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‘iZombie’ Boss Breaks Down Crafting the Final Season: ‘It’s a Lovely Bow at the End’

After four years of watching the population of Seattle, Wash. gradually learn that there were zombies among them, as well as following a one key undead character as she worked with the police department to solve murders, “iZombie” is getting ready to sign off of the CW. The series, which premiered in 2015, has centered on Liv Moore (Rose McIver) adjusting to her life as a crime-solving, brain-eating zombie, and, in more recent seasons, get involved in trafficking people in and out of the quarantined city.

That latter storyline is one way in which the show has taken a serious real-world topic and put a unique twist on it for its heightened world. And, showrunner Rob Thomas tells Variety, that theme will continue in the fifth and final season. “We played that last year, we’re playing it this year, but now I feel like we’re playing it dialed up,” he explains. “Seattle is now a city that can blow up at any moment. All it’s going to take is one spark, and humans and zombies are going to start killing each other in the streets.”

While Thomas says that many of the characters, such as Liv, Ravi (Rahul Kohli), Clive (Malcolm Goodwin), Peyton (Aly Michalka) and even Major, who is now commander of Fillmore-Graves, running the zombie army, have a “can’t we all get along” mentality, Blaine (David Anders) and Don E. (Bryce Hodgson) still “couldn’t give a s— about whether Seattle survives, or humans and zombies kill each other.”

Ahead of the final season premiere, Thomas talks with Variety about Liv’s role in trafficking this season, the fate of Seattle and what other “Veronica Mars” cameos to expect here, even with that show having an upcoming revival of its own.

Have you known all along how the story of iZombie would end from the beginning?

Basically. I don’t know that we had all the details, but I’ve known the answers to the big picture questions. There are certain things I didn’t know at the beginning, like the notion of Ravi and Peyton being a couple, for example. We didn’t think about that going in — it was only watching those two on the screen together that that became interesting to us. Some of those details that have happened along the way are things we’ve picked up, but in terms of the big story of Liv, the zombie outbreak and how it was resolved in Seattle, that we’ve kind of known the whole time.

How does Liv’s job as the trafficker “Renegade” evolve this season?

She’s going to keep bringing people into Seattle [but] it’s a bit different in terms of the people they’re worried about now. Fillmore-Graves is no longer preventing people from coming into the city [so] now instead of going against Fillmore-Graves, they’re really going up against the U.S. Army. So, their opponent in that has changed, but her mission hasn’t. Unlike most of the people she’s brought in in the past, with the possible exception of Isabel, this year we’re going to get to know a few of the people she brings in from the outside, and they will become recurring characters this season. Also, now that she is so public, her business model has changed. Instead of operating out of that motel room, they have a safe house that’s in a top-secret location because she knows she’s now a target, so the security protocol for Liv has become much more extensive.

How will Major’s role as the head of Fillmore-Graves transform his relationship with Liv?

Season 4 [ended] with Liv incredibly unhappy with Major because Major is now in charge of Fillmore-Graves, and he instituted policies that were much different than Chase Graves did before him. He’s trying to mend the city: have a military force with a smiley face. He’s ended curfew. Zombies no longer have their own justice system — they’re tried like anyone else. He’s trying to appease people, but in the process, he’s made his own soldiers unhappy. They now feel like, “Hey, you’re doing midnight basketball leagues for human-zombie relations, and they’re shooting at us from windows. This isn’t working.” So that brings him into quite a bit of conflict with the men and women working for him.

Blaine has very much played both sides of good and evil for four seasons. Will we see him finally stick to one side?

Yes, you do. I don’t want to tell anyone which, but he spends the season in an interesting place where, for the first time in his life, people like him. He starts the season being where he always wanted to be: being the cool, rich guy. People view him as the guy who’s saving the city because he’s the charming rogue bringing brains in from overseas that keeps the city functioning and he’s well-paid for it. He very much is enjoying the life he’s living at the beginning of the season.

You obviously brought a lot of the Veronica Mars cast members onto the show. Will we see more characters from that show appear for Season 5?

I don’t think they’re ones that haven’t appeared. Ken Marino will return as Blaine’s high-priced lawyer, and he’s brilliant. Johnny Frost [Daran Norris] is in a few episodes. There are a few more [too].

Will there be a concrete answer as to whether or not zombies take over Seattle?

There will be. You will know the fate of the city. If you’re wondering whether Liv will end the season alive, dead or zombie, that will be answered. A big question [we have] is: if Liv has the opportunity to be human or zombie, what would she choose? And, what would the 10,000+ zombies in Seattle choose now that they’ve spent years as a zombie? For many of the people who came to the city because they were dying of some disease, they don’t want to be turned back to being a human.

Can we expect everything to be tied neatly into a bow by the series finale?

Very neatly. There will be no cliffhangers. For the first time in my career, I know that this show is going to be over at the end of the season. It is in a lovely bow at the end of the season. We will answer all of the big, long-term arc questions. You’ll get answers to just about everything before the season ends.

The fifth and final season of “iZombie” premieres May 2 on the CW.

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