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Dark Matter - Exclusive Interview With Joseph Mallozzi - Kill Them All Post-mortem



On Monday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dark Matter Executive Producer/Co-Creator Joseph Mallozzi, who coincidentally also happens to be the writer of tonight's episode, Kill Them All. Our interview focused on this episode, but went on to cover everything from the new castmembers to what we can expect to see later in the season. The interview will be released in a couple parts, so sit back and enjoy this part.

SpoilerTV: Why did you decide to kill off One and how did Marc [Bendavid] take the news when you told him?

Joseph Mallozzi: The first season was very much about establishing who these characters are and sort of peeling the onion on their backstories and the various elements of their backstories and sort of the realization that it’s not just a simple matter of turning over a new leaf or deciding “the past is the past, time to move on”. The past catches up with you, you know, and you can’t run away from your past. Essentially that, thematically, is the show’s second season: You can’t escape your past, and in some cases some of our characters don’t want to. Four, for instance, at the end of Season One said: “Hey, I’m going to go back and I have to retake my throne”, so basically he’s a guy going back to embrace his past. Six is a character who is kind of dragged a bit, kicking and screaming. He’s sort of torn between the past and the present. He talks about the fact that he’s a G.A. officer and he felt he was doing the right thing and basically he tells Five “I did it for you”. You can see hints of that in Season One, where after you follow the timeline, where basically he reveals “Hey, this is what happened to me, this is how I found out” which you find out more about in episode two. You realize that it was pretty much after episode eight, then you see in episode nine and he seems unusually emotional in his response to Five, where basically out of the blue he just kind of snaps at her and says “You have to get off this ship”, because he knows it’s going to end badly for her. Of course, she reacts badly and she basically takes it personally. But looking back, you see now what was kind of bubbling under the surface. Two is another character who kind of drudges into her past more for a search for answers. Three kind of embraces his past as a badass, but secretly there’s that connection to that woman he loves. That’s sort of another connection to the past he kind of clings to. In fact, in episode four, we’re going to find out more about his backstory, even before he met Sarah (Natalie Brown), and that’s kind of an interesting backstory.

In the case of One, I think, and in the case of Five, there are some elements of your past that you can’t escape, and [those elements will] come back and haunt Five in the form of that keycard that her crew stole, that she has, that people are going to come after her in Season Two. Then for One, it’s basically, you want to establish the worst case scenario, and when they find out they were mercenaries, they realize they’re in danger; not only do we have to worry about Galactic Authority but we have to worry about former victims, friends of the former victims, people we’ve wronged, or former rivals. And in this case, even though I know it’s kind of ironic that he is one of the characters who does have a past but not necessarily a bad one of his own making and yet it still comes back and kind of bites him in the ass in the worst way possible. And it sort of sets the tone for the rest of the season: Basically the past can come back to haunt in terrible, terrible ways.

In terms of the conversation with Marc, I explained it to him, and it’s never easy. I told him the bright spot is that he actually plays two characters on the show, so One may be gone, but Jace Corso is still out there.

STV: I noticed that Marc’s name is missing from the cast list in the next episode, so I’m guessing he’s not a series regular anymore.

JM: Correct.

STV: So, we’ll just see him come and go?

JM: Correct.

STV: If the opportunity ever presented itself - I mean, this is sci-fi - would you ever consider trying to resurrect him at some point down the line?

JM: I mean, it’s sci-fi. Of course anything can happen. When we were on Stargate, whenever we used to kill a character, we used to say “The next thing is this is sci-fi, so anything can happen”, and I think Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) on Stargate died a half dozen times. I think we killed off O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) multiple times in a single episode. Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion) came back in Stargate: Atlantis. So yeah, anything can happen, this is sci-fi. The issue with resurrecting characters is once you start to do it, when you open that can of worms, I think it kind of makes subsequent deaths a little less impactful, because in the back of your mind you can think “Oh, they can just do this or do that”. So, to answer your question, yes, theoretically possible, but not in the works.

STV: When we left One he was trying to figure out what actually happened to his wife and then the key witness came up dead. Is that something that’s going to continue or did that story kind of die with him?

JM: That story is out there. We’ll leave it at that.

STV: Perfect, I look forward to seeing how that story plays out. Obviously, Jace Corso is still out there, he’s still alive, you mentioned that Marc could still play him. When the crew finds out that it was Jace that killed him. Will they go out to avenge his death?

JM: Given that Two spaced Wexler (Ennis Esmer) for trying to kill her, it’s a fairly certain assumption that she will lead the team in a quest for revenge against Jace Corso, if and when she finds out he’s responsible for One’s murder.

