[Warning: This post contains massive, massive spoilers for the CASTLE season 6 finale, "For Better or Worse." Please do not read this interview until you've watched the episode.]
CASTLE spent much of this season plotting Castle and Beckett’s perfect wedding, but the finale threw problem after problem at them: they found out Beckett was accidentally married to an ex-boyfriend (who then tried to blackmail her, and got kidnapped); the wedding venue burned down; Beckett’s dress was destroyed; and then once the duo rejiggered their wedding plans, Castle’s car was seemingly forced off the road, and when Beckett was called to the scene, she saw her fiance’s car in flames.
Yeah, it’s going to be a pretty long summer. To get a little more insight into what went down (including Beckett’s surprise husband, and the decision to have C/B not tie the knot this year), I spoke with CASTLE creator Andrew Marlowe about the finale and what’s to come…
Let’s start off with one of the biggest questions I think fans will be asking this summer: who the heck was driving that car, and what can you say about them at this point?
Andrew Marlowe: Our stunt coordinator! Oh, no, that’s not what you’re asking. [Laughs]
Oh, you’re funny! But no, that’s not what I’m asking.
AM: We’re hoping with what we’re doing now, we’re opening up some very interesting storytelling for the beginning of next season. And that’s all going to be wound up in how we’re coming back next year. So we’re really excited to get into it.
Can you say whether the person who was driving the car is a character (or related to a character) the fans are already familiar with?
AM: I think the fans are absolutely right to wonder that. They’re absolutely right to wonder if the specter of 3XK is out there, if it’s Bracken, or if it’s some new element. It’s what we want them thinking. And when we come back, we’ll get into that full force. We think we have something really fresh and interesting to play with that’s going to lead to some very good storytelling throughout the fall.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I was certainly thinking of 3XK when I watched that final scene.
AM: Well, anyone who watches the show knows who all of our standing bad guys are. So we know it’s going to be on the audiences’ minds. And, by the way, it’s very much going to be on the characters’ minds when we come back in. I think it’s only fair to ask those questions. But of course, I’m not going to answer them.
A quick clarification question, though: is there a body in the car? Or is Beckett just seeing the flames and, understandably, assuming the worst?
AM: [Joking] I couldn’t tell, because there were too many flames.
I wasn’t sure if some poor innocent person had to die in order for this ruse to play out and delay them, or if when the flames get put out, they’ll realize the car is empty…
AM: [Laughs] Stay tuned.
Will there be a time jump when next season starts up, or are you looking to play out the impact of that final scene?
AM: I think it’s only fair for the characters and the audience to play out the impact of that. I think it would be unfair to ellipse over something that is such a big moment. And to answer all the questions you’re talking about, and sort of wrestle with them, I think we have to start immediately right where we left off.
So, looking to the episode itself, at what point in craft the season (or series) did you know that Beckett was actually married?
AM: We started playing with the idea a third of the way to halfway through the season. A lot of it had to do with resolving some aspects of Beckett, so when Beckett and Castle move on, there can be a little more parity. So with “Veritas,” we very much felt like we needed to close off Beckett’s mother’s murder arc in order to free her up in order to move forward.
But she also always occupied the moral high ground with Castle and his previous relationships. And this is a way to humanize her a little bit. To take her down a peg in a way that’s very endearing to Castle. [He's thinking,] “Okay, I’m not the only screw-up.” And of course, since she was young when she did it, and she didn’t really know what she was doing and it was all a lark, it’s something that can be easily forgiven. But it does serve as a complication, certainly to the two of them, as they’re trying to get married.
And it’s a little bit of — I believe it was Janeane Garofalo who had this experience where she discovered  years later that she had gotten married in Vegas, and she was with her boyfriend at the time, and it was just a little bit of a lark, and there was no paperwork, and she thought it was all, ha ha ha, church of Elvis stuff, and then she finds out, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been married for all of these years.”
At what point did you know that Castle and Beckett wouldn’t be getting married this year?
AM: In my mind, relatively early on. Because there’s a little bit more storytelling we want to go through before we go there.
Since so much of this season did deal with the wedding planning, are you planning on putting as much focus on the plans for the next wedding attempt, or will it be handled differently this time around?
AM: [Joking] I think that we don’t know Castle’s alive…
Assuming he lives.
AM: Certainly when we leave the season, we have two characters who have advertised themselves as very much being in love, and very much being ready for that. And whatever this experience is — which the audience doesn’t know — it’s something they’re going to have to work through.
I’ve always said, we’re telling a long-arcing love story. And a lot of the clues to it is really the speech in this that Castle gives about fairy tales. And what you have to overcome to have the great love story. And that’s who these characters are: because their love story is so epic, there are going to be these moments they have to get through.
And, by the way…they’re going to get married at some point relatively soon, and we’re going to have to deal with storytelling after that. There’s still going to be interesting challenges and bumps in the road, etc., etc.
Was it important to have that final phone between Castle and Beckett be sweet, loving and supportive before all this went down versus there being tension and Beckett being left thinking something else might have gone down?
AM: Yeah, I think it was absolutely essential to have that phone call: everybody’s cards are on the table, and everybody knows how they feel about each other.
So at least relationship-wise, whenever he returns, they will be solid?
AM: Well, look, that depends on what the experience is. And to talk too much about that is giving too much away. These are two characters who are always trying to be together.
When Castle and Beckett made their attempt to get married, a lot of things were changed up from their original plan: a new wedding dress, a new venue. What, if any, of these new, unplanned elements are you intending to incorporate whenever Castle and Beckett do get married?
AM: I think those are character questions we’re not ready to answer, because I think that’s going to be driven by when it actually happens, and what’s going on.
How will everything that went down impact how Castle does his job with Beckett and the NYPD next season?
AM: I think a lot of the answer to that question is wrapped up in elements of mythology that we’re hoping to open up as we come into the new season. So I think I can’t really comment too much further on that without [revealing] our hand.
As you’re looking to open up new mythology strands next year, are you looking at this as arcing the final story for CASTLE, whether it’s a one, two, three, etc. year-long plan? Or are you more playing it as it comes since television is so unpredictable?
AM: I feel like we have a whole bunch of storytelling in front of us with these two. And we’ll see if the fans continue to be supportive, and if the actors are game, I think there are a number of strands I’m looking forward to exploring. But at any point, if it looks like we’re going to wrap up, I have a pretty good idea of where we’re going to go.
On a lighter note, there was a cute Lanie and Esposito moment when they were waiting for the wedding. Are you intending to play with them and that relationship a little bit more next season?
AM: That’s one I’ll have to say, we’ll see, in terms of some of the other storytelling elements that we’re playing with, and what the balance is — finding the right balance between all the characters.
Before I let you go, is there anything you want to tell the fans who now have a very long summer ahead of them as they wait to see how Castle, and Castle/Beckett will make it out of this OK?
AM: I’m sorry you have to wait so long, but we think, and we hope, the storytelling we’re opening up is going to be worth it and a lot of fun!