Fox's 'New Girl' leaps three years into the future for its final season

PASADENA, Calif. — New Girl fans will get a new perspective on their favorite characters when the Fox comedy returns for its seventh and final season on April 10.

The shortened eight-episode season revisits Jess, Schmidt & Co. three years in the future, with some big life changes, including marriage and a baby, for some of the characters.

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With the show's future in doubt at the end of last season, creator Liz Meriwether wrote that finale so that it could serve as a series closer in case it didn't return.

"We wanted to make it feel like it could have ended there," Meriwether told writers at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Thursday.

Moving the characters three years ahead separates the new episodes.

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In the new season, Nick (Jake Johnson), now a successful author of young-adult books, and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) have been " traveling around the world (on a book tour). They aren't married and don't have kids. There's room for growth," Deschanel said, hinting at story developments for the pair.

Deschanel started to say that Jess was a witness in some type of federal program before Meriwether jumped in: "Let's leave some stuff for mystery."

Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone), who's now a modeling agent, are parents of a young daughter, Ruth.

"Schmidt is a helicopter parent, " Greenfield said. "He's just trying to figure out a way where he can get rid of all responsibility in his life and dedicate all the focus to his child."

Winston (Lamorne Morris) is married with a child on the way, and J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm)  will play his father.

Executive producer Dave Finkel says the final season, which also brings back favorite guest stars and feature a character's death, provides a chance to offer meaningful closure.

"The whole show is built on the idea of characters who were broken. At the end of the story, are they going to fix each other?" he asked, before giving away the unsurprising answer. "I think yes."

Meriwether said she was happy she lobbied for a final season.

"I love these characters and this cast," he said. "I fought for the final season, and hopefully it was worth it."

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