The corner of the Internet where Castle fans congregate recently roared in light of the reveal that Rick and Kate’s first love scene originally ran longer and was screened for a small crowd at a screenwriters’ workshop — but series creator Andrew W. Marlowe maintains that viewers saw the “best” version, and that nothing “extraordinary” was left on the cutting room floor.
First, some background: Leading a panel at the Austin Film Festival last weekend, Marlowe and wife/writer-producer Terri Miller discussed how scenes that start out on paper can ultimately be shaped/tweaked during filming and editing. To illustrate the point, they played the climax of the Season 4 finale aka the seminal episode “Always,” in which a rain-soaked Beckett shows up on Castle’s doorstep after realizing her need for him; the couple then fell into a passionate clinch, the consummation of their relationship soundly assumed.
Marlowe and Miller then screened for the small crowd of about 100 a slightly longer version, which showed Kate leading Rick to the bedroom, where he removed her shirt and they eased onto the bed. As word of that “deleted” scene made its way to cyberspace, some clamored for the unseen footage to be disseminated to everyone. Besieged by tweets to that effect — some less polite than others — Miller ultimately asked fans to stop “begging,” explaining that the AFF screening was a “teaching tool.” “#RespectTheProcess,” she hashtagged.
When I spoke with Marlowe to preview the ABC drama’s November sweeps offerings, I also invited him to clear the air on the incident. At AFF, he explained, “We were talking about how when you’re editing a show, you have an opportunity to rewrite it again and make it even stronger. And we showed an example of a moment that we cut because it wasn’t helping the show out” — one of “literally dozens” such edits from over the years, he noted. In the extended “Always” scene, he said, “We had gone past the emotional peak of where Castle and Beckett were, and it felt like a denouement, like a bit of a letdown, so we made the choice to cut it. And we were showing the audience why.”
As aired, “Always” climaxed with “a moment of extreme passion, and you could fill in the rest,” Marlowe maintained. The excised 15 seconds or so, “people who weren’t [at the festival] are making it into significantly more than it is…. Certainly we understand their passion, we understand their desire, and we understand why they get mad [that it didn’t circulate]. But for us, it was something that would not have helped the show…. It’s not like they’re missing anything extraordinary.”
When it comes to Caskett’s first coupling, Marlowe believes viewers “got the best of it, and we’ve actually had better moments in the season-and-a-half after it.” That said, he understands that “people want to see it,” the longer cut. And even though the AFF crowd was asked not to record the screening, Marlowe wouldn’t be surprised if it winds up online — or on, say, the eventual Castle complete series DVD collection, “if there’s enough demand with the folks at ABC.”
Also coming out of the Austin Film Festival, distorted by an epic game of “telephone” on the Internet, was the rumor that Castle‘s seventh season — if ordered by ABC — would be its last, that Marlowe and Miller even have the series’ “organic” ending already planned out.
“I never declared Season 7 as the final season,” Marlowe corrected. “What I said is that there’s an organic ending in the show and the characters will tell me when that is. I listen to the characters, and there’s going to be a point where we’ve had the best storytelling that these characters can give us.” And in Marlowe’s mind right now, in the midst of Season 6, he says, Rick and Kate’s story “can take 10 to 12 years if everybody wants to.”