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Interview with Kevin Murphy of "Defiance" on
Moderator: Brenda Lowry
June 12, 2014
1:00 pm CT
Brenda Lowry: Hi everyone, this is Brenda Lowry with Syfy
Publicity. Thank you so much for joining us today for our
conference call to discuss Defiance.
Defiance is premiering its second season next Thursday, June
19 at 8:00 pm, and weíre very happy to have our Executive
Producer and show runner Kevin Murphy with us today to
answer your questions about whatís in store and what we can
expect for the new season.
Without further ado weíll get started with the call and ask
for our first question.
Operator: And our first question comes from the line of
Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie Ruby: Hi, thanks so much for talking to us today.
Kevin Murphy: Hi, itís a pleasure.
Jamie Ruby: Iíve got to say, Iím really - I saw the first
three episodes and Iím really loving this season so far.
Kevin Murphy: Oh Iím so glad, thank you.
Jamie Ruby: My first question is I know that youíre going to
be doing the game and show crossover this year again. Can
you kind of talk about how maybe youíve expanded upon that
And also Iím curious, and this may just be I donít know
where itís at, but is there a place you can like, if you
want to know the extra game content that you can read what
happened for people who either donít play the game or like
me, arenít very good at it and donít get far enough to find
out what will happen?
Kevin Murphy: Okay, so to start with that, what we
discovered first season was that just a television show and
a video game have very different needs, and there was a real
challenge for Trion putting three different platforms up
live for an MMO at once.
And a lot of their elbow grease the first season was set
making everything work.
So what we ended up doing was we discovered that the way
that this worked best; this crossover, because the way the
television show worked is we are wrapped long before we air.
We wrapped back in December and weíre doing post production.
So thereís a limit to how much we can change. And during the
time when weíre in post thatís when Trion is making a lot of
their big decisions about what theyíre going to be doing in
the game for the upcoming season.
So what we did this year, because we had to jettison a
couple - a few ideas that we were really into last year
because of timing and schedule. For example like the
astronaut who came into Episode 8, Brian Smith who just got
a Tony nomination for Glass Menagerie, he was supposed to be
part of a larger integrated story line, and it was just
something that Trion couldnít accomplish technically with
the time that they had.
So what we did this year is every - the second page of every
script after the title page has a list of proposed
crossovers that were generated in a big meeting that we had
with Trion and the writers.
And then when we actually got the scripts written and we go
through our process, we put which - and itís like a Chinese
menu of ten options that Trion can access. And they can use
it or not use it if they wish to.
And then as they go on the process of figuring out what
theyíre going to be doing in the game and what their
crossovers are, they decide okay, we like number two and we
like number four. Those are the ones that weíre going to
Can you give us one of your actors so we can bring them
digitally? Weíre going to bring this character in; can we
have her voice. Weíre going to do a clue thatís going to put
in this thing that you suggested back in Episode 7.
So it becomes sort of like a game of improvisation where the
TV show makes a whole bunch of suggestions to Trion, and
then Trion decides the ones that they can implement
Jamie Ruby: Very cool. Now the second part was, is there a
place you can like read, I guess, these extra story lines,
because thatís what Iím looking for because Iím not that
great at the game to get there?
Kevin Murphy: You know I donít know - there might be a more
specific answer. What I would do is I would go to the Trion
Web site because any time theyíre doing a crossover with a
TV show, like a significant one, they promote the hell out
And I would look on our Facebook page and I would look on
the Trion Web site. And I know last year they did a little
video podcast that talked about that stuff. But Iím afraid
Iím at a loss. I donít specifically where the catch-up site
is but, I suspect there is one.
Jamie Ruby: Okay cool. I just wanted to get an idea where to
go. Thank you.
Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Erin
Willard with SciFi Mafia. Please go ahead.
Erin Willard: Hi Kevin -- excuse me. Hi Kevin, thanks so
much for taking the time to talk with us today. Wow, do I
love the first three episodes of the new season.
