Everyone's favorite nerd-turned-super spy just returned after it's Olympic hiatus and he's back with a vengeance. In this week's episode, we learned Sarah's real name, just how good a shot Casey is and watched the romantic entanglements tangle even further. Newsarama got to participate in a conference call with Chuck stars Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Joshua Gomez (Morgan), who discuss their bromance, their mutual love of all things geek and where their characters are going. They also gushed about working with Scott Bakula, who plays Chuck's dad and Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd. Viva la geek!
Question: The relationship between Morgan and Chuck continues to mature each and every season of the show. How do you see the maturity level of Chuck and Morgan's relationship...?
Joshua Gomez: I assume you use that word loosely...
Question: The friendship.
Gomez: Not one usually thrown around with our...
Question: It's more mature.
Gomez: Yeah. Actually there's, you know, we - now that we live together and, you know, I think...
Zachary Levi: Oh no she's talking about the show Josh.
Gomez: Oh, oh. Geesz, oh no it hasn't matured at all...I thought you...I thought...okay I was confused there for a second. No I think that, you know, it's - I think that because both characters have matured their relationship obviously has reflected that a bit. But in a way I think they have to go further apart before they come back together. So, right? Don't you feel that way?
Gomez: Yeah, I mean, it's sad really. Sad. So, yeah, I think that Morgan and Chuck have both obviously and in sort of parallel ways have sort of mirrored each other throughout these three seasons in their own different ways, in sort of scale, you know. But, you know, they both have matured, they both have become different people from where we started. I mean, you look back at that and you go wow, you know, I was eating garbage out of a refrigerator in the break room and now, you know, now I still do that but less. And as an assistant manager I do it. With Chuck, you know, he's sort of...he's obviously come a long, long way. I think their relationship reflects that, you know, they're sort of different men now and...that also saddens me, you know, I miss the old Chuck and Morgan sometimes.
Question: You make the relationship sound a little bit like a Elizabethan romance in a way where they have to bust up and then come back together at the end to have that nice high...in for the happy ending...
Question: I was hoping that's the same for you all.
Gomez: You know, yeah, exactly.
Levi: Nothing says Elizabethan like Chuck and Morgan.
Gomez: No really. It was something that we actually talked about quite extensively in preparing for these roles.
Question: The next batch of episodes has your Chuck directorial debut does it not?
Levi: It does yeah...on the 8th is Episode 9, that was my directorial debut...I was really blessed, I mean, we have a lot of great episodes and I felt like I got a really great episode. And, you know, one of the perks of it was that I got all of our regulars, I got everyone in the cast in my episode. Sometimes you don't...other times there are episodes where you're missing a face here or there but in this one I got everyone, I got, you know, Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and good old Morgan Grimes...
Gomez: Yeah, Grimeys...
Levi: And, you know, Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence) and Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay) and Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), I mean, it was really...to be able to work with everyone and really feel supported by everyone. Not once did I feel like it was a strange or uncomfortable or awkward situation. I think part of that just had to do with the fact that I get to work with these guys all the time and I know them to know their characters inside and out better than anyone else does. So you don't really have to say much just kind of let them do what they do and they do it so well. And, you know, I would only come in if there was like a pacing thing, if it was a timing thing, maybe there was a slightly different way to attack a moment. But everyone brings their A game all the time. That's why I love them and respect them so much.
And the crew as well, the crew was so supportive and believed in me. And, you know, we collectively did what we always set out to do which is make a great episode of television. And I feel really strong about that. I feel really strong about the episode and I'm really looking forward to everyone being able to see it and hearing feedback on it.
Question: I wanted to ask, what are you bringing to the table as a nerd yourselves? How are you bringing that out? Where's that coming from? What's your background in that?
Gomez: Oh boy. Now we're talking. Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, now here's a question I can answer all right. So Zach?
Levi: You're killing it kid, go with it, run with it.
Gomez: Oh anyway well here's the, I mean, look as far as...that was the thing when I first read this script, I mean, these two guys I really felt like I knew and grew up with. Exactly this sort of guy that I was growing up, you know, so, you know, video games, sci-fi and fantasy movies, comic books, I mean, you name it was a huge, huge part of shaping who I am and was especially even as a younger man. But I feel like that it started back when I think my dad I think brought home an Atari 2600 and probably took me to see, you know, Empire Strikes Back in the theater I can remember seeing that. So from there on it was a life of a geek for me. Yo-ho, yo-ho as a - so, yeah - so I would say that. And I mean, there's obviously huge differences between myself and the character of Morgan but there's a lot of similarities in there probably a love and appreciation of all things geekdom as we would say.
Question: What about you Zachary?
