"I don't feel like we were cut short, as difficult as it is to shut this last chapter on this journey," he told reporters at a December set visit for Chuck's two-hour series finale (Friday, 8/7c, NBC). "I think five seasons is actually a really good amount of time. ... For something like this, which is definitely story arcs and serial, how many bad guys and missions can you go on before you feel like you're repeating the same thing? So I feel like we've gotten a really perfect amount of time together and it's been special from Day One."
After five years of the geek getting the girl, far-flung fantasy spy missions and a cavalcade of nerd-dom's finest guest stars, it's easy to see why Levi isn't exactly complaining. In fact, he and his fellow castmates were only too happy to reminisce.
Check out the Chuck cast's memorable moments and their emotional reaction to the final season:
Scott Krinsky, "Jeff Barnes"
"As far as Jeffster!, I always think when we did Toto, the first song. That just stays with me. First of all, we were scared out of our minds of how this was going to be received. And, wow, we have a band now. And Toto, 'Africa'? Really? And now I can't go anywhere — if Toto comes on, and I'm in a store, I'm like, 'Oh God, does anybody know who I am?' I start feeling very self-conscious. I think that was a very pivotal episode with Jeff and Lester too about their friendship with each other. So that one, and 'Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer' for me personally. I learned so much about Jeff's history and his glory days as a teenager. That one really sticks with me."
"I haven't cried yet. It's been very emotional. I think I'm trying to hold it together. It's weird to think it's going to end. It still feels like you're at work, but then every time you have that moment where you're like, 'OK, this is the last time I'm going to do this. This is the last I'm going to maybe say something like this or talk to this person.' We had our last day on the Buy More. I really choked up inside. They dimmed the lights, and we just stood around for an hour sharing stories... all these names and these memories of, like, 'Remember when we did this?' Or 'Remember when we did that? Remember when we shot the pilot?'"
Vik Sahay, "Lester Patel"
"I've just always really loved singing the big, classic, epic songs. The ones that are very difficult to tackle. You know, I chose the song 'Fat-Bottomed Girls' when we did Comic-Con. Tackling that kind of massivity was really stunning and beautiful, and to be able to sing that kind of thing, I don't know. The Who, and just kind of these giant — what is the word? — rock-operatic-type songs are the types I've loved doing the most. [Creedence Clearwater Revival] was great."
"I moved to Los Angeles for the show, so these people have been my base, my tribe, my family, and the fact that they're such unbelievable people has been instrumental in me being all right in this new, crazy town. And I think as time goes on, I'll realize more and more how crucial that's been for me... We did a scene, me and Scotty, and broke down in it. It's a really big chapter to close, and it's very, very, very emotional. You know, I've been a guy who's been a little itchy, a little edgy to try to bite into other things, and now that this is happening, it's very, very heartbreaking... You want to be eloquent in these moments... the emotion kind of prohibits that. I want to use words other than 'family,' other than 'bittersweet,' but those are right."
Ryan McPartlin, "Devon 'Captain Awesome' Woodcomb"
"This season I think I made the blooper reel because I couldn't get out the word 'calla lilies.' It was like I had my tongue tied and it didn't help that I had Josh Gomez making fun of me off camera to the point that it got worse and worse, when an actor goes down that slippery slope, messing up. I had the giggles."
"There are some really sweet moments, too, that I got choked-up on as an actor that you buy into the scene like our wedding was really sweet, all of us on the beach together... I hate to overuse the word 'melancholy,' but it is at this point. But to look back in retrospect and know that it is all over now, I am one of the bigger sissies on the cast. I do get choked up and I get emotional easily knowing that it's goodbye... I got all my tears out on the last day of shooting. It was just too sad."
Joshua Gomez, "Morgan Grimes"
"[The frosted tips] kind of became a part of me... I had to run home for some reason. So I'm driving off the lot, and I'm in my Toyota Prius and my frosted tips... This guy comes out of the lot, and I don't know what happened — it was a blown light or whatever it was. He gave me some kind of big honk, finger, whatever it was, and I was like, 'What the f---!' So I catch up to him, we go to a light, and I'm like, 'Dude... I clearly had the right of way!' I got into this whole tough-guy thing. And he'' looking at me like, 'Are you out of your mind right now?' And I look at my rearview mirror, and I see the tips, and I go, 'Oh... crap!' I kind of turn back and I go, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry,' and I kind of just pull off in my Prius. I was like, 'Never mind. You're right, you're right.'"
