Dexter is coming back to Showtime, and fans have high hopes for the series' ninth season, which will air eight years after the show's initial series finale. That ending is controversial, but it seems like it will stay canon, according to showrunner Clyde Phillips. In an interview on The Hollywood Reporter's podcast TV's Top 5, the exec made it clear that nothing about the show's first eight seasons will be undone. Spoilers ahead for Dexter Season 8.
"We're not undoing anything," Phillips said in response to a question about resurrecting Jennifer Carpenter's deceased character, Debra Morgan. "We're not going to betray the audience and say, 'Whoops, that was all a dream.' What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years."
That quote might disappoint fans who hated Dexter's first ending, which involved Debra dying, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) sailing into a storm, only to be shown having escaped death and secretly live life as a lumberjack. However, Phillips, who was the showrunner for Dexter Seasons 1-4, also stressed that this story, marketed as a 10-episode limited series, is somewhat removed from what came before it because they allow time to pass in Dexter's world. This strategy means fans will not see the serial killer drama pick up exactly where it left off.
"We basically do get to start from scratch," Phillips said. "We want this to not be Dexter Season 9. Ten years, or however, many years have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage. In so far as the ending of the show, this will have no resemblance to how the original finale was. It's a great opportunity to write a second finale for our show, and Showtime was very gracious about that."
Phillips also acknowledged the backlash to that ending, saying that Hall, who is reprising the title role, was not too pleased with it, himself. However, the exec stressed that this is a chance to give Dexter fans a new tale, not a do-over of the final season.
"Michael is certainly aware that the ending wasn't well-received, and I believe he was not completely satisfied with it," Phillips said. "This is an opportunity to make that right, but that's not why we're doing it. We're doing this because there is such a hunger for Dexter out there."
Dexter is set to begin filming in early 2021 for a fall 2021 release. However, Showtime has not set an exact release date. Aside from Hall, the network has not revealed any other cast members. Phillips and Hall will be the show's executive producers alongside John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Bill Carraro, and Scott Reynolds.