Interview: Executive Producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan on the Return of 'Bones'
Interview: Executive Producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan on the Return of 'Bones'
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Bones is back!

Soon anyway... Thanks to the impending return of Bones on Monday, April 2, the show's executive producers, Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan, spoke recently with reporters. What is coming in future episodes? How will the baby change things? Why is Hodgins' hair important?

Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these important questions.

WARNING: There are several Bones spoilers in this interview. Tread carefully.

Will Bones change with the arrival of the baby?
Stephen Nathan: There's always been that balancing act in the show of their personal life and the cases, but we're a murder show, so that will not change. But when we do go home, they have a new arrival, which changes their lives. So the baby will be a part of the show, because it's a part of their lives.  

But somebody is still going to be murdered in a heinous and cruel way, and we will be revolted at the beginning of the show as we always have been. And hopefully we'll catch them.

Bones Review: Everything You Could Want, Plus a Baby!

How will the baby change Brennan?
Hart Hanson: We've always seen Brennan as a character who, because of her upbringing, was kind of afraid of life, did not want to engage with life, or had to be protected by a veneer of rationality and logic and science.

The first thing to come and challenge to breech those walls was Booth -- who made her confront, lead a more dangerous life, at least emotionally in that her happiness is contingent upon another person's happiness. And now she has a child, and you might be able to avoid a lover as someone whose happiness, your happiness is contingent upon, but definitely not a child. So that's what she is contending with, she is now a big open bruise because of another human being and she will find that very disorienting.

Stephen Nathan:
Brennan is so objective even about herself that she is caught off guard by all these new feelings... We saw that in the first six episodes when the hormones were going crazy and she was crying, which she had never done before.

How will Booth need to adapt to the baby and the new living situation?
Hart Hanson: A lot of feedback that we get is that Booth is perfect and Brennan isn't, and Booth is not perfect. He's not perfect, and he has to, in his own way, has to give up as much as she does in this new life... How much is she going to pay for and how much is he going to pay for? We get a lot of comedy out of it, as well as character stuff. It's a good, fertile field for us.

How will Brennan deal with returning to work after the baby?
Stephen Nathan: We've done that actually in the second episode back. It's the first time she is going back to work, and she has to deal with leaving [the baby] for the first time. Emily just did a wonderful job.  

[NOTE: If you want to know the 'Bones' baby name, click here for your answer.]

Hart Hanson:
We did not want to do a story where our main crime-solver was at home for a number of episodes. That seemed to us to be a really good way to lose a ton of viewers and momentum, so it's right back into the fray.  

We have to contend with who's going to take care of the baby, and how is Brennan going to juggle her being a mom living with Booth, how is Booth going to juggle her and the baby and do their jobs. But they're still doing their jobs.

What is coming up with Christopher Pellant (the weird, techie psycho killer) in the Bones season finale?
Hart Hanson: Pellant is going to scare the crap out of people in the season finale.

Stephen Nathan: Yes, there will be no crap in people anymore after Pellant's episode. He really is going to turn the series on its head for a little bit. He has much more power than any of our serial bad guys have had in the past.

Hart Hanson: I think in the season ender the audience will get a very good feeling for how close Angela and Brennan are. In some ways Angela knows Brennan better than Booth does in that way that another friend of the same sex can understand you more than your partner.

Stephen Nathan: And she knows Brennan better than Brennan does.

How much did Bones season 7 change because of the pregnancy?
Hart Hanson: We always knew that the end season 6 would be the reveal that Booth and Brennan had slept together.  We knew that they were going to sleep together.  What changed everything was when Emily confided in us that she was pregnant, and we decided to adjust the storyline for season 7 accordingly.  

So season 7 would have been the story of how Booth and Brennan come to grips with the fact that they are now intimate and sexually involved. We threw out probably a half a season there -- perhaps more -- and inserted that they were going to have a child.

So really the only thing that changed in season 6 was the very last scene where she turns to Booth and says, "I'm pregnant and you're the father." That scene, of course, would not have existed. Otherwise mostly that season would have been intact as it was.

What was lost to the shortened Bones season 7?
Hart Hanson: I'm pretty sure the one that we would've gotten to, had we had a normal length of a year would be some more Booth family stuff.  I still want to do a Hodgins family surprise. But those just went away, because of the shortened season and because we had these strong B stories, character stories connected to the baby.

Stephen Nathan: There are five fewer episodes, so that's a lot of missing arcs, but they'll be back if we're back.

We have a lot planned for Cam personally, but as Hart said earlier, our hands were a little bit tied this year because of the five fewer episodes, we weren't able to give some of the other characters that we love, Hodgins and Cam, more extensive arcs.  We will be doing that if we get picked up.

[NOTE: Shortly after the interview, FOX announced the renewal of 'Bones' for season 8. Click here for the details!]

What can we expect from the extra, non-sequential episodes?
Hart Hanson: There's a story in one of our four hanging-chad stories. One of the victims is a kid, and Brennan turns to Booth and says in a very shocked way, "I find I have a great need to go see [the baby]," and it makes no rational sense. And that's sort of what Stephen is talking about is she's just shocked that someone has gotten so deeply into her heart.

Stephen Nathan: The four actual episodes will not be arc-related. They have to be able to stand on their own, so those four episodes we were able to do stories that we wouldn't have normally done in a regular lineup.

Hart Hanson: Very, very standalone and maybe even a bit odd with the gags to them.

Stephen Nathan:
They're more stylized than we normally would do, and we were able to try to tackle stories that we might not normally have tackled, because we don't know how old the baby is going to be.  We don't know what's going to happen between relationships between people, so these really were standalone.

Hart Hanson: We have to hope that Hodgins' hair doesn't change too much.

When will we see the extra episodes?
Stephen Nathan: You haven't heard a definitive answer, because there isn't one yet. All we know is that we have a season ender, and that will leave us with four extra episodes that have to be able to be slotted anywhere at any time without notice. That's all we know.

Hart Hanson: There's been no word from Fox when they want to air it, whether they want to air them in the summer, or whether they want to save them for next season or slot them in next season.

I mean it might be that the executives at Fox just watch them at lunch just amongst themselves.

Bones returns with a new episode, "The Prisoner in the Pipe," on Monday, April 2 at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)