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The cast of 'Willow' unpacks that big confession and cliffhanger in 'Beyond the Shattered Sea'
The penultimate episode of Willow Season 1 has some huge moments to wade through.
The long journey to save Prince Airk (Dempsey Bryk) hit its last leg in this week's Willow, "Beyond the Shattered Sea." The episode, which was written by Written by Julia Cooperman, screenwriter of the original Willow movie, Bob Dolman, and series creator Jonathan Kasdan, ended up being a true journey of the soul for all of the characters as they braced for the big battle that awaits them, and they come to terms with the reality of their situations.
As Kennerh the cutest mudmander ever drags them across the Shattered Sea, the company of heroes practice their skills, make some big confessions to one another and then separate for the final quest. SYFY WIRE spoke to Kasdan and some of his cast, including Ellie Bamber (Elora), Tony Revelori (Graydon), Dempsey Bryk (Airk) and Ruby Cruz (Kit), to reveal their favorite moments in the jam-packed episode.
***Warning: There are spoilers below for "Beyond the Shattered Sea"***
"Beyond the Shattered Sea" is really the dark night of the soul episode before we get to the endgame of this journey. Was this always meant to be the existential moment of Season 1?
Jon Kasdan (Creator/Showrunner): Yes, that episode was always baked deeply into the DNA of the show we wanted to make. I love the idea of these environments. There's a place off the coast of Germany called The Wadden Sea that's one of these expansive mud flats that just goes on forever. It's always spoken to me as sort of an existential nightmare where there is no context for anything: no context for the sky, no context for the sea, no context for yourself. And you're alone in your own demons. The biggest theme of the show is... there's a great Tom Robbins quote that I'm paraphrasing, but "We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves." And what I wanted the seventh episode to be, very passionately, was about all of these characters confronting those demons before they confronted the real world demon that was holding Kit's brother, so that that felt like a really natural place to go. And it naturally suggested a very emotional place at the end of the episode about faith and friendship and trusting each other.
Let's talk about Kennerh, Grayson's mudmander BFF. Was he all practical, and what was it like getting to play against that amazing face? Did you get to name him?
Tony Revolori (Graydon): Yeah, no, it was all practical. I think it was like four or five guys controlling remote controlling the eyes, the mouth, the opening, the lids, eyebrows, all the things. So it was real. Being able to act with something there, it was so much fun to kind of be like a stage play almost with them where they'd say, "Ok, I'll open the eyes here and do that." It was so much fun. It kind of brought me back and made me feel like this is what they did on Jurassic Park and all those Jim Henson movies, which was so cool.
And then the name Kennerh, that came from Jon. But we improvised a lot. I think the [take in the show is, "I'm gonna name you, Kennerh, after the lead protagonist of my romance novel." We ended up going with hundreds of improvisations of like, "I'm gonna name you Kennerh, after my favorite band member, or Kennerh, after my favorite uncle." We did a bunch and I hope they release that at some point.
There's also that beautiful moment between Elora and Graydon where he finally confesses his feelings for her but doesn't ask for her to feel the same way for him. Ellie, Elora's been trying to get back Airk, whom she thinks she loves, so talk about where you think she is mentally during that moment between the two of you.
Ellie Bamber (Elora): Elora, by that point, she is so focused on the battle that she is going to face and the darkness that she's going to face. She has gone on such a crazy journey of understanding who she is, like accepting that, and then having to deal with that. I think that she's incredibly focused and love isn't something that is particularly on her mind at that point, or something that she could really totally digest because she's just focused with the task at hand and really kind of zoning in.
Tony, talk about getting to play that scene where Graydon really lays his heart out on the line without expecting anything back.
Revolori: It was one of the scenes that I loved more than anything. To be honest, I think what I love more than anything about the scene is I was allowed to play it in a very realistic and understated way, which was in a very healthy way, I think. Even nowadays, where I would hope if I ever felt that way or someone felt that way about me, they would not put this pressure on you and just be like, "I need to say this for my own mental health, for my own sake. I'm not expecting anything back." It was really, really liberating to not need it to be any bigger than it actually was. It's an emotional moment for Graydon. Elora is first person he's really loved ever, among even his family members minus maybe his brother, so it's a very important thing. But kudos to the writers and Jon for creating a scene that I absolutely loved playing with.
Ruby, we get a fully vulnerable Kit admitting her feelings for Jade (Erin Kellyman) in this episode. Was it important to you that Kit finally confronted her feelings in such an open way?
Ruby Cruz (Kit): Yes, thank you for this question. It means a lot to me, their relationship. It was really big for Kit. She is such a prickly person and she is pushing a lot away and trying not to feel a lot of things a lot of the time, but Jade means so much to her. She learns so many different lessons, every single episode. I think finally accepting who she is and the clouds clearing in realizing what she cares about allowed her to really, finally, feel vulnerable which is really hard for someone who has built up such a wall and such a shell. It was really fulfilling to be able to finally allow Kit to say her truth.
Setting Up the Endgame
A big surprise in the final minutes is the literal trust fall that Elora and Kit take with one another to finally get to Airk at the Immemorial City. It's powerful to see them come together in such a way. Was that always planned?
Kasdan: We really knew that the first seven episodes were building toward that idea and that they would have to bounce off each other and come together and pull apart and struggle to understand how to work together before finally throwing themselves into their partnership completely.
Dempsey, for almost the whole season, Airk has been in his own show separate from the main cast. And then Elora and Kit arrive and you're transformed from flowy shirt guy to leather guy in an instant. Talk about rejoining the main story here.
Dempsey Bryk (Airk): Yes! Let me tell you something real quick about that flowy shirt, I was so happy when I got to wear leather after that shirt because it was so cold. It was like less than just being shirtless. [Laughs.]
And the other thing that was really nice about once we finally got to meet back up is that it did feel like we were shooting different shows. The whole group is somewhere else. But even though certain dynamics had shifted between characters, the dynamics between friends had not at all shifted. It was very much just relieving to get to joke and laugh with people again, and actually be around people. Airk's been in isolation and I was also in isolation.
Willow's Season 1 finale airs next Wed. on Disney+
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