As TVLine wondered in our most recent 20-ish Questions column: Had Castle‘s Stana Katic not re-signed for Season 8 (as she did barely a week ago), what would the ABC drama possibly have looked like moving forward?
“There’s always a Plan B,” Hawley said when asked if there was in place a means to abruptly write out Detective Kate Beckett, who as Season 7 closed was pondering both her professional (a run for state senate?) and personal futures. “But it would’ve been a fundamentally different show, and that would’ve been quite a mountain to climb.”
Acknowledging the obvious — that the Rick Castle/Kate Beckett relationship “is very much at the center of the show” — Hawley, whose Castle resume includes a Seasons 2 through 4 run as a producer, opening with a stint as executive story editor, said with a laugh, “I’m thrilled not to have to come up with a show that doesn’t include Stana. That’s a high-wire act.”
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As for what he and Winter do have on tap for Season 8, as they replace showrunner David Amann (who himself succeeded series creator Andrew W. Marlowe a year ago), Hawley said, “It’s very, very early days,” especially given that he’s still “closing up shop” on Fox’s recently cancelled The Following (where he served as co-showrunner).
“At this point, we haven’t even sat down and talked about it yet,” he said. “Fundamentally, Beckett and Castle’s relationship has room to have movement in it. So for me — and I can’t speak for Terence — we’re just excited to go in there and see what the future holds.
“ABC just really wants to tell good stories,” Hawley noted. “And I think there’s still a lot of great stories to be told.” (With reporting by Kim Roots)