Michelle Lovretta Talks Killjoys Season 2 And What’s Next [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.]
As we close out the second season of Killjoys and anticipate a third (woooo!), showrunner Michelle Lovretta took the time this week to chat with me about the show, the season, and what’s next (in general terms–no spoilers).
In her mind, we’re just getting started with two seasons. She also has a book series planned, so the Killjoys universe has many possibilities.
Lovretta has enough story planned for five seasons (praise the trees!), with the caveat that there’s always flexibility on the minutiae because the writer’s room is so rich with ideas. “I always look that far ahead when I am in the pitching phase. I want to know that I have enough personal interest in telling the story and that I’ve built enough organic, natural avenues for story and narrative expansion that would keep me interested for five years,” she explains.
“The big changes in the finale were there from the pitch stage. I do that but, I also understand that’s a proof of concept test for myself and a level of comfort for the networks I’m pitching to. Creativity being what it is, I’d be a fool not to take advantage of the wonderful minds that come into my room.”
“They all add something to it and come up with things I’d never think of. I remain flexible so that we can consistently go with what the best path and best story is make sure that every season we give something fresh and new, as best we can, to the audience.”
“[At the beginning of each season], we work on breaking out the firm-flexible tent poles. We know what’s going to happen at large turning points along the way. I get very hesitant about saying anything beyond any visual I’m having. It’s not that I don’t know where they’ll be. It’s that I’m nervous to say them aloud until I feel I have a really good hold on the missing pieces.”
“We break the first episodes in very fine detail after we’ve broken that larger arc in less fine detail and then we start handing out the script assignments to the various writers and they take lead on breaking a lot of their stuff. It’s very much a group effort from there on in.”
The exception is Johnny and Dutch scenes. “Dutch is the hardest [to write]. She’s a solid character that you build a lot of people around. She’s the core. [I] try to make sure that we have some fun with her and when I dig into her scary places, they’re the scariest,” she explains.
“She’s not femme fatale. She’s just fatal. That’s part is always emotionally hard. I know when I’m getting into Jonny and Dutch territory I am probably going to end up crying on crackers. That’s where I exert my showrunner privileges and greedily write their scenes because they’re the most fun.”
This season, we said goodbye to Pawter and Khlyen (totally bearing in mind how science fiction works, mind you), and Lovretta says Pawter’s arc was set from the jump while Khlyen’s Season 2 arc was somewhat about establishing who Dutch will be in Season 3.
“I had the end in mind for Pawter since the very beginning of Season 1. There were a lot of factors. It was important for me to have somebody that we identified with that embodied the struggle of Old Town,” she says. “What was interesting was that she wasn’t originally an Old Towner, but I felt that ultimately made her the ideal Old Towner because that’s what they are–a collection of people who’ve come from elsewhere–and this is their beleaguered home.”
“Creatively, I liked all these different iconic types of characters I could explore through Pawter–the poor little rich girl, the bad girl, the Florence Nightingale, the people’s princess, Joan of Arc at the end. She got to go on this path and I enjoyed going with her.”
Khlyen’s resolution is a little less certain, and it’s grounded in a larger complex arc. “I hesitate to say that this is Khlyen’s end point. I think it would be naive and premature of us to say that,” she points out. “I always want to change Khlyen. If we were fortunate enough to have Rob [Stewart] come and play and have a story that would make that worth it, it would have to be a thing that twists the relationships with Dutch and Aneela and makes it more interesting for the actor to play.”
“I’ve got all these really talented people and I don’t want to bore them with the same arc all the time. I want them to be able to explore different parts of their character and science fiction allows us to do that in some really interesting and compelling ways. I’ve said to all the actors who seem to be getting finales, “‘I don’t know if this is as it seems.'”
“What I really loved, and why it was necessary for me to close the door on Khlyen, for now, was that he has such a hold on [Dutch]. I gave myself permission to be deeper and darker this season [because] I love to give my cast things to work with emotionally and they clearly rocked it out.”
“My appetite is to stand on the foundation of that deeper character growth and allow ourselves to have a lot of fun. What I’d really like to unearth is a completely unleashed Dutch. As much as I like introducing Aneela, we’re also bringing a new side of Dutch out.”
“I want her to be free and independent. It’s a complicated mourning process [for abuse survivors when they realize], “‘I’m just me now. I’m not me pursuing them or running from them. I’m entirely my own free, true, authentic self.’ I’d really love to invest that spirit in Dutch and through her, in that spirit, have a very kickass Season 3.”
“You only get to have fun playing with [these characters] if you also invest in very real, believable human situations. I took seriously my moral obligation to be careful how I dealt with [their] story. I like taking villains and humanizing them and then realizing they aren’t villains to everybody, or looking at what their reasons were.”
