffy, rather than have people come down on it for not living up to their high expectations? I know more than a handful of people who stuck with Dollhouse simply because, well, it had Joss and a bunch of old friends of his on-board. And who doesn’t love ASH?

“When you’re casting,” Fazekas responded, “I don’t like to think of who’s going to get us the most viewers. I want to pick the person who’s most suitable for the role. But as soon as Ray Wise auditioned, he was the one. He so embodied the vision of what we were looking for. He was amazing. He just blew people away.”

Incidentally, they revealed something I did not know: James Marsters, another Buffy alum, auditioned for the Devil role as well. “After seeing him as Spike [on Buffy] for so long, it was weird getting over that he didn’t have a British accent!”

Surprising to me, besides the Devil character, Ben became a dark-horse favorite of both of theirs over time. “He had such an interesting love story with Nina and how that worked in with the mythology of the story.” They fully credit Rick Gonzalez: “He, more than any other character on that show, the actor, the person who he is, formed on that character. Ben became a much different person toward the end than he did in the pilot.”

So, let’s get down to what fans of Reaper really want to know: what was the overall end-game? What was written on those pages that Sam’s “supposed” dad burned up from Sam’s contract? What other secrets were left to be revealed?

Photo Credit: The CW

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Categories: | Clack | Features | General | Interviews | News | TV Shows |

58 Responses to “How Reaper would have ended, straight from the creators”

February 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Did they say how much was changed when Kevin Smith came onboard to direct the pilot?

February 1, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Good question! I totally forgot about that. I can follow-up with them anytime with other questions I get here and post an update.

February 1, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Not my kinda show but I applaud this type of article. The Defying Gravity one was amazing. I hope to have more llike this!

February 1, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Although I haven’t seen either of the shows that your two articles covered, I love the idea. As a viewer of one of the worst unfulfilled cliffhangers in Terminator: TSCC, I would love to hear where the creators would’ve gone with their third season.

And yes, that was my way of nominating Terminator, if possible, for the next article like this.

February 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Another vote here for TSCC, although I’ve received the impression that the showrunner, Josh Friedman, did not want to comment on his plans for Season 3 so as not to spoil what fans had imagined for themselves might have happened.

New Amsterdam and Journeyman would certainly be welcomed.

February 1, 2010 at 5:05 PM

nice article. it would be cool if this were a frequent column, since so many good shows — especially sci-fi shows — were canceled prematurely. terminator:tscc, journeyman, eli stone, and the 4400 all come to mind.

February 2, 2010 at 7:23 PM

You are so right about all of these! I especially want to know where Journeyman was going.

February 1, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Great article, thank you for thinking about and posting this :)

I second the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles idea, I would love to find out what the writers had planned for that show, especially after one of the most amazing finales I have ever seen!

February 1, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Wow… that’s what I call a scoop. This is what I loved about TVS, you know, actual journalism, and it’s so great to see that it’s still there. Or better: here :-)

The other great thing was the Dean Devlin interview. I think this is what separates you guys from “bloggers”. You know, actually doing thew work.

I mean “nobody asked”. That speaks volumes.

February 2, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Oh thank you!

When you say that nobody asked, I think for some of us, it was that we didn’t know how or who to ask…

I know I’ve been wanting some closure on this one too.

February 2, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Fabulous article! This was such a fun show. I love that we have some answers for a bit of closure!

February 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Adding a “Me too!” to the thank yous. I was really curious about how this would have ended up, so thank you for answering it for us! (Now, if you could get some answers about New Amsterdam…)

February 2, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Thank you so much for doing this. I had always hoped someone in a position to get in contact with these people would take the initiative. And as a fan, I really appreciate that the creators were willing to openly discuss where this was going…though I had sort of hoped maybe the Reaper story would continue on in comic book form.

February 2, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Wow that was an interesting interview. I can see anyone but Ray in the role of the Devil. I got turned off with Reaper early in the first season with the Will they or wont they angst in my face every 5 minutes between Sam and Andi (also see my dislike with Chuck for the same reason). I enjoyed the gang and the Devil on their adventures, but the forced “romance” not so much. Maybe I will go rent the DVD’s and see what I missed.

February 2, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Sorry – I CAN’T not can see anyone but Ray in the role of the Devil.

February 2, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Just wanted to say Thanks for this article and getting us the scoop. How sad that the creators said that no one had asked them the ending yet! But like someone said earlier the fans didn’t know how to contact/ask. So Keith, thank you very much for doing it for us.

February 2, 2010 at 12:48 PM

What about the angel that broke Sam’s arm, though, so he’d lose that bet with the Devil? What’s up with that?
And man, if I thought asking would have gotten me answers, I would have. Most show creators do not have that kind of dialogue with their fans. The only one that jumps to mind is the blog Kung Fu Monkey for the excellent show Leverage. The creators post often, and there’s even a Q&A after every episode.

