9-1-1 Boss Promises Surprising, Emotional Pairings in First Lone Star Crossover — Watch Sneak Peek

9-1-1 Crossover Video

For 9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear, the process of putting together tonight’s first-ever crossover with 9-1-1: Lone Star mirrored what the characters experience in the harrowing hour: “There were twists and turns and hurdles I had to clear,” he tells TVLine. “For a while there, it looked like we were just going to collapse. But then… we pulled it off. We did it!”

The wildfire teased at the end of last week’s Lone Star serves as the catalyst for tonight’s crossover (Fox, 9/8c), with several key members of the 118 — Buck (Oliver Stark), Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Hen (Aisha Hinds) — driving down to Texas to help battle the blaze. “They feel like soldiers showing up to fight a battle together,” Minear explains. “And in the heat of battle, you forge a bond. You have to trust that these people won’t let you die.”

Watch TVLine’s exclusive sneak peek of the episode below, which features an interesting pairing — 9-1-1‘s Hen and Lone Star‘s Owen (Rob Lowe):

And while not every character from Lone Star gets to mingle with a transplant from California, the interactions will still be memorable. “You get to see fun pairings of characters, which is what’s promised to you in a crossover,” Minear says. “I wasn’t able to bring in every character, like [Grace] or [Carlos], but every character in the episode gets serviced. Every pairing has an opportunity to shine, and nothing is unnecessary.”

Once you take in the scope of the hour, you’ll understand why. “It was a great physical undertaking,” Minear says, adding, “We weren’t able to use any of our standing sets, so we basically built the production from the ground up. For example, we didn’t have a mine shaft handy — so we had to build one.”

So, might the success of this first major crossover lead to more? Minear says, “If I get an idea that might work in a different way but will be just as emotionally resonant, I’ll be the first one to do it. But I don’t ever want to abuse the privilege.”

What are your hopes for tonight’s 9-1-1/Lone Star crossover, and beyond? Drop ’em all in a comment below.