Modern Family Series Finale Won’t Have a ‘Flash Forward’ — But the Cast Promises ’Closure’

Modern Family Series Finale Won’t Have a ‘Flash Forward’ — But the Cast Promises ’Closure’

Modern Family fans can expect a happy ending when the beloved ABC sitcom signs off after 11 seasons on Wednesday.

Series stars Julie Bowen, Ariel Winter and Eric Stonestreet teased the finale in interviews with PEOPLE, stressing that viewers will feel satisfied with the Emmy-winning show’s one-hour, two-part conclusion.

One thing fans won’t see is a flash-forward sequence about where the characters end up even further down the line, a device perviously used in many other television finales (think Six Feet Under and Dawson’s Creek).

“We don’t flash forward,” says Bowen 50, “which was very glad about. That has been done and that’s been done very well by other shows, but to me, it felt unsatisfying.”

Instead, Bowen — who plays Dunphy family matriarch Claire — says that series creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, along with the entire Modern Family writing staff, came up with an ending that stands on its own.

“it was a very hard needle to thread, but I think they came to a satisfying end with all of it,” she teases. “As far as you’d feel like, yes, of course there’s going to be changes and people moving on in different ways. But we didn’t kill anybody, we didn’t flash forward, and nobody suddenly was pregnant!”

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20th Century Fox The cast of Modern Family

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That said, there will be plenty for fans to speculate about.

“I just think it’s going to be really easy for everybody to be able to have enough that they feel closure for the show and then also be able to keep the door open a little bit so that they can imagine the characters are doing after it’s done,” says Winter, 22.

“Some shows go off the air and you’re not really sure what the characters are going to do, and you have to fully imagine it in your own mind and they don’t really give you any insight. But our writers have been really amazing in the sense that, while you’re not going to be able to continue the stories with these characters, you do get a really good sense of what they’re doing,” she adds. “Everyone wants to be able to fill in the blanks a little bit in their own imagination, and they definitely get to do that after our finale, but our writers have done a really, really good job at letting people into what the characters are going to be doing next and what path their lives are on.”

Winter is specifically happy about where her character Alex, Claire’s younger daughter, ends up.

“I’ve had a really beautiful arc over the years,” she says. “The past three years have been really wonderful for Alex and where she’s going as a person and how she’s growing and evolving.”

“The last few episodes are really indicative of that and what she’s going to move forward with,” Winter notes.

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BOB D'AMICO/ABC The cast of Modern Family when the show premiered in 2009

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Stonestreet knows there will be some fans left unhappy.

“Are we going to disappoint people? Are we going to leave people feeling unfulfilled? I’m sure, but that’s not going to be for a lack of our showrunners having great care for the characters and the family of Modern Family, and understanding what the fans want,” he stresses

“Everyone really tried very hard to make it the best they possibly could,” adds Stonestreet, 48. “Our writers and our two creators, it was an all-hands-on-deck approach from when they started writing that finale to make it fulfilling for everyone, and to really set a high bar to make it as quality as the show has remained through 11 years. That’s one thing that it was important to everyone. There’s no phoning in of anything.”

The actor, who stars as Claire’s brother-in-law Cam Tucker, says they tried to wrap things up “sort of similar to how the show began.”

“The goal is to let the fans imagine that this family will continue on in their hearts and in their minds,” he says. “You’ll have a distinct place of where you think Mitch and Cam are, and what they’re doing, and who they’re with, and what their life looks like.”

The series finale of Modern Family airs April 8 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.