WonderCon: Chatting With the Cast of Chuck

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Tonight’s episode of Chuck was the show's original Season 3 finale—until NBC extended its order from 13 episodes to 19. Regardless, it’s a good time to reflect on a season that has both delighted and distressed fans. Before the Chuck panel at WonderCon this weekend, actors Zachary Levi, Joshua Gomez, and Adam Baldwin, and creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak spoke to the press about what’s next for the newly official Agent Bartowski.

On being bumped up to 19 episodes
By the time NBC asked for an additional six episodes of Chuck, the first 13 were already completed. “They had to map out the arcs, as they were going to be,” Levi explained. In his mind, the addition of an extra six-episode arc is more than just a bonus for die-hard fans. “I think it’s kind of cool that way,” he said. “It makes it different than a regular television season. We got to do a lot of cool stuff in the last six episodes.”

For Fedak, there were more practical concerns, but the expansion of Season 3 gave the writers a chance to move past the storyline that dominated the first part of the season. “The heart of the show was the Chuck/Sarah relationship, so we designed the season for 13 episodes to deal with that relationship and take it to a resolution,” he said. The next episodes will be “less focused on the Sarah/Chuck relationship. It’s more about the spy side of the show, the family life side of the show.” Which is good news for those of us who are a bit tired of the will-they-or-won’t-they.

On Chuck & Sarah & Shaw & Hannah
Ah, the shipper wars. We all know that fans of Chuck/Sarah didn’t much care for their favorite duo moving on to new squeezes, especially when—for some—that progression seemed rushed or unbelievable. Fedak felt that backlash, and not only because he’s familiar with the show's message boards. “I probably read too much,” he admitted. “Every post, I read. So, Anonymous, when you’re out there, you are hurting me.”

Levi’s also no stranger to fan forums, and he gets their concern. “The fans are and should feel so connected to it, because they were such a part of saving us and us being back,” he noted. “I can understand why they’d be like, ‘Hey, we fought, don’t toy with us.’” But Levi assured us that wasn’t the case. “The end result is one that I think is going to be fulfilling for everybody,” he said. “But you’ve gotta stay with it. You’ve gotta stick with the journey.”

On Casey the civilian
Baldwin was unusually quiet for most of the time he sat at our table, perhaps due to the presence of the loquacious (but entertaining!) Levi. But he did speak up when one reporter asked about what the rest of this season has in store for John Casey. After all, the man who was once defined by his spy status has now lost his government affiliation—and with it, his license to kill. “He’s gonna continue his struggle to figure out whether he enjoys remaining a civilian or not,” Baldwin offered. This remark brought scoffs from most of us, who know Casey is not great at being an average Joe. But as Levi chimed in, “He looks pretty good in a Big Mike suit, does he not?”

On Chuck's underdog status
“We’ve never been a juggernaut,” Levi conceded. It’s true—though lauded by critics and in possession of one of the most motivated fanbases out there, Chuck is not quite a big hit. With the possibility of Season 4 still up in the air, Levi tries to look on the bright side. “We’re always just kind of a ‘wait and see’ show,” he said. “But if you’re going to be a ‘wait and see’ show, it’s great to be a ‘wait and see’ show that you know people care passionately about.”

And the fans do care. Gomez pointed to the many positive interactions he’s had with loyal followers: “When someone comes up and recognizes myself, Zac, Adam, there’s always a lot of joy.” As the actors noted, Chuck is a series with a uniquely wide audience. Parents watch the show with their kids. Besides, Levi contended, “I think that maybe, in some ways, if we were a huge, huge hit, it wouldn’t be the same experience.”

On tonight's new episode
Tonight’s episode of Chuck screened early at WonderCon on Sunday afternoon, but we won’t spoil it here. That might dissuade you from, you know, actually watching. Fedak, however, had no problem toying with a reporter who asked about last week’s cliffhanger, with Shaw discovering that Sarah was responsible for his wife’s death. Is Agent Walker in any serious danger? “Let me say it this way: Sarah will be alive at the beginning of the episode,” Fedak teased, “but there’s a good chance she might not be alive at the end.” I’m not buying it, but I do appreciate the need to keep viewers in the dark.

“It always boggles my mind that people would want to spoil that stuff anyway,” Levi said. “It takes away from the whole experience of any show.” A die-hard Lost fan himself, Levi sympathizes with the need for answers, but he also understands taking things as they come. And hey, even he doesn’t know everything—the script for Chuck's season finale arrived with the last few pages purposely missing. “They kind of tie our hands,” he explained. “Every script, the first page says something to the effect of, ‘We really love you guys, and keep your mouths shut.’”

Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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