Peter Reckell (Bo) and Kristian Alfonso (Hope) will reprise their signature roles this week. Here, Head Writer Ron Carlivati shares how it all happened and previews what’s ahead for this beloved duo.
Soap Opera Digest: When you finished BEYOND SALEM: CHAPTER 2, did you always have in mind that this story would continue?
Ron Carlivati: Yes, which I hope was pretty obvious to everyone that by ending with Bo no longer in heaven, but alive and in a cryogenic tube, that we were at least hoping to pick it up, if not planning to pick it up. I knew it was a gamble to end on a cliffhanger because we had no guarantee that BEYOND SALEM would get picked up for another season. We hoped maybe that might help if there was an outcry of people wanting to see what was gonna happen next, but we knew it was a great ending and we went with it, kind of crossing our fingers that we would be able to pick up that story.
Digest: Now in the interim, DAYS moved to Peacock. Did that change any of your plans?
Carlivati: We were toying around with the idea of the next chapter of Bo and Hope, and when we started telling the story with the three women with the orchid and that they might actually die, we said, “Well, where is this story going to go? They’re going to get this disease that Roman got, and we know the orchid can cure them.” And we kicked around ideas and I started to think about how we could tie what was happening with these women into Bo and Hope’s story. One thought was that we don’t know what happened to them, we think they’re dead and then we pick them up in these cryogenic tubes and that’s BEYOND SALEM: CHAPTER 3. We were pitching this to Peacock and they hadn’t yet made a decision about it. By the time we found out that they were going to move the show to Peacock, we thought, “Well, what about just continuing the story on the mothership?” So we took what we were thinking might be BEYOND SALEM: CHAPTER 3 and just reworked it to be on the regular show. So the reason Marlena and Kayla and Kate were sort of in limbo for a few weeks in heaven/purgatory is because we were stalling because we did not have an answer about whether we were doing BEYOND SALEM. I, personally, loved the little interim arc in heaven. I thought that was super-fun. But it was kind of a pit stop on the way to them being in this mysterious lab, in these cryogenic tubes.
Digest: Okay, so you decided to tell the story on the mothership. What happened next?
Carlivati: So they pulled the trigger on that and said yes, and the next step in this was to come up with the story. I pitched it to Kristian [Alfonso, Hope] and Peter [Reckell, Bo] separately and heard their thoughts about everything. Obviously, we had to get Megan Hathaway in place. We knew we would want Ben and Ciara for it, and we knew we would want Steve Burton’s character, Harris Michaels, in it, so there was a lot that went into it.
Digest: What can you tease about where the story is going?
Carlivati: The audience knows they saw Bo open his eyes in the tube at the end of BEYOND SALEM, and now, several months have gone by. When we first showed the women, we panned to this empty tube in the back of the room, to remind the audience that Bo was in that, and he’s not in that anymore, so where is he? We pick up Hope where we left her off. She had gone through this whole experience with Harris Michaels, finding out that he was in league with Megan Hathaway, and we ended her on BEYOND SALEM, like, “I have to bring Megan Hathaway to justice. I have to find her and make her pay.” So Hope is on this quest to find Megan and it involves her having to deal with Harris again because he may have a clue that she needs. She’s loath to get involved with him again because they had this cat-and-mouse relationship for all that time — and he tried to kill her. We know that Bo is floating around out there somewhere in Megan’s clutches, but we have no idea the condition that he has awakened in. The last we saw Bo, he was dying of a brain tumor and now he’s alive, but where is he and what condition is he in? So the whole idea is that Hope is on a collision course with Bo and she’s unaware of it, but the audience knows.
Digest: What does it mean to you to be writing this couple as part of the mothership?
Carlivati: It’s a big thrill. Obviously, I got to write them once, where they only really interacted briefly in heaven, which was my favorite episode of the five of BEYOND SALEM: CHAPTER 2, where they actually come face-to-face and get to share memories and get to dance. But they only met on some sort of an astral plane, if you will, and now they’re in the real world. I’m excited, also, because I know the audience is going to be excited to see the story play out. I know where it’s going and what a fun ride it is, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Digest: How would you sum up what’s ahead?
Carlivati: This is old-school DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and it’s something that the audience has waited a very, very long time to see. You won’t want to miss it.