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'The Ark' crew discusses arrival of suspicious newcomer - played by series co-creator's daughter
Kelly's only been around for one episode and we already don't trust a word she says.
Episode 6 of SYFY's The Ark left audiences on the edge of their seats with the cliffhanger discovery of another ship floating aimlessly in the outermost reaches of space. We got a look aboard the previously-unknown vessel in Episode 7 ("A Slow Death Is Worse") and learned that only one of its passengers — Kelly Fowler — survived and may hold crucial information about the status of Earth.
This late-game character is played by Samantha Glassner, daughter of the show's co-creator and showrunner, Jonathan Glassner. Appearing on the latest installment of the official after-show, Jonathan admitted that while he once made a vow not to go all nepo baby and cast his own offspring in one of his shows, he was forced to break the rule when it became clear that Samatha was perfect to play Fowler.
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"What we were describing was her," he said. "And so, I had her put herself on tape and audition. The network had to approve her and they approved her. Next thing you know, she was shipping off to Serbia to play this part."
Taking part in a separate conversation, Samantha recalled initial feelings of anxiety as she paired to join the series so far into its European production. Fortunately, she had nothing to worry about.
"I was going to Serbia, which I had never visited in my life. I didn't know anyone there and I knew I was joining a cast that had been together since mid-March. I was coming mid-May and so, I was like, 'Oh, they're all gonna know each other and be friends.' I was definitely a little nervous about it, but everyone was incredibly welcoming. Within a couple hours of getting to the hotel, I had one of our cast members, Reece [Ritchie], reach out and be like, 'Hey, are you okay? Are you settled? Can I help you figure out how to get dinner tonight? How can I help?' He just met me in a hallway and gave me the lowdown of what I would need to know to get through my first week. Then I slowly met everyone over the next couple of days on set. Everyone was so lovely and so welcoming. They'd go do fun things on the weekends and I was always included. I felt, pretty quickly, that I had joined this wonderful cast of people."
Watch the full Episode 7 after-show below:
Episode 7 writer John-Paul Nickel cheekily downplayed the suspicious aura surrounding Kelly, adding that it "was so much fun" to introduce a new player this close to the finale. "We talked about her a lot before we committed and in one iteration — and maybe two iterations — of the script, it was two characters. A lot of moving set pieces in production and making a television, eventually, we were like, 'Could we make this one character?' The budget declared, 'Yes, we could.' But it was the right move."
He later continued: "She's an unreliable narrator and the fun is, 'What's true? What's not?' And also, the best lies are rooted in truth, so how much truth is she using? That's the fun of the unfolding character of Kelly and just the idea of what's going on back home. Because we, the audience, want to know what's going on back home and out in the greater galaxy of Ark One. Kelly's a tool to get some of that out there and then engage our characters and give them some drama as well."
Jonathan Glassner and Dean Devlin (Stargate, Independence Day) serve as executive producers on the show with Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson. Jonathan English and Steve Lee are producers.
The Ark airs on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. New episodes are available to stream on Peacock the day after they premiere.
Looking for even more sci-fi content? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.