Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the Co-creators and Executive Producers of Into the Badlands, discuss the final showdown between Sunny and Quinn, Bajie’s true goals and how Season 3 will be even bigger.
Q: At what point in the planning of the season did you know you wanted to end the season with two big deaths?
Al Gough: When we started the season, we knew we wanted to kill Quinn at the end of the season. That was on the board early on. The Veil death was something that came later in the season as we were looking at it. Interestingly, it had kind of been foreshadowed through the whole season. Moon and all these people tell Sunny that if he goes back, he’s going to bring death to his family. This season for Sunny has been this journey back to the Badlands, but also through his own personal Hell as well and trying to make amends for the killer he’s been. It felt like he had to pay a price. He gets Veil for a minute and then she’s taken away from him and he’s left with the baby. He gets out, but there is a price he pays for his sins, and we see it. It’s heart-breaking when she’s gone.
Q: What was the significance of having Veil be the one to take Quinn out?
AG: We wanted it to be her because she had been at Quinn’s mercy all season. It felt like she couldn’t just be killed. She needed to make the choice, and it’s her choice and sacrifice that allows Sunny and the baby to escape. Sunny comes in and takes out all the Clippers and has this amazing fight with Quinn, but we wanted to give her that moment and that agency over her fate. She makes that decision as a mother to save her son and take out this man who’s been psychologically and physically torturing her throughout the season. We love the Veil character and Madeleine [Mantock] does an amazing job playing her.
Q: Sunny spends much of Season 2 trying to renounce violence. How has his perspective changed now that he sees Moon’s perspective of the world could be right?
Miles Millar: I certainly think it opens up many possibilities for Season 3 for where we’ll find Sunny, the emotional repercussions of Veil’s death and the fact that he now has a baby. It really sets the stage for more drama in Season 3. For Sunny, Veil’s death is his worst nightmare come to fruition. His past history and the blood on his hands has all now resulted in her death and I think that’s something that will haunt him for many years to come.
Q: Sunny has always been driven by a mission — either given to him by Quinn, or a compulsion of the heart. What will he do now that he’s all alone in the world with a baby and no purpose?
AG: Veil tells him to raise Henry to be good, so I think one of the interesting struggles is you had Sunny who’d been this killer with no weaknesses and now he alone is in charge of this baby. He still has enemies coming after him and it ups the stakes for Sunny in a big way because he now has to protect Henry in this incredibly violent world.
Q: Has the Widow lost her way over the course of this season, or is she finally seeing clearly what she really wants?
MM: What’s interesting for us this season is the Widow’s arc has been one of compromise. She has a very strong view about what she wants to achieve, but to achieve it, the sacrifices she makes and the moral compromises she’s forced to make have all led her down a path she never expected. It causes conflict with the person she values the most, which is Tilda. For us, it’s about finding interesting arcs and taking the characters down unexpected paths. The Widow started off with such noble goals and we find her in a dark place at the end of the season. We find her in a place we didn’t expect and it’ll be interesting to see how she comes back.
Q: The Widow is pushing M.K. to embrace his gift and fight for her. Is she molding him to be a pseudo replacement for Tilda?
AG: Since literally the first episode, she’s been looking for M.K. because she sees him as a way to unlock the mystery of her own gift. They do have a strange mother-son dynamic because they have that shared history with dealing with the gift and the Monastery. I think you’ll definitely see a twist on that relationship going forward.
Q: Bajie has generally only looked out for himself, with even his biggest acts of self-sacrifice prompted by the opportunity to get something he wants. Is he really trying to “save the world” in his final scene of the Season Finale?
AG: Bajie has been on his own quest and just accidentally helped along the way. [Laughs] There’s always been something in it for him and you realize it deals with the book and the compass and trying to reach Azra. The question now is: Will there be a response? Will his prayers be answered? That’s a big question for Season 3.
Q: That last shot of the finale is so breathtaking. Did it come together after finding that location or did you have to seek out a place to match your vision?
MM: We wanted the last shot of the show to be epic and there is no more epic location in the world than the Cliffs of Moher, which is the west coast of Ireland. It was something I saw as a tourist and thought was amazing and had to have it on the show. If we were going to shoot in Ireland, we had to showcase Ireland. Luckily, we planned it for months. We had to get special permissions to shoot that because it’s such a popular tourist attraction. We had the weather on our side because the winds there are notorious and people get blown off those cliffs! Getting a helicopter up there and getting that shot was no small feat, but it was worth it. What we’re looking forward to in Season 3 is really exploring more of Ireland, more epic locations and really showcasing the landscapes that are a big feature of Into the Badlands.
Q: Do you have any particularly favorite fights this season?
MM: I really love the Moon fight – it’s spectacular – and the parkour fight in the junkyard [in Episode 5] with the bus was a really fun one because it’s a different tone for us.
Q: What can fans expect from Season 3? How will the additional episodes allow you to expand the story even more?
AG: We’ve actually just started the writers’ room this week. The good news is there really are a lot of stories to tell. We’ve left people in very interesting situations. We can really dive deeper into the characters and into the world and styles of fighting. It allows us to explore characters that we wouldn’t normally get the time to explore even in a 10-episode season. Season 2 was great, but there were so many things we wanted to do but you only have so much screen time. There are so many different things we want to showcase and we’re looking to make it even bigger and better than Season 2.
Read a Q&A with Stephen Lang, who plays Waldo.
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