Dark Matter - Anthony Lemke

Exclusive: Dark Matter's Anthony Lemke talks Friday's S3 premiere and the new Big Bad

Contributed by
Jun 8, 2017

Beware, spoilers ahead!

In last season's cliffhanger, Dark Matter ended with nearly every character facing imminent death after Four, aka Emperor Ishida Ryo of Zairon, stole the Raza's blink drive and blew up the Council of Corporations.

When Season 3 commences on June 9, we'll learn if the crew of the Raza survived and how they're going to get back together, Canadian actor Anthony Lemke, who plays Three, told Syfy Wire in an exclusive interview. And get ready for a new Big Bad who will declare all-out war against the crew this season, added Lemke.

Lemke (Lost Girl, The Listener) talked to Syfy Wire about surviving that explosive Season 2 cliffhanger, what we have to look forward to in Season 3 and why Three is a "wonderful character to be able to play."

Apparently everyone died at the end of Season 2, so I guess it's going to be a really short third season.

Anthony Lemke: Yeah, everyone's dead and they've replaced us all with younger, better-looking versions of ourselves. So that's how they figured they're going to get themselves a Season 4, 5, 6. But we're team players. We're publicizing Season 3 anyway (laughs).

(Laughs) Seriously, what do we have to look forward to from Three and the gang, assuming they survived, of course.

The first question is how the heck do we end up back together after that cliffhanger. And what do we do with Ryo. You're going to find that out in Episode 1, how we survive. And then I think what you're going to expect in Season 3 is for us to deal with Ryo. And for Ryo to deal with us. We're major thorns in both each others' sides. So that's a storyline that plays out throughout the season, and he's the Big Bad this season for sure. That's not much of a spoiler, I think, given where we left Season 2 and our relationship with him.

You're also going to see a couple episodes in Season 3 that are very different in tone than anything you've seen in Season 1 and 2. There's one that's almost outright comedy. We're not talking half-hour slapstick stuff here, but in two episodes, the characters that you've come to know and hopefully love are being thrown into scenarios that are just comic (laughs), really when it comes down to it. Those episodes were very fun to shoot. They were wonderful to read. I've seen the early cuts of some of them and it looks like they're going to deliver too, so you never know until the audience has a chance to see it all whether or not it really does work the way you hope it's going to work, but there's a couple episodes that are very different in tone and I think the audience is going to appreciate that.

Dark Matter - Anthony Lemke

That said, the other episodes, I think they're probably more kick-ass than Season 2 in the sense that as the seasons go on, honestly there's just more stuff built. So the money that you have goes a lot farther because you've already built a number of sets. We have a new standing set for us this season, it's in a different town actually than Toronto where we shoot, and that's the Ishida Palace set. You've seen a bit of it here and there, but that is something that you're going to see a lot more of. But I think the audience is going to notice that the special effects are amped up, everything's just a bit amped up.

And the story of the corporate war and how we move in and out of that, because it's by no means a consistent thread that everybody wants to actually be involved in that (laughs). Three'd be more than happy to find himself on some planet and drinking piña coladas and pulling off the occasional heist. But let's just say that that's not the ship he's working on.

You're going to see the corporate war come in and out of our lives and us get dragged into it as pawns, manipulated for our own benefit, and that's also a running backstory for Season 3.

Dark Matter - Anthony Lemke

You're character is responsible for a lot of the humor on the show. How did that come about?

I'm very lucky. I think what happened was (laughs) ... I know what happened was when I got hired Joe [Mallozzi] came up to me and said, "If people aren't laughing at your character, you're not doing your job." (Laughs) … But to his credit I think he understands what it takes to bear that responsibility, to insure that there's a few laughs that come from my character. And he writes for my character very well. He puts me in positions that drive the humor, but then he also gives me the sufficient room to play with the character and the script in order to be able to find the humor in my voice that I've found for Three, as opposed to what's exactly in the script, which sometimes is a slightly different voice or a voice that I'm not as comfortable with. And he understands that often comedy comes from giving the actors a bit of freedom when it comes to how they form those beats.

