Hilarie Burton and Bryan Greenberg by Fred Norris/The CW Hilarie Burton and Bryan Greenberg by Fred Norris/The CW

Here in Part 3 of our in-depth look at the new season of One Tree Hill, series creator Mark Schwahn previews returns both official and possible, and then weighs in on the big rumors surrounding the show - including the biggest buzz of all. - Matt Mitovich

TVGuide.com: Brooke's mom is returning, I hear.
Mark Schwahn:
Yes. Daphne Zuniga, as Victoria, does a great job as a villain, and we'll see her return in the first episode, and for more than one episode. What I love about Victoria is that in the episode where Lucas was in New York because Peyton didn't accept his proposal, Victoria walked in on what she thought was a proposal between Lucas and Brooke. Well, what if they're really engaged? What's the fallout of that? At the same time, all the stakes regarding Clothes Over Bros will get played.

TVGuide.com: In addition to Lindsey and Victoria, any there any other returns to watch for? Perhaps Danneel Harris as Rachel?
I love me some Danneel Harris. She's such a cool girl. She's sweet and beautiful and she plays that character really well. I'd love to see her back. We haven't filled in all the blanks, but that's something we'd definitely be interested in doing. And I think she'd be interested. I've been bugging Bryan Greenberg [most recently of October Road] about coming back as Jake. I don't know if that will happen because he's doing movies and some other things, but he loves the show and we're close friends. Id love to make that happen, especially if this were the last year of the show.

TVGuide.com: That's a perfect segue into my last batch of questions, addressing the assorted rumors floating around. Rumor No.1: Is this One Tree Hill's final season?
I'll be completely honest with you. I would tell you if I had heard or I knew that it was, because I think the fans deserve to know. I'm actually in the middle of negotiating to make sure that I protect the show next year and come back to it if it comes back. I don't think the studio or network would pay lip service to that if they didn't think it was [possible]. That being said, we don't know if the show will be successful this year creatively or in the ratings. The [cast members'] contracts are an issue. When you get a large cast that isn't under contract, that's always an issue. There was a time at the end of Season 5 where we assumed that if we did another season it would be the last, but I don't feel that energy right now. And creatively, I wrote [this season's] first three episodes out of the gate and I think they're great, the cast thought they were great, and the crew and the studio is buzzing about them. I think everyone reappraised again. I'm still enjoying writing this world, and I'm happy to do it if they - the studio, network and cast - want to. I'm optimistic about it. There may be a conversation that's been had between the studio president and network president that I don't know about, but I don't think that's the case. People are saying that this show has been "refaced" with the four-year jump, and a lot of people including Peter Roth and Dawn Ostroff look at this show as being in its second year as a "new" show. Everyone who's important to the continuation of the show on an executive level has said to me, "How long do you think the show can run?" I said, "It's a 'new' show, it can run another five years," and they said, "We think so, too." Whether or not the business of television takes over, I don't know. We'll see.

Rumor No. 2: "Psycho Derek is coming back."
It's possible. Psycho Carrie could be coming back.... [ Laughs] I'm happy to say that psychos usually return, because they're psychos. We haven't seen Derek in a long time, so I've always said it'd be interesting if he came back and he was balanced and trying to be a decent human being, but everyone was really skittish around him. We could do a lot with that. When stalkers disappear, that means they're out there.

Rumor No. 3, courtesy of Chad Michael Murray himself: You're "killing a couple people" this season.
Yeah, yeah.... I think Chad [during a recent red-carpet interview] meant "killed" as in "We don't see them this year." We're a show that has been creatively adventurous and risky. It's hard to have a major character kill another major character like we did with Dan and Keith, and yet you still feel that Dan is relevant, if only in a reprehensible way. It's very risky television. You can't just boil through your cast. [ Laughs] At the same time, we're still taking chances in the sixth season, more so than we've been given credit for. So, I don't really want to comment on what Chad said. I will say that this season is a bit complex and adventurous, and not in a "Jump the Shark" sort of way. This is a brave season for us. I haven't said that to anyone else, but that's a great way of putting it.

More from Mark Schwahn:
" Season 6 Preview, Part 1: Lucas and His Ladies
" Season 6 Preview, Part 2: Of Love... and Death?

One Tree Hill Set Visit Videos:
" Hilarie Burton: No More Tears for Peyton?
" "Bonus" Burton: Hilarie Shows How to Play "Who's Coolest?"
" Sophia Bush: Is Brooke Still in a Dark Place?
" James Lafferty: Good Lovin' Ahead for "Naley"?
" Bethany Joy Galeotti Wants to Kick Psycho Carrie's Butt!
" Lee Norris on Mouth's "Interesting" Love Life
" Young "Jamie" Reveals His Cast Mate "Crush"
" Meet Ashley Rickards, Tree Hill's New Troublemaker