The actress talks to ET about how the game-changing final moment was two seasons in the making.
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Sunday's two-hour finale of Timeless. Believe us, you will be sorry.
Editor's note: The fate of the show has not been announced yet.
Timeless just went to the... future?
In Sunday's two-hour finale, the Time Team said goodbye (presumably) to Rufus, who, despite his best efforts to avert death, perished in 1880s Chinatown during a rescue mission to save Jiya. But the group didn't have time to mourn Rufus for long. Moments after they returned to the bunker, another time machine -- one that looks suspiciously more futuristic -- blasts through, catching the team off guard. Who just announced their arrival?
The hatch opens and it's... Lucy and Wyatt?
Yup, that's right. Lucy and Wyatt just met Future Lucy and Wyatt. "Well, what are you waiting on?" future Wyatt, rocking a perfectly-groomed beard, asks the shell-shocked Time Team. "You guys wanna get Rufus back or what?" future Lucy, in a short bob and giving off major Lara Croft and Ripley vibes, chimes in. Jaw, meet floor.
Turns out, the game-changing finale revelation was in the works since the very beginning -- well before the series' debut in fall 2016. "What you see at the end of the finale was pitched to me in my meeting when [executive producers] Shawn [Ryan] and Eric [Kripke] asked me to play the part, so it's been two seasons of getting to that moment," star Abigail Spencer tells ET. "That was the sadness of when we got canceled [last year] was, 'But there's something really good coming!' That's just the heartbreak of narrative storytelling."
Following the bonkers finale reveal, ET spoke with Spencer about how the moment came to be and why it was satisfying to have it finally come to fruition.
ET: My jaw dropped when we saw future Lucy and Wyatt. Matt Lanter had told me the finale ended in a way that "changes everything," and this sure does.
Abigail Spencer: We actually filmed me, a Future Lucy, in the pilot and then we ended up cutting it and decided that it would be better to work toward that, instead of introducing that in the pilot. That was pitched to me from the beginning and part of why I took the job, because I know where we're going. What's interesting about the time travel and the character development are things are going to keep developing, and tracking those changes over time is why people are getting hooked into the show in season two. Season one, we really had to set up the world and season two, we've really been able to explore the characters. That's cool that you weren't expecting it.
The versions of Lucy and Wyatt we've gotten to know these two seasons just met their future selves face to face. How did you wrap your mind around that doppelganger moment?
(Laughs.) Thank goodness I'm friendly with [Orphan Black's] Tatiana Maslany, who's one of the greatest actresses in the world, and she has had to do it with eight of herself, so I have a good cohort to confide in and seek advice from if necessary. And, you know, I think it'll be a challenge to not work 24 hours around the clock. For storylines, that'll be a challenge as well. The Future Lucy that you meet at the end already knows that this happened and already knows what's happening with Lucy in the present, so there can be a bit of levity to it because they're like, "We're going to do that thing." I'm very curious to see where it goes. I really hope that we get to do more.
Just so we can confirm this point: How many years in the future are Future Lucy and Wyatt from?
It's five years in the future -- and Flynn actually said that in the episode that aired last week. What's interesting is, when you go back and watch season two after you know what's happened in the end, you're really going to see all the clues that were planted. Flynn says, "You came to me. You looked about five years older. You looked good."
Future Lucy seems completely different from Lucy in the present and has a badass Lara Croft vibe to her. Did the producers indicate to you what Future Lucy was like?
In my original meeting with them, they pitched Future Lucy as Sigourney Weaver in Alien. When we meet Lucy in the pilot, she's a historian, and that was my pitch back to them. If that's where we're going, she's gotta be awkward and kind of earnest and optimistic and child-like, so that's what we've been tracking. Where we met Lucy and where she's going, there had to be a real difference. Also, Lucy's more in transition in season two because she's not there yet, so that's going to affect who you meet at the end of the finale. Lara Croft in Tomb Raider has been referenced, Sigourney Weaver in Alien has been referenced a lot. Everything that she's [been through], it's important that she becomes a fighter -- with her and Wyatt side by side.
Fans might read into Future Lucy and Wyatt coming through together as possibly signifying that they're together five years into the future. What's your take?
I think we'd have to be picked up for season three to know what happened. (Laughs.)
Lucy and Wyatt had a big moment before the big reveal, where Wyatt says "I love you" to Lucy and pours his heart out about things that were left unsaid in the past about his feelings for her. Where do they stand with their relationship following that conversation?
It's interesting timing that future them shows up. That's going to be hanging in the air for present Wyatt and Lucy, and it'll be interesting to see how much more forward in time they've gone. I don't know what's going to be happening between the present and five years down the line, but that conversation will be hanging over the air now. And Lucy might have to make a choice. I do think she's developed feelings for Flynn and I think she's untrusting of Wyatt and his wife. He chose his wife, which he should have, so now what I like is we get to explore how complicated it is.
Flynn's presence has definitely become an unexpected wrinkle.
I know! That's the big phrase: "Flynn it up, Flynn!" "Flynn's just Flynning himself all over the place." (Laughs.)
Is Rufus really dead? Do you know the answer to that question?
I actually don't. I think Rufus is such a empathetic character. You feel a lot for Rufus. You're rooting for him. He is the one where you really don't want anything to happen to [him]. We all feel very protective of him, so I thought it was very smart from a storytelling perspective for him to be a sacrificial lamb and the one we'd all have to rally [around]. Regardless of people's feelings, everyone's going to have to come around together to want to get Rufus back. Across the board, everyone's going to be like, "Nooooo! Noooo, Rufus!"
The big fight between Lucy and Emma was also another highlight, especially after Lucy's mom died prior to that. Can you talk a little bit about that turning point for Lucy?
That was a great collaboration. It was always scripted that they would fight, but to what degree? I was really a proponent [for it] and everyone really rallied around [it]. It's a metaphor. You have to destroy your lead to bring them back. That's what you had to do with Lucy. You had to destroy her. To me, that's why she becomes a fighter is that moment with Emma, when she couldn't defend herself. She's like, no one's ever going to beat me up like that again. I'm never going to ever be that defenseless and that's the catalyst for the Lucy that we meet [at the end of the finale], who is the Lara Croft, who is the Sigourney Weaver fighter from the future.
It's really pivotal, and I was grateful that they really went for it. I was like, just beat Lucy to s**t. You really want to kill her to resurrect her, to be a new person, for season three. Everyone was excited about that. Emma really is our great baddie on the show, and I love that it's the women. It's something the show is doing really well and the way that Annie [Wersching] plays it is very subtle and understated, and she's not trying to play evil and I really like that. I hope we get to explore more of Lucy versus Emma dilemma.
'Timeless' Finale Sneak Peek: Wyatt Comes Clean to the Time Team About Jessica's True Motives (Exclusive)
'Timeless' Star Matt Lanter Teases Season 2 Finale Cliffhanger: 'Lives Are Hanging in the Balance' (Exclusive)