Doherty Didn't Charm Kern
Brad Kern, executive producer of The WB's Charmed, told SCI FI Wire that he didn't ask original cast member Shannen Doherty to join a host of returning actors for the series' upcoming finale and added that he had his reasons. Doherty's character, Prue Halliwell, was killed off in 2001; though the series' magical storylines would have allowed the return of the character, Kern said: "There are a lot of issues, mostly internal and financial, as to why we didn't ask Shannen back." He added in an interview on the show's set on March 28: "Prue's memory will be kept [alive] and be honored, but we didn't ask Shannen to come back. ... The show is more about the sisters who are here, not the one who's not." Indeed, the character of Paige (played by Rose McGowan starting in 2001) has been on the series longer than Doherty's Prue.
Kern added that another high-profile cast member won't return: Julian McMahon, whose character, Cole Turner, lasted until 2003. "He did return for the 150th episode, and that was very cool," said cast member Holly Marie Combs, who plays Piper Halliwell and is also one of the show's producers. "We all enjoyed it." She added that McMahon, who went on to play Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movie and to star in the F/X TV series Nip/Tuck, is quite busy. "He told us that he would love to come back for the 200th episode, but we never quite got there." As far as Doherty, Combs rolled her eyes and said: "Well, that's a whole other show."
Kern said during the set visit that many of the fans' favorite characters from the past will be returning. The three sisters' grandmother and mom (Penny and Patty), the "future Chris" and others will be joining the end of the show for the wedding of Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). "In one scene we will have 12 characters," Kern said. "The director is going crazy trying to figure out how to shoot it." Kern wrote the final episode only two weeks ago, but has been planning elements of the end of the series for five years.
Brian Krause, who plays Leo, is also returning after budget cuts forced his role to be scaled back last season. "I don't really understand the reasoning about cutting my character, when they put other characters in that cost just as much or more, but I'm glad to be here for the end," Krause said.
The last episode will be completed in mid-April. "I get teary-eyed just talking about it," Milano said. "We're all pretty emotional. It's been such a big part of our lives." Kern said the actresses have all played a part in writing how their characters will end up in the finale.
Kern said that he doesn't plan a spinoff show and added that he hopes fans will be satisfied that many of the loose ends will be tied up. "It's a valentine to the fans that we will get all of the favorite characters we could afford to come back for the last episode," Kern said. "It will include family from the past and also future generations to show that the life of Charmed will go on, even if it's not on TV." —Mike Szymanski