FX’s The Strain starring Corey Stoll, Kevin Durand, Ruta Gedmintas, Jonathan Hyde, and Richard Sammel begins its fourth and final season on July 16, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT. Season four picks up nine months after the massive nuclear explosion at the end of season three, with the strigoi now in control and able to walk openly in the daylight. Desperate times call for desperate measures and in the upcoming final season of The Strain, our surviving heroes continue to wage war against the Master and his minions.
In support of The Strain‘s fourth season, writer/executive producer/showrunner Carlton Cuse took part in a conference call to discuss what’s in store (without giving away any spoilers).
When did you know what the ending was going to be? It seems to be going in a different direction from that of the novels.
Carlton Cuse: “The answer to that question is that it evolves across time. You make a television show and the more time you spend in that creative world, the more you learn about the world, the more you think about the world, the more the characters evolve. It’s just one of those things where I think pieces of the ending kind of arose across time. But I would say that during season three, Chuck (Hogan) and Guillermo (del Toro) and myself, we all looked at the amount of narrative that we felt we have left, and it felt like one more 10-episode season was the right amount of time to end the show. In concert with Chuck and the other writers, when we sat down to plot out season four the thing we really focused on at the beginning was really what our ending was going to be. We already had certain ideas about what characters would be doing and where they would be going. At the very beginning of the season four writing process we sort of figured out what our ending was going to be, then we wrote towards that. That was very exciting. It’s wonderful to be in a position to determine the ultimate fate of your characters.”
Is this season basically just all about survival or is revenge the motivation? What’s the overall theme of this final season?
Carlton Cuse: “I think the ultimate overall goal is to try to defeat the Master. Our characters may be down and they may be living in nuclear winter, and they may no longer be at the top of the food chain, but they are still determined to defeat the forces of evil. That’s fundamentally what the story’s about.
At the beginning of the season, we’re starting out more in survival mode. But certainly in the case of Fet, he’s out running around in the Midwest trying to get a nuke, and he’s trying to get a nuke because he believes a nuke is the thing that’s going to be able to bring the Master down. Our characters may be very disadvantaged at the start of the season, but they still have this larger goal of ultimately conquering this horrible, parasitic force.”
What kind of surprises can fans of the show, and fans of the Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s books, be looking out for this season without giving too much away? Is there going to be anything really special, either in regard to Fet’s development or anything else we might not be expecting?
Carlton Cuse: “Well, I mean I think the thing is, most importantly, if you’ve read the books, the show is its own animal and it has its own narrative journey. I don’t think you can watch this final season of the show and think you know what’s going to happen to any of the characters. All bets are off. We allow the television show to be its own creation. Don’t think that if you’ve read the books, don’t think you know what the fate of the characters are. The ultimate thing about the last season of the show is really that you get to find out what the ultimate fate of these new characters is and that’s very exciting. In the case of our show, in a lot of ways, very surprising.”
You’ve had Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro’s involvement throughout the creative process this entire time. Is Guillermo del Toro involved in this final season either as a director or with the look of this season?
Carlton Cuse: “Oh yeah. I mean, Guillermo remains [involved. It’s a] kind of wonderful collaboration and division of duties. As always, Guillermo remains in charge of the creatures and visual effects, and the color timing. Really, the look of the show, particularly this season when our characters are living in nuclear winter, that was all guided by Guillermo. Unfortunately, he was directing this movie The Shape of Water and therefore was not available to do any directing this season, but he has remained very much involved in the visual creation of the show. And, also, he’s very much lent his talents and provided narrative input, particularly as it relates to the ending of the show. That’s something that Chuck and Guillermo and I all discussed in a lot of detail.”