Big changes are brewing over at Warehouse 13 as a new Warehouse agent joins the crew and a bigger, badder Big Bad pops up this season, according to creator Jack Kenny and the show's newest star, Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Fringe).
The series, which premieres on Syfy tonight at 9 p.m., will introduce Ashmore's character, Steve Jinks, an ATF agent who has the ability to tell when people are lying, and who also just happens to be gay.
When last we left the series, a big cliffhanger saw Myka (Joanne Kelly) turning in her resignation and leaving the Warehouse after misjudging the intentions of villain H.G. Wells, who tried to destroy the world. The series returns with Pete (Eddie McClintock) reluctantly taking on Steve as his new partner.
And as for Myka, "What I kept saying to people is don't worry," said Kenny. "We have our fans' best interest at heart, and everybody should just relax and enjoy the ride. Remember, at the end of the first season we killed Artie. So ... just ... everybody should just not worry. It's going to be a great year, and everybody's going to be thrilled. That said, that's part of the fun of the season this year, is in the first episode. Is Myka coming back? If she does, how is she coming back? How does Aaron fit in to all this?"
As for Ashmore, he believes his character has more than his share of challenges when it comes to fitting in to the team. "Who's going to trust him until he proves himself? And I don't think that anybody's too comfortable with the fact that he can tell when people are lying. I mean, that's great for solving cases, but this guy can come in and you can't lie to him. You can't B.S. him. He can tell what's going on," he said.
"So, yes, there's definitely some tensions. ... There's ways that these characters are going to clash, but there's also ways that they are going to bond in certain ways," said Ashmore. "It's not all smooth coming into the Warehouse on your first day. They put you through the wringer a little bit."
Besides learning that Steve can tell if people are lying by looking them in the eyes, we'll also discover that the character is gay.
Through the first few episodes, "You really start to see who Steve is, and you get a little bit of his backstory, and you really see how his life has impacted who he is," said Ashmore. "Because he's very different, I think, from a lot of the other characters on the show, in that he is more reserved and he's got these walls up. And so throughout the season I think that Jack and the writers have done a great job of just putting in these little nuggets of character throughout particular episodes, so you start to see like, 'Oh, okay, well, that makes more sense, and I can see why this guy is how he is.' And a lot of times you don't get that in shows."
"I see a character that's got a complex past, maybe with some pain in it," said Kenny. "That's what I see when he's playing the part. And so, in my mind, he comes from a complex past. Maybe when he came out, or if he came out, to his parents, it wasn't well received. And maybe that's brought some pain.
"I get the sense that he's been hurt in a relationship or two," he added. "And that he's emotionally conservative. He plays his cards close to the vest. A lot because of what Aaron was saying earlier about if you can look into somebody's eyes and tell if they're lying to you or not, that affects the way you relate to people. You look at people differently. It's a little bit like Sookie on True Blood—where she can hear people's thoughts—it's kind of annoying. You don't want to necessarily know all that. So I think he's a vulnerable and tentative character who doesn't make friends easily, but when he does he makes them forever."
While they'll dig in to Steve's character, they won't focus specifically on the character's sexual orientation. "We won't play with it any more than we address the fact that Mrs. Frederick or Leena are black. It's not what the show is," said Kenny. "This is not a show about diversity in minorities. It's a show about ... it's a thrilleromedy. And it's about a family. And families tend to accept each other for who they are and then argue about the details."
Steve is "a relatively emotionally conservative guy. He's not out there. And so we're taking baby steps with the character. We don't want to bring in somebody and throw him into a relationship right away," said Kenny. "I can't say that next season, if Aaron comes back, that he wouldn't have a relationship. Who knows? But that hasn't been the goal. I think because I'm gay, and in my mind the great thing about where GLBT characters are these days is, it's just like he's also blond and blue-eyed and 6 feet tall. And I wouldn't write to his 6-feet-tallness. I don't want to write to every character's single trait. It comes out in various fun ways. It's not that he's not outed or that he hides it. He does talk about it, and he makes jokes about it. But it doesn't define who he is. And that, I think, has always been the goal of any minority group, to have that diversity not define who you are. And I think, happily, gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered characters have reached that goal in a lot of ways."
"I think it really influences who he is," said Ashmore, who is not gay. "I think that that comes out through the character as well. And that, I think, is realistic. ... You don't always talk about those things, but I think they influence the character, and they influence the performance and who he is."
Beyond the Steve Jinks of it all and returning Myka to the fold, Warehouse 13 will also get a new Big Bad this season ... well, sort of. "I would say our Big Bad is just a complex web of Big Bads. It is not just one person, but it is all rooted in the past," said Kenny. "We learn a lot of Warehouse mythology. ... We learn a lot about Mrs. Frederick and the Regents. ... We learn a lot more about how they operate and what is happening to them. ... A couple of the Regents are being killed, and that is sort of the thing that develops over the season."
As for guest stars, Neil Grayston's Fargo pays a return visit, as does Lindsay Wagner as Dr. Vanessa Calder. And Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan will also pop in for a guest shot.
Kenny promises that if you liked last year, "we're having a better one this year. It is just really exciting. Every episode is really unique and different. A couple of writers were talking this morning that there really aren't two episodes that are alike. They are all wildly different."
Season three of Warehouse 13 premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.
Are you going to watch?