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Rob Thomas Warns iZombie Fans to Brace Themselves for Major Deaths in Final Season

Things are getting dangerous in New Seattle

Sadie Gennis

Everyone's favorite zom-com-rom-dram is coming to an end. But unlike creator Rob Thomas' previous projects -- including Veronica Mars, Party Down, and let's not forget Cupid -- iZombie knew that the upcoming fifth season would be its last. That means that for the first time in his writing career, Thomas actually gets to give one of his shows the ending it deserves. But what does that look like for iZombie?

The previous season finale saw the execution of former Fillmore Graves commander Chase Graves (Jason Dohring), leaving Major (Robert Buckley) to take his place as the de facto zombie leader of New Seattle. Liv (Rose McIver) also assumed the role of a dearly departed predecessor, becoming the new Renegade and smuggling people in and out of the city. And -- we're starting to sense a theme here -- when the mayor of Seattle was murdered, Peyton (Aly Michalka) stepped up and is now acting mayor of the divided city, which is not only running low on supplies but also goodwill among its citizens.

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Meanwhile, Ravi (Rahul Kohli) revealed to Liv that Isobel's (Izabela Vidovic) brain acted as a cure because of the effects of her having Freylich Syndrome, but Liv gifted the brain to Dale (Jessica Harmon) so that she and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) could marry and start a family together. And as for Blaine (David Anders), the bad guy everyone loves to hate (or just straight up loves), he found himself on the side of the heroes for once, agreeing to work for Major smuggling brains into New Seattle to feed the zombie population.

So where do our heroes -- and our favorite villain -- go from here? TV Guide spoke with Rob Thomas about all this and more in advance of the show's May 2 return.

The last season finale ended with all the main characters working toward a common goal and not at odds. How long before that falls apart?
Rob Thomas:
I would say this season, they have common ties. We're sort of hurtling toward a conclusion. They will disagree on a few things this season, but they're almost sort of trying to preserve the very fragile peace between humans and zombies in Season 5.

I think the one exception to wanting to keep that peace is Blaine.
Oh yeah, it's funny because I never quite include him -- certainly, as a lead character I include him -- but Blaine is always working for himself. That is the only cause that Blaine ever works for.

Robert Buckley and David Anders, iZombie
Bettina Strauss/The CW

Is this final season going to be more about Blaine's final shot at redemption or a return to his truly villainous roots?
The latter. Yes, it's probably a season of no more Mr. Nice Guy for Blaine. He does things this season that are devious as anything he's done in the past. He has gone back to his old ways.

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Liv is still acting as Renegade, and we've seen how dangerous that position can be. Who and what will be the biggest threats to her safety?
Because she's a public figure now, there's a lot more secrecy involved in what she does. ... There's a whole procedure for getting into the compound and doing what they do now because they do have to be more concerned about that. It's certainly a season of "will the center hold?" You've got radical zombies who want to eliminate humans and radical humans who want to eliminate zombies. With the exception of Blaine and Don-E (Bryce Hodgson), our characters are all kind of stitched together. Liv gets news to believe that what she does speaks well of Seattle. It's a thing that makes people out in the world think that zombies are not bad people.

As tensions in New Seattle continue to rise, Major's job gets even more complicated. How is he going to maintain control of the city and keep things peaceful?
I think he's going to gain quite a bit of understanding for Chase Graves' very hardline command of Seattle. Major is certainly going to try and go the peace and love route. He has loosened a ton of the restrictions: gotten rid of the hated curfew, not allowed zombies to be tried in a completely different system than humans. Many, many, many of the soldiers at Fillmore Graves don't care for that, don't care for his ruling style. So he's destined to run into interference down the line.

I am a big Liv and Major fan. What does this season hold for their relationship?
This is the season of no Liv boyfriends. We have tended to bring some romantic interests into the show. She has too much going on this year. Here's the thing that I will promise: There will be a definitive end to the Liv and Major story. We're not going to play that nebulous. The nice thing, and this is kind of the first time I've ever had this in my writing career, is that I knew our story was going to end. Because of that, we got to plan for an ending. I'm excited about where that goes. Their relationship will absolutely be explored, I can promise that.

