Apparently, we did not learn how Mad Men will end when creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner spoke about the series’ eventual conclusion last year. His remarks in 2011 led many reporters and bloggers to believe that Mad Men would end in present day with a now mid-eighties Don Draper. Lead actors Jon Hamm and January Jones hopped on conference calls with reporters and revealed that it’s just not true.
Weiner was quoted saying, “I do know how the whole show ends. It came to me in the middle of last season. I always felt like it would be the experience of human life. And human life has a destination. It doesn’t mean Don’s gonna die. What I’m looking for, and how I hope to end the show, is like…It’s 2011. Don Draper would be 84 right now. I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it’s related to you. It’s a very tall order…”
Most readers took the quote to mean the series’ last scene would take place in 2011 or some equivalent present day. And apparently, that would have been a little clearer had we heard the words instead of reading them. “That is totally false,” he said, adding that reporters “read that quote instead of listened to it. What he said is ‘I don’t want it to end in that way.’ That’s been misunderstood by a lot of people.”
Jones reiterated Hamm’s assertion, saying “I don’t think he’d ever take us to 2012.” Besides, old Betty isn’t something Jones ever wants to see, “I do not want to be aged Betty. Poor Betty!” So there you have it: no giant flash-forwards for the Mad Men set.
What Wiener actually meant was something much more profound: that he wants to connect Don’s legacy and his journey to the present world. He wants us to see what he’s created and say, “Oh, that’s why the world is this way.” That really is “a tall order.”
For more from Jon Hamm, check out the full interview here.