In recent weeks, MTV Geek sat down with the writers of TNT’s alien invasion drama “Falling Skies” in series of spoiler-heavy interviews about the developments in season three. Who lived, who died, and what strange new factions would develop in the third season as the 2nd Mass escalated their conflict with the alien invaders.
The battle with the Eshpeni takes yet another turn as the 2nd Mass mounts its final assault against the invaders’ tower. But when the Volm forces arrive, will it make things better for the humanr resistance–or worse?
We talked about the season three finale with “Falling Skies” executive producer Remi Aubuchon, who told us about death, hints of life in France, and how everyone dies in the writers’ room.
So what are the odds that everything we’ve seen over the last few weeks, all of the gains by the 2nd Mass, are simply the result of Tom strapped to a chair, under interrogation by Karen?
Remi Aubuchon: [Laughs] The rivalry between Karen and Tom is great, but I think we’re pretty sure he’s back in reality. As much as the Eshpeni technology is robust and awesome, I don’t quite think they have the ability to sustain three episodes of mind games.
Geek: The arrival of the Volm was in a way we weren’t really expecting, I think. We all knew that there would be a catch when this new faction showed up in force, but not quite the way they’ve decided to insert themselves into the conflict. Could you talk a bit about how the Volm had somewhat come to accept the humans as part of this war?
Aubuchon: Well, it’s not true that the Volm as a whole have accepted humans or the 2nd Mass as being part of the war. But I think that it speaks mostly to Cochise’s relationship and persuasion with his father to make the case–it happens on-camera. It’s Cochise’s belief in the humans that maybe they can allow them to continue the human war with the Volm.
You know, there’s a lot of Volm story to be told in the coming seasons, but we didn’t want them to be black and white, good or evil. We wanted them to be what any invading army becomes, which is that their cause is noble and good, but they’ve been fighting this war for hundreds of years longer than we have and they have an agenda which might be in conflict with what humans are fighting for.
Geek: That also speaks to the wider scope of the conflict, as well. We’ve been looking at the war in terms of North America’s resistance. Could you imagine at some point giving us a look at the resistance in other nations? Maybe even reestablishing contact in the story?
Aubuchon: You know, it’s funny, over the course of writing this series we’ve tried to find ways to open up the world a little more and find out what is happening the big picture globally. The trouble is there are so many characters that we’re working on that are close to home that we care about, that finding out what’s happening in Europe ends up getting pushed to the side a little.
Having said that, it’s always been our hope that we can integrate into the story what is happening globally. Right now, we can all assume that’s happening in the America–more specifically, the East Coast–must be happening in other parts of the world as well. And how well that resistance is [doing] in Europe, in Russia, in Asia is something I hope we get a chance to explore.
Geek: For those people who might want insight into how the writer’s room works, to what extent has your team sort of built out and articulated what’s happening in the wider world beyond the 2nd Mass?
Aubuchon: We have made sketches of what’s happening in and around the world–sometimes we use that, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes when we come up with a cool idea with a cool idea with what’s going on in France, we’ll use it for the 2nd Mass. And we’ve done that actually, a couple of times.
But overall, I think what [series Producer Steven Spielberg]’s big idea–which I loved and embraced right at the beginning–was to show a big picture, a big war, a big backdrop from a narrow point of view, which was the 2nd Mass, and to allow these huge catastrophic events to inform our characters, but never really going outside the purview of our characters to find out what that is.
So everything that we’ve experienced, which is certainly a unique and compelling story, is really from that narrow vantage point of our characters–and of Tom Mason, particularly. But I hope there will come a time–I think there will be–when we can tell a story opening [the world] up a little more and showing what’s going on.
Geek: Along the same lines of expanding the show’s universe, how do you feel like you were able to do that in season 3? Were there any direction you would have liked to have gone that you simply couldn’t?
Aubuchon: I’ve always talked about this, so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything–I hope I’m not. But I tried to get a submarine and have have it dock in Charleston, and have it open up and it would be the French coming out. And that would be a way to expand what is happening.
But I think where we compromised–and I think in a good way–the compromise we came to this season was to introduce the real President of the United States and the idea that there have been other fighting forces, and that Charleston is not alone and that there are groups of resistance around the country. And the President has established contact with them to let us know that the war is being fought all over. And we see in this last episode that Tom and Weaver have made this choice to go and see if they can make a stronger bond and connection with those other resistance forces to become a true fighting entity.
Geek: Now by the end of this season, we’re about where we were at–I want to say just before the tail-end of last season, creating a circle where the 2nd Mass is on the move again and no longer a stationary community. Could you talk about the decision to make them a mobile fighting force again?
Aubuchon: One of things we wanted to do towards the end of the season–and this is something we kind of started to talk about at the end of the second season as well–was we would have the 2nd Mass for a while, going out and doing sorties, but after a while it would become clear to our characters that hanging around and letting someone else do their dirty work wasn’t the solution. They’d want to “get the band back together” and go back out on the road and fight for what they believe is real.
I don’t know a lot about what’s going to happen in the fourth season, but I can imagine–at least that was the thinking of the third season–that Charleston could still play a role in the storytelling and in the resistance movement, but that we would have more independence for the 2nd Mass. They have new drive and a new mission now so that what they’re doing isn’t just a repeat of the second season, which was about running away and doing some guerrilla warfare tactics where they could. So the mission has somewhat shifted toward the end of the third season.
Geek: And I have one more kind of grim question: that final assault was relatively casualty-free for the 2nd Mass. Was there anyone you were eying to kill off?
Aubuchon: In the writer’s room, everyone dies at some point. We’re always talking about “what would happen if so and so died.” And at one point we thought would happen if Lourdes was the next fatality, but we just love Seychelle [Gabriel] as an actress and she brought such interesting colors to Lourdes that none of us were really expecting and it seemed like a much more interesting story in redeeming her.
You bring up an interesting point because a lot of fans kept saying “Stop killing off our favorite characters” in the second season. And while it was important to show how serious the stakes were–which we did by killing off some of the characters we really liked–we kind of felt like this season we would bring them to more of a psychological edge. I mean, we lost Crazy Lee and other characters as well, and I’m sure that in season four, we’ll lose more characters as well.
But we really wanted to give them a victory at the end of season three.