Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the Co-creators and Executive Producers of Into the Badlands, tease the final showdown against Pilgrim and the surprising alliances to come in the final episodes.
Q: The Meridian Chamber has been awakened and Pilgrim is now the most powerful man alive. How does this set the stakes for the final episodes?
Al Gough: What you’re walking into is what we hope to be the most formidable villain that Sunny, the Widow, Bajie and everyone has ever faced. Going into these final eight [episodes], we wanted to have this final showdown be one that is going to really test the mettle of all of our other characters.
Q: How did you enjoy seeing how Pilgrim, Cressida and the Acolytes affected the storyline upon introducing him?
Miles Millar: That’s been really satisfying. The evolution of Pilgrim and his introduction onto the show and that whole world of the Acolytes and Cressida – it’s really added a new dimension to the world of the Badlands.
AG: He brings a different style and energy than other Barons do. We explored Quinn and Chau and the world of the Barons, but he brings that religious zealot leadership and he now has this incredible power that seems to make him unstoppable. How will that shape the endgame coming up?
Q: The Master explained that what’s coming is “far more dangerous” than the feud between the Widow and Chau. Is it unlike anything the Badlands has ever seen? Was Bajie right all along?
AG: Absolutely. We’ve saved the best for last. You will see some epic fights as the season progresses, leading to the mother of all showdowns at the end.
Q: What was it like weaving the Master back into the story? Where does she come into play?
MM: The Master always plays a significant role in the series, even if you don’t see her. Her return really marks an escalation in terms of all the players on the board of the Badlands. She adds a spiritual dimension to the series as well. [Her] history with the Widow comes into play. For us, it’s about people coming to terms with their past but also their futures. The Master is really pivotal to both the Widow and Sunny.
Q: Last time we saw the Widow, her forehead was struck with Chi by the Master. What is she being prepared for?
AG: The Master is really preparing her for the war to come, which is the battle with Pilgrim. Nobody can see it yet – certainly not on the Widow’s side because she’s been busy fighting Chau and dealing with the politics of the Badlands, but she’s now being pulled into this bigger story. It’s going to be a very interesting journey for her. As Miles said, she also has to come to grips with her own past and her relationship to the Master. These two obviously aren’t friends, but the Master knows she needs the Widow, and the Widow will learn she needs the Master.
Q: Sunny just recently discovered his childhood connection to Pilgrim and, now, Pilgrim has used Sunny for his own agenda. How is Sunny processing all of this?
MM: The idea of characters confronting their past to be able to progress into their futures is something that really plays out in these last eight episodes. For Sunny, it’s learning about his past, his relationship with Pilgrim and other secrets and relationships that are revealed in these next eight. It’s a past that he’s forgotten and has been erased. Slowly, over the course of these episodes, these memories will be revealed to him.
Q: M.K. has his Gift back and is on a warpath against Sunny. How has learning the truth about his mother’s death affected how he sees Sunny?
AG: You’ll really see M.K.’s journey to the dark side. He’s always been searching for a father figure and he’s been lied to over the course of the series – from Sunny to Quinn to the Master. This revelation that Sunny has killed his mother has really put him on a collision course. He really buys into Pilgrim. He’s his most loyal warrior. It’ll be interesting to see how this dynamic affects the dynamic in the Pilgrim family with Nix, who now has her doubts after Castor’s death, and how M.K. might fill that void.
MM: For us, it’s always interesting to see the shift in alliances in this world. People you don’t expect to team up find reasons to and, together, they battle. The unexpected relationships surprise us as writers and I think will really delight the audience. We have lots of surprises. And, of course, not everyone will survive. It was important for us to also find closure in relationships and resolution.
AG: They’ve always had a connection and they clearly had a history before they met again in the first eight episodes. You’ll see that bond get stronger. Both of these people have had pretty hard lives and have suffered great loss. You’ll see them come together. What sort of relationship will they forge? Can anyone really find happiness in the Badlands? I think that’s really the question with them.
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to these final episodes? How did you approach wrapping up the end of the story?
AG: We did have an ending in mind. We knew what we were building towards, which is always good. That gave us freedom to explore some relationships we haven’t seen. Ultimately, we’re taking some characters to their literal final conclusion. When you’re writing with a finish line in view, it’s very exciting because there are certain things that you hold back as you’re doing these epic series and then you go, “OK, now we can bring a closure to this world.” When people go and watch the complete series, there is an ending that we hope is satisfying and surprising and worthy of the show.
MM: We really wanted the show to end in a satisfying way and that if you invested three years watching this show, that there would be answers to questions and relationships would feel complete. Things we set up, we wanted to pay off. Those critical questions we posed at the beginning of the series and played with throughout – I think we found some very unexpected ways to resolve the show.
Into the Badlands returns in a two-night premiere event Sunday, March 24th and Monday, March 25 at 10/9c.
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