Rockne S. O’Bannon on ‘Revolution’s’ Future and ‘Farscape’s’ Resurrection
How much worse can life get in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious global blackout led to the collapse of governments and public order, and the rise of warlords and militias? Revolution’s ragtag group of underdogs is about to find out.
In the previous episode, “Austin City Limits,” the Patriots made their move against Texas, Charlie was forced to kill a brainwashed Jason, and the pesky Nanotech problem grew.
With the sci-fi drama returning tonight on NBC, executive producer Rockne S. O’Bannon spoke with Spinoff Online about the last leg of Season 2, the series’ possible renewal and Farscape.
Spinoff Online: What were some of the discussions behind Jason’s death and the repercussions it would have on various characters?
Rockne S. O’Bannon: You never entertain killing off one of your main characters lightly. Jason [played by J.D. Pardo] has been on the show since the pilot, but it’s one of the things that television does really well these days, which is they are willing to off a character. It really shows the stakes of that series are real. That was very much a part of it.
It impacts a few characters very powerfully. Obviously, one is Charlie. We view these last four episodes as an event miniseries, if you will. You’ll see as we get into this, for many of our characters, there are really significant, life-changing events that occur within these next four episodes. Charlie is the forerunner of that for having to kill Jason at the end of the last episode. This upcoming episode spins her into a place you wouldn’t really expect. It has a pretty emotional impact on her.
And Jason was honestly one of the most beloved characters on the show. J.D. was terrific in the role. It was a tough decision. The impact it has is so important. Charlie being half of it and then the other half is obviously with Tom Neville. That’s a pretty scary proposition.
He can’t be too happy.
He’s not a happy camper. I always pictured Tom Neville as the kind of dad who will just beat on his kids emotionally, always figuring, “I’ve got to do this to toughen them up. I’ll hug him later. Right now I have to do this for his own good.” What has been wrenched from Neville is any opportunity to ever hug his son again. That sort of thing is playing vitally on his mind. He’s a man without a family, which has always been a primary motivation of his. It’s going to be real interesting where Tom Neville develops out of there.
For a while, Aaron was on his own dealing with the Nano. Now that the gang is back together, how will the Patriots and Nano storylines collide?
[Series creator] Eric Kripke always felt very comfortable letting the story threads separate this season. We look at Revolution as one epic saga. As often happens in novel series, characters and stories are allowed to go on their own tangent for a while and then will dovetail back together. The main story is always enriched for the readers by allowing the characters have their own lives. Eric was very comfortable letting the Nanotech story and Aaron go off on their own path. Same with Tom Neville, who had his own adventure for a good portion of the first half of the season. As intended, the Patriot story and the Nano story do start to intertwine.
Rachel is very much the lightning rod to both of those stories starting to twist around each other. She’s obviously the character who has a foot in both story camps. You’ll see how those storylines start to intertwine, with all of it aimed squarely at where we’re planning on going in Season 3.
Monroe has always been a loose cannon. With these two threats – the Patriots and the Nano – in the mix, will he finally make a grab for power?
We saw his agenda at the beginning of the season as a man completely without a direction. He lost his Republic and his absolute best friend that he had in Miles. He was just drifting in bare-knuckle fighting and was at his very lowest. Then he reconnected with our people and also discovered that he had a son. Upon reuniting with his son, Connor, he saw a direction — his direction is to rekindle what he had in the Monroe Republic, but this time do it with family, do it with his son.
Even as you can see over these last few episodes that have aired, that is not without a great deal of difficulty. He’s going to have a lot of hurdles to pass. But his mission is to regain the station and glory and power that he had when the Monroe Republic under his belt, but this time do it not so much with Miles at his side, but to do it with Connor. Connor is someone who, as we’ve started to see these last few episodes and we’ll see very much in the final four, isn’t really prepared to be second banana to somebody else. Some really great conflict comes out of that.
Revolution returns with a new episode ominously titled “$#!& Happens.” Where does it pick up and how does it set into motion the last block of episodes?
It picks up immediately at the end of the previous episode [which aired on April 2]. It’s moments after Charlie has shot Jason and Miles has shot the assassin that was prepared to take out the Texas governor. It’s the escape from Austin by our group. You get in real time the deep emotional cut Charlie is feeling. We really get to see her go through the process of how she responds to what has happened.
In the meantime, circumstances conspire to separate portions of our group. If Charlie killing Jason was the catalyst for a big life-changing point of view by Charlie, upcoming, something in this episode does the same to Miles. Miles, being very much his very own guy, it’s going to take something really significant to get him to alter course.
The other thing is, if you recall in the earliest moments of the first episode of the season, when we first saw Miles, he was coming out of a mysterious shed and proceeded to set fire to that shed. Rachel proceeded to say, “I’m leaving town.” Something was in there, obviously. We’ve been very patient in terms of letting our story play out through the season and saving that for this very significant moment. It’s been tough for us because we’re so excited about what’s in the shed that there’s been a lot of times we would have loved to portray that, but held off. For the audience who has held in there and shown their patience, the reward is coming.
NBC hasn’t renewed Revolution yet. Are you crafting this year’s last episode as a season finale or a series finale?
No, we’re definitely looking at this as a season finale. What we have planned for next season is so terrific. Part of the process in TV is you go in and pitch a version of what you have in mind for next season. You go in and pitch to the studio and they pitch to the network. Eric went in and pitched to the network last week and apparently they were over the moon. We haven’t heard anything officially, and obviously they are playing it very close to the vest, but we’re all championing to share what we’ve come up with. It’s pretty wild. Fingers crossed.
Looking at other projects, you announced a Farscape movie was in the pipeline. What stage in development is that at?
The true answer is that we are developing a script for a feature. Financing is being looked at. There’s a great deal of passion for it. Brian Henson, who has been a champion for the series, has never let go of it. He’s spearheading this. Knowing Brian as I do, I have a great deal of confidence that he’s going to make it happen.
Will you be building on the events of The Peacekeeper Wars, or producing a stand-alone story?
That is the challenge. The reason there is a Farscape feature, if there is one, is because of the passion of the fans, who just haven’t given up and are really anxious to see the Farscape they know and love. We want to present that as well. On the other hand, there’s the desire to entertain and satisfy and hook people into the Farscape world. It’s trying to build a story that is loyal to the premise and tone and the characters and the story situations that have come before. That’s vital. But then also doing it in a way that’s not only for the fans. That’s the tightrope we are walking right now. It’s challenging, but other shows have done it.
Revolution returns tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.