‘Switched at Birth’ Creator Talks Finale Cliffhanger: ‘We Had a Million Ideas’

“Not everything is fleshed out, but there is a general plan,” Weiss tells TheWrap

SWITCHED AT BIRTH – "And Always Searching for Beauty" – Bay has her first art showing while Daphne applies for an international internship in the fourth season finale of “Switched at Birth,” airing Monday, October 26, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family. ABC Family is becoming Freeform in January 2016. (ABC Family/Nicole Wilder) DAN J. JOHNSON, KATIE LECLERC

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you have not watched Monday’s season finale of “Switched at Birth”)

Monday night’s Season 4 finale of “Switched at Birth” ended with a big cliffhanger, but series creator Lizzy Weiss is keeping a tight lid on what’s coming next year.

After the “switch-ters” make the impromptu decision to spend their summer in China together, the finale takes a 10-month time jump to Bay and Daphne working new jobs in China and speaking Mandarin. But Bay then gets a phone call that forces them home ASAP.

“Not everything is fleshed out, but there is a general plan,” Weiss told TheWrap in an interview about the finale. “We had a million ideas [for what the cliffhanger would be], and we may still use a couple of them.”

Read the full interview below, in which Weiss talks Regina’s drama with Eric, the Kennishes marital troubles and what to expect when the series returns for Season 5 in 2016.

TheWrap: How did you decide to do the big 10-month time jump between seasons?
Lizzy Weiss: The point was that it wasn’t the six-week summer thing that the girls had anticipated. And 10 months seemed like a long enough period that Bay could become a tattoo artist and pick up some Mandarin, and Daphne could get a job at a clinic. Just long enough that you could start to put some roots in a new country.

Do you already know how Season 5 will play out after the cliffhanger?
Not everything is fleshed out, but there is a general plan … We had a million ideas [for what the cliffhanger would be], and we may still use a couple of them. There are some stories that I still love and that we may still use.

How did you reach the decision to bring back the Kennishes lawyer, Craig?
I think we all were feeling that Kathryn had been handling everything so incredibly well all season — it was something that Lea [Thompson, who plays Kathryn] actually pointed out to me jokingly one day on set. She’s always been this steady anchor, both with their son’s girlfriend getting pregnant unexpectedly and their financial problems, she’d always been perfect.

I love to bring back people unexpectedly that you miss, and to have Craig pop up for that portion was just so fun. So unexpected for John and Kathryn in that moment. But she’s a woman. She’s not just a mom, she’s not just a wife, she’s not just a future grandma. She’s actually a gorgeous, sexy woman who needs to feel something beyond her role in her family for a moment.

Why did Eric feel like he needed to run with his son?
Well, he doesn’t trust Hope. There’s no way for him to trust that she’ll never turn him in, so once Will comes back, in that moment, he realizes, “Oh my god. I have the kid. I don’t have to do that compromise and take all these tenuous chances and try to make it work with this ex wife of mine. I can just run.” But a friend of mine, her mom always said that the way you get ’em is the way you lose ’em. He’s always going to be on the run now. He chose his son over a relationship with Regina, and that’s heartbreaking but understandable to Regina, ultimately.

Why was it important for Bay and Emmett to have that scene together?
It’s always so emotional, all of their scenes. There’s so much history there. I don’t even know if we talked about it in that scene, but I just thought it was important for Emmett to apologize for not standing by her with Tank … That discovery made me feel good for Emmett and his growth, and for their long-term relationship. That he can apologize and move on. A lot of people turned against Emmett as a character after that incident, so I think it’s okay to see that he’s a young man, he’s a kid. In 20 years when he grows up, he’ll look back and maybe have different thoughts about his actions and how he behaved.

What’s in store for Toby and Lily now that their baby is here?
The baby has been a big part of the season that we’ve touched upon a bunch of times, and has been part of our larger series conversation about difference. And it’s just another strand fo difference. It was just important that we end the first part of that journey. On the other hand, you’re just beginning the journey. That is a really beautiful moment, and one of my favorites, not just in the episode, but in the series.

“Switched at Birth” will return for Season 5 in 2016.