‘Tomorrow People’s’ Robbie Amell on ‘Telling the Story Our Fans Want to See’
For the final major arc of its first season, The CW sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People is moving to Monday nights. Starting tonight at 9 ET/PT, the series begins building toward what star Robbie Amell promises is a revelatory season finale.
The actor, who plays Stephen Jameson, chosen member of the evolved Tomorrow People/undercover agent into the sinister organization Ultra, explained to Spinoff Online that tonight’s episode “Superhero” introduces Stephen and friends to a vigilante outsider. But after that meeting, the series’ main conflict heats up in a major way.
Below, the actor talks about the revelations coming in the war with Ultra, his desire to kick more ass, the series’ blockbuster sci-fi set pieces and his cousin Stephen Amell’s growing Facebook fan cult.
Spinoff Online: Tonight’s new episode of The Tomorrow People is called “Superhero.” What does that title signify both for the story and thematically for the series?
Robbie Amell: What I really like about Episode 16 is that it shows you another side of what someone can do with their powers. We meet someone who is using their powers to be a superhero – kind of like Kick-Ass, but a little different. It’s another way people could react to having these incredible gifts. Rather than hiding underground and fighting against Ultra and trying to save their species, they’re using these powers every day, and it’s really cool and inspiring for a couple of the characters. Russell and I kind of get swept up in the whole thing.
And this is really the last “fun” episode for the season. There’s a big reveal at the end of 16 that really starts what I would say is the end of Season 1. The end of 16 through 22 I believe is on a completely different level than the rest of our show was. We’re telling the story our fans want to see, and I couldn’t be more excited. Across the first half of the season, we had to find our groove, and some episodes are better than others. But I honestly believe that from the end of 16 through 22, we have one of the strongest if not the strongest show on The CW.
Every time I watch the series, I keep thinking, “Someone’s going to figure out that Stephen’s playing both sides of this conflict,” but it never seems to come out that way. With that in mind, what really drives the story in this last run of episodes?
In the next few episodes, you’ll find out that some people have known all along. I haven’t necessarily been playing everybody as well as I thought I was. All of this could be part of a bigger plan, but ultimately, the main goal for Stephen is the same as it was at the beginning: finding his dad and trying to create a world where humans and Tomorrow People can live in peace. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. These people can live together. You don’t have to pick sides. But a lot of huge reveals happen in the next couple of episodes.
Well, Stephen’s absent dad has been the “gun on the mantelpiece” from the very beginning of the show. As we’ve gone along, that relationship has been only one of the very complicated parent/child relationships on the show. How much of the series and the final episodes are built on the theme of parents hiding secrets from their kids?
I never thought of that as the backbone of the show, but one of the things that you come away with from the show is that my mom and my dad were both hiding things from me with the best intentions. But if they had just told me earlier, things could have turned out much differently and maybe for the better. It’s a difficult thing that people and families struggle with every day: when do you let your kids in on certain things you struggle with that they may not be prepared for? We’re handling that idea on a larger scale – with superpowers and life-and-death battles every day rather than with the common family problems.
Over the season, The Tomorrow People has continued to build up its repertoire of science-fiction effects and big-action set pieces. Do you have any big genre twists like that which you’re excited for as the season nears its end?
I actually have a few of them. I kept talking to the writers and saying, “When the hell do I get to beat the crap out of someone? I’m tired of getting my ass kicked every week.” [Laughs] You know, I’ve been training at Ultra for 15 episodes now! So in Episode 17, they definitely deliver on that. John and I take on about six elite Ultra agents at once. I haven’t seen the edited cut, but from what I’ve heard it turned out as one of our best fight sequences all years. In 19, I have a great fight with a character that I can’t reveal, but it’s really dark and gritty. It’s that pent-up, angry fight that’s been a long time coming.
And in Episode 18, we reveal what I think is the coolest sci-fi element we’ve had in the show. It’s big. Our set tech Tyler who created our whole set did something incredible. You walk onto set, and it feels like you’re in a $100 million sci-fi movie. I can’t elaborate too much on that, but it’s going to be really cool, and the fans are really going to love it. We’ve teased about it before in prior episodes, and the reveal is massive.
Finally, with The Tomorrow People moving to Monday nights, you’ll no longer be sharing a CW spot with your cousin Stephen Amell’s series Arrow. I wondered if before you leave, you’re going to confront Stephen over his rapidly growing Facebook addiction?
[Laughs] He kind of got me wrapped up in the whole Facebook fan page thing as well, so I can’t talk too much crap about him! I think it’s great. From what I’ve seen, him interacting with his fans and how much they love it has inspired the same thing in me. Fans seem excited about the Monday move if a little upset that Amell Wednesdays is getting broken up. But to me, we’re just spacing it out over the week so you don’t have to save it all for one night.
The Tomorrow People debuts in its time slot tonight at 9 ET/PT on The CW.