Walton Goggins Previews 'The Unicorn' Finale's 'Justified' Reunion (VIDEO)
Season 1 of CBS’ heartfelt comedy The Unicorn comes to an emotional end Thursday, with widower Wade (Walton Goggins) and his friends reflecting on getting older as his late wife Jill’s birthday comes around and his eldest daughter Grace (Ruby Jay) prepares to go to her first dance.
Fans of Goggins’ FX drama Justified, in particular, will be rooting for the series’ renewal afterward: Natalie Zea guest stars as a potential new love interest for Wade. “What is Raylan Givens’ ex-wife doing with Boyd Crowder?!” Goggins jokes.
Watch our exclusive sneak peek of the meet-cute to find out. Spoiler: it involves a skunk. You read that right.
When producers began discussing the mystery role—which represents a turning point for Wade—executive producers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff mentioned Zea’s name almost immediately.
“That was it. It couldn’t have been anybody else,” Goggins says. “I called her and said, ‘Look, this offer is coming. If you say yes, you have the opportunity to deal with Wade Felton, not Boyd Crowder. Just say yes!’ And luckily for all of us, she said, ‘I’ll do anything you’re doing, Walton. Tell me where to be.’ I get choked up thinking about it. To be at this place in my career, that you can call a friend that you love, that you respect and you admire, and say, ‘Trust me, I got you. This is going to be good…’ And for them to say, ‘Yes.’ That’s what you do this for.”
He tells us more below.
This stranger pops into Wade’s life at an unexpected moment, right after he’s had a heart-to-heart with Jill’s grave.
Walton Goggins: I felt like he needed to have this conversation with Jill. Instead of leaning into the expectations of what that conversation would be, I wanted it to be the opposite and represent the truth of what that would be—predicated on everything that he’s learned up until this point, and to summarize where all of these people are, and what life really is with distance and with time. I know this from my own experience, and from my friends’ experiences regardless of what they were going through: once you have a firm understanding of a situation that you have been thrust into, and you’re able to see it from a bird’s eye view, that’s when life changes. And it can change in a moment. It changes in a conversation, and a passage in a book—whatever that is. That’s what we really wanted to explore in this story.
In addition to revealing another sweet bit of Wade and Jill’s history—how they met—the finale does a great job of setting up where the characters would go in Season 2. Michelle (Maya Lynne Robinson) decides it’s time to finish her college degree, which Ben (Omar Miller) fully supports as he builds up his business. Forrest (Rob Corddry) lands a new job, and now it’s doctor Delia (Michaela Watkins) who may be on the verge of a midlife crisis. What excites you thinking about a second season?
Oh my god, the idea of whoever comes into Wade’s life going on a spiritual retreat with Delia and Michelle for three days. [Laughs hard] I want to see what happens in that episode. And what change does to these people… I will say that it will only get funnier, and more absurd, and the moments that land will land with a loud stomp, if you will.
We talked before the show’s Thanksgiving episode, and you told an incredible story of a driver who was bringing you home from the airport one night and had to pull over on the side of the road because he got overwhelmed telling you how he’d lost his wife and was raising two kids, like Wade. Has that experience continued for you throughout the season?
So you’re not going to believe this, but this really happened. I’ve been filming a movie [the dark Christmas comedy Fatman] up in Canada for the last six weeks. I just came back two nights ago, and that man picked me up from the airport. I haven’t seen him since that day four months ago, and we picked up the conversation where we left off. He’s changed over the course of those four months and we talked about it. That just came full circle 36 hours ago.
I was stopped on a hike the day after we wrapped by a 32-year-old African-American man who came up to me and was a friend of a friend of mine. He said, “I got eight words for you: The Unicorn, I love it…” and then he broke down crying. He said, “It’s happening to me.” And I’m hugging him on the hike the day after we wrapped! And then the very next day, I’m doing some press and this 65-year-old white guy from Phoenix, Arizona dips his head into the green room and says, “Walton, I know I’m not supposed to talk to talent or whatever.” And I said, “Buddy, I’m here. What’s going on?” And he said, “My friend, he’s 32 years old, and he’s in my church group, and he’s going through this,” and then he began crying uncontrollably and I just held him.
This hasn’t happened like once or twice—this has happened upwards of 30 times. My heart f**king explodes, man! With joy! It’s like, We’re doing it! We’re doing what we set out to do. It’s just been so gratifying to move through the world as an actor who’s telling a story on an ongoing basis that is making people laugh and making them feel a little bit better about their situation in life. That’s all I ever wanted out of this. It feels really cool.
The Unicorn, Season Finale, Thursday, March 13, 8:30/7:30c, CBS