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“The plan is to make some huge moves and some huge cast changes in Season 5,” says “Power” creator Courtney Kemp as the hit Starz drama wrapped up its fourth season over the weekend.

If you missed the finale, get a brief recap here.

Meanwhile, the series is already into production on Season 5 and Kemp sat down with Deadline to discuss where she sees the show going next. She also shares her reaction to “Power” hitting a season high in viewership — an average of 8.7 million viewers an episode across multiple platforms — despite online leaks of the final three episodes earlier this summer.

Check out excerpts from the conversation below, which contains SPOILERS of the finale.



DEADLINE: So we ended where it all began in some sense, with Ghost, Tommy and Kanan reunited and seeking revenge. Is Season 5 going to be about seeking resolution as well as going to war?

KEMP: It’s an interesting thing because it’s actually kind of a strange bedfellows moment. Ghost, Tommy, and Kanan are having a reunion, and as we like to call it, a family reunion. So as family reunions go, just to say it, it’s always still the same thing with family. All those relationships shift and have different resentments, and old hurts, and old wounds, and all those things are still kind of all working underneath the surface. So, right now, we’ve got these three guys with three distinct agendas all united under the idea of killing Dre.

DEADLINE: It took a lot of time, both behind bars and not, a lot of betrayal and comeuppance to get to this finale, plus a pretty big body count with the deaths such as Julio’s (J.R. Ramirez) thanks to Dre and the killing of Raina by corrupt cop Ray Ray with a bullet intended for Tariq?

KEMP: Well, part of what happened as we planned Season 4, was that the theme of consequences, which was kind of what was running through Season 3 and the theme of redemption that was running through Season 4, those things were underscored by this tragedy having to do with Ghost going inside at the beginning of this season. Really the whole season is about this one thing — Ghost getting arrested and being on trial. That makes everyone react, and everybody circles the wagon. Once Ghost gets out, family becomes redefined, and you see that especially with the Tariq character, who kind of picks Kanan, for most of the season as his family, as his father, and as his kind of spiritual — I wouldn’t say guru —but ideal. So going that direction we thought was really interesting and then bringing everyone back together in episode 10 after the tragedy of the death of Raina.

DEADLINE: With that, the trio back together, Tariq’s killing of Ray Ray, Lela hunting down the shooter and Tasha setting up to take the fall, plus the nine previous episodes that lurched us here, what’s your take on Season 4?

KEMP: I think this is our best season in a lot of ways.

DEADLINE: Isn’t that what a showrunner says every year?

KEMP: Maybe — but it’s because I think it was the most complete season we’ve done. I thought Season 3 was very strong. I thought we did a really good job there. But this season, I think we took a lot more risks, and I think we provided, in some ways, less pure pleasure for the audience than we have in former seasons. There was a lot less time to enjoy Power as pure entertainment. We kind of did a lot more pulling you around, forcing you to have certain feelings. We played with the emotions of the audience a little bit more. I think we did that in a really successful way this year.


DEADLINE: So, with the catharsis catheter held off until next year, where are you with Season 5 and where is this multiple set of showdowns going?

KEMP: It’s actually interesting because we just turned in the first episode of Season 5. Right now, we’re looking at it as a direct pickup, and it begins in a place of Angela trying to figure out, hey, what the hell happened here? Then from that perspective, then it’s all about Tasha trying to kind of keep Tariq out of trouble.

It’s also Ghost, Tommy, and Kanan, obviously, being united in the direction I already spoke of, and then Tariq, now having to pay the price for what has happened. You know, a lot of the people last week were like, I can’t believe you killed Raina. Well, the reason we made that choice, in no small part, was that Tariq’s journey had to include grave consequences, and if he were the one who died, he would not have had to face them.

DEADLINE: A big death is in the offering for Season 5?

KEMP: Look, no one’s been safe on our show for quite some time, but obviously, the main characters have had longer lives. We are reaching the end of this journey, so the main characters are less safe than they have ever been before.


So, of course, it can get worse, because no one’s been caught for anything yet. You know, there’s always another way that things can go badly on Power, but then also there might be some great joy and some great success. People might come out ahead. I don’t know. Maybe two of our characters are going to fall back in love. Who knows?

DEADLINE: On the flip side, you guys had some amazing numbers in newish realms. Yes, you were down from the linear view of last year, but your premiere just blew the wig off the STARZ app. Why do you think that that’s where Power‘s viewers are now?

KEMP: I think it’s because of the age of our audience. Our audience is very young overall, and they are watching the episodes on the app. They don’t necessarily have a linear set-top box. They don’t even necessarily have cable service or pay for premium cable. So the STARZ app has been a great way for us to achieve penetration in audiences that wouldn’t necessarily normally have those things.

Also, you know, within the communities that the show is most successful in, a lot of times, only one or two people in the family had a STARZ subscription. So our first couple of years, everyone was going over to a friend’s or something on Saturday nights and people were having what we were calling “Power parties.” Unfortunately, we were only able to count those households as two people, but people were having 20 to 25 people over to their house to watch the show. We were missing all of that headcount.

Now when people are watching it on the app, we’re actually starting to get a much more realistic idea of how many people really are watching this show. We’re starting to be able to see, like, what a phenomenon it’s actually become. So it’s been quite a journey. The linear numbers are never going to catch up, though, because that’s not this show now. I actually think by next year this time, our linear numbers will no longer be relevant.

(Screen Shot & Loredana Sangiuliano / PR Photos)

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