NYCC: Why death will haunt Torchwood: Children of Earth

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Eve Myles, the star of BBC America's Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood, told SCI FI Wire that last season's death will inform the action in the upcoming five-episode third season, Children of Earth. (Spoilers ahead!) In the season finale, Owen (Burn Gorman) and Tosh (Naoko Mori) perished, and the team has to unravel the fallout of a secret pact the government forged with an alien race.

"It's quite important that everybody knows [that] in between the second and third series, we did a Radio 4 audio drama and a small stint on Doctor Who, so the grieving process for our characters were dealt with in that time period," Myles said in an exclusive interview at New York Comic Con over the weekend. "The characters went out with a bang—super characters, fantastic storylines. They'll be legends forever. But there is a strong essence of them all the way through this one. They highlight more than anything that life is very short and dangerous in Torchwood. They are the biggest symbols of that this year, ... but life carries on in Torchwood."

The show was a surprise hit at New York Comic Con, and on Saturday the room was packed with fans who have enthusiastically embraced the quirky sci-fi hit, which airs stateside on BBC America.

The trailer from the impending (and as-yet-unscheduled) five-part third season screened before Myles (who plays Gwen Cooper) and season-three director Euros Lyn answered questions from the audience.

Later, in an interview, they expressed gratitude at the enthusiastic response. "The acceptance has blown us away," Myles said with more than a little awe. "The response, the positive energy and kindness we have received, is phenomenal. We hope the next [season] is taken aboard, as well as the last seasons."

Lyn added, "It is genuinely exciting for us to be making this show in Wales for our home audience and discovering that what we deal in, the universal stories of love and loss and heroism, appeal to a global audience, and it's truly exciting."

Torchwood centers on the adventures of the paranormal investigators of the Cardiff, Wales, branch of the Torchwood Institute, led by Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and teammates Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd).

Children of Earth represents a changeup in the series structure, downsizing from its typical 13-episode season to this new five-episode format.

"We have five hours to tell one huge, grand story this year," Lyn explained. "It's such a brilliant opportunity to develop relationships and build on stories that build to an epic climax. I'm directing all five episodes, and that's a real treat."

Asked if they missed not having as many hours to tell their arc, Myles said no. "I think the stronger storylines of the last seasons are the ones that were spread out over four, five and six episodes," she said. "I'm not saying if we were to go back to 13 parts I wouldn't enjoy it. It's all challenging, but this particular format and this story has allowed us to explore Gwen much deeper, in a much more layered way. We had fun with it and played around with it, where with individual episodes you don't really have time to do that. I also think it helps that everyone knows what Torchwood is now, so we don't have to explain it anymore, and what you see in this series is just the team trying to do their job and doing the best they possibly can. It's really awesome."

As to what fans can expect from police liaison Gwen in season three, Myles teased with a laugh. "Oh, Gwen!" she said. "She just keeps evolving into something that is always real, always grounded, always gracious and will always be in awe of everything she sees. She'll never lose that, because she's not a superhero and she doesn't have magic powers. She's me and you. So she's constantly evolving and getting stronger and becoming the born leader she was always meant to be, and in this [season] it becomes more evident. You see her struggling and becoming bigger and better, and also falling on her face ... literally. We see Gwen becoming exactly what she was destined to become with Torchwood."

As to the future of Torchwood, Lyn said he is hopeful this season will push the momentum for a fourth incarnation. "Season three is five episodes as a miniseries, and where it goes after that remains to be seen," he said. "As a concept it's strong enough to go on a myriad of directions. I think we'll see how this series goes down, and then we'll take it from there." Torchwood: Children of Earth is expected to sometime in the summer.