One of the most exciting new sitcoms of the last few years was The Last Man on Earth. The show launched on FOX in 2015 with Will Forte playing the titular last man, a pilot directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and a heck of a lot of secrecy. The main cast was completely under wraps, as the show led audiences to believe Forte really was playing the last man on earth, and we followed his solitary hijinks and melancholy in a really engrossing way.
The show continued for four seasons, and really grew into its own as a unique ensemble comedy. The excitement of those first few episodes was never really captured again, especially as the series fell into more of a traditional formula in its final two seasons, but Forte was always game to throw audiences a curve ball, all the way up through the unintended series finale.
Indeed, FOX cancelled The Last Man on Earth after four seasons, leaving the Season 4 finale cliffhanger unresolved. At the time, Forte said he knew how that cliffhanger was going to be addressed should the show be given a fifth season, but that didn’t happen. However, since the show has been cancelled, Forte is fine revealing the plans they had in store.
In the closing moments of the Season 4 finale, the group stumbled upon a quaint house and farm in Tapachula, Mexico, where they decided to build a home. But after making the decision, the group found themselves surrounded by mysterious underground colonists.
Speaking on Vulture’s Good One podcast, Forte revealed what would have happened next:
“The way that we would have handled these people — basically they had been in this bunker and they went down when the virus had first started. They had some kind of medical expert or scientist who knew, ‘At this certain point, the virus will be dormant. You’ll be safe to get back out.’ Then they see a bunch of stragglers — us. And we represent a real threat to them, because they’d thought everything was dead, so they quarantine us.
And we eventually communicate with them a little bit. They get comfortable with us. They’re very nice people. They look scary but they end up being nice people. They’re probably a couple famous people in there hopefully, or at least one. Somebody, I don’t know. Somebody’s acting. Somebody’s the main person. And eventually we’d all get comfortable with each other, and they would kind of let one person out. They wouldn’t be scared anymore.”
As with all things Last Man on Earth, this plot point would’ve taken a ridiculous turn that would then have led to the final episodes:
“But then we are immune to the virus but we’re carriers. And so we would infect them and they’d die like wildfire. And then we’re back to just us. And maybe one famous person we could talk into staying around. So that would have been it. That arc would have lasted four or five episodes. At the very end we were hearing, ‘Oh they’re going to bring you back for ten episodes so you can finish up.’ Because to be honest, I told you about the schedule being just so insane and I was thinking, Oh, ten episodes sounds great. It sounds like a doable amount that I won’t go crazy with. So we would have tried to figure out how we would have rushed to the ending.”
Forte admits on the podcast that they didn’t know how the show was going to wrap up, but that wasn’t uncommon for how they plotted out the series:
“We don’t know how we’re going to end the show. Like, we would’ve tackled that in the same way that we do everything: had it, put it together in the room, and we would have figured that out. And there’s so many smart people in that room, we would have found something that would have been fitting for the audience.”
Alas, Forte and Co. never got the chance to finish their story, but Forte still looks back on the show with deep fondness and pride:
“I am very proud of the show and I love it with all my heart. Certainly there are things where you are striving to do something and make this deeper message that sometimes you don’t hit the way that you want to. But I do feel like we created a cast of characters that loved each other as people off camera, and I think that came across on camera. I am just really proud of the show. The thing I am really proud of is the fact that we were just able to bounce through so many different tones. That moment where Mary Steenburgen reveals to Kristen Schaal that she used to have a kid and the kid died is an incredible acting moment. To be able to have the show go to places like that, I am really proud that our writers were able to create a show where you can mess around so much and then at the same time do millions of fart jokes.”
It’s still a minor miracle that The Last Man on Earth lasted as long as it did, and I hope this isn’t the end of Forte taking big storytelling leaps. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he does next.