STV: Something tells me she’ll keep going until she finds out.

JM: Yeah, I mean, she’s the curious type, so I think so.

STV: I read in your blog that you wanted to try and have Amanda Tapping play One’s lawyer, but the timing just didn’t work out. Is there still room for her to play another character somewhere down the line?

JM: Absolutely, I mean, the door is open to all of my former Stargate friends to come appear on the show. I mean, you know, David [Hewlett] (Talbor Calcheck) and Torri [Higginson] (Commander Truffault) and now Mike [Dopud] (Arax Nero) have joined the recurring cast. So I would definitely love Amanda, and Michael [Shanks] is in Toronto and I don’t know if our schedules line out, and Chris [Judge]. Rick [Dean Anderson], though I think he’s enjoying kind of a semi-retirement, but we could try to convince him. So, yeah, I’d absolutely love to have some of the former gang show up on the show.

STV: Now to something that bugged me when I was watching the episode. Five gave that order for the Android to kill them all, and that was a very bold thing for her, of all characters, to do and really it was kind of Two-like in nature. Was that a direct result of the time she spent with the crew, or is that something that has been boiling inside of her? And why did she give the order to kill instead of just incapacitate them?

JM: I think Five has come a long way, and I want to say she’s evolved, I guess, and obviously [the] influence of those around her have had an effect [on] whether [that evolution is] good or bad. And it’s something we sort of play throughout Season Two. I mean, in one episode she kills Cain. She shoots him essentially in self-defense to save Two and there’s a moment on the bridge where the Android says “You killed someone. Do you want to talk about it?” and she’s like “No” and just kind of walks off. She doesn’t deal with it. And you see, sort of, that one thing that she was holding onto throughout that first season was that idea of family, and the fact that they were a family and have been torn apart by someone who she most trusted had a major effect on her. The repercussions of that we’ll see in Season Two and beyond.

STV: So, it wasn’t really planned, it was more of a gut reaction to what she saw was happening to her friend.

JM: Yes, exactly. It was just a buildup of everything, of all the incidents. And she comes in and then she sees what they’ve done to the Android and kind of the physical slap and the pulling of the gun and the threatening of her life and she just reaches a point of “Enough!” and essentially takes a page out of Two and Four’s handbook and gives the order.

STV: Now, also on the topic of Five, we met someone who knows a lot about her, and interestingly enough refers to her as “pumpkin”, which is kind of a family type term - someone that you’re familiar with. Are we going to get to know more about her and how she plays into Five’s backstory?

JM: You will. Actually, you’ll find out a little bit more in episode three and four.

STV: So you got some amazing guest stars in those first two episodes, so I imagine that’s going to continue. But, specifically about Shaddick and Anders, and their portrayers, they looked pretty dead at the end of the second episode. Is there any chance we’ll see them again?

JM: Shaddick, well it’s hard to come away from what looked like a head shot. I mean, Five did give the Android the order to “Kill them all”, and the Android does follow orders, so Shaddick is unlikely to come back. Anders, you know, who knows. I love Jeff [Teravainen]. He’s an interesting character, he wasn’t pronounced dead and he didn’t take a head shot, so there is that outside chance.

STV: At the end of this episode you made another bold decision to shoot Six and critically injure him to the point where Devon may not even be able to save him. But he doesn’t seem like he’s beyond hope and I have seen some images on your blog that give room for hope. How long will he be out of commission for and when do you think we will see him return to active duty?

JM: You know, he’s critically injured, and the fact that they bring him back on the ship gives us hope, but yeah, of course, he’ll come back. In what capacity remains to be seen. Even though he does help them escape he did put them in there in the first place. So forgiveness is going to be tough. If your former friends aren’t going to forgive you, especially if they’re a group of mercenaries, your days on that ship are probably numbered. The fact they brought him back with them suggests that they are going to save his life; whether he’s allowed to remain on the ship is questionable. Even if he is allowed to remain on the ship, the types of freedom he’ll enjoy will be very different from the run of the ship as he had in Season One.

And then, of course, it comes down to the individual characters. You can see Five, she has that relationship with him, so maybe she can find a way to mend fences with him. Two, she gives the order to bring him onto the ship, [which] suggests that she’s always thinking with her head: What’s best for her ship, the crew, so there may be room there. But Three is clearly not the forgiving type and Four is a total wildcard, so we’ll have to see.

STV: You mentioned Two and her insisting they bring Six back on the ship. Was that out of some duty since he helped them escape or was she just thinking ahead to maybe she can use him as leverage against the G.A. eventually?

