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Dark Matter - Season 3 Exclusive Interview - Joseph Mallozzi

It has become a bit of a SpoilerTV tradition to have a chat with Dark Matter’s Co-Creator and Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi at the start of each season and he was more than happy to spend a little bit of time talking about what is ahead for Season Three. In this interview he drops a lot of enticing and exciting tidbits, so settle in and enjoy the interview.

Fair warning, there are things within this interview pertaining to the whole season, so if you don't want to know anything about what's upcoming then do not continue beyond this point.

SpoilerTV: Those episodes were amazing, I just want to lead with that.

Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks, thanks it was. I always love telling those type of stories, the ones in Episode One, it was like Episode Four Season One as well, where basically the characters were kind of interspersed, jumping back and forth between stories was a lot of fun actually getting Commander Truffault on board and kicking some ass as well.

STV: Are we going to see more of her? Truffault?

JM: You WILL see more of her, yeah. She’ll be appearing in a couple more episodes this season. You know I say on my blog how originally the character was supposed to die in Season One but Torri [Higginson] had a scheduling conflict with a con that she was perfectly willing to reschedule and I just said, “Well, now, just go to the con and if we come back in Season Two I’ll give you a couple of episodes in Season Two” and you know the character just took off. She does such a great job with the character, she kind of imbued it with a bit of a Mae West delivery, which I like, a lot. But I knew she would be perfect for the role.

STV: Yeah, you weren’t meant to kill her. That would have been awful

JM: No, no, yeah, who knows…

STV: Knowing you she could still die, but at least she’s alive for now.

JM: Yeah, that's practically everybody, no one is safe.

STV: Speaking of nobody safe, Nyx is dead and she’s gone, is that the last we see of her in the first episode?

JM: Safe to say that is the last we see on Nyx.

STV What inspired you to have the final goodbye be with Two and not say Four?

JM: A number of reasons, first of all, from the get-go Two was very much a supporter of hers. You know back when they were in the Hyperion-8 station where basically Three was very reluctant to sort of bring her on, Two essentially backed her up and brought her on board the ship and kind of spoke up for her and throughout her stay on the ship. It was kinda more of a sort of a partnership, there was never sort of like any part of a rivalry or anything with suspicion. Two places her trust in her, so in that respect I think Two was closer to Nyx so in a different way than Four was. Also, her death on a completely sort of different level affected Two. So as Commander of the ship she's always taken it upon herself the safety and well-being of the crew. So throughout Season Two, Season Two was very much sort of a redemption arc where on board the ship first there's Six trying to redeem himself after the events of the Season One finale and taking all season to do it, but on the other hand he’s just trying to get our crew to basically take that extra step and say ok let's put our past behind us by essentially forging new identities, basically being better people. And, uh, he finally convinces Two and she says okay, that's what we're going to do, we're going to try head off this corporate war, and you know to get on the Space Station, they fail, Nyx loses her life because of ultimately, what in Two's mind, the decision that she made. And so, heading into Season Three she's going to be somewhat more reluctant to perhaps agree with Six, on matters like these and they'll be more sort of, uh, kind of Richard III, “Uneasy lies ahead that wears the crown”, she'll be very uneasy, throughout Season Three and Nyx's death will weigh heavily on her.

STV: She seemed to almost take Nyx's death worse than she did One and she slept with One, was that because of how she's evolving, how she's changing? Or was there something else underlying there?

JM: No, No. I think basically she took One's death hard but I mean from a sort of command position that was kind of out of her hands, she didn't feel any responsibility, direct or otherwise. Also, one of the things that, in retrospect, that we did in Season Two with One's death, he was killed at the end of Episode Two, and they get the news, sorry at the end of Episode One and they get the news at the end of Episode Two and then there's sort of an implied time cut to Episode Three. And their still getting over processing the death but you don't really get to see, kind of a visceral, gut reaction to the passing and that's something I wanted to kind of rectify with Nyx and so basically in you know in the premiere I wanted us to have that kind of like a goodbye conversation which is why we sort of created a scenario where Nyx, in a sense kind of visits her, as kind of a hallucination, and she's able to sort of have that talk with her.

STV: Now what about that, I hesitate to call it a kiss, but the way it ended should people read anything into that or what?

