Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from the Rise finale, “Opening Night.”
Rise fans have been left hanging, and they want something done about it. The season finale of Jason Katims’ NBC drama turned into an unintentional series finale after NBC announced the show’s cancelation just days before the 10th episode, “Opening Night.” Now, several storylines still need to be tied up after the unexpected end to the series.
In a nutshell, Stanton Drama has been shut down, Robbie’s (Damon J. Gillespie) mom is on her deathbed, Lillette (Auli’i Cravalho) is moving to Philadelphia, Maashous (Rarmian Newton) is missing, Simon’s (Ted Sutherland) coming out is cut short, and Mr. Mazzu (Josh Radnor) is most definitely out of a job. Not to mention all of the other storylines about Gwen’s (Amy Forsyth) family, her thing with Gordy (Casey Johnson), and the Sasha-Michael (Erin Kommor, Ellie Desautels) love connection we didn’t see coming.
After the Rise finale aired, many of the show’s stars took to Twitter to post their thoughts about the episode. Josh Radnor, who plays drama director Lou Mazzucchelli on the series, wrote: “Tonight’s episode of @NBCRise was meant to be the season finale and will now, sadly, be the series finale. This is heartbreaking for all of us who put all we had into this show & the fans who fell in love with Stanton Drama. I loved every moment with the sacred troupe.”
Shirley Rumierk, who plays Vanessa Suarez on the series, told fans to remember Mr. Mazzu’s final lesson to his drama troupe.
“I can’t bear the thought that the very last thing I taught you all was to cave,” the actress wrote, quoting Mr. Mazzu. She added: “Don’t ever cave about what you’re passionate about Risers!”
Rumierk’s TV daughter, Rise star Auli’i Cravalho, revealed the cancelation of the show was her first real heartbreak. Cravalho added that she was grateful that real-life theater programs benefitted from the Rise America program that was launched in conjunction with the NBC drama.
Safe to say I’m feeling my first heartbreak, #Rise was definitely my first love. ????— Auli'i Cravalho (@auliicravalho) May 13, 2018
Though our run was short, I’m grateful that theater programs and STUDENTS benefited from our #RISEAmerica Program. My heart truly sings knowing #StantonDrama lives on.❤️ https://t.co/5X9Tvw5R0c
While “Opening Night” was the last Rise episode produced, diehard Rise fans aren’t done with the show just yet. The hashtags #Rise, #SaveRise, and #RenewRiseNBC were trending during the Rise finale, while a petition to save the show has netted over 6,000 signatures, surpassing its original goal of 5,000.
In addition, many Rise fans took to Twitter to ask a new network to save the show, with some posting the phone numbers to NBC, Freeform, Netflix, Hulu, and other networks and streaming sites in the hope that Rise will rise again. You can see some of the passionate tweets from Rise fans below.
When Fox cancelled Brooklyn 99, NBC stepped in and saved it. Now that NBC cancelled #Rise, it’s time for another network to return the favor. This is such an amazing show that means so much to many people. ❤️— Charlotte P.S. ???? (@CharlxttePS) May 16, 2018
I’m begging and looking at you: @CBS @ABC @TheCW @netflix #RiseAgain
Really Sad that the show Rise has ended. @NBCRise Please read fan petitions and letters!!! This show meant something to all of us! It brought a voice to the voiceless and gives us inspiration in these troubling times. #SaveRise #RiseAgain #StantonDramaForever— Aaron Biasini (@arongodfather) May 16, 2018
Risers ! Go and stream @NBCRise like crazy on @nbc website, ask your friends to do it too, make them understand that the show is wanted by many and we won't back down. We are not giving up, we will #Rise from the ashes. #RiseAgain #SaveRise #RenewRise— LeniFrench (@Sosotess) May 16, 2018
Picking up a canceled show is not unheard of in today’s TV landscape. Last year, the time-traveling NBC drama Timeless was canceled and saved within three days thanks to its passionate fans. Brooklyn Nine-Nine recently got a surprising pickup by NBC after Fox axed it, and Nashville famously had another life on CMT after its ABC run ended.
It remains to be seen if Rise can rise above the odds and see a second life, but there’s definitely a devoted troupe working on it.