On a show about teenage assassins, there are clearly deaths. But how much death are we talking about here? Stars Benjamin Wadsworth and Lana Condor debated this very topic as we sat on the set of Deadly Class last fall.
Benjamin Wadsworth: Well, the first episode has a death. Second episode.
Lana Condor: But that's not like a main, main character.
Wadsworth: No, but it just shows like that the show isn't afraid to --
Condor: The show's gonna stay true to the comics. So in the graphic novels, there's a lot of deaths. And I think that we would be doing a disservice to the source material if we didn't follow that.
Wadsworth: And the fans.
Condor: Yeah. Unfortunately, though, that sucks, 'cause it's like watching ... who kills off all the characters?
Reporter: Game of Thrones.
Condor: Game of Thrones. It's like watching Game of Thrones. And you're like "Oh." And you have major trust issues, right, watching this show?
So yes, there's death. Many people will die on Deadly Class. But the show isn't simply about mindless killing. It's also about the effects of violence and death. There are rules. For instance, no guns are allowed at Kings Dominion, Condor explained.
"I think Master Lin thinks that his idea is that if you were to kill it has to be in an honorable way and it has to be to someone who deserves it," she said. "And guns are the easy way out. They're weak and they're disgusting and he doesn't see honor in using guns to kill. So I totally support that they took guns out of the school."
And there's a reason for that, says creator Rick Remender.
"I was a victim of quite a bit of violence, growing up. And so, in the book, it was always a way for me to sort of process the ramifications of that, and the consequences that it had upon my human psyche," he explained. "And in the book it's easy to make things a little bigger, and I think that when it's on paper and it's drawn, you're a bit disconnected from the reality of it, and I can always get into the metaphor of it all, where the violence and the awfulness and the horrible people are all representational of things that are universal that we've actually dealt with. Then, of course, in the last five years, the world changes more and more. It continues to get worse. And so it's something that, as we were building the show, was just day one; we're not gonna ever see a gun in that school for a million reasons. 'Cause we're no longer able ... the Battle Royale of it all has seeped into our actual existence. It's no longer fantasy. It's no longer something that you can look at through a prism. You're now living it."
Luke Tennie, who plays gang member Willie Lewis, says one major difference between Deadly Class and other violent shows is how the violence is unpacked.
"I know a lot of people on the outside who are looking at, you know, oh young assassins. I'm like, hold up. First off, we have a show that is talking about the cost and the consequence of violence," he explained. "Why isn't a lot of other shows, when people talk about desensitivity, it's not discussed? I think that's more the issue. Not the fact that it's seen and not discussed. There is not a moment of violence on the show that is not discussed thoroughly. Every moment, every single step these characters take if they have to be violent, our writers are making sure that it is discussed openly and thoroughly. That's why I have Deadly Class pride, like I'm proud to be a part of this show -- because it's not ignoring issues."
Deadly Class premieres January 16 on SYFY.