WARNING: SPOILERS. DON'T PROCEED UNLESS YOU'VE ALREADY WATCHED THE NASHVILLE SERIES FINALE.
On Thursday (July 26), fans said goodbye to Nashville as the show aired its series finale. And though it's always sad to see a beloved show go, what made the final episode so notable was the fact that it brought back a special character.
Connie Britton's Rayna Jaymes died midway through the fifth season following a fatal car crash, but her character returned to speak some words of wisdom to her widower, Deacon (Charles Esten), minutes before he took the stage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. She also joined her co-stars for a star-studded Ryman performance at the end of the show, bringing it back to the series' Nashville culture and country music roots. Now, Britton's reflecting on the opportunity to be part of the final episode.
"Rayna got to do the impossible. She got to come back from the dead," the 51-year-old actress said in a statement to ET. "I got to do the most wonderful [thing], which was to go back to my Nashville family and celebrate all the hard work and love and care that went into that show. Being on the Ryman stage, reunited with six years of cast and crew, is a moment I’ll cherish and never forget. I am grateful.”
Esten spoke on her return as well, divulging that it almost didn't happen.
"If I'm recalling correctly, we actually did not know that it was a go until very, very close to it. There were a lot of pieces that had to come together schedule-wise," he told ET. "I was certainly hoping and praying that that would happen, because to me, it is as it should be. It wouldn't have been, I think, the same ending. It wouldn't have been the same closure. There wouldn't have been the same magic. There wouldn't have been the same Nashville."
"It was Rayna's story from the very beginning. Even after her character passed away, she was such an integral part of the show," he added. "She didn't haunt those days, but her character and the meaning her character brought to it informed every other scene after that."
"To me, creatively, artistically it felt like the exact, right thing to have," he continued. "Professionally, another scene with Connie Britton? Yes please. And personally, more time with my buddy and my friend, Connie? Yes please. I'm so glad that it was able to get worked out and happen. I hope that the audience feels the same way as we did."
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