Kevin Murphy: Oh, thatís so great, thank you.
Erin Willard: To me it feels a lot more dark and edgy. Is
that just my personal view or was there a conscious move
towards that for the second season?
Kevin Murphy: Well thereís a certain darkness in the premise
because last year Defiance was a very sunny, optimistic
place. The first time we saw - like entered this world, you
know, if you remember the first act of the pilot was Nolan
and Irisa in the badlands getting attacked by Spirit Riders
and getting stabbed and shot and, you know, almost devoured
by saber wolves in freezing rain.
And then they showed up at Defiance and the sun was shining
and everything was marvelous.
Erin Willard: Right.
Kevin Murphy: And Season 1 was about this idyllic little Oz
like happy world went through the wringer. And by the end of
the season, Datak, through a very good move on his part, he
let his vanity get the best of him and the poor, sad
bastard, he got his goal of being mayoróand he got to keep
it for about 15 minutes before they let him stab the
Colonel. And that gave the Earth Republic the pretext that
they were waiting for to swoop in and take over.
So now weíre looking at an occupied territory, and it
becomes a very different show. And it becomes, how did the
members of our cast deal with the fact that everything has
been taken away from them?
And if you remember the end of Season 1 the last episode was
called, ĎEverything was Broken,í which is the name for the
Bob Dylan song. And thatís where we come in. Nobody is where
we left them.
Nolan is no longer lockkeeper. Irisa is no longer completely
in control of her own mind. Rafe McCawley no longer has a
mine and heís going to lose more as the season goes on.
Datak is no longer charged. Doc Yewll is no longer the town
doctor. Amanda is no longer Mayor.
Stahma is the one person who is no longer a housewife, but
she kind of likes that, and she no longer has her husband.
Alak no longer has the luxury of being a spoiled rich kid
and heís actually called upon to be theóat least the
symbolicóhead of the crime family.
Everybody is at a place of crisis and change and trying to
figure out how theyíre going to put their lives back
together. And thatís basically the story of Season 2, you
know, watching who succeeds and who falls.
Erin Willard: Great, yes. No, I just love the whole change
and tone is terrific. It also looks literally darker. Is
that just because of my screen or does it actually have a
kind of a darker look to it?
Kevin Murphy: I think - we didnít go for a - we have our
same DT, and largely we have our same slate of directors
that did first season. Thereís a couple of changes. Pretty
much itís the same team doing everything.
I think it was more of a - it was more, once you put the
Earth Republic visuals into the town, I think thereís a
psychological clinch factor that you get. Because if you
look carefully at your screen, youíll be seeing propaganda
posters are in the background where once you didnít see
And youíre seeing Earth Republic flags. Youíre seeing -
where you saw the fist in the symbol of Defiance in Season
1, how youíre seeing Earth Republic logo.
And thereís something just creepy about those uniforms. They
just feel dystonic and disturbing. And they - you know, they
evoke the Third Reich without actually being...
Erin Willard: Absolutely.
Kevin Murphy: And I mean that darkens anything.
Erin Willard: Yes, it does. Well I really love it and I
canít wait to see more. Thanks so much.
Kevin Murphy: Thank you.
Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Ann
Cullen with Sci Fi Pulse. Please go ahead.
Kevin Murphy: Hi Ann.
Ann Cullen: Hi Kevin, how are you doing?
Kevin Murphy: Doing great, thank you.
Ann Cullen: I must say I love the show and Iíve not seen any
screeners for the second season yet because they not send
them out here in the UK. But I love the show.
Kevin Murphy: Thatís not cool.
Ann Cullen: Yes, itís not cool, but theyíre not showing it
until later on in the UK either which kind of sucks as well,
because next year they sort of like are showing it a few
days after the US is showing it, but not this year.
Anyway, Iíd like to ask you about your game situation. Iím
just wondering if Trion comes to part the game over on some
next generation consoles, you know, the PS4 and the Xbox
Kevin Murphy: I think thatís a question for Trion. I donít
really know. I would imagine.
