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SYFY WIRE San Diego Comic-Con 2022

'Severance' brings blooper reel, vague Season 2 hints to San Diego Comic-Con

Wait, there's laughter at Lumon Industries?

By Josh Weiss
Atv Severance Photo 010401Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Tramell Tillman and Zach Cherry in “Severance”.

The atmosphere at Lumon Industries isn't always so sterile and dour. Apple TV+ considerably lightened the mood at San Diego Comic-Con Thursday with a blooper reel from the service's hit television series Severance. Eliciting a great deal of laughter out of the gathered crowd in Ballroom 20, the montage of footage showed off a collection of flubbed lines, Christopher Walken's knowledge off disco music, and John Turturro's vocal warm-ups in between shots.

Created and executive produced by Dan Erickson, the critically acclaimed show centers around a number of low-level corporate workers who undergo an experimental procedure (the titular Severance) that mentally splits their work lives from their personal lives. As time goes on, however, the employees come to discover the detrimental side effects of the dystopian process.

“Obviously, the world here is a bit stylized or heightened, but technologically, the only thing that's different is [the advent of Severance], so then we can really explore how this would change the world," Erickson explained during the panel moderated by Patton Oswalt (SYFY WIRE was in attendance). "I’ve always loved sci-fi that gets into the social elements of something." The creator went on to cite Robert Zemeckis' Contact as a prime example of how the genre can be used to make a profoundly existential statement on the nature of humanity. "We didn't really want it to feel like sci-fi in the classic sense — we wanted it to feel much more grounded."

He also revealed that the premise was inspired by the "corporate misery" he experienced in a number of "weirder and weirder office jobs" after moving to Los Angeles. "I found myself sort of walking in one day and was like, 'God, if I could just skip ahead eight hours and just be done with this... I would willingly give up that time of life, my precious time here on Earth.' It was kind of a messed-up thing to catch myself wishing for [and] I was like, 'That should be a show.'"

Executive producer and director Ben Stiller praised the ensemble cast with grounding the larger-than-life narrative. “These actors are so believable, that they buy into the reality of this world," he said. "That's something I thought about in terms of the tone. Are people gonna believe this world? But when you have people like John and Chris and you guys [addressing other cast members on the panel] investing with this reality... If they believe it, the audience believes it, and I think that's why the show is able to work."

And if you think Severance is bizarre in its current form, you should read the original pilot script. "There was some weirded stuff in that," Stiller teased. "Yeah," supplied Erickson. I think the original was a little more acid trip-y ... At one point, there was a pair of disembodied legs that ran by. The legs didn't make the cut. They were good, they just were't good enough."

The show was renewed for a second season back in April, and while Erickson didn't give up many details about where the story goes from here, he did voice his excitement over the chance to further explore this universe. "That's something that I am excited about, moving forward, going into Season 2 and stuff, is just building out the world a little bit more and being able to see what this one slight tweak to reality...what the different ramifications of that would be," he said, later addressing the dangerous allure of fan theories.

"As we have gotten more into writing Season 2, it's just that thing of infinite options and at some point, you have to commit to what you're doing. It can be counterproductive to go and look at all these other voices in your head, great though they may be, and other ideas about where it could go. There's an infinite amount of paths that we could take. I really enjoy them, but I've sort of had to back off in recent weeks."

Adam Scott (Big Little Lies), Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora), Britt Lower (High Maintenance), Zach Cherry (Succession), Dichen Lachman (Jurassic World: Dominion), Jen Tullock (Before You Know It), Tramell Tillman (Hunters), and Michael Chernus (Orange Is the New Black) co-star.

All nine episodes of Severance's debut season are now streaming on Apple TV+.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has new series The Ark in the works from original Stargate film writer/producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.