Warning: Major spoiler ahead! Do not proceed if you have not watched Monday’s episode of Jane the Virgin. Believe me, you will regret it.
That was heartbreaking.
Jane the Virgin pulled the plug on one of its own on Monday’s episode, killing off Michael Cordero Jr. (Brett Dier) and making Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) a widow as a result.
Though there has always been a ticking clock on Michael’s fate -- the narrator opened the series foreshadowing his demise -- it hurt just as much to see it actually play out. What was the cause of Michael’s death? Complications he suffered as a result of the shooting earlier this season while he took his LSAT exam.
Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman penned a lengthy letter on Tumblr explaining why she and the writers went through with killing off one of the main characters, right when things seemed to be looking up for Michael and Jane.
Saying it was “a decision made very early on,” Urman revealed that she put in the narrator's line in the pilot ("For as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never did”) as a way to ensure they went through with it.
“I put that line into the script at the last minute to hold our feet to the fire, to make sure we went through with it. Because even back then, the writers could all see the magic of Jane and Michael together,” she wrote.
It was important for Urman to “prepare” viewers for the inevitable; according to her, she felt it was only right. “If the writers and actors loved Michael so much, then I knew it would be devastating for the fans. So then, the only surprise we had left, was when,” she continued.
Urman admitted that she had planned for Michael to die “earlier,” but Dier’s performance caused the writers to change “some things in the writers’ room.” Instead, they reached several milestones, including getting married, having sex and moving into their first home.
“Well now, everything is changing again. How does our romance-loving hero move on, how does she get back the light and the hope? Well, it’s certainly not quick,” Urman explained, referencing the three-year time jump. “We’ll be flashing back to those three years and filling in gaps, but mining emotions realistically is something we work hard on and we knew the immediate pain of that loss would overwhelm our storytelling.”
“She’ll always feel Michael’s absence (and trust me, we will too), but it opens up our storytelling in new and exciting ways, while allowing for the light and bright Jane world that we love to write.”
The showrunner also praised “the magic” of Dier, who has played Michael since the pilot.
“He took a character -- built from the beginning with secrets and moral lapses -- and made him so likable, so funny, so sincere in all the right ways, that most of our writers’ room became #teammichael by the end of the first season,” Urman wrote. “And I honestly don’t think I’ll ever love a moment on our show as much as I loved Michael’s vows to Jane… Which is to say, this was a devastating episode for us to write.”
Jane the Virgin airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.