Prison Break by Bill Matlock/Fox Prison Break by Bill Matlock/Fox

As hinted at last week, during the TCA press tour I got some 1-on-2 time with Matt Olmstead and Zack Estrin, the creators of Fox's Prison Break. I was up front with the guys - as much of a Pollyanna I can be for the series, Season 3 was, well, a bit rocky, and certainly didn't tee up a clear-cut next arc. Here's what they had to say about that, the character they worked hard to keep around, and the boys' latest mission. - Matt Mitovich Where do we go from here? The ersatz season finale didn't really spell it out.
Matt Olmstead:
As you know, we had a whole back nine planned, but the strike cut that out. Ironically, that enabled us creatively to jump forward. So we're not picking up moments later from Season 3. Right, we're jumping ahead a month or so. But any "blanks" would have been filled in had you had a complete Season 3?
Yeah. We would have led the audience to this same point. But now we're starting there and dropping back a little bit to explain the history [through flashbacks].
Zack Estrin: We made the creative decision to not spend the first half of this season wrapping up last season. We wanted to find a way to start with a brand-new story while also honoring all the things we set up at the end of Season 3. The two-hour première wraps things up and sets us on the new journey. I understand the prison breakers will be breaking in someplace?
The only thing harder than breaking out is breaking in! Who was the trickiest character to keep on the canvas?
T-Bag, because his character is not a natural part of this rag-tag team, because there is such animosity. But because of Robert Knepper, we were going to find a way, one way or another, to keep him involved.
Estrin: Part of the fun each season is wondering, "How is T-Bag going to fit into all of this?" He's always a thorn in their side.
Olmsted: But Whistler had that bird book that he left behind in Sona, so T-Bag is now in possession of these codes and secrets. Ultimately, the two trains - T-Bag and Michael - will collide.
Estrin: Originally Michael's tattoos were our story engine. This bird book steps in and takes over a bit, bringing back some of that Season 1 vibe. Is the Cherry Hill/women-in-prison spin-off still in play?
Yes. We had a script that essentially was obsolete in that it was picking up on [Season 3] moments that never got to happen. Plus, we couldn't find the right actress. So we revisited it and thought, "Lets just groom out this continuity of a character and not even try to work her into Prison Break." It's more of a brand spin-off. So we're not going to meet Molly through Michael anymore? [Originally, Molly was supposed to seek out Michael at the Sona prison, starting with last season's Episode 14.]
No. Have you cast her yet?
No. We're almost done with the script, and then we go to studio and network and start that whole process. I've said all along, the spin-off will probably star the only prison inmate prettier than Michael Scofield.
Yes, indeed!

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