Exclusive: Shawn Ryan Talks ‘Timeless’ Fan Engagement and a Potential Season 3

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Timeless is the little show that could. And, if the fans have anything to say about it, it’s the little show that will continue.

We had a chance to talk with EP and co-showrunner Shawn Ryan about the Season 2 finale of Timeless, which last night trended #1 in the U.S., up to #2 Worldwide for several hours during East Coast and West Coast airings, with various other top 20 U.S. trends including “RenewTimeless,” “Rufus,” “Lucy,” “Wyatt,” “Flynn,” “Jiya,” “Emma” and “Harriet.”

The show also trended #2 on Google Search last night, and Twitter confirmed that it totaled 304,852 Mentions of #Timeless and 121,206 Mentions of #RenewTimeless in the last 24 hours, with celebrity fans like Kelly Clarkson, William Shatner and Leslie Jones all live tweeting the finale.

Ryan was very clear in one thing: the amazing outpouring of support from the fans is something the people behind Timeless are in awe of and something they deeply appreciate. “I literally don’t think there’s anything else the fanbase could have done,” he said, and continued on to explain that it’s “incredibly rewarding” to see not just the reaction to the finished work, but the desire for more.

He went on to say that “it’s a very cluttered marketplace for shows, and art and entertainment” and yet “to have the Timeless message” resonate so loudly across social media has meant something.

To which I just have to add that it means this is a great show and it deserves a Season 3.

Back to the interview, Shawn shared that the thing about TV writing was sometimes about putting yourself in a corner and seeing if you could “write your way out of it.” This came up because we, of course, talked about Rufus’ untimely death, which we all understand is not meant to last (psssst NBC, season 3), and how “the Rufus arc came to us very early in the season.”

It’s funny, and heartbreaking, because in a way, as Shawn said: “we’ve been telling you all season he’s gonna die, you just didn’t listen,” to which, of course, I had to add that we did listen, we just didn’t believe, which is exactly what the show used against us by “using those expectations that it couldn’t happen to tell a very raw, personal, emotional story where it does.”

The idea of future Lucy and Wyatt coming back, says Shawn, however, was an idea that came very late in the process. “We knew what we wanted to do with Rufus,” he added, “we just didn’t know how we were going to get out of it.”

The cool thing? He seems to find the whole thing as amazing as we did, as viewers, and he went on to talk about Lyatt, unprompted, which just goes to show that the people behind the show love this couple as much as most fans do.

“There’s a lot packed into that last minute. Obviously, the ‘I love you’ from Wyatt, before the second time machine shows up, the second Lifeboat, and it was a moment we were building to,” he explained, in regards to where the season finale sorta leaves the version of Wyatt and Lucy we know, the ones whose journey we’ve followed.

As for our sometimes oblivious solider, Shawn had this to say: “Wyatt’s been an interesting, flawed character this season, and it’s been interesting seeing fans react and I don’t know that Wyatt has necessarily made the right choices in Season 2, but that’s life.”

 

Yeah, it’s just sometimes, life sucks.

But we’ve talked about the expectations placed on fictional characters before, and the standards of perfection, and Shawn was clear that, in regards to Wyatt “it is sort of extraordinary circumstances,” and the idea was to put him in a position where “how do you not give that a shot?” Not to say that he wasn’t conflicted, said the EP, who pointed out that “we saw moments during the season of his continued affection and love for Lucy.”

The question is now, of course, how these two get from that painful conversation where Wyatt confessed his love to the leveled up versions of themselves. To this, Shawn said: “You noticed he said I love you, and you don’t have to say it back, and she didn’t say it back. Does that mean she doesn’t feel it or that he’s gotta earn it more? There are a lot of possibilities to explore.”

But don’t lose hope, Lyatt fans, because there’s also this:

“We’ll see what a potential Season 3 holds for Lyatt, because I think Lucy showed remarkable patience and understanding during Wyatt’s journey in Season 2, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not hurt and that there’s not work that Wyatt’s gonna have to do to sort of win her back.”

And, of course, this:

“To have the second Lifeboat come and to see Wyatt and Lucy seemingly joined at the hip, and a strong team, sort of implies, I think, a positive future for them, in some regard.”

Now that’s a future we can sign up for.

As for the rest of the characters, Shawn had a lot to say about Flynn, and about how “it’s fun to start messing with things you don’t expect,” when it comes to characters.

The whole idea behind the Lucy/Flynn connection in Season 2, according to Ryan, was to “find a way to make him real, humanize him, and start understanding things a little bit from his perspective,” because the truth is “he and Lucy made a personal, human connection during the second season” that just wasn’t there before, and that’s, in many ways, different from all the other relationships Lucy has.

“It was important to us to build a personal connection between Lucy and Flynn, whether you regard that as friendship, or a one-sided romance, or whether you think it’s where both Lucy and Flynn should end up,” the EP continued, before remarking that a Season 3 storyline hasn’t been set in stone yet, but that as much as “in many ways Flynn’s journey has mirrored Lucy,” he’s “a wounded, damaged, person” and that’s something that they wanted to explore, and that they will continue to explore.

Can Season 3 finally bring Flynn’s family back? We sorta hope so. The man deserves some happiness.

See what this show has done? It’s got us rooting for the Season 1 villain!

As for Rittenhouse, Jessica, and the future, Shawn was pretty much mum, even when asked directly if Jessica was actually pregnant. “I don’t want to say whether she’s telling the truth or lying, I have my opinion, but until we get into the writers room and see what stories we want to tell …”

Did I mention we needed a Season 3, NBC? Did I?

Because we really, really do. And with the support this amazing fandom gave the show last night, and the way the show has consistently trended on Twitter during every episode this season, why wouldn’t they get one?

Critical acclaim? Check.

Dedicated and passionate fandom? Check.

Talented and dedicated actors? Check.

Smart and thoughtful writers? Check.

A story that is nowhere near done? Check.

What more could you ask for, NBC? What more could we ask for?

Timeless aired Sundays at 10/9c on NBC. It has yet to be renewed for a Season 3.

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