One of the breakout shows of this season was The CW's iZombie, because it was totally delightful and fun and introduced us to a bunch of great characters. One of those characters, however, was cruelly snatched away from us mid-season, and fans, well, were not happy about it. Like Red Wedding, how-could-you-DO-this-to-us?!-level unhappy about it.
But creator Rob Thomas wants us to know that if he could do it all over again, he'd totally take a mulligan and things would maybe have turned out differently. He is so, SO sorry about the whole, er, unfortunate Lowell dying thing.
At a press event, iO9 got the chance to talk to Thomas, and they essentially asked him, "What were you even thinking?" He explained that because the entire first season was already shot and in the can before its premiere, they had no way to course correct in the middle of the season if things went awry from a fan reaction standpoint. So the backlash surrounding Lowell's death was something they couldn't even prepare for at the start:
The response to the death of Lowell. I had no idea how that — that shocked me. We knew we had him for five episodes, so that was always the plan. Bradley is a terrific actor and we were watching him and thinking “This played well. This was nice.” There were so many reactions like “We will not forgive you for this.”
There’s a William Goldman story in Adventures of the Screen Trade where he’s talking about doing the Redford movie, The Great Waldo Pepper, and he says that the thing that went wrong in that movie is they cast an actress who was too good. They cast a young Susan Sarandon, and she dies in the middle of the movie. And William Goldman says, “And the audience never forgave us.” She broke their hearts. And suddenly as I’m watching our season unfold, I’m like, “Oh my god, we Susan Sarandoned ourselves.” But I think they got past it.
Executive producer and co-creator Diane Ruggiero-Wright said she knew they were in a load of trouble with that story arc the minute she learned they had cast Bradley James of Merlin fame in the role:
But then we cast him. And I was like, we’re casting the cute guy from Merlin? And then we’re going to kill him? Can’t we just keep him? It’s like the puppy that you’re fostering and you’ve grown attached. And he was just endearing and delightful and it was heartbreaking.
On a professional and logical level, I understood even before the season started that James wouldn't be a series regular and would only be on board for a limited run. He's busy filming upcoming A&E series Damien, in which he's the lead, and he couldn't very well be jetting back and forth from Toronto to Vancouver to shoot both simultaneously.
But on an emotional level, I was as blindsided (and then just mad as hell) as anyone else. So I'm glad they addressed this and totally get where we're coming from as fans.
Let this be a lesson to the iZombie team: First rule of The CW is that you don't kill off charming, hot guys on The CW. Or Tumblr will find you. And they will tweet at you.
Rest assured there's definitely already fanfic floating around out there where Rose and Lowell go on to live a happy life in our headcanon, and everyone wins.