How will a baby change Bones? Not all that much, according to producers.
"It's still Bones," executive producer Stephen Nathan said Thursday at the Fox drama's PaleyFest event, which featured a panel moderated by TVLine's Michael Ausiello. "We don't want to give the impression that we're doing Parenthood."
But the panel, which screened the April 2 episode featuring Brennan's big delivery, also made it clear that things at the Jeffersonian aren't going to stay exactly the same after the new arrival. "This baby informs their lives in a completely different way and they have to deal with the issues of having a new baby," Nathan said. "The show takes quite a different turn from the character point of view. They're concerned for each other."
Looking back on the decision to have Brennan (Emily Deschanel) become pregnant, producers said they landed on that story the minute Deschanel told them she was pregnant in real life. However, they admitted being nervous until they decided that Booth (David Boreanaz) would be the father. "We had anxiety before we decided that Brennan would have Booth's baby," executive producer Hart Hanson said. "The minute we knew Brennan was going to have Booth's baby, we knew what to do."
The cast and producers offered nine other teases for what's coming — besides baby! — on Bones:
1. This isn't your typical birth. We don't want spoil too much from the episode, but needless to say, Brennan won't be giving birth in a hospital. Deschanel also admitted that she was much more quiet during the September delivery of her first child, Henry, compared to Brennan. "Her experience is completely different so it's almost as if I had never given birth," she said. Deschanel and Boreanaz also said they bonded with the baby right away. "The baby peed on us!" Deschanel exclaimed.
2. Now that they have a baby, can we expect wedding bells? Producers were very coy about whether Booth and Brennan will ever tie the knot. "If they ever get married, we'll see a wedding," Nathan said. However, Boreanaz already has a few ideas for the possible nuptials. "I think if we do possibly join in that kind of union, I would like Sweets to marry us," he said.
3. More Sweets in the field. Hanson said that putting Sweets (John Francis Daley) in the field more and on the case with Booth is "one of the things that works for us." So, expect that to continue, even when Brennan is back to 100 percent.
4. The return of Pellant. Big bad Pellant (Andrew Leeds) will return for the Season 7 finale, which will feature a "large cliff-hanger," Nathan said. "It will change the course of, certainly, the beginning of Season 8."
5. Season 8 and beyond! Producers said the four extra episodes, which were announced midway through Season 7, will not acknowledge the upcoming cliffhanger. "They exist in their own separate universe," Hanson said. Joked Nathan, "We have four episodes of Fringe in the middle of Bones." The cast and producers also sound confident about the show's long-term future. "In many ways, Bones is Fox's most successful hour-long scripted drama," Hanson said. "So I'm very confident we'll be back for Seasons 8 and 9."
6. The truth about 447 and Angela's name will be revealed ... eventually. The mysterious number 447 will pop up again in the 12th episode of the season, but its significance won't be explained until Bones' series finale. Producers also joked about when Angela's real name will be revealed, saying that Billy Gibbons will probably be the one to tell Hodgins what Angela's real name is.
7. Coming soon to a theater near you. Bones and Booth will head to Hollywood in an upcoming episode where they visit the set of the film adaptation of one of Brennan's books. "We got really jealous of Community and wanted to do a meta show," Hanson joked. "I think longtime fans will just be delighted with what they see." This includes an over-the-top version of Booth — the actor who plays him apparently enjoys doing backflips — as well as a very fancy fake lab. "Our sets are our sets, only gone crazy. It's as if you got incredibly drunk and watched Bones," Nathan said. "We just made it a bit ridiculous. There are machines where you have no idea what they do." Besides the movie versions of Booth and Brennan, producers said there is also big screen equivalent of Hodgins (TJ Thyne). "Cam [Tamara Taylor] is Cam, but Cam like you've never seen Cam," Nathan said. "There's a little twist back in Washington."
8. Keeping it in the family. Among the Jeffersonian family members producers still hope to introduce are Hodgins' brother, Angela's mother and Booth's mother. Although Brennan's on-screen sister, Zooey Deschanel, is a little busy with her hit show, New Girl, "we might be able to get her back," Emily Deschanel said, noting that she and her sister have talked about Emily possibly guesting on New Girl.
9. The return of Zack? It may be a popular question among fans, but producers seem less eager to re-introduce Brennan's former assistant, who was committed to a psychiatric institution in Season 3. "There's a group of people that would like to see him again and there's a larger group that don't remember him," Hanson said. "If we find something that makes it worthwhile, and Eric [Millegan] is available, and we find a way to give the backstory without boring 99 percent of the audience, [then we'll do it]." Producers also said Parker and Max are definitely coming back, but not necessarily this season.