By Courtney V
Syfy’s breakout hit Dark Matter returns for its third season tonight and fans are going to have a lot to be happy about. More twists, shifting alliances, and interstellar drama abounds. OHSOGRAY talked with series creator Joseph Mallozzi about what’s ahead for the crew of the Raza.
Dark Matter season 3 premieres tonight at 8/7c on Syfy.
What can you preview about what’s coming in Dark Matter season 3?
Season 1 was very much…almost like an insular story. It was very much ship-based. It was very much revelations about the characters’ pasts and exploration…and very much, sort of, the mystery essentially ruled season 1. The fact that their memories were wiped, who had their memories and why…. Season 2, it was very much – the arc was more sort of a redemption arc. Small scale. Six, after his disloyalty at the end of season 1 and also his drive to get the crew to turn their lives around and turn their backs on their pasts by going out and doing the right thing, in his mind, by essentially trying to avert this corporate war. Of course, that fails. Season 3 we head into corporate war.
We’re trying to trump each season – if you’ll excuse the expression. Season 1: a little quieter and smaller. Season 2 is a little bigger. The characters went out and were a little more proactive in going after the people who were going after them; seeking out answers, if you will, and basically trying to forge new lives for themselves. Season 3, the past comes back to haunt, in many ways. Many secrets will be revealed. Lot of revelations. We’re going to find out the android’s backstory later this season. We’re going to find out her connection to Two. We’re going to get flashbacks to those early years on the Raza. In many ways, it’s just going to be bigger than season 2, in terms of visual effects, in terms of story, and in terms of the twists and turns and surprises along the way.
Last season, the android became a more complicated character with this possibility of her being able to have more human-like qualities. Is that something that you will explore more in season 3?
Yeah, actually. The fun thing about the android, and 80% of it is Zoie Palmer who is so fantastic in the role… It’s one of those classic cases where you create the character, you write the stories, and then the actor delivers in such a way that it takes you in a different direction or makes you want to write for the character even more. That was the case for Zoie in season 1 – how we developed her character. Season 2 she ended up getting the upgrade and she still has the upgrade. She will go undercover a couple of times in season 3. So we will get to see her as human version.
One of the fun aspects of the character is also, in her android way, [her] trying to come to terms with humanity. That’s something we’ll explore. Also her place within the family unit that is the crew. It’s something that we set out purposefully to do in season 2 with little things like having her take a seat at the table with them, having her take that sip of whatever they’re drinking. There will be even more of that in season 3. If you’re a fan of the android, I think you’ll really enjoy season 3 because there’s going to be a lot of revelations about her, a lot of great moments, but a lot of really nice scenes between her and the rest of the crew as she connects with them in different ways.
There are shifting loyalties on the show and I wonder how much different that is with the android. There seems to be more of a sense that her loyalty has to be earned and not assumed just because she’s the android.
It depends on who. It’s safe to say that Five trusts her wholly and the android is very loyal to Five. There’s an interesting conversation that she has Six, I believe in episode 11 of last year, where the rest of the crew basically goes off and Six has to stay behind and he’s kind of steamed about it. Then she has a conversation with him and essentially says, “You know, I’ve located a weakness in your heart. That I can exploit if you ever think of crossing us again.” She’s threatening him and he’s like, “Good to know.” And her response is, “Yes. It is good to know” in ominous fashion. It’s fun seeing that side of the android as well. The lengths she’s willing to go to safeguard her friends. At this point, they’re more than a crew, they’re her friends. It will lead her to make a very interesting choice later in the season. But I will leave that up in the air for now.
What kind of fallout are we going to see from Four’s decisions at the end of season 2?
As far as the crew knows, he betrayed them and murdered Nyx. So at the end of episode 1, Two’s got the game plan – take back the blink drive and kill Ryo Ishida. She’s motivated by revenge now as is the rest of the crew. They make good on their vow to go after him. As a result, they open up a whole other can of worms. He’s our big bad for season 3. We’ve never had a big bad. I can’t think of a more appropriate big bad than a former ally with an entire army at his disposal.
Are we going to have any other shakes up with the crew? Any new additions?
