Alfred Gough, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Into the Badlands, discusses Sunny’s new journey with baby Henry, this season’s high stakes and the introduction of a new antagonist.
Q: This world really started to open up once we met the other Barons. What can you say about the production this year and how you’re continuing to reveal more hidden parts of this universe?
A: You’re going to see a lot more of the world in Season 3. When we open up, we’ll see Baron Chau and the Widow are in the throes of a war for control of the Badlands. We will also meet a new antagonist named Pilgrim who leads a group of followers. They’re the ones who responded when Bajie sent out the signal at the end of Season 2. They’re coming into the Badlands, but unlike the Barons, Pilgrim is more of a religious zealot who is looking for the secrets of Azra, which he thinks are buried there. The Barons aren’t sure what his true agenda really is.
Q: Does the Badlands being at war open up new styles of combat and fight sequences you haven’t been able to do before?
A: We have much bigger battle sequences, which we haven’t really done on the show, where we have army versus army. It’s also really opened up the locations as well. Certainly, in the early episodes, we have a lot more exterior fights and we’re able to show off the landscape of Ireland and use the epic backdrops for some pretty impressive fights between our characters.
A: It’s interesting because when we first see him, he’s off the grid and taking care of Henry like a samurai single dad – literally changing diapers and avoiding the Widow’s assassins that she’s sending after him. Something happens with Henry that forces him back into the Badlands and to team with Bajie, and they have to go on a journey to try to save him, which will lead him right through the front lines of the war. Sunny has a very interesting journey both physically and emotionally. He’s trying to put his past behind him and raise Henry to be good. That was the promise he made to Veil, but this is the Badlands. So, in order to save his son, he’ll have to slice and dice some people.
Q: How would you describe the wedge driven between Widow and Tilda? Where does that ultimately leave them at the beginning of the season?
A: At the beginning of the season, Tilda has put a band together. She’s going under the moniker of the Iron Rabbit and she’s raiding the Widow’s supply convoys to help feed the refugees of the war, but to also get back at her mother. I think they have a very interesting, evolving relationship through the course of the season. You could call it Lady Bird with swords. It’s kind of a mother-daughter dynamic played out in the Badlands. [Laughs] They have an evolving relationship, just like any teenager who is now a young woman would with her mother. Just with swords and knives!
Q: Sherman Augustus was brought on as a series regular. Where does Nathaniel Moon fit into the story?
A: The Widow recruits Moon to be her new Regent now that Tilda’s gone and Waldo’s also abandoned her, having been disillusioned by her at the end of last season. Moon is looking to get revenge on Sunny, so he comes back into the Badlands to exact revenge for Sunny taking his hand. I think that will also set up some interesting character dynamics.
Q: What are some of the other characters looking for this season? Bajie? M.K.?
A: At the end of last season, Bajie sent that signal out to Azra. When we meet him at the beginning of this season, no one’s responded yet — so he’s somebody who’s lost his faith and he starts to regain it through the course of the season but in a different way. When we last saw M.K., he was a prisoner of the Widow and he’s trying to get his gift back, but what is that cost going to be?
Q: In the Season 3 trailer, Pilgrim says, “Join us or die.” Do you think that’s a defining theme of the season? Just how high are the stakes?
A: The stakes are very high. What he’s after is more than just power and land. He’s looking to become a god and bring a certain retribution and redemption to the Badlands. He’s a religious zealot and those kinds of people are all or nothing. You’re either all in with him or you’re not. He’s searching for something that can really change the course of the Badlands.
Q: Can you talk about some of the new actors coming along for the ride?
A: Lorraine Toussaint plays Pilgrim’s priestess named Cressida. She’s been the one helping to guide him on this journey. I would say she’s part Lady Macbeth and part priestess. She’s very loyal to Pilgrim, but she plays her cards close to the vest, so you’re not quite sure what she’s up to or thinking. Dean Charles Chapman and Ella-Rae Smith’s characters are almost like Pilgrim’s adopted children. They have the Gift and Pilgrim uses them as weapons against people. They either join or they die. He offers the option and if not, he’ll unleash these two on them. Pilgrim, Cressida, Nix and Castor are the newest, screwed up family to come to the Badlands. They have a much different dynamic than Quinn’s family. It adds a new angle and flavor to the show.
Q: What are you most excited for fans to see in Season 3?
A: I’m excited for them to see this new world. The Badlands just keeps getting bigger. I’m excited for them to meet Pilgrim and see how he’s going to interact with all the characters and what sort of havoc he’s going to wreak. Also, to see Sunny in a new light as a single father fighting for his son. His greatest strength is the love for his son, but it’s also a weakness because Henry’s very vulnerable. It’s interesting to watch Sunny’s evolution this season as both a father and a fighter.
Into the Badlands returns Sunday at 10/9c. Click here to add a reminder to your calendar.
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