We went to SDCC and got the serious dirt on season 2 of Amazon’s hit The Man in the High Castle
There was a lot of great television on in the past year, there’s certainly a glut of good programming for tv lovers, and that’s just on regular network and cable TV. Now factor in original content from streaming services and it’s enough to make your head spin! One of our absolute favorite offerings this year was from Amazon, and it was The Man in the High Castle. Based on Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle explores what the US would have been like if they hadn’t won WWII. In fact, one of the show’s executive producers, Isa Dick Hackett, is the author’s daughter, so you know she’s taking her father’s legacy seriously. With compelling characters, heart-pounding storylines, more twists than a pretzel factory and an absolutely mind-blowing final scene, it was definitely one of the most underrated shows last year. There’s plenty of time to binge if you need to catch up- The entire season is available to stream on Amazon Instant Video & is included with Prime membership. This article isn’t spoiler free, for those who have yet to catch up!
We sat down with executive producers Isa Dick Hackett & Dan Percival along with cast members Luke Kleintank, Alexa Davalos, Rufus Sewell, Cary-Hiroyuki Tarawa, Rupert Evans, DJ Qualls, & Bella Heathcote to get all the details on season 2. What tidbits did we find out?
We’ll Meet the Man in the High Castle
Isa Dick Hackett, the show’s executive producer, shared this tidbit right off the bat, and our collective gasps were real. That question, and more, will be answered in season 2, but maybe not how we expect. Alexa Davalos explains, “There’s a lot in this season that I think is extremely surprising, and I think it continues that way.” But don’t hold out on us, ladies! Will there be a time jump though? Hackett demurs, “I’m not sure I want to answer that, because it’s a whole world of possibilities. I’ll let that one go.” One thing is for sure- we had a lot of questions after season 1, but it looks like a great many of them will be answered by season 2!
“They’re exploring new places and spaces.” -Isa Dick Hackett, on the journeys the cast will take in season 2
There will be no regrets for Juliana- and a lot of shocks
“It makes you think about things quite differently,” says Davalos. While Juliana is clearly a tough woman who did the best she can with her circumstances, when asked if she would have any regrets about some of the things she did in season 1, Hackett and Davalos were clear- no regrets for Juliana. But come on ladies, give us something! Will John Smith become more of a present threat to Juliana? Will they finally meet? Will we see more of Juliana and Mr. Tagomi? Their relationship was one of the best parts of season 1! …Stay tuned!
Bella Heathcote teased a new character while we were doing interviews. According to Bella she’s a wealthy, privileged Nazi filmmaker, who because of her father, a high-ranking pharmaceutical magnate, “Has a lot more freedom within the Nazi Reich, and I think she pushes that as far as she can go. I think she’s a bit of trouble.” How much of a Nazi is she? …That remains to be seen.
We’re diving deeper into the characters we know
Many of the character storylines are separate this year, though what happens to each of them has a butterfly effect on other characters. Remember that father that everyone always talked to Joe about? Yeah, we’re gonna meet him, and apparently he’s got some power. All those questions you’ve got: Why is Joe doing what he’s doing? Why does Joe seem so protected? Why Joe period? Why is John Smith so interested in him? Season 1 built a world. Season 2 explores that world in depth, especially with regards to character.
“I don’t think anybody knows who he is, so we explore that, why he’s doing what he’s doing. He just goes deeper and deeper into the lion’s den of the Nazi world, and you’re gonna get into the psyche of him a lot more.” -Luke Kleintank, on Joe Blake’s season 2 journey
The Bromance is Over
We don’t know about you, but Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) and Ed McCarthy (DJ Qualls) were the bromance we always wanted in season one. Ed is basically the puppy that every alpha man wants, a devoted, unwavering, faithful friend to the point of self-sacrifice. (You remember how Ed was arrested at the end of season one? Nail biter!) “We get into a little bit of the backstory of why Ed is so devoted to him [Frank],” says Qualls. Too bad there’s trouble in paradise for our faithful friends in season 2. “In season 2…cracks start to appear,” says Evans. “It starts to fall apart,” agrees Qualls. “That’s sort of a theme for the whole second season.” It would have to be! Season 1 introduced us to the oppressive regime these characters were living under, and in season 2 the pressure of that starts to break everyone. “Ed loves safety, and now that safety is gone,” says Qualls. That’s going to make Ed look for someone to blame. Guess that blame is headed right towards Frank! Where is Frank’s blame focused? You guessed it: Juliana. “She’s a bitch! Well… according to Frank.” Harsh, Frank! While we never saw Juliana as a bitch, there is something to it. The fate of Frank’s family was essentially her fault, and while she seemed sorry, she never really seemed sorry enough.
“There’s a huge fallout [to]…the choices that she makes. And the fallout is huge.” -Rupert Evans, on Frank’s relationship to Juliana Crain
Evans also revealed some spoiler-y information about a great scene between Frank & Ed where Frank receives a letter that sets off his character’s real season 2 journey (and the idea of parts of season 2 taking place in different realities!). We can’t wait to see it. It’s clear when you watch The Man in the High Castle that the cast has amazing chemistry and a great, rusting relationship. Our interview with Rupert and DJ were a perfect demonstration. Check out the full interview below!
Season 2 will be expanding the world of the story in a major way
That final moment of season 1 took a dystopian alternate-reality series on a completely new track with a whole new sci-fi element. What alternate reality was Mr. Tagomi looking at? Another reality for the show, but what does that mean??? “We try and take it slow…Everyone is hungry to have all their questions answered, but trust us. We reveal a little bit at a time. We know what we’re saying and what these worlds are, but you’re going to discover it step by step by step,” says Dan Percival. So what’s up with Tagomi for season 2? “To be relieved of having to serve everybody on the other side,” says Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Because Tagomi will find himself in this new alternate reality, he can now explore himself in a different way and see the man he would’ve been in an entirely different world. Deep stuff! This sort of major expansion to the world of the show gives the viewer and him the opportunity, “To find out [about] the Tagomi that lived in that other reality and how that had an effect on his wife and son,” (who we know very little about in season 1).
“We’re allowing ourselves to spend a bit more time with each character, and as our world becomes more and more complex, we slow it down even more. I hope the audience responds to that.” -Dan Percival, on how season 2 takes place over a very short period of time
What’s the deal with John Smith?!
Without doubt, one of the most intriguing characters on The Man in the High Castle is Rufus Sewell’s character John Smith. A so obviously American man ranking so high in the Nazi Reich- what is that about? “There are two difference stories. There’s the story of his ascendency in the Nazi world, and at the same time the growing belief that he has committed himself to something that is destroying the very thing he was trying to protect: His family.” So is John Smith really beginning to doubt his commitment to the Nazi party? “He has the vehemency of the doubting fundamentalist, there’s a lot of dirt under there. That’s makes him dangerous.” Could anything sound more delicious with possibilities than that? And how much did Smith know about Joe’s betrayal?? Be sure to check out the video below for Sewell’s priceless answer to what John Smith knew about Joe’s betrayal. …Clearly, John Smith is passing the channel changer test.
Amazon has said The Man in the High Castle will premiere sometime this fall. Since they’re already on episode 7 of their shooting schedule, we’re hoping for sometime in November, like the season 1 premiere. Whenever the show premieres, we’ll be there with an episode guide and recaps for all the episodes. We can’t wait for season 2 of this show! Thanks to the EP’s and the cast for sitting down and spending so much time answering all our burning questions!