You can look forward to the addition of two passengers. Two other people will be catching a lift on the Raza for a certain number of episodes. One of them goes by the name Adrian Maro. He is assistant to Talbor Calchek, who is played by David Hewlett [from] seasons 1 and 2. He’s their handler. Their agent of sorts. Their scheming agent. They’re basically going to, in episode 3, we’re going to introduce them. [The crew] get a message from Talbor for help and when they go to rescue him, it turns out it’s not Talbor, but his assistant, Adrian Maro. They learn that once the war started, Talbor cashed in his chips and went underground, leaving the business. Adrian [decides] to take it upon himself to step up and assume the mantel. He’s kind of a Talbor wannabe, but he’s such a fish out of water. He’s a total dweeb. Obviously, he’s in way over his head. He is accompanied by a bodyguard, name Solara Shockley who’s former Stellar Defense Corp. She’s kind of a no nonsense type, who instantly does not hit it off with Three. They have a very interesting dynamic. Both on and off the ship. So those are the two new characters who will be catching a ride on the ship. Adrian is played by Mischka Thébaud and Solara is played by Ayisha Issa who is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and works as a bouncer when she’s not acting. She is pretty kick ass on and off screen. She demonstrated a chokehold on me on her first week in the office.
You mentioned that you wrote more for the android because of Zoie Palmer’s performance. Have you been able to take the story in new directions and add different elements based on what the other actors have done in the first two seasons?
Absolutely. It goes for the entire cast. One of the really nice things about our cast is that they’re really good, they’re really versatile, and there’s never….To be honest, I’ve been on other shows where I’ve wanted to have a story go in certain ways or do things with certain characters, but I had to hold back because [I thought], “This isn’t that actor’s strength.” There’s never been a point in Dark Matter where I’ve thought, “The actor can’t do this.” Quite the opposite. More often than not, it’s opened up the possible stories we can tell. Small examples are Jodelle Ferland, who plays Five, and Anthony Lemke, who plays Three. I worked with Jodelle back when she was 12 on Stargate. I remember she was so good, and she knew all her lines. Whenever Joe Flanigan or Dave Hewlett would forget their lines, she would prompt them. She was such a little professional back then that when I created the character, I really had her in mind. Even so, she’s totally surpassed my expectations. The same goes for Anthony. When it came time to have auditions for the role and casting, of all the crew members, he was the one guy where we didn’t have a second choice. It had to be him. He nailed the audition and continues to nail it on the day. I just remember in season 1, those two characters popped for me and I realized that they never had scenes together. So I purposefully wrote season 2 where they would converse. There’s a scene in season 2 where Three goes to borrow money from her and she charges him interest. There’s an episode near the end of season 2 where she gets kidnapped and he goes after her to save her. Then, in turn, she has to save him – which is one of my favorites. For all the characters, their talent has opened up so many potential storylines. A lot of them we are going to see realized in season 3.
How many episodes do we get in season 3?
Like seasons 1 and 2, thirteen.
It’s not like TV used to be where there would be a fall line up that continued into the spring. This is more a once a year shot. Do you like that?
I’ve always enjoyed cable shows – those type of shows where stuff happens every episode and you’re watching with one eye on the screen and one eye on the clock going, “Oh my god, how much time is left?” They’re able to tell those stories because they’re not telling 22 episodes. When we were on Stargate, we were able to tell 22 episodes a season cause a lot of them were one offs. When you’re doing a serialized show, I think the 10 or 13 episode format works best. Like I said, you can pack so much into those 13 episodes. In my mind, each season is like an installment in a book series – with a beginning and an end. Season 1 was they find out they’re criminals. Then it ends with them being hauled off to prison. Season 2 was them actually as criminals and then their search for redemption that ends with the destruction of EOS7. Season 3 is the corporate war and their grudge match with Ryo Ishida and will end in a way that will set up another chapter or another installment in season 4. Should we be so lucky. In my head, the series will go five seasons and I have five different installments. I know how each season will begin. I know how each season will end. In my mind, I know how the series will end. It’s just a matter of hopefully getting a chance to tell that story.
Dark Matter is part of a great line up with Killjoys and Wynonna Earp coming back around the same time.
That’s actually very exciting. I love the fact that Wynonna will be joining us and we’ll be moving to the nine o’clock slot, which is great. We’re sandwiched between two fantastic shows and can’t be anything but great. Syfy Friday.