I'm super thankful to him for that and I'm also thankful that he just seems to get the fact that what's great about the character is that he's sort of complex. You don't really know whether he's going to be good or bad, but he's also kind of funny while he does it. So it's a real pleasure to play that kind of character.

While I love some of the more serious shows on television, Dark Matter is entertaining because of the balance of humor and drama.

I think so. My favorite science fiction is science fiction that doesn't take itself too seriously. That understands that there can be a little bit of camp. There's a campiness to our show, without a doubt. It doesn't cross the line often but it does cross the line. So it allows a freedom both as an actor and as a writer to do things like put your characters in strictly comedic kind of circumstances and have fun with that, and the audience buys it ... I'm thankful for that tone. And that's been from the very beginning that Joe's been looking to walk that line between paying homage to the science fiction that he loves the best. But you do walk that line.

Dark Matter - Anthony Lemke

According to the IMDb, you've had 81 acting roles. How has this character been special for you considering all the roles you've played?

This character has been everything I look for in a character, I'll be honest. You've seen the first two seasons, and after the third season is over you'll understand what I mean. The leeway that is built into the DNA of this show for many of the characters, but my character specifically, lets us cross genres ... Let's say I was playing a cop in a cop show. I mean every week it's kind of the same. You play your cop beats and go home for the family beats, and maybe they're a little bit varied. There's a sameness to a show like that. Whereas this show there isn't. From week to week you're in a completely different scenario, and part of that is the character where half of his DNA is from this really idyllic childhood up to the age of maybe 8 with loving and caring parents who were together and loyal, and then the other half is a horrible upbringing that he had from the folks that killed his parents and raised him.

We found out about that in Season 2 and it was a really fascinating backstory.

Exactly. You look at that and you're like, "Oh, my God, what a wonderful character to be able to play." Because they're both him. When he's putting on the bravado to rob somebody or kill somebody, whatever, that is actually as much a part of who he had been as the more loyal and sensitive and good character, and they exist within him. And what's interesting about him is that they don't seem to war within him. Whereas they do war within other characters where they don't want to be the part of them that is bad. They're hoping to not acknowledge that part of who they are. And yeah, there's conflict, but he definitely doesn't war with himself. He almost embraces both sides (laughs). And to be honest, he's a heck of a lot of fun to play as an actor. Maybe as a person you might not want to have him as your best friend, although he's very loyal, but as an actor it is a dream to be able to play that kind of a fun character.

Dark Matter - Anthony Lemke

What's surprised you most about playing Three?

We didn't know anything about our characters when we started. We knew as much as the audience knew when they started watching the series. They didn't tell us anything about the backstory. So I would say the first thing that surprised me was Sarah. That he wasn't a total jerk. That somebody could love him. That he obviously displayed enough characteristics that were redeeming to be involved in a relationship. The second biggest surprise, in terms of the character, actually happened this year ... so I will not spoil it. But it's another revelation about that relationship with Sarah. When I read that I was like, "Oh, wow. Yeah. That's going to be hard." So it's a really complicating revelation in terms of the relationship between Sarah and Three. So those are the two big moments for the character.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A big thanks to all the folks who maintain an interest in this show and tune in every week on Syfy instead of spoof-net or downloading from the Internet or whatever. So thank you for tuning in via the old school television box. That really does help us. It helps the network and it helps the show continue on. So thank you very much to everybody who watched. And a particular thanks to those who watch live on Friday nights on Syfy and the various networks around the world at the program time. So thanks!

If someone has never seen Dark Matter, why should they catch up now and then watch this season?

I think because it's fun viewing. It's a good hour of television. Good storytelling that also examines some deeper questions about the human condition like the notion of what is it to have a soul? What is it to be human? The notion of identity. And in my mind that's sort of the best sci-fi. It combines those questions about humanity with a fun romp through a world we can only imagine, because we're not there yet. And that's why you watch this show.

Here's the trailer for Dark Matter Season 3.