Why Modern Family Creators Opted Out Of A Flash-Forward Series Finale

After 11 hilarious seasons, the Emmy-winning series "Modern Family" came to an emotional and fitting conclusion that sent the characters off in a variety of exciting directions. However, unlike many noteworthy television hits, the esteemed comedy avoided a sequence in the future that serves as an epilogue. Instead, we leave the beloved family members in a new chapter of their lives that ends "Modern Family" on an uplifting note, which is exactly what the creators were going for.

With Deadline, co-creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd dove into this unconventional decision and explained why it felt right for "Modern Family." Levitan started off by revealing that a futuristic scene was actually included in the initial idea for the finale, "I think there was a pitch that there was a shot from the future. Ultimately we decided not to do that. I think what we tried to do was let the audience know that there were good things in store for these characters and let their imaginations fill in the rest." This decision leaves room to return to the characters in a possible reboot or even the proposed "Modern Family" spin-off, which could still see the light of day if the conditions were right.

Lloyd agreed with avoiding that route by stating, "Flash-forward seemed like a terrible idea to me because that's science fiction where you're time traveling, so we didn't go too far down that road. But it's hard and there were a lot of good [finale] ideas that were proposed and were considered." That distracting element can also sometimes divert the attention away from an emotional conclusion, which the family-centric show aimed to deliver.

The creators wanted to avoid a definite ending for the characters

In the Deadline interview, "Modern Family" co-creator Christopher Lloyd stressed the importance of giving the central characters room to say goodbye through a series of heartwarming moments. He also explained how they had to be selective when choosing which characters to highlight and why some had to be omitted. "We just had to choose which goodbyes we wanted to give the spotlight to, and those were the ones that we settled on," he said. In addition, Lloyd singled out the lively moment between the younger kids that was essential to the series' moving conclusion. 

He also revealed the sequence that stood out to him featured Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) reminiscing on their life together, "There's a nice private moment between Phil and Claire where they were in the upstairs bedroom which is now empty and they were reflecting back over the last 20 years of their life and that seemed right." The quiet scene gives the new empty nesters a well-earned minute together before embarking on their cross-country road trip.

Even if the series isn't directly revived, as co-creator Steven Levitan expressed his disinterest in, Lloyd noted his overall satisfaction with the ending that he feels stays true to the show, "Sure, it would have been nice to have another 15 minutes of airtime to give a few more people a few more pairings, maybe a final moment, but then you get into an issue of well, when is a finale just too long," he said. "I feel like we accomplished it in a fairly short and sweet way and that's better as far as I'm concerned." These decisions ultimately culminated in one of the most memorable, funny, and, heartfelt series finales that make "Modern Family" so enjoyable.