Why 'Transparent' Is Ending With a Movie Musical


'There is no way to go back to a plain old season five and try to repair by going back,' creator Jill Soloway said post-Tambor.

Transparent is taking a unique approach to wrapping up its story.

When Amazon announced in July that it would be ending the comedy, following Jeffrey Tambor's exit, it was unclear what form it would take. On Wednesday, the streaming service confirmed at the Television Critics Association press tour that Transparent's swan song would be a movie musical. The decision to go down that road, instead of a traditional final season was made by creator Jill Soloway

"We would never have wanted to take a special, incredible show like that and just end it unceremoniously. It was Jill's idea to do a musical movie," Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke told reporters during the executive session. "We signed off on that idea, trusting her that she would come up with something incredible. We all sat in the front row of a musical run-through of this movie where we were crying. It is really special."

"I think it's going to be incredible -- not just special because it's so wonderfully done [by] such an incredible team executing it. It brings the whole thing full circle," Salke noted. "The end... I don't want to give away much about it, but it does everything you would want it to do."

Later in the day, Soloway shared on Amazon's Visionary Voices panel that being back on the Transparent set in nearly two years made her "so happy," adding that they wrapped four weeks of production on the movie musical on Friday. 

"Right as my parent came out [in 2011], the very first instinct I had before I wrote Transparent was that my sister, Faith, and I were going to make a documentary musical. That was kind of the first impulse was to use song and then Transparent came about and it was such a beautiful experience," Soloway revealed.

"In many ways, some people have said that Transparent has always been a show that wants to be a musical because there's all these musical numbers and there were all these scenes about [Tambor's character] Moira and they wanted the kids to come see her sing and Shelly singing on the boat," she added. "When everything went down last year and we lost Jeffrey Tambor, we went through so much as a family that we felt that it was very emotional. There are no words. There is no way to go back to a plain old season five and try to repair by going back."

While Soloway kept mum about how the Transparent wrap-up addresses Moira's absence, she expressed that the plot of the movie musical was borrowed from an idea they were hoping to utilize for an actual stage musical. 

"We kind of dared ourselves to follow through and put all of Faith's songs that she was writing -- she was already starting to put songs together for a possible Transparent musical down the road on Broadway. We took the songs, we took the storylines," she said. "I'm in such a good mood this week because we were able to do something that I feel like is going to astonish and reward fans."

"It was a way to take music and transform the family to be able to come together and have that feeling of transition," Soloway teased. "This show isn't necessarily ending, it's transitioning in a musical."