What??? That was probably the reaction of every Jane the Virgin fan watching the Season 4 finale after the final scene. The show is known for loading its season finales with big twists and cliffhangers in the final minutes but tonight’s was the mother of all twists — Jane, walking into Rafael’s apartment expecting a wedding proposal from him instead came face to face with a guy who looked exactly like her dead husband Michael. (Side note, Brett Dier, who played Michael on the show and made a cameo tonight, is starring in a CBS comedy pilot, History of Them, and would not be available full-time should the pilot goes to series but is expected to do multiple episodes of Jane in Season 5. You can watch the cast’s reaction to his surprise appearance at the finale’s table read below the Q&A)
Up until that crazy turn of events, Jane followed closely its established finale formula. There was a Villanueva woman wedding (Alba and Jorge vs. Xo and Rogelio last year and Jane and Michal the year before.) There was another bus ride for Jane (“We see the bus as both literal and symbolic; it marks Jane’s passage into different stages of her life,” Jane creator/executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman told Deadline last year about the bus’ presence in every season finale.) There was a gun pointed at Petra in a cliffhanger for a second straight season finale; last year it was by her sister Anezka, this time, it was an unknown assailant who ended up being shot by Petra’s girlfriend, JR. The mystery, illustrated by #JRShotWho? flashing on the screen, is a cool sendup to one of the biggest soap cliffhangers in history, Dallas‘ Who Shot J.R.?
In addition to “Is Michael alive” and “Who did JR Shoot”, our interview with Snyder Urman also will address another big question — “Is the end of Jane the Virgin near?” The series was just renewed for a fifth season, which is believed to be the show’s final installment but there has been nothing official. Snyder Urman gives some clues about her plans for ending the show (hint — they include Jane getting married) and reveals the theme for Season 5, which would be fitting a possible final chapter — “full circle”.
DEADLINE: How about that ending?
SNYDER URMAN: Oh, I know, I haven’t been able to see it without screaming and I’ve seen it probably 30 times, and it always makes me jump out of my seat.
DEADLINE: Let’s jump right in — was this Michael or do we have yet another set of identical twins on the show?
SNYDER URMAN: Yeah, I cannot answer that but it’s not Michael’s identical twin, I can tell you that.
DEADLINE: So if Michael is alive…
SNYDER URMAN: Well, I’ll say, if that’s Michael and not some Rose twist…
DEADLINE: You mentioned Rose. It’s probably not a coincidence that the appearance of the mystery character who looks exactly like Michael was tied to Rose who is known for faking other people’s physical appearance.
SNYDER URMAN: I think that it’s impossible not to wonder about that because you have a character, Rose, that is tied to his reappearance, and you know what Rose is capable of, but that’ll be answered the night of the premiere of the fifth season.
DEADLINE: Can you give us a hint?
SNYDER URMAN: No, I can’t.
DEADLINE: What is Rose up to?
SNYDER URMAN: That’s all connected but underneath it all you know Rose wants to be with Luisa. Everybody in Jane is motivated in some way or another by their heart and Rose has told Luisa and has told the audience that theirs is the greatest love story ever told and she really gave up that information to find her.
DEADLINE: How did the idea about the “Michael” twist come about? Was it inspired by the big fan reaction to his death?
SNYDER URMAN: I’m always aware of the fans, of the love for the character but I don’t make decisions towards that. It really has to do with the telenovela aspect of our story that I thought it was best for. I don’t think it’s even safe to call it a twist because it’s central to the story and what’s happened and what will happen. I did not know it right from the beginning I’ll say. There’s a moment that I knew that this is how things would go and it was a little while back and that helped shape the rest of the storytelling.
DEADLINE: So what now? Jane and Rafael have been in a great place. How will the (re)introduction of this character shake up their relationship?
SNYDER URMAN: If it’s Michael, which you know we’ll see what we learn, I think it changes everything. In some ways it’s the most heroic thing that Rafael could’ve done to bring him back, but also it’s his worst fear that if Michael was still there he would be Jane’s second choice. So with the reappearance of this character I think he’s done the ultimate selfless act, but I think he’s put their relationship in great jeopardy and that will be a giant part of the storytelling when we finally return for season five.
