‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Showrunners Break Down That Epic Finale, Book Changes and a Potential Season 2

SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers for all 10 episodes of “Daisy Jones & the Six,” now streaming on Prime Video.

“How did we get here? How do we get out?” As Riley Keough’s Daisy belts these words in her band’s last performance, the lyrics from “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)” take on a whole new meaning in “Daisy Jones & the Six.”

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A lot has changed since we first met the members of the Six: Billy’s become a father and gotten sober, Karen and Graham have fallen in love and been confronted with an unexpected pregnancy, while Daisy’s just suffered a frightening overdose.

In the 10-episode miniseries’ finale, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” scenes of the band’s larger-than-life concert are interspersed with vignettes of each character’s struggles leading to the band’s breakup. In the end, it’s revealed that Billy and Camila’s daughter Julia has been behind the camera for their documentary interviews all along.

Co-showrunners Scott Neustadter and Will Graham spoke with Variety in February to unpack the finale, the changes they made from the novel and their hopes for a second season.

In the book, Camila’s final wish is for Billy to call Daisy. The show takes it one step further, as we see Billy show up at Daisy’s front door. Why was that the right ending for the series?

Scott Neustadter: Everything I ever want to do in my life is to imitate the end of “The Graduate,” which is my favorite thing ever. The open-endedness of it is really just so beautiful. I always gravitate toward those kinds of stories. I really don’t like happy endings, but I do really appreciate a good hopeful one. I feel like the version of this story that ends in the most hopeful way is that they’re going to try to see what it feels like to be in the same room again, after all that time. And I don’t think we know how that’s gonna go. The ending kind of leaves the door open for a continuation. I feel like there’s a pretty satisfying conclusion, but at the same time, there are some questions that go unanswered.

Will Graham: I think Taylor ended the book in a really, really beautiful way on a question that speaks to both the messiness of life and the road that it takes you down. From the moment that Billy and Camila meet, and the moment that Daisy and Billy meet, I think they unquestionably know that they are important forces in each other’s lives and in some way they make each other into more of themselves — more of the person that they’re supposed to be.

What’s beautiful about the writing in the book, and what we tried to bring to the screen, is the fact that none of these relationships fit neatly into a box or into our preconceptions. Daisy and Billy are trying to figure out if they’re supposed to be lovers, bandmates, or enemies. At the end of the day, you know that they’re always going to find a way back to each other. I think that sort of hopeful feeling is what we were trying to give people.

Sam Claflin (Billy Dunne), Riley Keough (Daisy Jones)
Sam Claflin (Billy Dunne), Riley Keough (Daisy Jones)

How did you land on the structure of the finale, calling back to the moments leading up to the band’s final show?

Graham: That’s an episode that we worked incredibly hard on. We’re bringing to a head all the stories that we’ve been telling in the series, but we wanted to make it clear for the audience that every single character going into that concert has a huge choice to make. The band didn’t just fall apart because of Daisy and Billy. It was everyone. What we tried to do is create a moment where you can feel how Daisy and Billy could be together. But they can also see, in that moment, the versions of themselves that they’d become if they let themselves go down that road. They’re now aware enough to know that that’s not the right road for them at that moment.

In a similar way with Karen and Graham, he is willing to give up a piece of what he wants for his life for Karen, and Karen doesn’t want him to do that. These big and hard choices that really come out of compassion and love for each other, I hope will be cathartic and fun and electric for fans.

The scene when Camila accompanies Karen to her abortion is powerful. How did you craft it for the screen?

Neustadter: There was a whole scene written in the car where they talked about it. It was one of those things that you watched in the edit and you said, “You know what, all we really need is the way they look at one another.” Camila is, more than anything else, so proud to be a mom and so in love with being a mother. But at the same time, she knows that she and Karen want different things and they’re different people. She loves her friend and this is her way of supporting her and it just sort of goes with exactly what these characters would do in this moment.

Suki Waterhouse (Karen Sirko), Camila Morrone (Camila)
Suki Waterhouse (Karen Sirko), Camila Morrone (Camila)

One of the most prominent themes in the novel is women fiercely supporting each other. How did you translate that to the screen?

