Comics On TV

iZombie Stars Say Final "Gung-Ho" Season Pulls No Punches

Rose McIver and Robert Buckley tell Rotten Tomatoes what to expect from the fifth and final season, and how they hope the series will end for their characters.

by | May 3, 2019 | Comments

The CW’s iZombie, now in its fifth and final season, proved to be the little comic book TV show that could.

Based on the DC/Vertigo comic by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, it tells the tale of Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a medical resident who ends up becoming a zombie at a party. But unlike the typical walking dead of other movies, TV shows, and comics, Liv can keep her wits about her thanks to a steady diet of brains, whose personalities and memories she absorbs. Abandoning her old life — and ditching all-American heartthrob fiance Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) in the process — she realized her affliction could be an asset. After getting a job at the county morgue to feed her new brain habit, she and her boss, Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), team up with Seattle police officer Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to solve murders by eating the brains of victims and accessing their memories to find out who killed them.

The show grew from there with an ongoing arc about the origin of the zombie virus and, eventually, the world learning of their existence. By renewing the series for a fifth and final season, The CW allowed executive producer Rob Thomas the chance to wrap up Liv’s story and reveal the fate of New Seattle.

iZombie -- "Dead Lift" -- Image Number: ZMB502b_0253b.jpg -- Pictured: Robert Buckley as Major -- Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW

(Photo by Michael Courtney/The CW)

When Rotten Tomatoes visited the set of iZombie last November, co-star Robert Buckley joked that he had not heard the series was coming to an end.

“This day keeps getting worse and worse,” he quipped. At the same time, his joke was somewhat based in truth: “This is the first year where I haven’t asked ahead for what’s going on.”

In previous seasons, the writing staff clued him in on their plans for Major, who was eventually also turned into a zombie. This time around, he (and star McIver, too) wanted to be in the dark and enjoy the suspense as the series built to its ultimate ending.

“I don’t know how it ends. I don’t know if we’re going to leave the door cracked [for a revival],” Buckley said.

Although the ending was still unknown to both actors at the time of our interview, which took place in the middle of season 5’s filming schedule, McIver said she hoped Liv and Major were finally able commit to one other — at least in a more permanent fashion than the way the show has toyed with reuniting the couple in the past.

“I think most romances — most relationships that I ever seek to believe in — have some sort of chaos that have led into them,” McIver said. “I think it makes you know each other that much better. You’ve been friends as well. The kind of fairy tale illusion is shed, and that’s good, because I think you don’t really know somebody when you think that they’re perfect.”

Buckley recalled talking to Thomas about Major and Liv’s rapport before they shot the pilot. At the time, the executive producer compared them to Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelly Long) from Cheers, a.k.a. one of TV’s all-time great “will they or won’t they?” couples. When he pressed his boss further about getting the two characters together for real, Buckley recalled Thomas saying that perhaps the two would finally make a go for it somewhere down the line, like in season 5.

iZombie -- "Dead Lift" -- Image Number: ZMB502a_0397b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rose McIver as Liv and Malcolm Goodwin as Clive -- Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW

(Photo by Michael Courtney/The CW)

Of course, romance is never an easy thing for the two characters, particularly in light of the insane obstacles they’ve faced over the last several years. In season 4, Major killed Chase Graves (Jason Dohring) to save Liv’s life, and ascended to the head of the Filmore-Graves private military corporation. With him as the new commander and Liv continuing on as Renegade, the two make an uneasy alliance to ensure brain matter continues to flow into New Seattle and prevent a zombie holocaust. And though it might be McIver’s wish to see them together, Liv and Major still have plenty to work through.

“We’ve forgiven each other, but you don’t forget all of the difficulty that you’ve gotten through,” she said. “So it’s not like, ‘Oh he’s straight back in, best friends, everything’s smooth.’ It’s a very complicated thing.”

Beyond the characters’ personal issues, though, both have a keen interest in keeping the U.S. government from nuking New Seattle and its zombie population off the map.

“We both want what’s best for the people around us and the people we love,” McIver said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve banded together at every turn, but there’s a definite respect for the way that we’re handling it and the information that’s shared between us.”

Buckley agreed with that assessment.

“We’re both just trying to protect people and champion justice and all that, but we both found ourselves beginning on different paths and we’ve just stayed on them,” he said, adding, “I think our common goal is the same.” He also added that the death of Chase will allow Major to be less rigid. “I think Major was being a good soldier in some of that, which was a bit extreme. [Now] there’s a bit more flexibility.”

iZombie -- "Thug Death" -- Image Number: ZMB501a_0494b2.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rose McIver as Liv and Aly Michalka as Peyton -- Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

(Photo by Bettina Strauss/The CW)

The situation in New Seattle as season 5 begins is intense, but McIver promised the show will still find the funny.

