After four seasons and 31 killer episodes, HBO's assassination comedy Barry is coming to an end; although some have wondered if the series could ever return for a potential Season 5.
Bill Hader's critically acclaimed HBO show has impressed many since it debuted back in 2018, getting lofty comparisons to the work of film-making auteurs like the Cohen Brothers.
However, the Barry team seems primed to hang it up. Hader's co-star in the series Henry Winkler previously remarked (in an interview with Uproxx) that the hit dramedy sort of "had to end."
He said that despite being signed on for five seasons, the team chose to pack it in after four, so as to not "extenuate any story beyond its capability." But, as is the case with media these days, there is always the minute chance HBO decides to dip back into the Barry well.
Barry Season 5 Release Chances
While speaking in a recent interview with Variety, showrunner and star of HBO's Barry Bill Hader addressed the prospect of coming back for a Season 5 of his hit series.
Hader remarked that after the ending of Season 3, many people were like, "Why are you doing another season? It should have just ended;” however, the HBO star had other things in mind, opting to move ahead and end with Season 4:
"It was very much in the writing and the storytelling. I mean, a lot of people after last season were like, “Why are you doing another season? It should have just ended.”
But to me, there are still so many questions with the other characters, and with Barry — and there’s so many things unsaid. What happens in Season 4 is structurally radical in some ways, but it made sense for what I think the characters needed to go through, and what I think the whole show is always kind of headed towards.
You realize, well, we could pad a lot of stuff, and just make story. But if we’re going forward, it ends in Season 4."
The Saturday Night Live alum added that he has always gotten "excited by good endings of books" and wanted to bring that feeling to a TV show:
"To be honest, I don’t watch a whole lot of television. But I get excited by good endings to books — things that have a really satisfying ending.
I’ve never seen it in terms of a TV show, I guess — even though it is a TV show. Even when we’re cutting right now, I don’t even think I’ve ever referred to it as the “series finale” when we’re working on the last episode. It’s just the end of the story, you know what I mean?"
According to the interview with Variety, it was not until Barry Season 4 started filming that Hader told Amy Gravitt (the executive vice president of HBO comedy programming) that he saw the story "naturally end[ing] after Season 4.
At the time, Gavitt told Hader that she trusted his judgment:
"Every decision that he’s made about the story, or the jump between seasons, has made sense — so I had to go with his gut on that. Obviously, now that we’re here, we’re feeling sentimental about it. But it really does feel like it’s the right time to finish the show."
Will Barry Season 5 Happen?
While other series, like HBO's other imminently ending hit Succession, have kept the door open to coming back after what was initially set out as the definitive end, Bill Hader's Barry feels a little bit different.
Ever since the series first debuted, Hader has remained quite intentional with every story decision, crafting the Scorsesian web of narrative across the four seasons.
Barry is not the kind of show that could just go on forever, a la a Mandalorian or a Seinfeld. The HBO dramedy has felt more like a movie than many of its other TV counterparts, telling a very composed narrative with no fat to fill out an "X-number" episode order.
So, unless Hader and the Barry team can think of something that excites them enough to see it as worth coming back to the series, a Season 5 feels like a bit of a pipe dream.
With Season 4, Hader and his series co-creator Alec Berg get to pack things up on their terms, something HBO seems more than happy allowing creators to do in this day and age.
Barry Season 4 can be streamed now on Max.