Revolution creator explains how his new series is just like Tolkien

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

Eric Kripke admits he's a little obsessed. It's not your normal obsession and it doesn't mean he needs to join a 12-step program. Well, at least not yet. But it is something that drove him when he created and ran the CW's Supernatural, and it's an fixation that's only increased with his latest creation, NBC's Revolution, a series that he's developed with Lost's J.J. Abrams and Iron Man's Jon Favreau.

[Spoilers ahead!]

"Good and evil and love and loyalty and betrayal. I seem entirely incapable of knowing how to write a cop show. And so I was just looking for a setting that I could really tell that story and really tell just a very pure iteration of an epic quest," said Kripke, creator and executive producer of Revolution.

"I'm sort of obsessed with Joseph Campbell and hero's journeys and great epic quests, and really making a show that is just about boiled-down human truths," said Kripke in an exclusive interview with Blastr.

"Supernatural is in so many ways a procedural. It's sort of like a procedural from Mars. And I was just really interested in my next turn at that, just diving into a show that doesn't even have those procedural elements and you can just tell the pure saga of it. I needed to delve neck-deep into the Joseph Campbell hero's journey. ... And I can certainly mention this because I think your readers are familiar with it," he said.

Revolution, which premieres tonight on NBC at 9 p.m. ET, begins with all electricity going out around the world, supposedly forever, and then moves 15 years into the future to follow a young woman named Charlie, who is trying to save her brother. He's been kidnapped by the local militia, which one of many militias that run America. However, along her journey, Charlie will discover she has a very personal connection to the blackout and that there's more at stake than her own quest. In fact, there's a revolution at foot and Charlie and her small group are right in the middle of it. Revolution stars Tracy Spiradakos as Charlie, Billy Burke as Charlie's Uncle Miles, Elizabeth Mitchell and David Lyons.

According to Kripke, "the goal here is to really create a world that everyone can see themselves living in or question, 'What would they do if they were in this world?' And I think it's a thought that we've all had because we're so over-reliant on technology, so what would we do without it? Would we be able to find food? Could we find fresh water? What happens if we were on the other side of the country from our loved ones? All of those questions and a million more, I think, are just a really interesting way into this show and how we would all live is something that everybody asks themselves and wonders."

There are "so many places the show can go. There's so many storylines that you have to juggle and keep those plates spinning. There's so many characters that have to be serviced. And finding that right balance of how much of each story to tell, how much to advance the mythology so that there's surprises around every corner but not so fast that it becomes impenetrable. My style is very much to keep things accessible and simple and I'm really proud of how the mythology on Supernatural evolved in that way," said Kripke.

"The reference I bring up in terms of this show more than any other is probably Lord of the Rings. The idea that it's a very epic scope and a very intimate focus. You start these things small and simple and slow. She just wants to get her brother back and reunite her family. So the shape of the show is this very epic journey from Chicago to Philadelphia, where her brother is going to be, and the adventures they have along the way and the relationships that grow and fracture, and the people they befriend and meet," said Kripke.

"It's that, but then it starts to evolve into something bigger than that, slowly but surely. And that begins with trying to reunite their family. Just over the scope of these episodes and over the great scope of the story, cause I like to have ideas in mind of what seasons of mythology will be, not just episodes," he said.

"And the reason it's called Revolution is that eventually we're going to meet rebels, and eventually we're going to meet a resistance, and eventually our characters are going to be swept up in that and there's these freedom fighters that are fighting against this dictatorial militia that is controlling things right now. And Charlie is going to be drawn into that, and Miles is going to be drawn into that, and that it's going to come down to this fight between the good guys and the bad guys for the soul of the country and the soul of the future," he said.

"So it starts small and becomes more epic and hopefully we'll never lose what it has to be first and foremost, which is just about the characters. I think the reason a show like Lost was so successful and so many others failed was for almost no other reason than those were great characters. Who knows if we'll be as good as Lost, but Revolution's got its own energy. What's great about working with Bad Robot is we each bring our own energy to the table. No one's better at evolving an interesting mystery than they are. And J.J.'s amazing at it," said Kripke.

According to Kripke, he believes "it's evolved into a really interesting mix between the two of us and between his sensibilities and mine. I like, again, that kind of epic quest stuff. I actually really like things where questions are answered and I look at wrapping some questions out by the end of the first season so then we can ask bigger questions in a slightly more linear taste. So somewhere in the middle I think it's been a really interesting and exciting mix. And then of course you add to that Favreau and he brings so much fun and depth of character and very visceral action, but also just a real playfulness to the material that is such his style and what he brought to the Iron Man movies. To be able to bring that here ... the show's just fun to watch and I think it's fun to watch because of him."

Revolution is really "about that by seeing what life would be like if we removed all of that. In ways that are both terrible and dangerous but also beautiful and wish-fulfilling too, because it's a different pace and families care about each other and there's eye contact again. It's not all about it being harrowing. It's about it being sort of wonderful and beautiful too. So I think it's a lot of really compelling ideas at the core of what is, at the end of the day, just a really cool show about people swinging swords around," said Kripke.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Revolution:

Revolution airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Will you watch?

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