That wailing and gnashing of teeth you might have heard back in May? It was probably coming from a very vocal group of Castle fans who were up in arms about the ABC drama's Season 6 finale.
After spending months teasing and promising the wedding between mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), the writers made a sharp turn in the closing moments of the finale, which ended with Beckett running from the wedding site to the scene of an accident where Castle's Mercedes was engulfed in flames. Many fans' anger burned just as hot, as they revolted against the cliff-hanger they believed was nothing more than a cheap stall tactic.
Exclusive Castle Sneak Peek: Who witnessed Rick's crash?
2. The new season is all about Castle. Even though you might expect as much given the show's title, many could argue that Castle's past six seasons have focused more on exploring and unfolding Beckett's character than they have on the titular mystery writer. That was one of the reasons for ending Season 6 on such a cliff-hanger, which the producers believe will open up new stories for their hero. "It's something we've been wanting to do with his character for a while," Amann says. "The show has dealt very nicely with the Beckett mythology dealing with her mother's murder. When that was closed off at the end of last season, we knew there was an opportunity to create another mythology or go deeper and explore Castle's character in a way that didn't conflict with what was going on with Beckett. In other words, we were conscious about not wanting to have dueling mythologies on the show. "
Adds Marlowe: "We kind of all knew who Castle was. He's this fun guy, but we've been planting seeds along the way. What we want to do now is start puling back a couple layers. Why does he do what does? Why is he interested in murder? What has gone on in his past? What made him who he is? These are rich questions we haven't really explored because we just enjoy spending time with him. Now that we've resolved the Beckett stuff, it's time to turn our spotlight on him."
3. But some of what we learn about Castle will be troubling. It doesn't take long for Beckett, Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) to learn that Castle wasn't actually in the car when it caught fire. But tracking him down will be no easy task — and the clues along the way will make everyone close to Castle wonder how well they really know him. Fortunately, Beckett's doubts are only temporary. "Things that are going to come to light that are going to be unsettling for Beckett," Amann teases. "She wrestles with it but I think ultimately she knows who he is, trusts who he is, loves who he is and that allows her to not be completely thrown by the revelations that might come out. They're committed to each other. I don't think what happened to Castle is going to disrupt the trajectory of that relationship, at least not in the long term."
Postmortem: Castle boss answers our "burning" questions about that Season 6 cliff-hanger
4. Don't expect an immediate resolution. You may be shocked by just how long it takes Beckett & Co. to crack this case. And although the premiere episode returns the show to some sort of stasis, the real mysteries of who crashed Castle's car and why remain unsolved until Episode 2. "After the second episode, the audience will have some but not all of the answers of what exactly is going on," Amann says. But, of course, that won't be end of this story. "The effects of what has happened to Castle will re-emerge and reassert themselves later in the season," Amann says. "In the early run, he comes away with enough answers that he doesn't have to chase down the rest of them right away. But that won't last and he will ultimately want to get to a more complete truth."
5. We can tell you who's not involved. While there are plenty of fan theories surrounding past baddies 3XK and newly incarcerated Sen. Bracken being involved in Castle's accident, those ongoing threats are not at the forefront for now. (Ditto Castle's mysterious spy father Jackson Hunt (James Brolin).... we think. "The mythology we're getting into is going to go past all that into some new territory," Amann says. "Those are all fair game, but it's not going to be what the opening of the season is about."
Check out Kate Beckett and more of TV's sexiest crime fighters
6. The show will eventually return to business as usual. Beyond Episode 2, the show will settle into some of its lighter case-of-the-week fare. One early case features a killer with inexplicable paranormal characteristics, and another will send Castle and Beckett into a second grade classroom, à laKindergarten Cop, to find a witness to a murder. This season will also explore Ryan's status as a new father. But there is also some darkness ahead: Expect one thriller episode about a killer who communicates through social media and, later in the season, a case that puts Esposito in very close proximity to a murder suspect.
7. Will there ever be a wedding? Even though this speedbump won't prove fatal for Castle and Beckett's relationship, it will slow things down a bit. "I don't think anybody could be expected to just pick up where they left off," Amann says. "Having said that, the Beckett-Castle relationship has faced a lot of challenges, and this is one that they will overcome." Does that mean viewers will finally get to see the couple make it down the aisle this season? "I think that it is very possible," Amann says.
Castle premieres Monday at 10/9c on ABC. Watch an exclusive sneak peek from the premiere below.