Levi: You know, literally the same thing. I mean, Josh and I kind of...it's a little ridiculous. I mean, we just sit back and laugh about howlucky we are that we just get to be us I guess, I don't know. Like Josh said, there are certainly, you know, major differences between our characters on the show and our personalities in real life but they are very small and they are very few. Within the first few days of getting cast...and I concur with Josh, when I read the pilot I was like holy crap, like I know this guy; I know him because I stare at him in the mirror every morning and - or at least I thought, you know. And so we both got the jobs. I actually had the pleasure of reading with Josh for his network test, you know, an audition. And when that guy walked in the room wearing his R2-D2 t-shirt I thought we got a winner folks.
Gomez: Yeah, we got a winner, we got a winner.
Levi: We got a winner. And then, you know, before we had shot the pilot he wanted to sit everybody down in the cast and get to know one another which is a great idea. And Josh and I happened to be sitting right next to each other. And I can't remember exactly who started the conversation; I think it might have been Josh. I think Josh kind of, you know, very quietly turned to me and so as to not alert everyone else at the table of our nerdom. And he kind of turns to me and says, 'So are you a gamer?' And I think my ears perked up like that of a German Shepherd and I was like 'What?' And then from then on we were just...we were done, we were cooked, stick a fork in us. I mean, we could go on...we do go on for endless amounts of time talking about - comparing and contrasting video games. I mean, the way that like CS Lewis and Tolkien would talk about like books and like literature like we go on about the pros and cons of, you know...in Mario I was an interesting departure from the normal Bowser villain...
Levi: ...having to battle a giant toad. So interestingly enough the princess being able to float along the sand would drag you down...we both grew up loving video games, loving comic books, loving sci-fi fantasy genre stuff and so to be able to be these two guys now is a very easy fit I think. And because I love Josh Gomez so much and he's such an incredibly talented and nice guy it makes being friends - because we are friends in real life.
Question: How do your characters and yourselves react with Adam Baldwin and his character over the years? I mean, I read his Tweets, he's very conservative, he's very pro-military, he's a tough guy. Do you guys take the mickey out of him everyday on set?
Gomez: He's a big sweetheart.
Levi: Yeah, he's a giant teddy bear.
Gomez: Yeah. It's so fun, yeah. I always feel bad talking about it because I think he might want to, you know, retain that image.
Levi: Oh you know what though, he is, the man is a rock. Of everyone on our show I think I look - he is the - he's the rock, you know, he's been around the block...
Levi: ...multiple times and seen a lot and worked with a lot of incredible talented people. And present company excluded. And, you know, but he's such a trooper and he finds every little moment to make Casey great.
Levi: And it's a pleasure to work, you know..he's a family man, he's got three kids.
Levi: I think, you know, part of the reason why we've found the audience that we have and the success to whatever extent that we have right now a large part of that is due to him and being a part of Firefly and everything else that he's done and having really dedicated fans that he's also very dedicated to, you know. He's an incredible guy. Josh.
Gomez: Yeah, no he is. I think he's an absolute sweetheart...I love getting like Adam Baldwin to crack in a scene or something. I know you probably have the pleasure doing a lot more than I do but me and Zach will laugh at each other and we don't say anything, we're just a bunch of girls. Like we're just like two silly girls at a sleepover. So like with Adam, man, and he's knocking down walls and he's knocking people out. But to make him laugh in the middle of a scene just gives me such satisfaction or, you know what I mean, doing something to get Adam after the scene. He'll hold it together and then it'll cut, and he'll got that was hysterical. And he'll shake his head and he goes, 'that's funny, that's funny' like that's about as crazy as he's going to get...but, yeah, absolutely everything that Zach said...you kind of go, he's the guy on our show who's the vet in a way...and I love how he just goes about his business. He's a smart guy and he's just an absolute pleasure to work with, yeah.
Gomez: How he tolerates us I don't know.
Question: So there's been a lot of talk about the finale actually recently online, not specific so much but I'm just curious, Josh, where the last season said, I mean, there's always with NBC you never know will the show be picked up will it not be. And I'm just curious if the finale if you guys, A, have read it and, B, if it leaves us on a huge cliffhanger, last season's finale or it ties things up just in case the unthinkable should happen.
Levi: We haven't actually gotten it yet. We haven't read it so I have no idea. But I would imagine that it does, I mean, you know, I would imagine it's going to accomplish both I would...
Levi: ...you know, it will wrap things up in a way that you feel some kind of closure, in the off chance that we don't come back for another season but also leave it open to whatever the possibilities for another season would be. I know that that's always the way. The smart way to do things with a show like ours that...has a really rabid and devoted and fantastic fan base but, you know, television is a fickle game and you never really know how things work out. I feel pretty good about what our chances would be for another season, given all the circumstances of where we're at as a show, where NBC is at as a network and where the five new hours of programming have opened up. And so I feel like we could have a place there. But having not read the finale I suppose I couldn't really answer that accurately.
Question: Yeah. I know NBC confirmed a while back that Scott Bakula would be around for one of the later episodes of the season. I wonder if there's anything you can say about what he's doing or alternately anyone else that we are familiar with that might be making a return appearance before the season's out?
