Falling Skies returns tonight for its fourth season, and Drew Roy recently chatted with us about what’s in store. We discussed the series reinventing itself once again, Hal’s new leadership role, lingering tension between Hal and Maggie following Karen’s death, an unlikely love triangle, and Hal becoming more like his dad. Be warned — there are some spoilers about the season premiere and an upcoming story arc!
Every season, Falling Skies successfully reinvents itself. Can you discuss the overall tone of the fourth season, and what will set it apart from previous seasons?
Each season seems to have its own new breath of fresh air to it, but still have that same trajectory of previous seasons. I think a major reason for that is we’ve now had three entirely different writing staffs. This year has been another complete overhaul of the writers, and that brings new life to the ideas that are coming along, so every one of these new groups has come in and paid homage to what’s already been laid down in the season before.
To me, what is so special about this season is that we have the characters split up — we’re in four different camps. The aliens come in and attack us again, throw down these barrier walls and we all have to flee, so you get to see characters interacting with other characters that you’ve never seen interact in any sort of lengthy fashion. You get to see the chemistry that would come out of that, in people that got along and didn’t get along, and people who fell in love with each other in the middle of all of that.
Now that tormented, “evil” Hal is in the past, what would you say are his main challenges in Season 4?
I would say that initially the biggest thing for him is the concern for his brothers. Are they still alive? Are they out there? Will he ever see them again? But unbeknownst to Hal, in the second half of the season, he finds himself in a love triangle with Maggie, himself, and his brother Ben, and that proves to be one of the hardest challenges that we’ve ever seen Hal have to experience on screen. It feels like such a violation to him — that his own brother and the woman that he loves and has done so much for have sort of forgotten about him and moved on. When that storyline was first pitched to me, I was really nervous about it. It didn’t seem like it made sense to me. It didn’t quite feel like the tone of what Hal and Maggie are, and what Hal and Ben are. Because of that, we took a lot of special care to make sense out of these scenes, and we ended up with a very interesting storyline. The way it plays out is quite intricate, and I think people are really going to like it. Like I said, at the beginning I was not a fan of it, but by the ending, I was quite proud of what we made happen.
There was definitely some tension between Hal and Maggie when Maggie ended Karen’s life at the end of Season 3. Will there be some residual tension at the start of this season?
The first time we see Hal [this season], he will be talking to Maggie about that very thing, trying to move on — not to make light of the situation, but to address it, talk about it, get through it, and go back to the Hal and Maggie that they’ve always been. Maggie doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, so she shuts him out. Moments later is when an attack happens and the two characters won’t see each other for many episodes. Everyone will just have to imagine what this reunion will be like for Hal and Maggie. Will they jump right back into each other’s arms, make up and forget about everything that happened; or will they still hold onto that tension? As I mentioned previously, they will then have to deal with this triangle that has formed as well.
You mentioned that Hal is motivated to find his brothers, and make sure they are alive and safe. Is he curious to know what has happened to his half-sister, Lexi?
Oddly enough, Hal hasn’t had a whole lot of interaction with Lexi [in the] last year. If you think back on it, Hal was caught up with being “evil Hal” and had so much on his plate. He knows he has a half-sister, but I don’t think that he thinks of her often. His concern lies with his brothers being gone and when somebody mentions Lexi, he’s like, “Oh yeah, her too.” I think she’s almost and afterthought to Hal, and that’s because they’ve spent so little time together. I’d say that he’s more concerned with his brothers’ safety than with hers, not out of no love for her, it’s just that she’s such a new thought to him.
A character in the season premiere comments on Hal becoming more like his dad. Is that something that we’ll continue to see develop?
Hal has always had a leadership quality to him, but we’re going to see him actually have to lead people this year, getting up in front of people and telling them what they need to do and what’s best for everyone. That’s a common theme for Hal for the first half of the season. We actually get to a point where Tom has to go toe to toe with Hal — they disagree on a subject — and we get to see that leadership in Hal come up and challenge his father. That’s actually a pretty nice little episode.
With everyone being split up, new character dynamics being explored, and new relationships being formed, is there any specific character that you never really got to work with in previous seasons that you were excited to work with in Season 4?
I got to work with Ryan Robbins (Tector), who is Hal’s right hand man at the beginning of the season. But for the last few years when people asked me what character I would like to work with more, I’ve always said Pope. I think Pope and Hal would be an interesting duo to watch because their beliefs and the way they do things are clearly opposite. This year, we get to see a lot of Pope and Hal and how they interact. You can imagine they don’t like each other at all, but they grow to have a little bit of an understanding with each other. They still don’t like each other, but they do grow to respect each other and in the fourth season, there’s a nice culminating moment.
Be sure to watch tonight’s Season 4 premiere of Falling Skies — 10/9c on TNT. (Canada will have to wait until this Thursday, June 26th, at 9pm ET for the premiere.)
Photo Courtesy of TNT