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‘The Leftovers’ Creators Discuss Finale Reactions and Give a Few More Unexpected Answers

Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta, and Mimi Leder shared one last goodbye at the ATX TV Festival and provided more answers in the process.

Damon LIndelof, Tom Perrotta The Leftovers Season 3

Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta in production on “The Leftovers”

Ben King/HBO

Speaking of The GR…

Earlier in the discussion, the trio was asked about what choices surprised them while making the series. Perrotta, for his part, immediately went to one of the cast, crew, and world’s favorite person: Ann Dowd.

“We had no idea Ann Dowd would have the power she did in that role,” Perrotta said. “She had such force, she seemed to embody the Guilty Remnant.”

Bridging off of that, Lindelof provided one of the best definitions of the GR’s complicated mentality yet.

“It hurts too much to feel connected to other people, so I’m just breaking off from that,” Lindelof said, speaking from a GR member’s perspective. “I think that’s a very dangerous, damaging emotional idea.”

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’ Review: Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux Deliver The Ending We Need, and One of the Best Finales Ever

Lindelof then recalled a story he told Perrotta when they first met: that, when he was a kid, he had a recurring nightmare that his parents didn’t recognize him anymore, and therefore, they didn’t care about him.

“I couldn’t imagine a worse feeling, and that’s what the GR stands for,” Lindelof said. “That’s why they exist.”

There is no family, indeed.

The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 8 Finale Carrie Coon

And Speaking of Nora…

When looking back on how Nora-centric the series became, Lindelof noted they were always keen on bulking up the character’s role.

“One of the things we talked about was, ‘How do we defuse the male antihero trope?'” Lindelof said. “‘How do we make Kevin not that?’ And the answer was that we make the show as much about Nora, if not more so.”

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’: Damon Lindelof on The Finale’s Two Endings and Why You Can Believe in Both

Lindelof noted how one of the most important topics on the show was the idea of belief, and taking a character firmly rooted in one perspective and changing her mind was crucial to allow viewers to do the same.

“In many ways, the journey of the show, the most profound loss, the person least likely to adopt a system of belief that she deems ‘bullshit,’ that was Nora Durst.”

Hence, “The Book of Nora” ended the series, and the last shot was of Nora’s smiling face. (You know, other than those doves.)

The Leftovers - Doves (Finale) ending gif

The End Is The End

Reflecting on how it all began, Ryan asked Perrotta — who wrote the book that inspired the series — if he was the George R.R. Martin of “The Leftovers” universe; if he had imagined, prior to writing on the show, what might come next after his book ended.

Perrotta said he could have never imagined where it went, but he did always believe he’d only told one story among many fascinating ones in this world.

“I really did think it was a microcosm,” Perrotta said of his book. “I took this global event and told it through one family in one town. It was clear to me there were many more facets to the story than I’d put in the book, but I didn’t go into [the series] with an agenda. The book was an acorn, and now we have this mighty oak tree.”

That idea raised the question if Perrotta would ever go back to “The Leftovers” universe to tell more stories, either in novel-form or another medium.

“Would you ever return to it?” Ryan asked.

“No,” Perrotta said.

“The Leftovers” has ended. It’s time for all of us to move on.

The ATX TV Festival runs June 8 – 11 in Austin, TX. IndieWire will be on the ground throughout, so check back for more coverage soon.

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