JM: I don't's is often the case on the show there's stuff that seems kind of unusual and maybe it's a set-up for something down the line or maybe it’s just a suggestion of maybe there was something more that never got to be realized or maybe it was just a, a fantasy goodbye kiss, between very good friends. Uh, so, I will just say, uh, you know maybe uh, wait and see on that.

STV: It's not really a relationship show but could you ever see, say Two or anybody being in a long term, stable relationship on the show or is that just never going to happen?

JM: You know I don't want to say never, however, it's something that we try to avoid, purposely. The character of Two, just because of this weight of command, and just because of how independent she is, what we wanted to do in Season One is kind of establish the fact that she is NOT someone who will essentially allow her feelings, you know to kind of steer her. So for that reason she is less likely to get into a relationship just because, you know, subconsciously, almost you would think, that she sees it as a weakness, although she would never say it possibly you know the way she basically had kind of a physical relationship with Three and then with One as well, but we'll get a sense that uh, you know, that there's kind of more beneath the surface and we'll learn a bit about past relationships as the series progresses. Put it that way.

STV: Speaking of relationships, the end of the first episode, Sarah randomly reappears in some spectrum that Five has created. We don't really get any follow-up to that in the second episode, can we expect that to come soon or later on in the season?

JM: Oh, it'll come, in Episode Three. That'll be blown up and all the characters will have very interesting reactions to it. You know you were just referring to the fact that, the kiss, is there more to it? Again, without leaning one way or another, one of the things I’m always fond of pointing out is that we have a plan. I've been sort of sitting with the show and these characters for years and years before we actually went into production. So you know, I've set up a lot of questions but I've got a lot of answers and you know a number of answers you've received along the way and it set up more questions, but one of the nice things about this type of storytelling is you're able to set up little hints. If you look back to Episode Seven, the Wendy the Robot episode, the one where we introduced Sarah and killed her off in the same episode, she's in a stasis chamber and the power goes out and she dies. Then we check in with all the characters and then we go back and see Five, and if you look at that scene, Five is staring down at Sarah in her stasis pod and then she kind of cocks her head in kind of a curious way and then we're out. And I remember when the episode aired, a bunch of people were like, "Oh, that's kind of weird, why was Five giving her the look?" And, you know, it's a follow-through that I had planned for a while and finally, the start of Season Three was where we found the opportunity to do it. And so her presence is going to run through the show's third season and will certainly complicate matters for Three.

STV: As if things weren't already complicated enough for the poor guy.

JM: Yeah, yeah, poor guy.

STV: He got beat up and arrested and barely survived the season premiere as it was.

JM: Yeah, he's kind of in for a rough road in Season Three.

STV: You kind of set that up when it starts off with him just bleeding from the face.

JM: Yep, Yep, Yep. That's going to be him throughout the third season, but Three’s a trooper he loves that kind of stuff.

STV: Well, he's good at it.

JM: Getting beaten up and eating rice pudding in the mess, those are his two favorite things to do.

STV: What about Anders? Because while I like Anders hanging out with Six, and they're such fun, Anders and Three were just hilarious. They were perfect. Can we expect them to cross paths again?

JM: I love Jeff [Teravainen] and I love the Anders character, so safe to say we will be seeing him again, before the Season Three finale. Maybe a couple of times.

STV: Was he another one that you were planning to kill off and he just stuck around or has he always been in the bigger picture?

JM: No, no, actually I kept his death…I don't want to say vague, he basically takes the shots to the chest but there's an easy explanation for why he survived and that’s we say he was wearing the vest. I liked Jeff right off the bat, especially when he came back in Season Two opening two-parter on Hyperion-8. I thought he really kicked ass and so we decided to leave the door open to bring him back and I'm aware of the fans and who they like and who they don't like and I know that he has that nice little fan contingent, so the decision was made to sort of bring him in at the end of the Season Two finale as a vision if you will. And then pay it off in Season Three, the premiere.

STV: Can we expect to keep getting these big payoffs throughout Season Three?

