The cast and creators of Colony have been hard at work last year making sure season two exceeds expectations when we return to occupied Los Angeles. On the set of Colony on the Universal Studios backlot in Universal City, CA, we watched them film a street scene late last year. Will Bowman (Josh Holloway), dressed in a suit and tie, parks a black SUV and walks across the street to Charlotte’s Coffee Shop, with extras biking and walking back and forth with their hodgepodge of found clothing and supplies. The theater marquee still lists a 7:30 showing of the 2014 movie The Theory of Everything, but the H in “The” has fallen off.
During a break, we spoke with Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies (Katie Bowman), Tory Kittles (Broussard), and creator Ryan Condal. Here are 10 exciting things we learned about the new new season, which premieres this Thursday!
1. Two Weeks Have Passed
The season finale left off in a place where we want to know exactly what happens next. Well, season two will skip ahead briefly. With a two-week jump, you’ll still get to learn what happens after Will goes to Santa Monica and Katie comes home alone -- and much more!
“It’s enough time for things to have gotten worse,” Callies said.
Condal explained why two weeks was the right amount of time to leave between the narrative of the two seasons. “You’ll see,” Condal said. “We wanted to feel time had passed. When we return to the L.A. bloc, things have changed. There’s this much more oppressive veneer on the city; new power is in place. We wanted time for all that to settle in, but we also felt like we left the story in such a place last year, that it demanded an immediate pickup of storytelling where you can’t let a huge amount of time pass. It just felt like a happy medium for us.”
2. Will and Katie Found Out About Each Other. Now What?
For most of the first season, Will did not know that Katie was working for the Resistance. Now that he knows -- and knows that she knows he was working for the Occupation -- what’s in store when they meet again?
“They have some damage to repair, obviously from season one,” Holloway said. “So on this journey they’re rebuilding their trust. But, they’re parents. When you’re a parent, you’re a parent first before your relationship. It becomes, not secondary, but secondary in a desperation situation. So we have had to put our relationship, our issues, one step behind the immediacy of our family. Season two is a beautiful journey into that and them finding themselves again, finding their love, their trust, and the core of what keeps this family together.”
That reconciliation may be gradual, Callies reminded us. “Don’t forget that when we left Will and Katie, he was on his way out of the bloc,” she said. “So we don’t have a ton of time to work on these things. It’s not like we can be like, ‘You know what? Let’s go into counseling. Let’s sit down and talk our issues out.’”
3. Broussard Is Deployed
When we return to L.A., Broussard is somewhere else on assignment. Since Broussard is an important part of Colony, the story brings him home but with more complications.
“He’s in Kandahar, which we’ll find out,” Kittles said. “I think he’s ready to come home. He’s preparing to come home. He’s come home and home isn’t the same anymore. I think that’s one of the things he’s fighting for because he misses that. He wants that sense of home and he doesn’t have the relationships that [Will and Katie] have. They have each other and they have a family.”
4. The Resistance Has a New Home
In episode four we’ll see the Resistance has found a new hideout. Condal showed us the set of a sewage treatment facility.
“This is where the Resistance ends up landing -- where Broussard and his gang end up -- now that they’re public enemy number one and have to literally live underground,” Condal explained.
When shooting on this set, they wet the ground and walls so they glisten for the camera. They’re also building the set out as they go. “We started with this small contained area, then you see all these little doors that will play exits and entrances to create this sense of this big underground space,” the showrunner said. “We’re building a whole tunnel area that we’ll have for the underground for everybody to play in. It makes you feel good-claustrophobic where you feel like these people are living underground, not bad-claustrophobic where I’m feeling like I’m suffocating.”
5. We’ll See the Characters Before the Occupation
The cast revealed that they shot flashback scenes in The Yonk showing Will, Katie and Broussard before the Occupation. This gave them some new backstory to play.
“In Broussard’s case, you find out a little bit why he is the way he is, why he’s such a ruthless nice guy,” Kittles said. “Walking into the Yonk to actually do a scene, it felt familiar. There was a history there that informed the scene. We didn’t have to create that. You don’t have to create the backstory as much because there is that history.”
Holloway added, “I love that [in] the opening of the season, you do get a glimpse of the Arrival and what we were like before. It really opens up the story more.”
These scenes gave Callies a chance to portray backstory she’d already discussed with Colony’s writers. “It was mostly things I discussed with the writers about history and where we come form,” she said. “There were a couple of surprises that made everything deeper in a way that was really, really kind of cool.
6. The New Leader Is Inspired By Real-Life Corruption
L.A. is getting a new head of Homeland Security. If you’re a fan of true crime shows, you might notice something familiar about the new Proxy.
“If anybody’s seen Making a Murderer, we kind of based him on Ken Kratz, the prosecutor,” Condal said. “We were just fascinated by him. Different sort of spin on it but you’ll definitely see the soulless eyes of a bureaucrat in him.”
7. Snyder Has a New Role and It’s Big
Snyder is no longer the Proxy of Los Angeles, but don’t worry about him. Condal has even bigger plans for Snyder.
“He’s obviously out as Proxy,” Condal said. “Peter Jacobson, rest assured, is in the show and plays a major role this year. It’s just a much different role than where he was last year.
8. Broussard Is More Emotional
Kittles got to play the tough badass soldier in season one. Season two lets him show a softer side.
“The joke is that Broussard is in his feelings this season,” Kittles said. “I was completely surprised because he came back and he was so tender. I had this idea of okay, 'He’s going to go on a rampage and he’s going to be even more of a badass.' Then all of a sudden, I’m reading the script and he’s crying. It was shocking.”
9. You Thought L.A. Was Bad? Wait ‘Til You See Santa Monica!
There’s no choice for Will. He’s got to go to Santa Monica to rescue his son. But what he sees there is going to be intense.
“Now you see Santa Monica bloc and it’s very different,” Holloway said. “It’s darker. We’ll leave it there.”
Condal added, “It’s a very oppressive bloc. You’ll see conditions that are much, much worse than they are in the Los Angeles bloc. We liked this idea that there are different styles of government across all these colonies and within the individual blocs. So the L.A. colony has three different blocs that make it up. We like this idea that Proxies are put in place and they’re given the reigns to run it how they wanted to. Interesting world-building comes out of that.”
10. There Will Be More Aliens This Season
The cool thing about season one of Colony was how it left the aliens outside the city and focused on the humans -- at least until the Resistance found a dead Rap. Condal said the plan was always to slowly introduce the Raps as more central characters.
“Sci-fi is usually expensive because it usually means you either have to build something physically or do a bunch of visual effects,” Condal said. “The sci-fi ideas are always interesting but usually need a visual element to tell that story. We were just a lot more limited last year than we were this year. We have more time to tell the story this year. Everybody knows the world now so we can go into these different avenues and all that. It was definitely always the intent. It was founded as a science fiction concept but to us, the character work was always in the foreground with sci-fi in the background.”
Holloway assured fans that Colony was still the human story first, just with cool aliens joining in. “I love the way they’re just making us earn anything that’s science-fiction,” Holloway said. “It’s mainly, in the tradition of science fiction, it’s ultimately a human story and we’ve been very heavy on the human story so the eeking out of sci-fi is nice.”
Ready for Colony season 2? Catch new episodes every Thursday night at 10p/9c on USA Network.