Spoilers for the Euphoria season-two finale, “All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name,” below.
While Lexi continued to destroy friendships with the power of musical theater in her high-school auditorium, a much more sinister plot began to unfold at the Fezco residence. In Euphoria’s blood-splattered season-two finale, SWAT lasers center on Ashtray’s face as the cops raid his home with Fezco. We then hear a shot fired off-screen, causing fans of the show to pay tribute to the (presumably) dead kid drug dealer — complete with gospel music, flying doves, and angel wings. But the details of Ashtray’s demise are still fuzzy … even for actor Javon “Wanna” Walton. But hey, it’s Euphoria. Anything can happen.
Walton Zoomed with Vulture from his home state of Georgia after attending real high school to talk through the dramatic finale and reveal that Fezco was slated to be killed instead of Ashtray. Director Sam Levinson changed the script the day before filming, Walton told us, further proving the spirit of improvisation that defined season two. Ahead, Walton, who you’ll see next in season three of Umbrella Academy, breaks down the finale, Ashtray’s mysterious backstory, and a few lingering Euphoria theories.
How did your classmates react to the Euphoria finale at school today?
The majority act super-respectful because a lot of people know I’m a pretty private person. For stuff like that, I like to have my own space and I like to be treated normally. But when people come up to me, I show them a lot of love when I know it’s love.
When did you find out about the events of the finale, and what was running through your mind as you read the script?
Before we even filmed that whole craziness, Fez was supposed to die and then they switched it to me dying. It was on the spot, the writing, like a day before. It was craziness.
Ashtray’s death was off-screen. Have we actually seen the last of him?
There is definitely a chance Ashtray is going to be back because if there’s somebody who could survive a bullet, it’s Ashtray. People have had some really cool theories about what happens, like how Faye drops the glass and it’s all in her head and [the shoot-out] actually doesn’t happen. We’re just going to have to wait to find out for season three.
Why did Ash decide to pull the trigger when the door opened?
All he knows is to protect his home. When he heard that sound, it almost startled him, and that’s why he pulled the trigger. He knew when he started going he couldn’t stop because he would’ve just gotten shot.
Why does Ashtray immediately resort to violence when he realized Custer betrayed them?
He would do anything in that moment in time to protect Fez. That’s all he cares about. And he does not want to go to a foster home.
Ash was taken in by Fezco’s grandma and had a really rough childhood. How does this backstory affect his unwillingness to surrender to the cops?
We don’t get to see a lot of his backstory, but I’d like to imagine before he went with the gangster grandma, he had some really tough parents or he was in the adoption system. All we know is Ashtray has had a tough life. All he’s known is violence and drugs. He grew up with pretty much zero emotion until you see him at the very end, and anger just comes from him. He acts so mature for his age and then you really see him fall apart and realize that he’s just a kid at the end of the day.
Can you walk me through the process of shooting the final scene? How many takes did you do? How did you prepare beforehand?
We were shooting for a good three days. I did a good bit of takes of pretty much every scene because they have to get every single camera angle. It’s a dark character so I really have to take a moment and go to that state of mind that I am Ashtray. When it comes to the emotional scenes, I have to just let myself go there for that.
Why do you think Ashtray didn’t get up from the bathtub despite Fez’s protesting? What was going through his head at that point?
Honestly, he didn’t want to go into foster care. And he’s not about surrendering. He’s about protecting his home at the end of the day. It was a bit selfish of him, and you really get to see the kid in him at the very end. It was a very vulnerable state for him. He lost it all and wasn’t thinking properly. In this moment, he just let go of everything and was ready to risk it all, which he did.
When Fez gets shot in the final scene, I couldn’t tell whether or not the bullet was from Ashtray’s gun or the cops’ gun.
I think it was from me because of course I didn’t mean to shoot him, but we really don’t know. A lot of that ending was a mystery.
We recently spoke with Alanna Ubach, and she mentioned that a lot of Euphoria lines are unscripted or improvised. Did any of Ash’s scenes include improvisation?
When I was hitting Cal in the head with the gun, some of the lines were changed to more of an Ashtray vibe. I love to add that extra little bit of flavor. Sam loves giving us freedom for our characters. Then there was this pool scene that was cut that was me flirting with this older chick. It was super-funny. I wish it made it.
I know that Fez talked with Lexi in the finale about escaping and having this Little House on the Prairie type fantasy. Does Ashtray have a similar dream? Do you think he ever wants to get away from his life as a drug dealer and just be a normal kid?
Honestly, I don’t think so. He loves what he does and he’s a really, really hard worker, and he rides it out to the end. That’s his whole vibe. He doesn’t care about all of that other stuff. He’s really just about being a gangster and making money. He ain’t soft at all.
Does Faye ever earn Ashtray’s trust?
No. I don’t think anybody really earns Ashtray’s trust except Fezco. That’s the only person he can trust.
You’re the youngest recurring member of the Euphoria cast, and your final scene was probably the most shocking moment of the season-two finale. Why do you think out of all of the characters, Ashtray was the one who had to, as far as we know, die?
He was such a beloved character, they knew he would be really, really missed. I think that’s why Sam thought it would be a really good twist to add. It was shocking. It wasn’t really expected, except for all of the leaks that I’ve seen on TikTok. It’s crazy.
How do you feel about the leaks? What was the most interesting one that you saw?
It was this comment on somebody’s post and it was exactly what happened. I was like, How did they know that was exactly that? Because it happened word for word. I was like, Oh my God. They were like, “I found it on Reddit.”
Do you think Ash knew he and Fezco weren’t biological brothers?
That’s a good question. Man, I don’t know. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. They treat each other exactly like blood. He’s gotten that trust from Fez throughout the years for so long that it really just doesn’t matter to him if he is or not.
Have you heard the rumors about Ashtray being the third lost Jacobs son? What do you think of that?
I’ve heard that rumor so many times. I guess it’s a good rumor, but I don’t really see how that would make sense since he was so young when he met Fez and started living with them. That one photo, it looked like the baby Ash a little bit, but it wouldn’t really make sense. He would’ve had to get kidnapped or something.
I know your little brother actually played little Ashtray in the backstory episode. What was it like working with him on set?
It was one of his first times on set working. He loved it. His name is Daelo. Before he got that part, he did the original scene in season one, that one where I’m like, “I’m just trying to stack my cash, pay off our mortgage.” The director absolutely loved him, so he ended up being baby Ashtray. When he came home from set that day, he was like, “Man, it was so nasty. I had to eat cold food.”
In the credits, they list you as Javon “Wanna” Walton. What does the nickname mean? How did it come about?
Wanna, it came about when I was really little. I was always like, “I wanna do this, I wanna do that.” And my parents said that they never set limitations on me so it was like, “I wanna be a man” and then it developed into Wanna, and that’s just been my nickname ever since.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.