There was an air of mystery when the news broke that original Mythic Quest cast member F. Murray Abraham was not going to be in the third season. At the time, a representative for Lionsgate, which produces the Apple TV+ streaming comedy, just said the veteran actor would not be returning but that they "do not comment on manners concerning personnel." Naturally, that made it more cryptic than perhaps it really was.
But wonder no more! The third season has premiered with an episode titled "Across the Universe," and with it come the answers Mythic Quest and Abraham fans have been waiting for.
The show killed off Abraham's C.W. Longbottom.
"We designed that episode because he was leaving. We wanted a story that would sere the grandness of a man who writes about the cosmos, and so, it was important for us to send him off in a way that felt that it honored the character and didn't short shrift anything, but to also do it with humor and heart," actor, writer, and executive producer David Hornsby tells Metacritic.
Early in "Across the Universe," characters referenced the fact that C.W. had been out of the office, overseas, for an extended period of time, but that he was due back this evening and had planned a very detailed, time-sensitive party for his return. He required (not merely requested) everyone to gather on the rooftop of the video game company's building and await his arrival. This included Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) and Ian (Rob McElhenney), who had split off from the company a year earlier to work on a new game.
But when it came time, C.W. did not appear. Instead, he had written a letter he wanted David (Hornsby) to read aloud that explained that he had been ill and decided to end his own life on his own terms and timeline by climbing "into a Ford Thunderbird and [driving] off into the Grand Canyon, knowing I ended my own story like no other — a true original."
(Don't worry, the show knew that was the end of Thelma & Louise, and Ian called it out, but that is also one last important word about C.W. and his writing.)
Since Abraham was not back on set for any of Season 3 production, there were no flashes to C.W.'s last days. Instead, the story unfolded solely in dialogue as David read from the letter.
"My remains will be retrieved, placed into a satellite, and launched into space," David continued.
The reason he needed everyone to gather on the roof at a precise time was because that satellite's path would only be directly above that building briefly and at a precise time.
"I let my hubris convince me that I didn't need friends — that success was the only thing that mattered, that I was better off alone. I was wrong," the letter said.
But, he also said he wouldn't change anything because it led him to this Mythic Quest family. So, although the words were wise ones many of the other characters would benefit from internalizing, they likely won't.
"With Murray and Longbottom, there's gravitas that he adds to the cast. And so, with that, you want someone from that position in their life to be able to reflect back on characters and give them advice and make them look at themselves. But knowing in the larger scheme of things, it being a comedy and ultimately a workplace comedy, that no one's really going to change that much," Hornsby says. "Do any of us truly change that much? We make incremental changes over time, but our essence is still the same."
Mythic Quest Season 3 streams new episodes Fridays on Apple TV+.