‘Roswell, New Mexico’ EP Breaks Down Series Finale, From Malex’s Wedding to Max’s Farewell
A wedding, an engagement and a journey to another planet — fans got all that and more in the series finale of “Roswell, New Mexico” on Monday night. And according to showrunner Chris Hollier, a lot of the night’s events were always the plan for the pod squad — except maybe Malex’s wedding.
Don’t worry, Michael Guerin (Michael Vlamis) and Alex Manes (Tyler Blackburn) were always meant for each other. Even Blackburn told TheWrap he’d have been “pissed” if the men didn’t get the ending they deserved. And indeed, Hollier told TheWrap this week that the “Roswell” writers “always knew there was a happy ending” for the pairing.
“We’d always talked about, like, the fact that we were starting Season 4 with a proposal, we expected people would have a wedding,” Hollier explained. “So how can we surprise them with what that wedding would be? And the answer was, that it wasn’t even Max and Liz’s.”
Indeed, Max (Nathan Parsons) and Liz (Jeanine Mason) weren’t married by the end of the night — but they were engaged. Unfortunately, Max Evans had the weight of a literal world on his shoulders and felt he had to return to Oasis to save it. But, with a wholehearted “Hell yes” to Liz’s proposal re-do, Max promised to return eventually and marry her.
As it turns out, their separation was one of those things that were always in the cards too.
“The idea of [Max and Liz] getting engaged and separating was the final theme, even if we were going to come back,” Hollier revealed.
But, when “Roswell, New Mexico” didn’t score a fifth season on The CW, plans changed a bit. You can learn more about all those plans, plus how the writers room finally decided on what to do for the series finale, in TheWrap’s full interview with Chris Hollier below.
Note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
What I personally loved about this final season, was that the pod squad was always working together, firing on all cylinders. But then in this finale, everyone’s kind of going their own ways and doing their own things. How did you all arrive there for a series finale?
Well, that decision was twofold. We made the decision to stop the plot early, and let people — especially once we really started to feel that this might be the end, we wanted to let people celebrate, and enjoy, spend time with the characters that they love. But we also were hopeful that we were going to get to Season 5. So we were doing what we’re doing intentionally to give story threads to pick up. Let a little time pass, let people live a little, and bring everyone back together for one last hurrah.
So at what point did the story of this finale become the plan? If you were anticipating that Season 5, was this at the beginning of Season 4, you knew that this was how it was going to go? Or was it a mid-season decision?
So this ending actually was always the ending. This was the ending that we were going to do for this season. There was one little beat afterward and a little bit of a threat, in jeopardy. But the idea of [Max and Liz] getting engaged and separating was the final theme, even if we were going to come back. We just we augmented different lines, we shot a couple different lines and the different versions of things, just to sort of help us as we dialed in, just in case.
Well, let’s talk about the wedding that did happen. We did get a Malex wedding. So at what point did you know this was the endgame for them for sure?
We always knew there was a happy ending. We’d always talked about, like, the fact that we were starting with a Season 4 with a proposal, we expected people would have a wedding. So how can we surprise them with what that wedding would be? And the answer was, that it wasn’t even Max and Liz’s, was where we got. We knew that we were gonna get them engaged, but the actual wedding part was like a midway through [decision].
We started talking about taking it further than a proposal and getting them married. And then once that happened, then, you know, all the scenes — like, for weeks and weeks and weeks, people would write down or hand me like, ‘What if we have this moment? What if we have this moment?’ So we just collected a lot of those moments. In fact, we had too many to write story about that. That’s part of the reason why we ended up with a montage.
I was going to ask!
Yeah! It was like, ‘We could set it to this.’ And we can kind of give a little snapshots of a lot of great ideas that everyone had.
Were there ideas then of what Michael and Alex’s actual vows would’ve been?
I don’t know if we did. We always are looking for like, what’s the unexpected moment? And they’ve had a lot of time to say a lot of things to each other. And so what we almost did is treated that moment of proposal as the moment of like, “I’m going to tell you some stuff.” You know, we decided to put it there and let it live more in a feeling.
Tell me about the decision then to have Alex take Michael’s last name. He doesn’t want to be a Manes man anymore. It’s a very, very powerful moment.
It was born out of just thinking about all the whole four seasons and how important that idea was, and how we played with [it] like, we’ve used it as clues, we’ve used it as trauma, we’ve used it as like all sorts of things on our show. So I wanted to play with it one last time. It was actually born out of some jokes we were having in the writers’ room about kids, and you see part of that exchange.
So again, it was really about taking all four years and distilling it down and twisting that idea one more time, but twisting it for like, hopefulness and love. He’s a character that’s grown, and understood himself so much better. And he’s cut away the things that don’t work for him. And I think in that moment, he realized “This one last little piece doesn’t work for me. I’ll try something new.”
So, on top of Malex, you and your team really had a lot of love stories to wrap up in this finale. And obviously, an hour is not a lot of time to tie off six or more different storylines. So what was the most important goal in everyone’s minds as you were crafting this series finale?
I think the most important thing was to talk about — just start with the core three aliens, and really ask yourself, where did they start at the beginning of their journey? They were lost, scared kids that had no one to love them. So we started there. And they all have someone that they get to engage in love with there.
And then we started looking down and started seeing what else we did. We loved Heather and Quentin, who play Dallas and Maria, and they had so much chemistry and they’re also part of the pod squad. So it was like, how can we leave anybody out finding some love? Even if we’re gonna twist it around some? We knew that we all wanted some version of love for everybody. And we wanted to make sure they were all slightly different. And that’s sort of how we started to paint where everyone landed.
I loved the scene with Max, Michael and Isobel, where they do have that group hug, and Max hands off the badge. I have to imagine that was a very emotional moment to write, and to film.
There was a lot of moments, when we were filming them, that we didn’t actually know that they would be the last little moments. But in the back of our minds, and as we put these up, you know, we talked about “Just in case this is the last moment let’s bring that to this scene.” They crushed it.
I also have to ask about bringing Shiri Appleby back, and bookending her journey with “Roswell.” I particularly loved to see her grab the antennae. How did you arrive there, deciding to cap her journey with the original and the new show in the diner with the newest Liz?
I mean, obviously, Shiri’s the original Liz. She’s awesome. And like I was saying, we actually shot the scenes early. We shot them when she came to do episode nine. So we actually didn’t know every piece of how the story would connect. And we actually tried a lot of alt lines occasionally, to help us funnel the story around her.
Ultimately, where we dialed into was a couple of things, which is, what do we think the fans would want to see? Which were: what would be fun ways to marry the new show and the old show back together? And to me, one of the highlights actually of the whole series, was Liz and Liz essentially sharing a drink in the Crashdown Cafe. So we always knew like, if we’re gonna her, where we have to put them there.
You could feel it on the day shooting, that there was something special happening.
Well Chris, as we wrap up our time here and with “Roswell, New Mexico,” what would be your parting words to the fans of the series?
I would say be open to what the universe might bring you. That staying open is the best way to learn and to find love and to find new aspects about yourself. That’s what I would say. And I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did making it.
You can stream the series finale of “Roswell, New Mexico” online now.