How Party Down brought back [SPOILER] for the finale: 'Very promising for future seasons'
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the Party Down season 3 finale.
Despite scheduling conflicts keeping Lizzy Caplan out of the majority of Party Down's revival season, she couldn't stay away entirely. She appeared in the season 3 finale end tag scene as Casey Klein to surprise not only fans but also Henry (Adam Scott), as their will-they-won't-they dynamic was reignited once more.
Clifton Prescod/Starz Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott
"It was a lovely consolation prize to something that was so devastating — not being involved in this season was so rough," Caplan tells EW. "It is truly something that we've all talked about for over a decade at this point, and then somehow, finally, miraculously, all the ducks were in a row, and then the one duck that was off somewhere else was me. It was horrible, but getting to do this little tag feels very promising for future seasons. I'm just banking on future seasons — I'm just assuming that's going to happen."
When Party Down was revived for a third season 13 years after its original cancelation, Caplan was all set to return with the rest of the cast. But despite how much she wanted to be there, she couldn't make it work due to unfortunate timing. "I was in New York shooting Fleishman Is In Trouble, and because of the COVID of it all, there was no version of events where I was going to be able to fly back and forth, even though I said that it had to happen and it had to be figured out," she says. "There was no way that I was going to miss out on Party Down, but it was just impossible. It was brutal. I mean, I was willing to walk across the country with my newborn baby on my back to just show up in any way, and they were like, 'No, you can't do that.'"
Party Down creator John Enbom reveals it was always the plan to bring Casey back — it was just a matter of figuring out how to make that happen around Caplan's complicated schedule. "It was something that we'd been thinking of trying to do from the very first moment where we learned that she wasn't free to actually do the show," he tells EW. "The general idea happened immediately, and then the specifics of what we were able to do just evolved once we understood how much of her time we might be able to steal, and if we could get Starz to agree to send a little group to New York and do this thing. Once we had all the resources lined up, then we did it."
Clifton Prescod/Starz Lizzy Caplan's Casey Klein runs into Henry Pollard, played by Adam Scott
When the creators approached her about doing the last scene in the finale, Caplan was thrilled. "When they asked me about doing this tag, they said they were going to come out with a splinter unit, it would just be Adam and Ken [Marino] and we'll have a New York crew, we'll keep it really hush-hush, and we'll just shoot this thing. It was obviously a no-brainer," Caplan says. "I felt so happy to get to be a part of it, even in this really small way. I mean, it made me extra jealous getting to have this little taste of it. But again, season 4!"
"We were able to go on this little secret mission to New York and we had one day to shoot in the back room of this little restaurant that they found," Enbom says. "We just had this crazy little day in New York where we went, shot this scene, got to see Lizzy, and that was lovely. It felt like a little caper in a way. And it was a tempting reminder of how much fun it would be to do more of that, just because we hadn't worked with Lizzy in a while."
Caplan admits that "it probably worked out for the best narratively to have Casey not so present in this season" now that she sees where the story took the other characters. But she's ready to get back in the game for a potential fourth season — she jokes if she repeats that enough times, she can manifest a renewal. "I feel very lucky that I got to even be in this bit at all. I hope more than anything, it's kind of the only version of this that is the true happy ending that we get to do a season 4," she says.
Clifton Prescod/Starz Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott
Revisiting the Henry-Casey relationship was so important to the Party Down creators that they initially had planned for season 3 to focus on that story in a big way. "That's what we literally started with when we started writing it, before we knew Lizzy wasn't available," Enbom says. "It was this question of: Henry and Casey run into each other for the first time after 10 years, what happens? A lot of it was about her dealing with having achieved some success and wrestling with how she felt about it, how she had achieved what she wanted but still did not feel fulfilled. We'd still very much like to see that."
So what are the chances that Party Down defies expectations and returns again? "We're hoping that we get the chance to find new ways to get into it for a fourth season," Enbom says. "But we've got to wait for those conversations to happen."
Creator Rob Thomas says those conversations haven't started yet. "That probably won't happen until they have some time to digest how many people watched the show," Thomas says. "Starz treated us great, and those executives love this show and they really went all out on the promotion of the show. At the end of the day, how much they love the show is going to affect whether there is a season 4 less than how many people actually tuned into it."
Clifton Prescod/Starz Ron Donald (Ken Marino)
If Party Down does get a fourth season, expect to see Casey return again, no matter what. "Unless she gets another billion-dollar series," Enbom jokes. "We will kidnap her and we will force her to do it regardless."
"I really hope that we get to come back because I think that's such an interesting and unexplored story of being an actor who finds success," Caplan says. "We spend so much time with our waiters in Party Down who just want the thing, they want to make it. And with Casey, we have an opportunity to see somebody who has made it and ultimately realizes that it's not all that it's cracked up to be."
Plus, Caplan won't be satisfied until she learns what's going to happen next for Henry and Casey's relationship now that they've reunited. "I think it's probably a relationship that they would both want to re-explore for different, slightly dysfunctional reasons," she says with a laugh. "I loved all the Evie-Henry stuff — I thought Jennifer Garner was so wonderful, so charming, so great in it. When you revisit an old flame for whatever reason when you're older, oftentimes a person is seeking to reconnect with some version of themselves when they were younger. The Evie-Henry thing, how it ended was so satisfyingly adult, and I have to imagine that if Henry and Casey get back together, it will be not as adults."
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