The CW hit show iZombie has always been a bit of a rare bird: a zombie show that goes more for laughs than gore and leans into social issues, politics and relationships more than horror. After 4 successful seasons, the final stanza is upon on, with a major upheaval in the cast dynamic in store. Liv Moore (Rose McIver) has decided to continue carrying the mantle of Renegade, the zombie protector, while her on and off boo Major Lillywhite (Robert Buckley) has now assumed control of the formerly evil paramilitary group Fillmore-Graves in their battle to keep zombie infested New Seattle free from destruction by the government.
During a recent on-set visit and roundtable discussion in Vancouver, McIver and Buckley teamed up to preview what we can expect in Season 5, including whether or not Liv and Major will finally end up together.
QUESTION: Is it kind of a gift to know that this is your last season, and has that affected the storytelling? Do you feel like it feels more definitive from the very beginning of this season?
ROSE McIVER: I feel like we’re pulling out all the stops. Like any brain that’s left in me, I’m digging. It’s kind of nice. You’re not metering yourself anymore. You’re not playing this long game. It’s like if we’ve got ideas, use them. If we have things that we haven’t played with the other characters we using them now. Like it’s been pretty full on, like full gung ho.
ROBERT BUCKLEY: Well you’ve always killed it with brains and you are still kind of continuing that. I peaked three years ago. But you know, I don’t know what’s happening. This is the first year where I haven’t asked ahead for what’s going on. I always do. So the stakes are high enough right now that I think we’re pulling out all the stops. Like we’re swinging for the fences because I don’t know how it ends. I don’t know if it’s like, oh but they going to leave the door cracked or you know, I really don’t know.
McIVER: And we don’t know what happens with Liv and Major.
BUCKLEY: I know what I want to happen: Friend-zone. JK guys, I want it to work.
You guys have had pretty bad luck with your love lives outside of each other. And you guys each season seem to kind of get back together.
BUCKLEY: Who would you say has had the worse luck? Cause I wanted to be like, poor Major, but then I was reading it was like you’ve had four boyfriends die and you still didn’t learn your lesson.
McIVER: It’s like I’m celebrating more dead boyfriends anniversaries and I am regular days.
BUCKLEY: That would be funny if we ended up getting together and they show a montage of just us continuing to visit Forest Lawn. Like sorry Lowell, rest in peace. Oh sorry. Justin rest in peace.
McIVER: We’ve already seen what we look like as an old married couple so that was nice.
Do you think there’s hope for them to have a happy ending?
McIVER: I do. I think most romance, most relationships that I respect and believe have had some sort of chaos that led into them. I think it makes you know each other that much better. You’ve been friends as well. The kind of fairy tale illusion is shattered and that’s good because I think you don’t really know somebody when you think that they’re perfect. So we certainly have seen other sides of each other.
BUCKLEY: Oh my God. Yeah. Also before we even did the pilot-
McIVER: EARTHQUAKE! Did you just feel that?
BUCKLEY: No, it’s the chemistry. (Laughter)
So now that Liv is still Renegade, and Major is running Fillmore-Graves, are you guys gonna band together to fight the government that is trying to put you down? What’s the dynamic going to be between the two of you?
McIVER: I think there’s a mutual respect and understanding that neither of us had it quite right. Like we both want what’s best for the people around us and the people we love. And I think part of it is ego. Liv had to see where Major was coming from and then we’re dealing with things that are bigger than both of ourselves. So yeah, I wouldn’t say we’ve banded together at every turn, but there’s a definite respect for each other and the way that we’re handling it and the information that’s shared between us. What would you say?
BUCKLEY: Yeah, I would say that we have the same goal with different executions. I think we’re both just trying to protect people and sort of champion justice and all that. But we kind of found ourselves beginning on different paths and we just stayed on it. But I think our common goals the same, which is why it allows for us to have that potential to sort of work together.
McIVER: And be more accommodating of each other now. It’s not like mutually exclusive sort of paths. It’s more that there are occasionally times when I’ll check in and get information from you or vice versa. So we approach it differently but we’re not as conflicted about it all now.
BUCKLEY: Yeah. And also with Chase Graves dying and there being sort of a new era at Fillmore-Graves, it allows for a bit less rigidity. I think Major was sort of being a good soldier with some of that, which was a little extreme, and also with Liv being the new Renegade we were both taking over new operations. We sort of followed their orders. I think in this season we find our voices a bit more. Yeah, there’s a bit more flexibility, a bit more of our stamp on the Renegade and the Fillmore-Graves stuff.
Last season seemed like very intense from start to finish, with death literally hanging over Liv the entire time. Will this season ease up and be less intense, or no?
McIVER: No, definitely not. I mean the zombie crisis has just gotten worse and worse and has been antagonized by groups even more. That’s why I say we just really pulled out all the stops. Stakes are really high. The humor though is still really high, which I think is great. You know that through all of this drama we still managed to find our iZombie tone. Yeah, there’s no relaxing or resting on your laurels.
Is there any brain throughout the course of the series that you would have liked to have revisited?
McIVER: A magician? Because I’d love to learn some more tricks. I loved having that guy around teaching us. You were a bit threatened by him.
BUCKLEY: Listen, as a fellow magician he came around peacocking and you know, I felt a little threatened, yes.
Do you guys have a preference in terms of if you’d like to see your character be cured of zombie-ism?
McIVER: I don’t want her to feel like she has to reverse or has to step away. It also doesn’t serve all of our metaphors that we’ve been showing. It’s been about minorities or people who’ve felt marginalized. So I think that it’s great for the zombies still to be able to exist. I just think clearly there is something that has to be addressed so that they can live together. So my instinct isn’t just to heal her and to make her a human again. But again, I don’t know the ending. I don’t know how they’ve written it.
BUCKLEY: I guess is I would prefer Major to stay a zombie. He seems to gravitate towards championing the underdog and I think when he became a zombie it sort of gave him a sense of purpose again and advocating for the less fortunate. So, in this case, I’d say no, leave him in the minority and have him be their champion.
The final season of iZombie premieres on the CW Thursday, May 2nd.