In one year, One Tree Hill will be officially done. The CW drama has had plenty of season finales that worked as perfect series finales in the event that the show got canceled, but every time it got renewed. Now, however, it’s going to be the end.

Season 9 will be the show’s “farewell season,” so when it returns in mid-season with 13 episodes, that will be it. Luckily, it gives Mark Schwahn and the other writers a chance to actually know that it’s the end so they can plan something, much the same way Smallville got to plan out its final season this year.

The big question is whether original stars Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton will return as Lucas and Peyton now that the end is official. And the CW seems optimistic.

Outgoing CW president Dawn Ostroff said that her replacement, Mark Pedowitz, was confident that they could get the stars to return in some capacity for the final season. In the past it has never worked out for the stars, especially now that Burton is a series regular on USA’s White Collar.

In many ways, I’m fine with the way Lucas and Peyton’s story ended, and if One Tree Hill can’t make it work to have them in the series finale, it could still be great. However, knowing that it’s definitely going to be over might make the two of them more willing to try and make things work one last time. The show’s recent season finale had the perfect ending as Jamie donned Lucas’ old sweatshirt and dribbled a basketball across the bridge, just like Lucas from the pilot, so the only real way to top that ending is to have the original Lucas and Peyton back.

If Smallville could get Michael Rosenbaum to return, I’m sure One Tree Hill can make it work for Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton. Whatever happens, knowing that season 9 will be the end of One Tree Hill is almost as bittersweet as the fact that it won’t return until next January.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.