JM: Yeah, I think so. We're going to be dealing with the fallout from the Corporate War, those independent colonies, and we're going to be revealing some major secrets as well, which is always nice, having characters whose backstories you don't quite know fully about. I mean we find out about Five, and the fact that she has a sister and there's a little surprise coming down the road for that. But there are surprises in store for Two, big surprises in store for Two, and the Android, and we kind of reveal their origins. And Three of course and Six. In fact, we do one episode where we get all inside Six's backstory and that's kind of very interesting as well. Yeah, a lot of revelations coming your way.

STV: I think I read on your blog that we get a name for the Android this season. Is it a name that was already established or is it just something she decides, "Hey, I want a name, give me a name?"

JM: No, it's a name that was already established. In the story, or in the backstory, she has a name, but when it came time to writing the script, I wanted Zoie to be cool with the name. So what we did was I said, “Okay, what we're going to do is we're going to pick six names each we like and then we're just gonna go back and forth and I'll knock one name off your list and you can knock one name off my list.” We just kind of made a game of it going back and forth kind of texting until we came up with a name that we both liked.

The name you came up with, was it one of yours or one of hers originally?

JM: It was originally one of hers.

STV: Speaking of names, we've got Ryo who was Four. Is there any of Four left in him?

JM: Yeah, in fact, actually, there is a lot of Four left in him. He still has Four's memories, however, in addition to those, what with being with the crew a year or so with his memories of Four while he has a lifetime's memories of Ryo. That will really kind of steer his direction if you will and the Four in him was a part of him that, if you sort of rewatch the finale, you know the last two episodes, the end of Episode Twelve he pulls off the coup, he had them in the palace but if he really wanted to press the issue he would have said to the Android, "Give up the Blink Drive. I'm holding my former friends hostages." But he doesn't he releases them and then he actually goes to Two with kind of an impassioned plea for the Blink Drive and she turns him down, and when she does that then he realizes that okay, I have no other choice. And so he goes onboard and he tells Misaki you know non-lethal force which she doesn't…orders she doesn't follow through on and then basically when he's leaving, you know he sets things in motion at EOS-7, he contacts the Android and warns the crew to get off. So in his mind, he had to do what he needed to do to secure the Blink Drive and hopefully secure victory and save millions of his people, but in the eyes of Two and the rest of the crew he's a murderer who betrayed them and things are going to get ugly.

STV: Will it change anything when they realize he didn't actually kill Nyx?

JM: Chances are that whenever that happens we're going to be so far down the road of back and forth that it may be too late. But we'll see. We'll see.

STV: So the damage has been done?

JM: Yeah, you could say. I mean he's the Big Bad for Season Three. We haven't had a Big Bad yet for the show, and it's just appropriate, I think, that the Big Bad would be a former ally. You know they say former friends make the worst of enemies and Ryo Ishida is going to prove that.

STV: He already starts to prove that in the second episode. He goes all in.

JM: Oh, yeah, yeah. And…is it the second episode where he puts together the team of assassins?

STV: No, but that sounds awesome! No, the second episode is…

JM: Okay, excellent! Look forward to that.

STV: …it's the research station.

JM: He’s an Emperor he’s got a lot of resources at his disposal and they take back the Blink Drive in Episode Two, he's clearly going to want it back! And after they presumably destroy his research station, setting his war effort back who knows how many years he's going to be spoiling for revenge.

STV: So it's going to be back and forth all season then? Them just trying to kill each other?

JM: Chances are....yes.

STV: How would you describe the upcoming episodes? With just one word!

JM: I want to say surprising, surprising, surprising. Episode Three is independent. Episode Four is time loop. Episode Five is quest. Episode Six is…Episode Six and Seven I'm going to set aside for now. Episode Eight I'll say Die Hard. Episode Nine is…I'm just going to throw out a date, 2017. Episode Ten is…origin. Episode Eleven is…one word... gonna take a pass on Episode Eleven. Episode Twelve is secrets, for sure secrets. And Episode Thirteen is...Six, Seven, Eleven and Thirteen are the ones I'm not sure I have a single word for because the word itself could be a spoiler where the other ones are definitely teasers.

STV: Six and Seven, are they some kind of two-parter or are they just both big episodes?

JM: Nope! No, yeah!

STV: I know this is about to be like asking you to pick your favorite dog, but if you had to pick one episode this season that you think is THE best one that everybody should be massively excited for, which one is it?