Gomez: He's doing awesome work I can tell you that much. Get Scotty Bak.
Levi: I know this is a spoiler and we're not supposed to talk about it but it turns out Scott Bakula is my dad. Yeah, I don't know. He really is doing fantastic work.
Gomez: He is great.
Levi: I can't even tell you how much I love Scotty Bak.
Gomez: I know.
Levi: That guy is not only super talented but he is so fun.
Levi: Like he's like a little kid...you know, we'll just break into song or do funny voices and but he's such a pro...you know, just always on his moments, always diving into this character, Steven Bartowski who is very odd and kitschy and quirky and brilliant and he brings it every time, every scene and it's such a pleasure to work opposite him.
Question: Can you guys say anything else about Emmett's (Tony Hale) death from the beginning of the season since that was so abrupt or is that kind of just wrapped up now?
Gomez: He comes back as a cyborg.
Levi: He's part of the Borg collective.
Gomez: Milbarge 3.0.
Levi: You know what I will say this. Yes, it was abrupt albeit kind of cool, you know...I mean, very shocking and certainly kind of started the season off letting everyone know, hey there's going to be some gnarly stuff that happens. But it was unfortunate in many ways...Tony Hale is wicked talented. So smart, so funny, such a sweetheart, was a pleasure to have him on the show and was really a bummer to see him shot. You know, we found ourselves in a place with the show where, coming back by the skin of our teeth, we didn't have all the resources in the world to keep the show going the way that it was going as far as monetarily being able to keep everyone around and we have a lot of cast members and a lot of people to service. And so I'm not sure all of the things that went into ultimately the decision of having Emmett go bye-bye. But I do believe that Josh and Chris and our other writers, I think they handled it in a really good way. And I know that Tony enjoyed his time with us and I hope that he gets to come back and play Emmett's twin brother or something, I mean. Or maybe Emmett's not really dead. You never know.
Gomez: The shower scene he comes out of the shower like Dallas...It was all a dream.
Question: I wanted to ask you about working with Christopher Lloyd. Have you done it yet and what was he like?
Levi: So insane. So insane. I - yeah...
Gomez: Honestly a genius and a pro and...
Levi: And so talented, such a sweetheart. No it's true though, all of the above.
Gomez: That's so crazy.
Levi: You know, I will say we've been very, very blessed...every guest star on the show has been someone who has been a pleasure to work with. And I think that has a lot do with honestly just the type of person that the show attracts.
Levi: I think that we have a very unique show and one that runs the gamut on genres. And I think that certain actors get it and maybe certain actors don't or whatever. And when I found out Christopher Lloyd was doing our show I think I had an accident in my pants. It was...
Gomez: Zach and I have worked with like ...some really, really cool people. And I think for us personally, that's going at some serious geek fan-boy-dom.
Levi: Seriously, yeah.
Gomez: Yeah so it was like, he's on the set right now. And we don't always get like that, but to have Doc Brown on the show it was like, yeah, are you kidding me.?
Levi: Now I just need a hover board and my life will be complete.
Question: Earlier this season it was really interesting to see Chuck burn an asset and to see how difficult that was for him. And we've also seen how easy it's become for him to just lie to those closest to him. And I was wondering as this season progresses are we going to see Chuck go darker as he goes further into his spy training?
Levi: I don't necessarily know or think that you'll see him go darker. I mean, I know that there was a lot of hubub on boards and stuff about, hey I don't like this new Chuck, he's dark and whatnot. But to me I don't see it as being darker I just see it as a natural progression of a character, of someone who gets deeper into this world of espionage and is trying to do the best that he can and learn and grow as a spy. Which may lead to things that are darker than the normal Chuck that we've come to know. But, no I don't necessarily think he...I don't think that he gets darker. I just think every episode is an opportunity for a new shade or a new color or a new flavor and that's what we saw in 'Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler' and him learning a very valuable lesson and then proceeding to drink that pain away.
Gomez: Yeah baby.
Levi: Don't you know it! But no I wouldn't say that Chuck's ...we're not going to see bizarro Chuck. I mean, he's not going to become this unshorn, fighting himself in a scrap yard although that would make a great episode.
Question: So that's not in the Intersect 2.0 - bizarro Chuck?
Levi: No, you know, you're just seeing the same Chuck it's just a Chuck who's going through some different circumstances.
Gomez: Yeah, I always kind of felt there was like a little bit of reality setting in on a kid who's just sort of moved...again when we first started this thing he was a different guy. I mean, the worst thing that was going on was that he lost a girl and got kicked out of Stanford, that was the sort of the weight on him. And now, he's seen some real stuff. And so I feel like if there's anything it's just a little bit more of a weight on him but that he's still Chuck.
Chuck airs Mondays at 8/7c on NBC