‘Ozark’ Season 4: Showrunner Talks Jonah’s Growth Spurt: ‘He Looks Like a Whole Different Person’

When Ozark Season 1 premiered on Netflix, audiences watched as a young Jonah Byrde dealt with his parents transitioning to a life of crime. Only 12 years old when they filmed the first season, Skyler Gaertner was still very much a child. Now, as Ozark Season 4 enters the last part of its run, he looks almost nothing like the kid audiences watched four years ago.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers about Ozark Season 4.]

'Ozark' Season 4 star Skyler Gaertner as Jonah Byrde wearing a striped shirt in a production still from the series.
Skylar Gaertner as Jonah Byrde | Netflix

In ‘Ozark’ Season 4, Jonah’s character arc dipped into scarier territory

Jonah’s character stayed quietly in the background for most of the series. He dealt with his parents’ dangerous situations and their life of crime with a stoic attitude. However, Ozark Season 4 sees Jonah angry at his mother, Wendy (Laura Linney), for presumably killing his uncle Ben, played by Tom Pelphrey. 

Unable to overcome his anger, Jonah defies his parents. Instead, he sides with Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) and Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery). He begins to launder money for their heroin operation, putting him directly at odds with Marty and Wendy.

Recently, Ozark Season 4 showrunner Chris Mundy sat down with The Hollywood Reporter. He talked about Gartner’s role as Jonah and how much the actor adapted to his character arc over the past few years.

“I think because of where we left him at the end of season three shooting out those windows, that was really his first act of defiance. And Skylar, every year, he just gets better as an actor. So it was really feeling like we had to answer to that moment from the end of season three, and we knew Skylar could handle whatever we gave him.”

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Showrunner Chris Munday discussed how Skyler Gaertner’s growth spurt helped his relationship with Julia Garner’s Ruth

Obviously, younger actors experience the most changes regarding their looks as they grow over the years. Gaertner, who began the show as a preteen, grew several inches. However, his new storyline shows him joining Ruth and Darlene. A younger actor could have possibly made audiences take their relationship less seriously.

“I also think it helps that he turned 18 at the end of filming and was 12 or 13 when [the show started]. He obviously changed more than most did — the rest of us just looked the same, but a little older, while he looks like a whole different person. I think that did help make his scenes with Ruth feel more like a partnership,” Mundy told THR.

Netflix hasn’t announced a release date for ‘Ozark’ Season 4 Part 2 

Ozark Season 4 Part 1 only includes seven episodes, with part 2 expected to premiere later this year. Fans eagerly await the final seven episodes as part 1 ends on a cliffhanger. Several questions still need to be answered in Ozark Season 4 Part 2. Mundy assured fans the final episodes include the closure much of the audience wants.

“I always want closure. I don’t want to feel messed with. I want to feel like, ‘OK, that was the end.’ So hopefully people will feel closure by the end — whether they like it or not, I don’t know,” Mundy explained to THR. 

Hopefully, fans won’t have to wait too much longer to see the conclusion of the Byrde family’s story.

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