February 2, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Like all the other fans on this comment thread, thank you!

@ Nicole Gustas I too want to know about New Amsterdam. Is she or isn’t she?

February 2, 2010 at 2:48 PM

If Sam is half demon/half human, then what about his brother? You know, the one we never saw again after the pilot episode? He should be half demon/half human, too.

At least this is some closure. I don’t suppose you had a chance to ask them why the Dollhouse finale was so jumbled and rushed?

February 2, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I’d love to see more articles in this vein. Let’s get a list of shows together that need closure. Journeyman is one, John Doe is another on my list as is TSCC and Drive.

February 2, 2010 at 5:36 PM

No no, “Drive” doesn’t need closure, just a tall cliff. That show was never any good. Sorry, Nathan.

February 2, 2010 at 5:53 PM

While you’re talking about Joss, find out what the long-run plans for Firefly were.
I mean I know Serenity movie was a compressed Season 2, but what after that?

February 2, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Thanks for the interview! I was a huge fan and always wondered how it would’ve turned out.

February 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM

I’m surprised no one asked what the ending of Reaper was before this.

So the twist to who Sam’s dad is isn’t a twist yet because of who is dad really is and the fact that everyone thought the devil was Sam’s father it really was a bigger twist the what people where thinking.

February 2, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Thanks from me too. So many shows get cancelled these days and leave the fans with no conclusion. Start to lose trust in the networks and become reluctant to try anything new. Of course the flipside is all the producers seem to hope that they can stretch what might be a good idea for a two or three part show into a 10 year run and of course it tanks. Wish when a show was going to be binned they would allow the production 2 or 3 episodes to wrap it up.

February 3, 2010 at 4:31 AM

I love this show so so much that I only read your first page. Maybe I’ll read the ending, maybe not.
Because every actor was so good – and agree that Rick Gonzalez really changed with Nina – and Nina was unbelievable- I don’t know if it could ever be resurrected, because not all the actors would be available, but some producer somewhere might, and so I’ll keep the ending of the story to myself, in hopes of that.

February 3, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Well, it’s a closure of sorts. Thanks fo the article, it answers (some) questions.

February 3, 2010 at 7:44 AM

I am super happy I found this article. Although I have an OK time forgetting shows that get cancelled without a story end, I do appreciate finding out secrets like this.

Thanks for asking!

February 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Thanks for the article and the “ah-ha!” moment du jour.
I still love Reaper.
Sock lives!

February 3, 2010 at 10:19 AM

That’s really nice to have a sense of closure. Thanks for doing the interview. How are you getting a hold of these writers? I love it.

February 3, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Thank you for the closure I needed. Still not sure why this show was canceled when you consider it was on the CW and there are a lot crappier shows on that network.

April 11, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Gee I loved reaper. It was too hiliarous and it had really a good plot. I don’t get it. They put Tyler in sons of tucson, but it really doesn’t let the character he is live. It is no where near as good as Reaper. Bad judgment on the part of CW but why should that be any different when most of these people in television either don’t get it or are out of touch of what people want to see on their TVs.

February 3, 2010 at 10:40 PM

+1 Thank you for revealing what would have happened! (I assume Andi would have gotten out of her deal as well?)

February 6, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Hm. I can’t view “Older Comments”.

Always throws me back to the last two (I guess page 4 of the comments)..

February 6, 2010 at 11:07 PM

YES. YES. Me too! It does not matter which computer I use. I was starting to think I was nuts!

February 6, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Hm … I will try to fix it, but it works if you click it the 2nd time too.

February 7, 2010 at 12:55 AM

O.K now it works for me. Please say you did tweak something, as to save my pride.

February 7, 2010 at 7:45 AM

I think you fixed it. Had to clear my Browser Cache and then it worked. Thanks a lot, I came here again after going through the RSS-feed for Popcandy and found this post mentioned and saw that the comments were at 32 so I wanted to know what people have been talking about while I was gone :-)

February 6, 2010 at 10:47 PM

My sincerest thanx for what you’ve done here and for Defying Gravity. I too have a yearning need to have closure of select shows I’d become emotionally invested in. So I really appreciate it.

…if I can be so bold, I’d be immortally grateful to you if you could achieve a similar end with the shows of “Charlie Jade” as well as the older show “Surface”…. I’m just dieing to know where evolution of those story lines would have taken us.

Best Regards,
-steve

February 7, 2010 at 1:19 AM

wow great idea to ask the creators of the show about the ending… brilliant!

Reaper was one of my fave shows of all time. I would LOVE to see them do a movie in the future! *crosses fingers*

February 16, 2010 at 11:44 AM

So glad I finally know! Was gutted when this show ended, it was the highlight of my week viewing wise and god fairly good ratings here in the UK.