Rahul Kohli, iZombie
Bettina Strauss/The CW

Ravi teams up with a CDC scientist to work on the cure. How will that partnership and this quest for a cure go?
It's going to have its ups and downs. He certainly will have a friend at the CDC, but there will be people at the CDC who have different ambitions than Ravi. And so some good will come out of his ties to the CDC and some bad will come out. That will certainly be a source of conflict for him this year.

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Even if a cure is developed, will all the zombies want to take it?
No. No, they wouldn't. If you think about all the terminally ill people who have come to Seattle. Are they going to want to be cured of zombie-ism only to find themselves in the position that brought them to Seattle? So no, that's going to be a big issue. At a certain point, people are going to start talking about that. What do we do if there's a cure? Would Seattle go back to the way it was before zombie-ism happened or would it be something new entirely? That question we certainly dive into and get into before the season is out.

I love seeing what brain Liv is on each week. What brain are you most excited for fans to see?
[Episode 3] is one of my favorite ever, the dancer brain. That whole episode delighted me. God, we've got some fun ones coming up. We sort of did -- and this is a little bit of a departure for us -- but she eats the brain of a teenager who was very much the Ferris Bueller of his high school. And that one is a very fun one. It comes up in the first five or six [episodes].

Rose McIver and Malcolm Goodwin, iZombie
Michael Courtney/The CW

Right now, Major is sticking to brain tubes. But are we going to get to see Major on brains again?
Yes, you will. He will be on a brain. And Robert Buckley has been great on brains. Rahul has been great on brains. It's one of our favorite things to do.

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As sad as I am that this show is ending, I'm happy that it gets to go out on its own terms. Why was now the right time to end the show?
Well, I was not given a choice on that. [Laughs.] Essentially, we were on the bubble last year; we did not know we were going to get picked up. Right up until the day they announced the schedule, we did not know whether we would be on it or not. I was grateful that they gave us one more season. But it was not a, "Rob, how many more seasons would you like?" It was, "Rob, you're either getting zero or one." And I said, "I'll take one!" I'm grateful that they did it because -- and I'm speaking of the head of the network and the head of the studio -- and I think we got it because they had been real fans of the show and real supportive of the show even when our ratings have just been consistently on the bubble.

This show kills off a lot of recurring characters, but we haven't lost a main one yet. Should fans brace themselves for huge deaths this season?
I would always brace yourself. That absolutely could happen.

Aly Michalka and Rose McIver, iZombie
Bettina Strauss/The CW

Every other season ended on a crazy cliffhanger. But will the series finale leave fans with some lingering questions or should fans expect a lot of resolution?
You should expect a ton of resolution. It was the upside of having a target that we were going after. Every other year, we wanted to leave people demanding more. This year we knew we weren't going to get more. We tied everything up in a bow. It's funny because I feel like there would not be more Veronica Mars if I had tied up Season 3 in a nice bow and I'm really happy in that case that I didn't. Season 3 Veronica Mars we were very much on the bubble. This season, we were told "you're getting one and no more," so we thought we're going to answer all these questions for the fans. There might be a couple lingering questions that are fun thought experiments, but fans should expect a ton of resolution at the end of this season.

You obviously included a lot of Veronica Mars actors in iZombie. Should we expect some iZombie people to pop up in Veronica Mars?
None do, but that's largely a function of iZombie was shooting up in Vancouver. The only episode I think I could have gotten any of them in would have been the final episode of Veronica Mars and by then all the key players were well established and I wasn't going to ask one of the iZombie people to come in and play, like, a bartender with two lines. But I adore, adore the iZombie cast and people should expect to see them in my projects down the line because there aren't any of them, any of our series regulars who I didn't love writing for. They're not in Veronica Mars but assume you'll see them again in some other project of mine down the line.

iZombie premieres Thursday, May 2 at 8/7c on The CW.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)