Neustadter: All credit goes to Taylor for setting the stage with that. All of the women in this show, even the ones that have conflict with one another, are really just good friends. They provide the thing that the other needs when they need it. There’s this beautiful moment in the end of the concert episode, where Daisy sees that that Karen is hurting and puts her head on her shoulder. The show really ends up being about humanity and how we treat each other: how can you be a good person?

Graham: Rock ‘n’ roll is something that we that we see primarily through a male gaze and a male lens. I’m non-binary. Reading the book, you feel a different gender lens on the story that’s still important. Yes, there’s a love triangle, but it’s genuinely a triangle where all of these characters love each other. Daisy and Camila love each other. But that isn’t easy. It’s not easy to find those answers. Daisy, Camila, Karen and Simone have really complicated layered female relationships that we just never wanted to take into a territory that felt anything like the tropes that you sometimes see. Our incredible writers room played a huge role in that, but so did the actors.

Simone’s role is far more substantial in the series than in the book. How did that come about?

Neustadter: Simone as a character is really a fascinating kind of thing in the novel. She definitely plays the role of Daisy’s confidante, and a lot of her plot machinations in the novel help Daisy on her journey. We thought Simone as a character was really fascinating, but also that world of underground disco in New York, which is only kind of flirted with in the book. I want to live there. I want to see more of that. We talked about ways to do that and came up with a completely new Simone storyline and a little bit more depth of character than we were given in the book.

I wish we had more time to spend on it, honestly. Simone is such a cool character that she could have her own show. We could only do so much in this show, but we wanted to do enough to honor that character and at least hint at a completely fascinating universe that’s on the other side of the country, that in another season, we could spend a lot more time on.

Riley Keough (Daisy Jones), Nabiyah Be (Simone)
Riley Keough (Daisy Jones), Nabiyah Be (Simone)

Graham: The first conversation that I had with Taylor, who’s become one of my favorite people in the world, I said to her, “What would you want to see in the show that you didn’t get to do?” She didn’t even think for one second: “More of Simone!” We wanted to give her a whole life as a character. I’m queer. I want everything I do to bring queer stories to the forefront in one way or another.

There’s such an amazing story of disco coming out of queer and predominantly Black clubs in this moment that we still haven’t seen much of on screen. When people think of disco, they still tend to think “Saturday Night Fever.” We tend to dismiss disco as substance-less. For people from historically marginalized groups, saying “just dance” is like a revolutionary statement. Nabiyah [Be] just has so much dignity, so much presence. The first moment that she sings in the show, you just think, “Wow. This is a powerhouse.”

The novel has a devoted following. Are you nervous for how die-hard fans will react to the changes you made?

Neustadter: Because the book is so beloved, everyone has their ideas in their heads. The series version will become the definitive version. The book is told as an oral history. You’re getting fragments of a story, and not really the whole story. But when we show you what happened, we can only avoid the truth so much. You can have different perspectives, you can have people remember it differently, but you’re still gonna see things.

Graham: I’ve had a lot of moments in the last year with bringing “A League of Their Own” to the screen, where you’re dealing with an adaptation where people love what it’s based on. It can definitely be scary at times, but we love Taylor’s book, and are telling the story for television. There’s tons of moments in the book where you don’t quite know exactly what happened. We actually talked to some people who study memory and read quite a lot about it. We learned about when people are looking back from 20 years later, how they make their stories a little neater.

Our goal is to keep the feeling exactly the same, but just to bring an authentic kind of messiness to how the story played out. The novel poses these really fascinating questions: the moment where Camila leaves the house and goes to see an old friend, and you don’t know exactly what that means. What happened with her and Eddie in the show was an answer to that question. It was all sort of trying to answer the questions that the novel gave us in a really satisfying way. Hopefully fans will see that it is coming from the same spirit and embrace it.

Though it’s been billed as a miniseries, is there any chance of a second season?

Neustadter: I think that would be amazing. If people are interested in this story and these people, maybe we’ll get an opportunity to do that. Leave the door open. Why not? If people enjoy what you’re doing and want more of it, that’s not a bad problem.

Graham: We had the most amazing time making the show. For me, that question goes back to Taylor and if she has another chapter for these characters in her head. If we got an opportunity to do it, I think, no question, everyone involved in the show would show up with bells on.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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