While most TV shows don’t end their seasons until the middle or end of May, filming ends in April, which is when you get all the news about the final story arcs. For One Tree Hill, that comes with a bit of casting (or in this case, non-casting) news and a new twist for the season 8 finale.
First, in an interview with TVLine, One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn confirmed something that should come as no real surprise: Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton are not returning at all in season 8. He’s busy filming a movie and she’s now a series regular on USA’s White Collar, and while it might make sense in the story for Lucas and Peyton to return (if not for Brooke’s wedding then at least to meet their new niece), sometimes it doesn’t work out with the scheduling.
I think it’s now officially time to give up on hope of ever seeing Lucas or Peyton on One Tree Hill again. They had their happy, fairy tale ending, driving off into the sunset with their daughter. While bringing them back would certainly make fans happy, it’s not necessary for the show.
Second, in more interesting news, Austin Nichols talked to TV Guide and revealed some details about the structure of the season 8 finale, coming May 17. He revealed that the show will once again use the flash forward device that has been so successful between seasons in the past, only this time it will be in the finale and we will see the characters progress through various months, giving us glimpses at what their immediate futures hold.
If that sounds like a series finale, it might be. Though the CW could still renew it, Nichols said that the episode will work as a “satisfying” finale if it’s cancelled. In other words, expect more like season 6, when Lucas and Peyton left, and less season 7, when Clay and Quinn were left shot on their floor.
However, with ratings that are, at the very least, slightly better than 90210, Gossip Girl or Hellcats, the CW could easily keep One Tree Hill going into season 9.
Sources: TVLine and TVGuide
(Image courtesy of the CW)