Revolution executive producer Rockne S. O'Bannon called the last episodes of season two the "Big Four" at WonderCon 2014. The cast and crew are still waiting on word if they'll get renewed, but O'Bannon was joined by cast members Elizabeth Mitchell and Stephen Collins to discuss the second season and tease what's in store for the big finish.
Just by being a science fiction show on NBC pegged Revolution as an eternal bubble show. Season one was a bit of a mess, but with a lot of finesse and a lot of new blood, season two has been an improvement. O'Bannon was part of that facelift and explained the evolution of the show and how he is approaching the Revolution concept.
"I was a fan of the show who got to come onto season two," O'Bannon shared. "We're carefully planning the emotions of it and then look at season one and try to dovetail as much of it into it as much as possible. If it doesn't get knitted together into this season, then all the better, because it will, eventually.
"I've always looked at it as a journey for all of these people. I always look at it essentially as we're watching the heroes of our future, and 100 years in the future they're going to be erecting statues of these people, but we're watching them now in the midst of how they become heroes, warts and all. All the characters are really torn about what's the right thing to do."
The hard work of this year's crew sees the payoff in four large-scale episodes, which they're comparing to a four-hour movie. "They're huge episodes," said O'Bannon, proudly. "If you look at the series as we do -- this epic saga -- these last four episodes close the first chapter. If you think of the first two seasons as the first chapter, you'll see the show will turn a corner, not in terms of just the story and storytelling but the characters. There's life-changing and emotion-changing events for everybody."
Viewers were given a taste of what's in store last week when Charlie was forced to shoot Jason, and O'Bannon says that the repercussions for her are twofold. "One is obviously the emotional tumult for her, and that harkens back to the pilot. Also Miles says in the first couple minutes of the next episode, we've got to get to Tom Neville before he gets to us, because once he figures out who did it, Charlie's number is up. The next episode also sends Miles down a path that will be putting him on a journey to cling to."
"The nanotech has been trying to understand its creator -- us -- and what happens when it starts to find us sorely lacking? What to do you do when you find your creators and it's not at all what you expect them to be? What are those repercussions? Aaron's our point man for that, and Rachel is fighting multi-front battles." O'Bannon confirmed that the patriots and nano storylines will finally merge after dividing the series in half for much of the second season.
"The main thing is that the Patriots are making a big push," Collins said carefully as he danced around what could not be revealed. "They're pulling out whatever stops they haven't yet -- and they've pulled out some big ones already. If you've think they've done some dirty difficult stuff in the past, they re-double their efforts down to the wire."
Another teaser fed to us by O'Bannon goes all the way back to the first few minutes of the season-two premiere, when Miles came out of the mysterious shed bloody and burned. "We've been holding out on this one," O'Bannon said. "We're going to find out what was in there and it's far from anything you'd expect -- it costs us a lot of money, but it's not for the reasons you think."
As far as Rachel is concerned, "There's a flashback that I loved doing," teased Mitchell. "I love to add insight to our characters. Billy Burke does some awesome work in the second-to-last episode, and he'll play the guitar at one point. We didn't get to hear him sing, though, but we can't have everything, and there's some stuff with Rachel and Monroe that's long coming."
Rachel has her feet planted in both stories, with the patriots and co-opting Willoughby and the nano. O'Bannon said that this is why "Rachel is the absolute logical person for Aaron to latch onto, but there's huge revelations about the nano and the blackout that goes back to the pilot, too."
"Rachel and Aaron spend an entire episode in one of these last four," revealed Mitchell. "Whenever we have episodes full of Zak [Orth], they're really good. He has a lovely arc, and I think you'll be gratified by it; there'll be a little bit of blood, so you have to get through that; but it's a nice arc. I can't tell you when it ends, it doesn't always end with rainbows, those arcs, but it's nice. He might be our way into this world, because the Matheson clan is terrifying."
We asked Mitchell what it is that she thinks is making these post-apocalyptic stories so popular, lately, and what sets Revolution apart. "We are suckers for the what if, and we do them in our heads. In every scenario of your life you'll go off on a what-if tangent, and I think Revolution is one big what-if. What if this happened? What if I made this choice? What if this affected me in this way? I believe we do it in every minute seven or eight times, we're huge on what-ifs. Our whole daydreams are what-ifs, sci-fi is what-ifs, fantasy is what-ifs. So for me, that's just human nature. That's what makes us magical, the what-if, otherwise we'd never create anything. "
Additional interesting tidbits said during the Revolution Panel and press room:
• Jennifer Garner is on O'Bannon's wish list to be brought onto the show, but he would not confirm if they indeed score her as a future cast member, whether she would play Governor Affleck of the California Commonwealth, who was revealed to be a woman.
• Speaking of the California Commonwealth, more information will be known about its state in upcoming episodes.
• O'Bannon also said that Connor will not be an adornment to Monroe. He's his own person and will start showing himself to be capable of some really dark stuff, having been in Mexico with the cartel. They'll hint at it in this stretch run, but hopefully that can be a big part of season three.
• Through the father-and-son dynamic between Monroe and Connor, audiences will see how the Republic was formed and shed light on the dynamic between Monroe and Miles.
• O'Bannon was evasive when talking about Danny coming back as a nano, only saying that his name is volleyed a lot in the writer's room.
• Collins said that there's a thrilling heist sequence on a steam locomotive; it was interesting to try and find a functional one in Texas.