Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season 1 finale of Little Fires Everywhere.
In Celeste Ng‘s novel Little Fires Everywhere, it was revealed in the first chapter that Izzy set fire to her mother Elena’s home. However, the mystery spread through all eight episodes of the Hulu adaptation — and it wasn’t Izzy.
In the final episode, debuting on Wednesday, April 21, it was revealed that the black sheep of the family, Izzy (Megan Stott), actually left town. Instead, her siblings Moody (Gavin Lewis), Lexie (Jade Pettyjohn) and Trip (Jordan Elsass) all started little fires in their bedrooms before waking their mom and telling her to get out of the house.
Elena (Reese Witherspoon), realizing her actions were most likely to blame for each one of her kid’s actions, took the blame, telling the police that she set her own house on fire.
Showrunner and executive producer Liz Tigelaar opened up about her decision to change the ending — and to keep the mystery alive throughout the entire first season.
“It was fun thinking about, if it wasn’t Izzy, who could it be and what could we earn? Who would be the craziest person to start the fire? It was Elena, because she’d be burning down her own house that she seems to value so much. Could we ever earn that? It would be the biggest 180 of a character,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “We all talked about it as producers and were [debating it]: ‘What grown woman would do that? Is it really believable?’ We decided no, it feels like you have to be a misguided teenager to do something like that; it is arson and it’s one thing to read it, but it’s another thing to see it.”
As they continued the conversation, the writers considered all of the children as options and ultimately, it made the most sense to the story.
“We talked about making their arcs even bigger and really seeing who they were and who they’d become being raised by these parents living in this house, and seeing their mom through Izzy’s eyes,” she shared. “When I pitched [the show] originally, I had pitched it with this idea of Izzy feeling as though she wants to burn this house down, but it’s actually the other siblings who end up doing it for her. That’s what we set out to do and we worked to make Izzy more isolated and worked to expand Moody’s story, really take the Lexie-Brian story to even bigger heights and certainly Trip’s love for Pearl. We built to this moment where they see how Izzy experiences life with their mother. They really see a very raw, ugly side of Elena and it propels them into action.”
As for what’s next, even though Tigelaar would love to continue, she revealed that she knows it’s a limited series and the story is finished.
“I would shudder to think of a contrived way to get Mia and Elena back in each other’s orbit that would at all feel real. I guess I would never want to say never, but I see this as a story that had its beginning, middle and end. And I love the ending,” the Life Unexpected creator said. “I wouldn’t want to diminish Celeste’s book by, I don’t know, not cannibalizing it, but I wouldn’t want to diminish it by turning it into what it isn’t just because people liked it. I’ll be happy if it stays what it is, but at the same time, yes, selfishly I would, of course, love it to continue.”
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