"We were doing the last scene in the Buy More... Out of all the sets and everything, that's the one that, to me, sort of embodies the show since the beginning. So we kind of said good night to it, and we didn't want to leave. We all just kind of stood there in a little circle talking about our favorite moments, from Pineapple to just all the mayhem that's happened there. C.S. Lee in that cowboy hat, just the guns and 'You know what it cost in Buy More dollars, Chuck?' He was awesome. So I walked out and I just felt it, like, 'That's the last time I'll walk off that set.' Then it hit me, like, 'Oh, wow. This is truly over.'"
Adam Baldwin, "John Casey"
"I loved working with Carrie-Anne Moss. She's a true professional, and mother of beautiful kids. She's a very stable, relaxed, confident professional to work with, and [Casey got some] sexy time, too. Gomez is hilarious to work with. He always brings the pizzazz to the scene. I'm just the quiet sniper button that gets to hopefully close it out, if the writers give me a good line, at the end. But, I just play off of him and roll with it. We were joking about putting together an Of Mice and Men production, off Hollywood Boulevard. I bet that would be great."
"It's emotional. For me, I've been through series before where there have been endings that have been premature. With this one, while we would have loved to have had another nine episodes to get through the whole season, I think 91 episodes of a show that was on the bubble is a good long run. I feel satisfied with the course that we've taken. I'm grateful that we were able to get this far, so I don't feel sad. I have all these people's phone numbers and their e-mails."
Yvonne Strahovski, "Sarah Walker"
"I love the Thailand episode, 'Phase 3.' There are so many moments, though. I think, in particular, this season has been one of my favorite ones. We've bonded a lot more, knowing that it's the end, especially the last month. We've been hanging out a lot more, as a cast, and just allowing ourselves the time to soak it all up before it all ends."
"I can't stop crying. I cried every day, this whole month. I've just been crying, every single day. I'm going to cry now. It's horrible. I cried yesterday when I did my last fight scene, ever."
Zachary Levi, "Chuck Bartowski"
"I love that the people who have played my parents in the show have both kind of been — you know, Linda [Hamilton] is like a mom on set, Scott [Bakula] was like a dad on set. He and I had a lot in common. He imparted a lot of wisdom to me. His journey on Quantum Leap was similar to mine here, in that it was like all day, every day, go, go, go, crazy hours... In the pilot [I remember] McG yelling for me and Josh... I brought my Xbox and 'Gears of War,' which had just come out, the original, and I had hooked it up to a flat-screen in our store, and we were just sitting there playing between takes, and constantly McG going, 'Guys! I need you! Come on!' And pause it, run back, and then go and play some more. That pilot was just a really magical time. It's crazy to think that it's been five years since we did that. And yet at the same time, it's like any memory like that: It seems like it was yesterday, and it seems like it was a lifetime ago."
"Sarah Lancaster and I, we were filming the last scene that we will ever shoot in the Awesomes' apartment and we couldn't even get through rehearsal. We started saying our lines and just started crying. It was really nutty, you know? Sarah's been my sister for five years and I wouldn't, couldn't possibly have cast anyone else in that role... just so lovely and so talented and gorgeous and all of that. It's weird being attracted to your sister, first and foremost, that's strange. Secondly, we have been very brother-and-sister and supportive. Watching her live life and find the man of her dreams and get married and have a baby, on screen and off, it's incredible. So to be standing there and saying goodbye, that stuff really gets you. And I can't imagine if it's hitting us that hard, I can only assume and hope that the fans, as they're watching the finale, the two-hour special, are gonna feel the same way. It's good. It's cathartic. It's therapeutic. It's not necessarily tears of joy, but it's tears of love."
Chuck's two-hour series finale airs Friday at 8/7c on NBC.
Check back Thursday to read Part 4 of our farewell to Chuck: The Nerd Legacy. Also read:
What are your fondest Chuck memories and favorite episodes?