There’s been something of a sea change when it comes to space operas and science fiction. More and more, the allegorical handiness of shooting a bunch of people into space (and/or have them grow up in space) has appealed to writers hoping to write about injustice and the human condition. Syfy has leaned into this, giving their new programs like The Expanse, Killjoys, and Dark Matter free reign to really dig into and play around in worlds of their showrunners’ creation—the last two of which we were lucky enough to visit. And after freshmen seasons that set up some incredibly intricate worlds, it looks as though they have their sights set on making things even better in their sophomore go-arounds, both of which bow on Syfy on July 1st.
So what do you need to know about the series as we head into them? And what sort of secrets did we gather while on both of the shows’ Toronto sets? Enough to sate your inquiries, no doubt.
The Team Being Separated Means It’s Time for New Allegiances
At the end of season one, the main Killjoys crew—D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane), John (Aaron Ashmore), and Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen)—found themselves torn apart. There’s “a small time jump,” explained series showrunner and creator Michelle Lovretta. “But we are basically picking up at the same time we left. The course of the season is [shaped by] exploring—a little bit—what happened [following] the events of the cliffhanger in season one.”
So where does that leave our main trio? Adrift, putting it mildly. Perhaps the biggest issue? D’Avin’s capture. It became pretty apparent—to John-Kamen, at least—that “we needed to be a team, we work best when we’re three.”
“There’s new, interesting characters this season,” John-Kamen added. “It’s been so interesting to play with [them]. I can’t say too much but they’ll represent a lot and tell a lot of story.”
According to Rob Stewart (aka Khlyen), the relationship between D’Avin and Khlyen gets explored in a way the actors never expected. “This is a new dynamic [he and I], and we’ve had a chance to do a few wonderful things … but to create some respect, and a new complex relationship, was a lot of fun.”
Macfarlane was most excited to dissect that relationship and its implications. Because, as he put it, “What is an enemy? We’re constantly trying to figure that out. When is a father figure a bad person? What does it mean to support them?”
Not everyone will be crossing paths, though. “I still haven’t worked with Aaron,” added Stewart. So store that one in the back of your speculatory mind palace, folks.
Spoiler Alert: Pawter Survives!
Anyone worried about the fate of Sarah Power’s addled doctor, Pawter Simms, surviving the bombing that destroyed Westerly? Fear not—she was alive and well and with us on the visit, discussing her new relationship with John.
“We’ve been set up for a reason,” Ashmore joked, though we couldn’t get any more out of him than that. Added Power, “this season changes things [between them].”
Though their main focus will be getting D’Avin back (again), John’s fascination with the monk-like Scarbacks will also come into play. “He found some beauty there,” Ashmore explained. “The Scarbacks and their storyline and mythology definitely plays into next season. I don’t think John’s going to become a monk, but these monks have sex and do whatever they want, so maybe. But there’s beauty and some interest there that he really saw.”
Ending it on an ominous note, he added: “For John, being in the RAC and being a Killjoy is supposed to be an incredibly impartial job and he’s—at the core of who he is—maybe no longer comfortable being that impartial.”
The Story Complicates
Now neck deep in a mystery surrounding Red 17 and RAC’s Level 6, seemingly divergent storylines will come together. “Figuring out what happened to Westerly and Old Town,” is their main priority, said Ashmore.
According to John-Kamen, Dutch has realized that everything she thought she knew—about the RAC, about Khlyen, her team—is complicated. “It’s not as simple as she thought; it’s not as easy as [all that].” She’ll spend part of the season (at least), coming to the understanding that the mysteries that about are “bigger than Dutch and Khlyen. Dutch needs answers.”
But don’t think it’ll be as simple as obtaining them. The more Dutch learns about the potential connections of her past, and Khlyen, and the RAC, and Red 17, the more she realizes, “It’s complicated and it’ll only get more complicated and conflicted.”
All May Not Be Well Within the Killjoys
The aftermath of the bombing, D’Avin’s freakout and subsequent disappearance/capture, Dutch’s realizations, and John’s move away from the two of them, things are—putting it mildly—a bit stressful between the trio.
“Everybody’s story influences the other, [even when] they’re not together,” Macfarlane said.
There Will Be More Fights!
The Mystery of Red 17 and Level 6 Will Be Investigated
“The point of this season is sort of kicking open the barn doors on a lot of those mythos and questions,” explained Lovretta. “We explore a large part of the origins of Red 17, [and] how all these pieces that look quite disparate and disconnected are actually part of the same story.”
Could they be related? Could Level 6 have created Red 17? Is Khlyen in charge, or is this bigger than him? It sure sounds that way, if Lovretta’s thoughts are considered.
“The point of season one, for me, was always ‘bang bang, cool guns, lots of leather’ … [and following people] who aren’t aware of the broader world that they’re in,” said Lovretta. “Season one they were in their 20s, season two they’re in their 30s and they don’t want to be people’s puppets. ‘I can tell this story rather than have it happen to me.’”
While the changes in Killjoys may be more character-focused, over in the world of Dark Matter, a major mystery was solved, setting up a season two with a much bigger, broader universe. With the “true” identities of One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six revealed, creator and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi promises a much broader world and deeper mystery into how—and why—they all ended up on the ship together, sans memory.
The World Will Grow
“Season two picks up in the Hyperion 8 intergalactic prison,” explained Mallozzi, adding that there will be “significantly more world-building” this time-around.
“They’re going to take the fight out to the enemies we’ve established,” he added, admitting that, with so much happening in a vacuum (essentially), it was hard for the audience to see a bigger picture. “We’re going to be finding out more about the universe, and colonized space, and the corporations [running things]. It would seem we’re heading for a corporate war in season two, and that’s the backdrop” for more mystery, bigger character arcs, and a more ominous tone overall.
“Season two will put the ‘Dark’ in Dark Matter,” he added, playfully.
But what does that mean for the characters? We already know there are several new additions and character returns—including Wil Wheaton’s mysterious Alexander Rook, and newcomers like Melanie Liburd and badass lady hero extraordinaire, Franka Potente, who will recur as Commander Shaddick, Chief Inspector of the Galactic Authority Serious Crimes Division. She’s described in the press release as “cool, calculated and determined to prove the crew of the Raza were involved in the destruction of Iriden 3.”
So how does this affect One (Marc Bendavid), Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Four (Alex Mallari), Five (Jodelle Ferland), and Six (Roger Cross)? Well, for one: it leaves them wide open to change, and characterizations that relate to a wider world.
And—get excited—Five’s going to have some major work to do this season. “I’ve been very much enjoying the action I’ve gotten to do in season two,” explained Ferland. “Nobody would really expect her of being capable of what she’s capable of—and it’s not a good idea, because she’s capable of a lot more than people think she is.” She also added, ominously hinting that there may be more to her than we originally thought, saying “[in season one] it worked to her advantage.”
The Droid Will Be Back
Yes, that’s right: our beloved Android (as played by Zoie Palmer) is back—and she’s funny and full of answers, too!
While Palmer was tight-lipped about whether the Droid is in jail with the rest of the Raza crew—”I may be there, too!”—she also teased us with all she knows. “I have all these secrets and nobody else does. I wish I knew a bit more but…” she said, trailing off.
“She’s always felt like an outsider because she isn’t a human being, so she sees everyone as an other,” explained Palmer. “She sees them as all very specific individuals. She’s becoming part of a team, which is a really tough journey for her.”