“Snowfall”‘s Cast and Cocreator Are Happy “We Got to End the Story . . . the Way We Wanted To”
“Snowfall”‘s reign has come to an end, but the cast and crew are pleased with their series’s epic six-season run. “Looking at the totality of it, I’m just so proud that it went the distance,” cocreator Dave Andron tells POPSUGAR while reflecting on the FX show’s legacy. “We managed to make something that meant a lot to a lot of people. We got to end the story, with the blessing of FX, the way we wanted to and on our terms. And that’s an incredibly special and gratifying thing.”
“We got to tell our story from beginning, middle, to end. That makes me extremely proud, grateful, and very excited.”
For the past six seasons, “Snowfall” has built the world of the critically acclaimed crime drama, as Damson Idris’s Franklin Saint would say, “brick by brick.” Set against the backdrop of an ’80s South Central LA, the gritty, true-life-inspired series chronicles how an off-the-books CIA operation contributed to the birth of the crack epidemic and, ultimately, destroyed Franklin’s family. Now, on April 19, “Snowfall” draws to a close with an ending that Amin Joseph, who plays the late Jerome Saint, calls “bittersweet.”
The “Snowfall” actor tells POPSUGAR that there were “definitely tears” on the last day of filming season six, but he’s “really ecstatic, proud, and happy that we actually get to close the book” on the series. His costar Angela Lewis, who portrays Saint’s wife, Louie, adds, “It’s like a slow burn to an end, but I’m very excited and really overjoyed to be closing this chapter and ready for a new [one] . . . We got to tell our story from beginning, middle, to end. That makes me extremely proud, grateful, and very excited.”
Following its July 2017 debut, “Snowfall” has taken viewers on a radical journey with Franklin, from his days as a broke college student to a street entrepreneur, with an epic rise and ultimate demise in the drug game. With help from allies like his mother, Cissy Saint (Michael Hyatt); Uncle Jerome (Joseph); Aunt Louie (Lewis); best friend Leon (Isaiah John); fallen partner-turned-foe Teddy (Carter Hudson); and pregnant girlfriend, Veronique (Devyn A. Tyler), Franklin reached the epitome of what he thought success looked like – a multimillionaire businessman who finessed a system designed for him to fail. But money, power, and greed proved to be his Achilles’ heel by the end of the series, making the once-respected mogul nearly unrecognizable once he hit rock bottom.
Picking up immediately after the shocking events of season six’s penultimate episode, “Snowfall”‘s series finale finds Franklin still desperate to hold onto his dwindling fortune – most of which he lost after his mom killed Teddy, who was just about to transfer $37 million into his bank account. With Cissy in jail, Jerome dead, Louie on the run from the law, Leon in Africa, and Veronique absent at his lowest point, a down-and-out Franklin spirals over the course of a three-plus-year time jump – which concludes with him being a broke, alone alcoholic who has been evicted from his mother’s paid-off house (that he failed to keep up with property taxes on). It’s a jarring, unexpected conclusion that Andron says was motivated by finales we’ve traditionally seen in other TV series.
“Up until pretty late in the game, everything was on the table,” he explains. “[Franklin] could have died. He could have gone to jail. There were versions we thought about where it was like, ‘What if he makes it out with the money and loses his soul?’ Ultimately, this was something that the writers in the room came to over the course of the last season or two. That notion of, ‘Can we do something that feels different than the fates of great TV antiheroes of the past? Something that really feels specific, true to our world, to Franklin, and all that he’s been through?'”
In the end, the series finale writer says Franklin “burned every bridge” and had “done every horrible thing he can to try to get ahold of this money” – but the failure to do so is something he just can’t grasp. “I never saw Franklin as a psychopath,” Andron adds. “I think he felt the weight of these horrible things that he had done. He’d rationalized them and keep going, and he’d tell himself it was going to happen anyway . . . But at the end of it, there’s no more rationalization. He has to really face everything that he’s done and that he has nothing to show for it.”
The sweeping story of “Snowfall”‘s Franklin began with Andron, cocreator Eric Amadio, and the late, great John Singleton, who died on April 28, 2019, at age 51 – less than two months before his show’s third season premiere. The filmmaker and TV creator famously cast Idris, a London native, as the lead of his series – which is deeply connected to Singleton’s South Central roots – and went on to mold the first half of his cultural phenomenon before leaving it in the hands of his beloved cast and crew.
Joseph recalls losing Singleton while he and his castmates were still shooting season three. “It was surreal,” he shares. “One day, you have your helmer, and then the next, it just felt like . . . It was crazy.” Though it was “bittersweet” to continue the series without Singleton steering the ship, the actor says it came with ease because the director left the “Snowfall” crew all the tools they needed to be great.
“All of that intention, goodwill, enthusiasm, enchantment, Renaissance man, passion, forethought of putting people in position and empowering people. Telling people the stories of how he grew up, and these are the type of people [we’re playing], this is what your character would be inspired by; taking you to the neighborhood where those people are, inviting you and taking you on his boat, to meet his mom, showing you all of the things that make his story special to him – that lives in you,” Joseph continues. “He empowered people in that way, and that in and of itself was a great lesson. Of course, we had to pick up the ball and be what he was for other folks, but at least it had been modeled already.”
Rarely do shows like “Snowfall” – ones that center Black stories, Black characters, and Black history – make it far enough to complete their arcs from start to finish in the unpredictable TV landscape. But the FX staple changed the game, and cast members like Lewis consider it an honor to be part of that history – history forever tethered to Singleton’s groundbreaking legacy.
“‘Boyz n the Hood’ started shooting in September of 1990, and that’s absolutely a homage, a tip of the cap to him and the stories that were going to be told about the neighborhood that Franklin created.”
“It’s been a wonderful thing to be a part of so many legacies. ‘Snowfall’ is a legacy in and of itself, and then there’s the legacy that ‘Snowfall’ belongs to: John Singleton’s,” Lewis says. “John Singleton was a giant of a human being. He changed a lot of lives. He fought for a lot of people, for equity – in front of and behind the camera, for the integrity of the story, his stories, to be told with authenticity. He was fighting for a lot of things, and to be a part of that, to witness that, the people themselves whose lives he’s changed – including my own – I’m like, ‘Wow.’ . . . I get to carry those things firsthand that I’ve seen that made John who he was. To be part of that is incredible, and I will always cherish that.”
Week after week, in the lead-up to “Snowfall”‘s conclusion, fans and the cast have celebrated Singleton’s remarkable impact on social media – from revisiting his iconic films like 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood” to applauding his vision for “Snowfall.” But the most heartwarming, and brilliant, “Snowfall” tribute of them all is the Easter egg in the series finale: a scene in which Franklin and Leon walk past a movie set in 1990 South Central – a direct nod to Singleton’s iconic 1991 directorial debut. “‘Boyz n the Hood’ started shooting in September of 1990, and that’s absolutely a homage, a tip of the cap to him and the stories that were going to be told about the neighborhood that Franklin created,” Andron confirms.
Though “Snowfall” has officially closed the book on this particular chapter, Andron teases there may be more to explore down the line with a rumored spinoff. As first reported by Deadline, there’s talk about an offshoot that could potentially star Gail Bean’s fan-favorite character, Wanda, though the cocreator emphasizes that nothing is official yet. “‘Snowfall’ obviously really resonated with a lot of people, so there is still a story to tell.”
What that story will be? We’ll have to stay tuned to find out (although Leon’s update on Wanda in the finale is a small hint). But if it’s made with as much love and passion as “Snowfall” was, we’re surely in for another legendary tale.
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