“[The] stakes are really high. The humor, though, is still really high, which I think is great,” she said. And despite Liv holding onto her role as Renegade and smuggling people into New Seattle, she will still have time to help Clive with cases.

“I feel like I’m pulling out all the stops,” she said of Liv’s transitions into other people’s personas this season, one of which she teased as “Salsa Brain.”

“You’re not metering yourself anymore. You’re not playing this long game … If we’ve got ideas, [we] use them,” she continued. “If we have things that we haven’t played with the other characters we’re using them now. It’s been pretty full-on, like, full gung-ho.”

While being a zombie is a now an important facet of Liv’s existence, there is always the possibility that the cure Ravi discovered in Isobel’s (Izabela Vidovic) brain could lead to a new way of life for the New Seattle zombies. But McIver is ambivalent about using the cure to offer Liv and Major a human ending.

“It doesn’t serve all of our metaphors,” she said.

On the show, zombies symbolize “minorities or people who’ve been marginalized” and offering a widespread cure would suggest that marginalization is like a disease to be eliminated and not a condition to be understood.

iZombie – Image Number: ZMB1_Mondo_.jpg – Pictured: Rose McIver as Liv – Photo: Jordon Nuttall/The CW

(Photo by Jordon Nuttall/The CW)

“I think it’s great for the zombies to still be able to exist,” McIver said. “At this point, I feel like [it’s] similar about humans eating meat. It would be great if an alternative came that was grown. You know how they’re trying to make fake meat? An equivalent of that would be a really good thing, I feel like, for zombies — a fake brain compound.”

Buckley said he would prefer for Major to remain a zombie as well.

“I think when he became a zombie it sort of gave him a sense of purpose again in advocating for the less fortunate,” he explained. “Leave him in the minority and have him be their champion.”

The two actors both reiterated that these are merely their hopes for the conclusion, as neither had seen the finale script. Nonetheless, it seemed McIver may not be ready to let Liv go. While McIver wore a wig while playing the character, she mentioned that she had recently dyed her hair blonde and cut it short, her character’s trademark look.

“I didn’t look anything like Liv the whole time I shot,” she said. “Now I’m, like, clearly finding it hard to say goodbye.”

