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Hiatus Helper: Eric Kripke and Ben Edlund Talk NBC’s Revolution [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/NBC

[WARNING: Mild spoilers for Revolution season two]

NBC’s Revolution is headed into season two on a new night and earlier timeslot. Starting Sept. 25, the hit drama’s moving from Mondays at 10/9c to Wednesdays at 8/7c. That’s not the only change. During season one, the show filmed in Wilmington, N.C.; it’s now shooting in Austin, Texas.

There were also some behind-the-scenes additions in the form of new executive producer Rockne S. O’Bannon [Farscape, Defiance, Cult] and two other producing/writing heavyweights: Trey Callaway [CSI: NY] and Supernatural‘s quirkiest and most unique voice, Ben Edlund. At this summer’s Comic-Con, we hit the Revolution press room where reporters were able to talk to the showrunner, Eric Kripke, as well as Edlund.

Eric Kripke

Photo Credit: Michael Yaris/NBC

The great thing about Kripke is that while he’s super passionate about Revolution, that passion doesn’t prevent him from seeing some of the show’s issues. “I’m harder on season one than anyone,” he claimed. “The problem with season one was — it was too simple. And so we either ended up treading water or we ended up throwing drones at the problem and the spectacle,” he noted. “And the second half of season one — I’m watching and I’m like, ‘Holy s–t, there’s a lot of power on this show that has no power.’ And then when drones are flying around and they’re all shooting machine guns at each other, I’m like, ‘Who am I?'”

He also feels there was too much talk about this powerless universe and not much exploration of some of the bigger picture challenges. “I feel like we spent too much time in season one talking about technology and machine guns and talking about battles and war,” Kripke stated. “We didn’t explore what I call the documentary elements of this world enough and so we’re really looking for storylines that give us that, too.”

This means things are about to get dirtier in more ways than one. “I think it’s going to be a really interesting unfolding of storyline for season two in a world that will feel grittier. And as much as everyone was bothered by how Noxzema fresh everybody looked,” Kripke stated. “No one was bothered by that more than me.”

In season two, there are some new questions that Kripke is ready to tackle. “I really like getting back to basics and creating a storyline that I know will sustain and that I know is going to have really interesting and provocative mysteries…can get to some of the interesting questions that I’m interested in asking which is like: What is America? Who deserves to decide what the future of America will be? Is there a God? What happens when you feel destiny close in on you?”

It’s clear that the he is determined to succeed with fans and critics when his show returns. “My headline is I’m out to prove something for season two like I’m aggressively working on building a better engine here.”

So is having something to prove the reason why he turned to his Supernatural buddy, Ben Edlund? Edlund broke the hearts of many a fan of the CW drama when it was announced he was leaving the show. “That was part of it,” Kripke said. “The fact is — and Rockne O’Bannon, too — I wanted to bring in big guns. And I have a very formidable writers room now, with bringing back all the geniuses like Paul Grellong and Anne (Cofell) Saunders and David Rambo and all the rest — and now to bring in Rockne and Trey Callaway and Ben Edlund…”

The creator of both Supernatural and Revolution explains why he’s happy Edlund’s on board the Revolution express train. “To be fair, I did go to Ben last year and I was like: ‘You, come, Ben!’ And Ben was like ‘I’m under contract with Supernatural. How dare you poach from your own show!’ And he was right. And I backed away immediately,” he said. After Edlund’s contract was up, it was time for the two to reunite. “I think Ben was looking for a new change. Ben is Starsky to my Hutch. So I’m always more comfortable to be in a room that Ben’s in. So I’m thrilled he’s joined us. And as expected, he comes in the room and like day one he is just pitching the wildest s–t and the rest of my writers who’ve never worked with him before — they all just kind of throw him a look and are like ‘hah.’ And I was like: ‘This is the guy.'”

Ben Edlund

Photo Credit: Michael Yaris/NBC

Revolution is quite a change for Ben Edlund, whose credits not only include Supernatural but Firefly, The Tick and the WB hit cult series, Angel. “It’s actually fundamentally different in its engine. That [Supernatural] had aspects of a procedural — this is like a saga. This is like writing some giant, fat book — a missionary tale.”

But the biggest difference between Supernatural and Revolution may be the universes that each show plays around in. “In Supernatural, there’s two guys who know the secret. They know that under this universe, there’s a truth and they find connections to that mystery as they go forward in their story. It never felt right for suddenly like Lucifer appears or the devil comes out and everybody knows that the devil is real because that turns it into an alternate universe.”

However, according to Edlund, Revolution is a strange and wild place where “universe-altering things have happened on a global scale. Everybody has related to it and you’re in a completely new future. And to me, that’s just a wild, open…it’s a fertile ground. Exciting,” he raves.

But don’t worry, in this particular sandbox, expect Edlund to imprint his own seriously twisted (but awesomely comical) touch. We may not get many giant, talking, suicidal teddy bears. But expect to eventually get some of that great Edlund outside-the-box type-episodes or situations.

Specifically, he thinks it is with the nanotechnology where he’ll really get to put his own spin on things. “We’ve just begun to look at what nanotechnological disarray is going to be. Like the sweater was kind of well woven around the planet until the events of the last episode of the [first] season — that’s come loose and weird stuff is gonna start to happen,” the writer explains. “That’s where I think I get to do that weird stuff. When you look into nanotech with just a little bit of imagination — it goes nuts. Like it’s amazing, so eventually, it’ll be a nice, slow simmer. We’ll feel like we’ve earned it. But we’ll get really weird.”

One of the characters Edlund’s particularly excited to write for is Aaron [played by Zak Orth]. “He’s got a good epic, operatic fall from Google billionaire, ironically, to dealing with savages trying to hit him with axes and like no phones working anymore. As we look into his development, I think he’s going to develop a certain kind of relationship to whatever nanotech [it] is that will make him really, really interesting.”

Edlund gave a little bit of a hint for those of us anxious to find out about where season two is headed: “Instead of being a kind of military picturesque road picture, it sort of settles into town which will be the next sort of chapter. That just occasions more guest cast that hangs around and sort of will just develop. The face of the patriots as they move into towns and start to enact their agenda will give us new villains to learn about. Quite a few.”

Revolution returns Wednesday, Sept. 25 @ 8/7c on NBC.

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1 Comment

  1. Mickey

    I stopped watching Revolution because it was completely devoid of the twisted irreverent gallows humor Kripke did so well on Supernatural. I thought at least Aaron would provide some comic relief, but he was just as overly dramatic as everyone else. in other circumstances, I would hope the addition of Ben Edlund would provide at least a bit of comedy, but now that I’ve stopped watching Revolution, and started watching Supernatural again (I stopped in the first half of s8, but I was told the second half got better), I can only lament the loss of Edlund on Supernatural, where his wacky sense of humour could really shine. I have to believe it will be severely shackled on Revolution–they can’t suddenly make extreme changes to the tone of the show, or its laws of physics.

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