“Khlyen did have a damaging relationship with Dutch, even though he wasn’t in control of all of it, or it was the best he could do. It was important for me to have Dutch move past that but [also say], ‘It’s not OK to ask me to pretend that I wasn’t a victim so you can feel better.'”
“You can get past the duality and complexity. Love is not simple. When you throw pain in with love, it gets really heady and complicated, but it can be love, after a fashion, and ignoring that is even more complicated for the people experiencing it.”
All three Killjoys came together as damaged in some way, and Lovretta says they’ve each recalibrated emotionally to the times in their lives that were lost to them. “A lot of times, when people are pushing for a subtextual romance between John and Dutch, I quietly try to explain them that Dutch came to him in a bloody dress with extreme trauma and some Stockholm syndrome and he was not going to make a move on that girl,” she says.
“He had a hard childhood because D’av left and she had a hard childhood because of murder, death, mayhem. They meet as children, emotionally. When you see them at their best, that’s what they are. When you see them on the bed, kicking their feet. reading the comic book, that’s pure them. What you’re seeing with D’avin is he’s resetting to [his teenage self], the part of his life that he was deprived of enjoying on his own, which was when he was kicked out and had to join the military.”
Khlyen and Pawter were just two of the peripheral characters expanded this year, and we saw Clara come back tonight, too. Lovretta is grateful for the wealth of opportunities afforded by her main and supporting cast, and admits Clara’s return came about in an unusual but fulfilling way.
“One of the things I really enjoy is that I’m not working with a lot of people, with the exception of Hannah, who are really new to the size of their roles. They’re pretty much veterans. They know how to love their work and also do the work. They’re extremely, extremely professional and that allows us to also have a lot fun because we’re getting the job done,” she says.
“[Every guest star] is always a test case. I always want to put actors together, and sometimes interesting sparks happen that you weren’t anticipating. Since we wanted to keep the heart of our show around the three and give people time to know them and bond with them, you couldn’t put a spotlight on the relationship with secondary characters, but they were all there for important structural reasons.”
“They were there to embody different aspects of the Quad and teach us who to care about, who to be concerned about, who to root for. If any of them had fallen flat, we couldn’t have explored religion as we needed to with Alvis or politics with Pawter and Delle Sayah.”
“It was an incredible strike of lightning that every single one of those actors exceeded, let alone met, the high expectations and hopes I had. And it’s because of that, that I have had the great privilege of expanding their roles and screen time, and I hope to do more of the same [in Season 3].”
Clara’s return in the finale, at Lucy’s behest, to accompany Johnny on his walkabout arose as Lovretta was anxiously sitting up in the middle of the night waiting for an on-set glitch to be worked during the production of “Dutch and the Real Girl,” the episode where we met Clara. “There had been an issue with the prosthetics that was potentially going to mess up the big fight. As often happens when I’m trying not to think of something, the characters just started speaking. I ended up writing two scenes,” she recalls.
“I wrote the John says goodbye to Lucy scene and I called my producing partner, Karen [Troubetzkoy], and said, “I’m bawling. I just wrote a scene were Johnny leaves Dutch, and oh, by the way, Clara comes back,’ because I ended up writing their last scene.”
“I knew that part while we shooting 201 [and we shot it during 201]. They didn’t change. The dialogue is the same as what I wrote at 2 am. Sometimes things come and you know that’s a fixed point that you’re going to get to and you have to trust that. It’s fun as a writer to see how that comes out.”
Lovretta has plans for a book series to accompany the show. “[The books will explore] the things everybody else loves, [which] is the stuff I love the most. It’s not just the relationships, it’s that great geeky stuff origin and back story and more depth to the politics, explaining the rituals and cultures,” she says. “I hope we will have the great fortune to be a long-running series and they can be good side venues for some of that information for fans.”
“I’d like to get into Pree’s warlord days because it’s great, juicy fun. This would allow you to explore it first on screen, which is where my heart is and my priority in storytelling will always be, and then, being able to give these little bits of candy to everybody is something I’d love to do.”
Looking ahead to Season 3, Lovretta says we’re in for more plasma, more kickassery, and more fun. “I think [the plasma] will be a thread through the run of the series. What it actually means, what it powers and limitations are will expand and be given greater detail and weight as we go through,” she says.
“My intent, currently, if it gels in my brain, is to have Season 3 be Dutch vs. Aneela. [Hannah will] work a lot. Being able to keep [happiness] in the characters is something that we’re really looking forward to. I want them to be a united team who are able to love and support one in another in the hard and enjoyable ways that they need.”
“It’s a continuing privilege to put sexy, sassy talking people on a spaceship. It’s a career highlight that I do not take for granted and certainly hope to keep doing, because, damn, it’s fun.”
You can catch up on Season 2 now on syfy.com.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…