DEADLINE: Please promise that we are not headed to yet another Jane-Michael-Rafael love triangle?
SNYDER URMAN: Can’t promise anything, but you know it’s a telenovela. She will end up with someone and I hope it will be an exciting development.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about the other big development in the final few minutes of the episode. How long in advance did you plan the Dallas “Who Shot J.R.” reference with #JRShotWho?
SNYDER URMAN: That was right from the beginning and developed as we began to see that character. We knew what would happen and then we had named her Jane, and then her nickname was JR, and from there obviously the light bulb started to stay on as we got into the finale.
DEADLINE: Can we get clues on the identity of the shooter? Obviously it was somebody …
SNYDER URMAN: It was someone that Petra knows.
DEADLINE: Yes, somebody Petra knows, and it can’t be her mother Magda, she is in prison I believe.
SNYDER URMAN: Well she’s not in prison, but she’s in prison adjacent, she’s stuck in the place, and it’s not Magda.
DEADLINE: Is it someone that we have seen on the show or somebody from Petra’s life that we have not met yet?
SNYDER URMAN: No, it will be someone that you have seen.
DEADLINE: Will there be any repercussions for Petra or JR from that murder? Petra already was under suspicion over Anezka’s murder, her ex-lover also was killed, and now yet another body pops up in her room.
SNYDER URMAN: Yeah, she gets a little bit of a black widow stink about her. Obviously she was responsible for Anezka’s death after what we learned in the finale, but I don’t plan to put her under investigation for this incident because somebody had broken into her room and was essentially stalking her and getting ready to kill her.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about your plan for the show. There have been indications that Season 5 would be Jane‘s final season. Can you confirm that?
SNYDER URMAN: No, that’s not confirmed yet. I can’t confirm or deny, that is what I can say. I will say that we’ve planned the ending for a long, long time so we’re stepping towards it. The show’s obviously not going to go on forever, but I can’t confirm that.
DEADLINE: Every season of the show has had a theme related to a new stage in Jane’s life, the current Season 4’s was “recapturing the joy” as you had put it. What will be the theme of Season 5?
SNYDER URMAN: Full circle. Life coming full circle.
DEADLINE: Can you elaborate?
SNYDER URMAN: Her writing. The words she typed on her bed were the words that began our pilot.
DEADLINE: The show also started with an accidental artificial insemination. Would full circle mean we’d get another one of those?
SNYDER URMAN: No, not an accidental insemination.
DEADLINE: You said you’re planning the final chapter. Where is Jane going to end up? Will she eventually get married?
SNYDER URMAN: Telenovelas structurally end with weddings so ours will as well. Whether it’s in the last episode or close thereabouts, that I can’t quite reveal, but Jane will get married again.
DEADLINE: Will we be surprised by the groom, or it’s somebody we already know?
SNYDER URMAN: You already know. That would be really funny and a real twist.
DEADLINE: Well, if this is Michael, he and Jane are already married so that leaves Rafael…
SNYDER URMAN: It’ll end in a wedding is really what I can say.
DEADLINE: What else can you tell us about the next season?
SNYDER URMAN: I think we’ve left on such a big exciting cliffhanger that we’re very excited to delve in. The big question that we’ll be answering is, is it Michael or is it a Somersby situation. Everybody will be in a state of shock from this cliffhanger. We’ll begin to explore that and we’re also going to see big things with Jane’s writing start to happen on her career front. We’ve been focusing a lot on that and on where she’s going and where she wants to get to and that’s going to continue to develop in an exciting way.
Rogelio is going to officially shoot his pilot with River Fields and the shooting of the pilot is going to play an important role in establishing some of the themes that we’re going to be getting into as he translates The Passions of Santos into The Passions of Steve and Brenda. Petra is going to be dealing with the aftermath of who the shooter was and also dealing with her relationship with JR who she really loves and who obviously is quite angry with her (for lying about her role in Anezka’s death).
DEADLINE: Will there be any big deaths next season?
SNYDER URMAN: I’m not going to answer.