As predicted by myself and many others for months, Rayna James passed away on Nashville this week in a tear-filled episode. It was one of the series best episodes to date and a fitting goodbye for Connie Britton, who said in this interview with TVLine that she chose to leave Nashville. She also addressed her statement to Ellen DeGeneres in January when she told Ellen that she would be on Nashville “for the duration,” and whether Rayna might be seen again in Nashville.
TVLINE | Some fans are going to be especially shocked by Rayna’s death after you assured them last month on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that you would be sticking around for “the duration.”
The duration of Rayna’s character. [Laughs] To be completely honest, I was taken off guard. I had no idea that Ellen was going to bring up [the exit rumors]. I was really [put] on the spot and I had to protect the story. My commitment has always been to the show. But I’m not a good liar! [Laughs] So, “I’m in it for the duration,” in my mind [means] I’m in it for the duration of… what I perceived to be this character. But of course, I understand why it was construed in the way it was. That was a very difficult moment for me.
TVLINE | Is this week’s episode the last we see if her?
I do pop back in in after Episode 9. And Nashville‘s always going to be important to me, so I’m totally open to whatever as time goes on. But it is really hard to say goodbye to this character.
More interviews and Connie’s Instagram message under the cut. Several sites will be posting interviews with the Nashville showrunners later today (Friday), which I’ll also collect and post.
Update: The showrunner interviews are HERE. Herskovitz was unusually open about upcoming storylines and the future direction of the show.