Shame the DVD has only been released in the US though, where’s our Region 2 DVD release in the UK? Someone isn’t doing their job properly at the DMV! lol :P

May 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

That’s what I want to know! I want a DVD release over here too :(

February 16, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Meant to say ‘got’ not ‘god!’ Freudian slip? :P

February 20, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Im sad all my favorite series have shutted down first jericho then Kyle xy and now Reaper why is all the good show’s getting canceld damn the tv networks well guys if we get lucky they mabye cancel another good show for us…..

February 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Great interview. Thanks for allowing those of us loyal Reaper fans a small bit of closure. Unfortunately, it’s becoming almost pointless to get invested in a quality show unless it is immediately a ratings hit. The networks all seem to be looking for the next “big thing” and don’t really care how creative, well written and well acted a show is…i.e. Reaper, Pushing Daisies, and Friday Night Lights getting delayed/pushed off to DirectTV. If the mainstream isn’t interested then a show doesn’t have a chance. Maybe they should have added a CSI or NCIS in front of the title…

February 25, 2010 at 12:24 AM

Sad that CW canceled the show, but I can see why. For me, “Reaper” was just a more comedic/lighter version of “Supernatural”. It’s just too redundant to have both of those shows going on at the same time. A guy (with his friends) who rids the world of souls with strange powers. Two brothers ridding the world of supernatural beings. Same premise. Not only that, but both shows also had the element of mystery: why is the soul doing what it’s doing? How exactly can we stop it? Where will it strike next? And then, the whole heaven vs. hell thing. Supernatural had been around for two years prior to Reaper, so it wouldn’t have been wise to cancel it after four years airing. Instead, they canceled Reaper.

Still a loss. It was a nice series. :(

February 25, 2010 at 3:04 AM

What ever happened to Sam’s brother (I forgot his name- Kyle, maybe)? Why wasn’t Kyle having the same kind of problems as Sam? Both had the same demon father… Also, I don’t even think that Sam’s bro was mentioned past episode 2 or something really early like that…

March 26, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Sams brother Kyle was’nt so improtant to bring the plot forward. Even so I agree that this character need closure aswell. Sam and Kyle did not have same problems simply cuz their father only sold their first borns soul. Two sons… two souls. Only needed one soul to close tha deal, ya know. :)

Peace

February 27, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I was really hoping reaper would go on for a couple more seasons =(
It was one of my favorite shows. I will never know why the best shows seem to be canceled before their time.

Still, good to have some finalizing from the creators..Thanks!

February 28, 2010 at 8:44 PM

CW sucks! This was the only show that I looked forward to on this network and they cancelled it. What the crap! Thank you for the closure though. That storyline and ending would’ve been awesome.

March 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Add me to the list of grateful readers. I loved this show and am very happy to have at least the major mysteries resolved.

March 16, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Thanks for giving us info on how “Reaper” would have ended. Could you do the same for Journeyman?

March 27, 2010 at 7:21 PM

thank you so much was really wondering about that looked everywhere on the internet to find out also do you or anyone else know when the comic books are coming out and where to get them also will they be a new story. will they turn series 1 and 2 into comic books before 3 or will it start where the series left of.

April 6, 2010 at 8:33 PM

I was really upset to find out Reaper got cancelled…but then again I’m not surprised since it barley got the recognition/promotion it deserved! Curious about why steve ended up breaking Sam’s arm though…..

May 19, 2010 at 1:26 PM

But whay Reaper has gone? whay reaper is deleted? i love reaper and im verry sad for this is inpossible for this and whay the 3 series are deleted?

May 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Hmmm, do I know you from somewhere else? ;)

May 24, 2010 at 6:41 AM

Thanks so much for this. Just finished watching the last ep and went searching online to find out what season 3 would’ve been like, and voila! Would’ve been nice to find out the specific reason Steve was told to break Sam’s arm, though (other than as an obvious ploy to prevent the show from ending).

May 25, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Thank you SO much. You are the biggest legend in the entire world. Nobody – NOTHING – can ever make as big an impact on my happiness as you just did (slight exaggeration, but you get my point). I miss Resper so much, and heard another channel might pick it up and felt honestly delirious when I found that out. But nothing ensued, and I was left hanging. This is some of the best news I’ve had in awhile (after finding out I’m going to be an aunt, of course. Nothing can top THAT)so I’m metaphorically on my knees thanking you. Now I can direct the end in my mind, knowing that I’m doing it right, and it’s all thanks to you. My hate for the CW (I’d love them, had the not cancelled Reaper, Everybody Hates Chris, and Veronica Mars, them ruined a great book series called Vampire Diaries)is ever intact, but now I can stop pitying myself. THANKYOU, you’ve done a great thing.