Donald Trump Ruined Scandal’s Originally Planned Series Finale

Above: The cast of ABC’s ‘Scandal’ celebrate the filming of the 100th episode
Donald Trump Ruined ‘Scandal’ Original Endgame

Donald Trump ruined the future ending of ABC’s hit drama Scandal. That’s according to Shonda Rhimes in The Hollywood Reporter’s extensive oral history of the political drama, which airs its 100th episode on Thursday night.

Although Rhimes doesn’t actually reveal the original ending she’d had planned for the White House, Olivia Pope and her team of gladiators, she does reveal that Trump’s baffling win made her go back to the drawing board to develop a more fitting conclusion to the series in the current political climate.

“We had a destination, and I don’t know if that’s our destination anymore,” Rhimes explained. “The day after the election, the whole landscape changed.”

When Scandal (the original working title was, Damage Control) hit airwaves back in April 2012, Barack Obama was the was president so Rhimes made the choice to write her president as a Republican. She made the choice hoping to humanize the right-wing political party under Obama’s Democratic administration. With Trump now in office, portraying the Republican party in the world of Scandal has been considerably more challenging.

“We had a Democratic president [when Scandal premiered], so I wanted to take a Republican president and make him human,” she said. “Then our stories would be about what would happen if the wheels came off the bus and nobody was driving the bus. The problem now is the wheels have come off the bus, and nobody’s driving.”

According to Rhimes, over the last two seasons, writers have had to scrap storylines that veered too closely to real headlines ― such as a Russian hacking scandal that compromised a presidential election ― and now the show’s approach has changed entirely.

“There was a very specific planned progression that was going to be easy to tell because Hillary [Clinton] was going to be president, and we were going to be living in the light. But it didn’t occur,” Rhimes said. “I’m still trying to come to terms with that. One bad thing after another keeps happening, and the world feels very unstable. So in a world in which all of the things that we would write on Scandal are happening in real life, it’s very hard to write Scandal the way we used to, when it was like, ‘Let’s make Washington the most outrageous, horrifying place it could ever be.’”

To read The Hollywood Reporters’s full oral history of Scandal, click here.

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Tags: Donald Trump, Scandal

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