JM: It is tough, it's not like kids where you can pick a favorite, episodes you love them for different reasons. Just judging from…my girlfriend screens all the episodes, and by far her favorite is Episode Nine. Which is funny, it's an episode we wanted to do another story and because of actor availability we weren't able to do it, so I needed to come up with a story quickly for the Episode Nine slot and this year we did two funny episodes, and Episode Four is a Time Loop episode, that I wrote that was a lot of fun so I basically said, "You know what? If I can do funny episodes I write those faster.” So essentially Episode Nine is sort of our..I would describe as being sort of Back to the Future meets Stranger Things it's a lot of fun and I think is Akemi’s favorite episode of the entire series. So I would lean towards Episode Nine though I have to say Episodes Four, Six, Eight are fantastic. Episode Ten, it has so many great character moments, like really great character moments and Episode Twelve just because again I'm calling it Secrets because there's so many revelations in the episode. Episode Thirteen, of course, the finales are always huge and there's more than a few surprises in store. I think one of the great things about the show is that I've planned things out for a 5-year plan, so I know exactly how each season will begin and end and I've been kind of holding onto this image that concludes Season Three and sets up Season Four for such a long time and it's great basically seeing it realized. It sets up a huge, huge fourth season. Even bigger than Season Three.

STV: Is it a big cliffhanger? Again?

JM: I think each season ends in kind of a different manner, Season One was kind of a low-key cliffhanger but appropriately enough the series begins with the characters finding out they're criminals and then Season One ends with them being hauled off to prison. Season Two, they're in prison and it's all about the search for redemption ending up blowing up in their faces literally and Season Two is the one that actually has the biggest cliffhanger per se in terms of a classic cliffhanger sense. Season Three it's not so much, I guess, cliffhanger, as it is enormous anticipation for what's to come.

STV: I've gotta say, this season looks like it's going to be pretty epic from everything I've seen so far.

JM: Yeah, it will be. It's gonna be huge.

STV: It seems, and I don't want to put down Season Two, but it already seems like it's going to be a tighter story. Perhaps more confined to the crew instead of outside forces?

JM: Yeah, we'll have a couple of people come and go but there will be no one joining the crew. It will allow us to really sort of refocus on the crew while also telling the story of Ryo Ishida and how those two stories will definitely intersect several times over the course of the season.

STV: Is Misaki going to stay a big part of the season or is she going to kind of come and go as she's needed?

JM: Yeah, back on Zairon as Ryo struggles to rule he'll basically have two advisors. One will be Misaki once the fallout of the revelation that she killed Nyx plays out. The other is a character called Teku Fonsei who was um Ryo's former tutor who has philosophically a very different approach to rule, then Misaki. They're going to be sort of the angel and devil sitting on Ryo's shoulders, kind of whispering into the ear as he attempts to rule.

STV: Are we going to see the war be pretty dominant this season or is this kind of a ramp up to something that's going to be more prominent in Season Four?

JM: You know, the war, it's a big galaxy so the war will affect us in sort of various ways. Either directly in battle or through its effects for instance on the independent colonies, on space stations that happen to fall in the path, or in the various dealings we have with the Corporations. So essentially, I’m saying that the Corporate War will be in the background but it will form several of the stories but it won't inform all the stories. We’ll still be able to deal other aspects of their backstories or other kinds of one-off adventures as well.

STV: Excellent, I'm really looking forward to this season. I think it's going to be huge and I think the fans are going to love it too.

JM: I hope so, I hope so, every year ya know I just....fingers crossed.

And that concludes the interview with Joseph Mallozzi. He is incredibly generous and has a passionate love for his show. If you want to keep up with what is going on with Dark Matter then make sure to follow his blog where he posts exclusive behind-the-scenes tidbits.

Be sure to tune in for the next new episode coming this Friday, June 16th at 9/8c on SyFy in the US and Space in Canada.

Hit the comments with your thoughts on everything he had to say. Is there anything in particular that stood out as super exciting for you?

I need to end this with a big massive shoutout to fellow SpoilerTV staff members, DJRiter and Babar who helped to transcribe this interview. If you enjoyed this interview take just a moment to toss a big thank you their way in the comments for helping me out.