When One Tree Hill wrapped up its third season, it left its audience with a car crash, a river and many more cliff-hangers. Before diving into Season 4 (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET, on the CW), TVGuide.com sought out the scoop from the series' creator, Mark Schwahn, who was tight-lipped about most of our burning questions, but who shed some light on where the show is headed and the new faces that will stir the pot.
TVGuide.com: Are we finally going to see Lucas and Peyton together for good?
Mark Schwahn: Maybe. Here's what I'll say about that: From the pilot, we designed a world where Peyton and Lucas were meant to be together, and we've never played that, so it's hard to know if that's true or not. They've been so close so many times, and I think it would be disingenuous to the show not to play that at some point. I feel like there's a lot of great drama there, and I think that's something we will explore in Season 4.
TVGuide.com: Will we see Jake return anymore?
Schwahn: Sometimes it sucks that there's real life and there are fictional worlds. When I created Jake I told Bryan Greenberg I was going to write that character for him we're friends and it worked just as we designed it. But Bryan's career is going in a bunch of different directions, so it's hard for us to keep that character alive on Tree Hill, and I don't think it's fair to the fans to just bring Jake in for one or two episodes and have him leave again. So, I think we will see him eventually, but I don't know if it'll be this season. If this were our last season, then maybe.
TVGuide.com: Last season, Mouth's story line got bigger. Are you going to expand on that?
Schwahn: Yes, but Mouth wasn't a huge part of the finale, and we have so many things to resolve regarding the finale that we don't see a ton of him early on. Lee Norris is a bona fide series regular. Because he's not on the poster, people dont think of him as such, but we do. It's probably the character that's closest to me and to my heart, so we're going to see a lot of Mouth and try to shade his character in more ways then just being an appendage to Lucas. He'll have his own journey this year.
TVGuide.com: As far as the finale, will we be surprised with the outcome of the limo crash?
Schwahn: I think so. What's interesting about it is in the way we used the fire. I think we're going to use the accident in that fashion, so the residue of that accident is going to impact everyone involved.
TVGuide.com: And someone definitely dies?
Schwahn: Yes, somebody does die as a result of the accident.
TVGuide.com: What else will we be surprised by?
Schwahn: This season is shaping up to be our most surprising season and, I think, in terms of scripts at least, our strongest. One of the reasons is because, for the kids, it's their senior year, and when you're an adolescent in that time of your life, there are all these big questions begging to be answered. Some people feel like when their senior year is coming to a close, they need to do the things they haven't done yet because they're running out of time. Other people back away from their life a little bit, because they are scared, and if they were to get close to someone... they're going to go off to college and maybe they shouldn't express their true feelings. I think all of that stuff is great for story. Dan and the murder that story line is enormous....
TVGuide.com: How long will we have to wait for someone to find out that Dan killed Keith?
Schwahn: That's a great question. You'll have really satisfying answers in the first half of the season.
TVGuide.com: And besides Karen, there's someone else who's pregnant, too?
Schwahn: Yes, someone else is pregnant.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell me about that?
Schwahn: I'll tell you this: There were two ways we could have gone with that story line and both of them were completely legitimate and true to my heart, and both involve all the girls. I didn't just pick two of the girls and go, "These are the two." One way in the same way that we dealt with the handgun episode is to really deal with an abortion story line in a real way, and that has been an ongoing conversation with our new network. I only bring that up because we may explore that and go that way.
TVGuide.com: So nothing's been decided on what will happen with that yet?
Schwahn: Well, I have a story line that allows for a fork in the road where I may choose to go one way or another. But the idea of an abortion will be something that we will explore. Most people will run from that, but I feel like in this day and age, to do a human story line could help a lot of people as opposed to hurt them. I don't know if we'll ultimately [go through with] it. We can't really control our own fate. We're [part of] a big corporation, so sometimes you get the word you can only go certain places. But that story line, whichever fork we choose, will be hugely lucrative for and hugely influential on everyone's lives.
TVGuide.com: Will Coop (Michael Trucco) be around past the opening two episodes?
Schwahn: Well, Cooper's going to go away for a little while but he'll probably come back as people do in Tree Hill.
TVGuide.com: Will new people come in pretty quickly?
Schwahn: We're really excited about spending more time with Antwon Tanner, who plays Skillz and will be a series regular this year. Antwon would have been a regular before this, but I lost him to Coach Carter, a film that I wrote, and it was hard to drag him back. But he's on board this year. I think most people know this, but Peyton's going to learn that she has a brother, the son of the biological father she hasn't met. He's going to be played by Matt Barr (Commander in Chief), who is fantastic. That's a really great story line for us this year, with a character that people haven't met.
TVGuide.com: Would you say that is the biggest addition to the cast?
Schwahn: It is right now. We also spend one episode right now with Elisabeth Harnois, who was the lead in Fox's Point Pleasant. I love her to death and I think she's incredibly talented, so we may see her return to Tree Hill in a more substantial way.
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