JM: She - it’s something I talked to Melissa about when she first auditioned for the character - is that she’s tough, but she possesses that and empathy and walks a fine line between doing what’s best for the crew, her compassion, and really doing what’s best for the ship. In this case, it’s both. The fact that he helps them escape and is severely injured in the process makes it easy to make that decision that “he helped us so, at the very least, we should help him”. Essentially, he’s down and not going to be a threat on the ship. On the other hand, you’re absolutely right, he’s a member of the G.A., there’s an opportunity there as well to use him, so that was certainly in the back of her mind as well when she gave Three the order to help.

STV: You were talking about Two and her loyalty to her crew, but in the episode she kind of made an interesting statement where she was willing to leave the prison without Five and the Android, which is interesting because she arguably has the closest relationship with them. She did hint at the fact that she’d be willing to go back for them at a later time, but do you think she would have been able to make herself leave without them, had they not made it to the shuttle?

JM: I think the wording “she may have been willing to go back” is kind of incorrect. I think as the leader, she has to avoid thinking with her heart but think with her head and what is the best way to get everyone off the prison, and she honestly believes that this is such a long shot - they’ve got all these pieces in place - [that] this is their one chance to get off Hyperion-8. If they go back looking, they don’t know where the Android is, they don’t know where Five is. If they go out looking for them, chances are they’ll be caught. In her mind, she’s thinking, the best way to save Five, and the Android, and presumably One at that point - but she doesn’t know [for sure] - is by being on the outside and gathering resources and taking a run rather than running around clueless not knowing where they’re located and essentially risking their escape. So it’s the pragmatist in her, and I don’t think it’s really so cold-hearted. I think she’s really thinking about the best possible way to save everyone. It’s a tough decision, but in her mind [it’s] the right decision.

STV: I noticed that when they were putting Six into stasis, some of the usual suspects were there. Devon, since he was the doctor, and there was Five and the Android, but Nyx was there and that just seemed kind of odd because she’s never really formally met Six and she has no real connection to him. Why was she there instead of Two, or even Four?

JM: It’s kind of unspoken but the Android is kind of the ship’s security, while these guys are kind of new. You’ll see in episode three that they’re only allowed in certain sections of the ship; when they go to other sections, they have to be accompanied. And the Android is really there to keep an eye [on things]. For instance, Devon as the doctor would be there in this case and Nyx, there is kind of a suggestion that Two places a certain amount of trust in her as well and that she certainly steps ahead of, say, Devon or Arax in acceptance. It feels sort of like Nyx’s quiet attempt to belong, which is something thematically we’ll be exploring throughout Season Two, [along with] her time on the ship.

STV: You mentioned Arax, and I was kind of surprised that he made it out of the prison with them because he’s not one of the regulars. What can we expect to come from him in the next couple of episodes? And how long is he going to stick around for?

JM: I’m going to plead the Fifth on that one. He did help them escape, so they do kind of owe him as much as Nyx, so he’s certainly going to make a solid argument for why he should be allowed to stay onboard. What happens to him remains to be seen.

STV: Something tells me that him and Two will clash because they both have that very strong leader personality.

JM: Definitely, there will be a bit of a clash between them.

STV: We’ve got all these new crewmembers. We’ve got the loss of One. We’ve got Six fighting for his life and we don’t really know what’s going to come of him. Can the crew recover from all this and come back together as the family they were forming before?

JM: I want to say hopefully, yeah, but it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take time. There’s that scene in episode twelve [where] after like a season of them being very distrustful of one another, they finally come together at the end of episode twelve and are sitting down together and having that really nice meal together in the mess, and the Android is sitting with them. Then it just kind of fades, we do a match dissolve to the empty room, and then the Android gets shocked and you realize it’s all going to come undone and it certainly does in episode thirteen, where everyone is suspecting everyone. We’ll feel the repercussions of that but, I mean, they’re going to realize very quickly, like they did after episode one, that they really have no one to rely on but each other. And their enemies are going to be coming at them big time in Season Two, so they are going to have to learn to put the past behind them rather quickly in terms of their recent pasts and what happened to them in the finale.

Look for Part 2 of this SpoilerTV exclusive interview next week. In the next part, Joseph Mallozzi discusses the new additions to the cast and teases what we can expect to happen in the coming weeks.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about the information Mallozzi provided in this interview. Did anything he say surprise you?

Very big special thanks to Bradley Adams for helping me edit this interview.


About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was. She has a long list of shows that she loves to watch and can be found on twitter (@ahicks83) live tweeting about each new episode whenever she can. If the show is sci-fi, fantasy, comic book based, drama, or action the odds are good she watches it or has at least watched a few episodes of it. She also has a love for comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mom. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island (lostvideo.net) which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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