iZombie airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Calendar Stephen King Film french Comedy pirates of the caribbean video mob Spring TV Red Carpet young adult unscripted discovery Disney+ Disney Plus streamig Emmy Nominations HBO Winter TV Summer strong female leads worst movies Year in Review Amazon Studios toy story live event dogs screen actors guild Toys Epix Fox Searchlight Starz Sneak Peek new york festivals Star Wars Song of Ice and Fire HBO Max Reality Competition prank BAFTA DirecTV Black Mirror A24 transformers festival slashers television Superheroe The Purge romantic comedy cinemax spider-verse comic Netflix Christmas movies CNN documentaries Pirates game show Hallmark Animation robots TLC Podcast name the review child's play obituary parents Family Fall TV Fox News X-Men 2015 Country war disaster boxoffice FOX biopic DC Universe Polls and Games obi wan sag awards crime 2021 Winners space Hear Us Out Disney Plus VOD Sundance political drama foreign lord of the rings TV renewals summer TV preview Mary Poppins Returns scary movies TruTV South by Southwest Film Festival what to watch Film Festival travel green book HBO Go spain book adaptation target Adult Swim 93rd Oscars batman Interview rt archives directors TCA 2017 japan CBS talk show Endgame dreamworks archives Schedule sopranos live action Brie Larson Paramount 2019 SDCC Reality broadcast dragons blaxploitation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Masterpiece 79th Golden Globes Awards kids Wes Anderson rom-coms harry potter Tokyo Olympics international SXSW marvel comics gangster Universal Pictures Trailer Chilling Adventures of Sabrina monster movies cults 21st Century Fox Alien nature comic book movies Classic Film TCA Awards Paramount Network YA TCM anthology documentary zombies New York Comic Con black Watching Series superman australia Holidays 94th Oscars AMC cartoon action-comedy scary TV Land HFPA streaming Television Critics Association summer preview TCA indie YouTube Red Ovation diversity animated Western 72 Emmy Awards Pop TV streaming movies Rocketman stop motion DC Comics scorecard dceu Rocky psychological thriller PaleyFest die hard historical drama emmy awards royal family Drama Warner Bros. breaking bad cancelled TV series vampires nbcuniversal Esquire Comic Book ABC Signature renewed TV shows Nickelodeon Fargo 24 frames Mary Tyler Moore Academy Awards blockbusters politics rotten Columbia Pictures BET serial killer Oscar Broadway WarnerMedia OneApp Best and Worst Walt Disney Pictures king kong Musical cars mutant boxing halloween DGA Prime Video FX on Hulu See It Skip It Captain marvel hidden camera Women's History Month social media technology Showtime CMT SXSW 2022 Tags: Comedy CW Seed best GIFs Sundance Now Mindy Kaling feel good RT History spanish CBS All Access ITV godzilla mcc comiccon remakes blockbuster know your critic comic books Comedy Central comics canceled science fiction Food Network Infographic Tumblr Exclusive Video chucky E3 italian AMC Plus History NBA Instagram Live Anna Paquin a nightmare on elm street 20th Century Fox MCU Heroines Comic-Con@Home 2021 golden globes sequel Quiz WGN Binge Guide Lifetime Christmas movies jamie lee curtis Tomatazos game of thrones ABC Family Mary poppins BBC One rt labs critics edition Best Picture ID thriller popular Discovery Channel Avengers series Cannes 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Biopics mission: impossible reviews TBS 90s art house Cosplay nfl Spike stand-up comedy TV laika Comics on TV japanese fresh elevated horror black comedy Sundance TV Oscars BBC mockumentary IFC Films TV One award winner OWN saw Horror police drama Writers Guild of America Teen debate werewolf trailers Disney Channel period drama vs. movies Universal ghosts Box Office Chernobyl MSNBC Christmas MTV The Walking Dead kaiju biography teaser zombie sitcom fast and furious Apple Photos based on movie posters superhero Peacock Apple TV+ Extras ESPN TNT Bravo twilight Nominations BBC America latino franchise films halloween tv book Syfy Mudbound National Geographic Grammys The Witch quibi dramedy critics cats marvel cinematic universe ViacomCBS true crime Awards crime thriller asian-american Emmys Crunchyroll Fantasy First Look Superheroes worst Arrowverse Best Actor genre 2020 Neflix Legendary FX PBS Spectrum Originals sports Apple TV Plus A&E rotten movies we love kong screenings joker criterion cooking TCA Winter 2020 LGBTQ Opinion SundanceTV PlayStation Awards Tour canceled TV shows E! cancelled TV shows telelvision trophy doctor who critic resources Focus Features suspense basketball Sony hollywood christmas movies Ghostbusters Turner docudrama zero dark thirty Paramount Plus james bond Pacific Islander Marvel Studios Music Hulu Acorn TV reboot summer TV GoT theme song rt labs ratings Image Comics medical drama VH1 football romance YouTube GLAAD Tarantino free movies 73rd Emmy Awards Pet Sematary leaderboard dexter Marathons crossover The Academy ABC NYCC 007 anime Ellie Kemper wonder woman Certified Fresh independent scene in color Best Director legend Funimation 45 king arthur Star Trek Premiere Dates TIFF miniseries Countdown docuseries The Arrangement crime drama concert hispanic hist movie IMDb TV LGBT Kids & Family Election Lucasfilm witnail comedies Shudder Amazon south america razzies Sci-Fi Trivia Tubi Lionsgate high school Black History Month Video Games revenge Rock IFC Thanksgiving Hollywood Foreign Press Association Musicals spy thriller Baby Yoda singing competition Vudu slasher Disney streaming service Cartoon Network tv talk venice new star wars movies Dark Horse Comics binge justice league all-time Marvel Television facebook Marvel olympics Travel Channel hispanic heritage month cancelled NBC news toronto MGM spinoff finale The Walt Disney Company Logo aliens RT21 DC streaming service cancelled television golden globe awards women Crackle Amazon Prime Video The CW Pixar FXX spider-man Television Academy Mystery adenture 71st Emmy Awards Britbox BET Awards Valentine's Day YouTube Premium deadpool 2016 Best Actress Elton John Pride Month jurassic park Lifetime Creative Arts Emmys adventure Trophy Talk First Reviews adaptation aapi American Society of Cinematographers composers richard e. Grant USA Network Paramount Pictures Shondaland TV movies dark supernatural Holiday USA stoner Action San Diego Comic-Con Martial Arts Set visit satire Disney Character Guide comic book movie Freeform spanish language 2017 Amazon Prime dc Nat Geo President VICE sequels new zealand universal monsters interviews APB Hallmark Christmas movies natural history Pop casting 99% heist movie Sony Pictures versus indiana jones Super Bowl 4/20 2018 video on demand Rom-Com 1990s Netflix El Rey classics Turner Classic Movies children's TV cops psycho