Ann Cullen: Okay. Well I just wanted to ask you about -
another question is regarding an interview Iíve seen
recently with you in SSS Magazine. You know Iíve heard that
this season gets really dark and edgy which weíre all going
to really enjoy, I think, watching all the backstabbing
One thing that struck me in this interview that you did is
seem very, very confident that we could be seeing a third
season. Am I right in getting that vibe?
Kevin Murphy: Iím confident that if there is a third season,
I know exactly whatís going to happen in it, and Iím very
excited to do it.
That doesnít mean that the - you know Syfy will agree with
me, but Iím very confident that weíll do a great job. And I
think, based on the reaction of the show, I remain
Ann Cullen: Well Iíll be keeping my fingers...
Kevin Murphy: But to answer your - I think the question
behind your question, is whatís happening this season is
setting up the situation thatís the last month. Because
weíve just put to bed the finale and its setting up the
stage for what next season is going to be about, much like
this season, you know, and occupied.
Like Season 1 was about a wild and wooly, rural free sheriff
driven frontier town, Season 2 was about a town that is
under occupation dealing with what does it mean to be free
and what does it mean to work within a larger context of
society as we look at the rest of the world or the rest of
Season 3 is going to be more about global, and itís going to
be more about dealing with the role of theology and
government is going to be Season 3.
Ann Cullen: Wow, it sounds like itís going to be really
cool. And I canít wait until we get the second season here.
Thereís no definite date being concerned for the UK yet.
Kevin Murphy: Yes. And Season 4 is when we go back into
Ann Cullen: All right. Well thanks a lot Kevin. Itís been
great speaking to you and, you know, best of luck with the
second season. Iím hoping there will be a third as well.
Kevin Murphy: Thank you so much.
Operator: And our next question comes from the line of James
Hamilton with Geekstronomy. Please go ahead.
James Hamilton: Hello Kevin, how are you today?
Kevin Murphy: Iím doing great, thank you.
James Hamilton: Good, good. I just want to go back to one of
the things you said. You had mentioned the uniforms harken
back to a Third Reich.
I was going to ask you about that because I thought the
uniforms were kind of a combination of Nazi uniforms and
Roman uniforms, and both were conquering armies. Was that
what you were going for?
Kevin Murphy: God bless you. That was a very deliberate
thing on our part, our costume designer.
Yes, that was - I think she was really trying to get the
sense of how do you distill occupation, and I think sort of
like the litmus that she applied when she was explaining it
to me was that itís not weird that people would choose those
looks because those - you know, if you want to send a signal
to a world thatís like the world of the video game where you
have the equivalent of, you know, Mongol Hordes and stuff,
youíve got - you know you want to convey strength to the
raiders and the various gangs out there in the badlands.
And thereís a real sense of power to the lines in the form
of Roman uniforms and as well as German uniforms. Theyíre
terrible because of the cultural context that come to us,
but they are rather terrifying and beautiful to look at in a
kind of creepy way.
James Hamilton: They are gorgeous uniforms. I actually like
the capes this season. Thatís kind of cool.
Kevin Murphy: Mm-hmm.
James Hamilton: Another question I have for you is, you
wrote the season premiere for this year.
Kevin Murphy: Yes.
James Hamilton: Okay, and you gave Doc Yewll some really
great lines. Between her and Datak, I mean there was some
great dialogue you had there. And I wanted to know, who is
your favorite character to write for?
Kevin Murphy: Probably Datak and Stahma are probably my
favorite. And I think probably they get - like weíre a
wonderful team and one of the things that I really love
about the show is that all of the writing staff is extremely
involved and theyíre really invested, and it is a very gung
ho bunch of writers who love the show and are very into what
But for me, when Iím sitting down and doing a scene or doing
a rewrite on a script, I sort of get happy when I get to
Stahma and Datak. And this year I really enjoyed Datak and
Yewll and theyíve become my two favorite couples.
And so I guess I would have to - if you put a gun to my head
I would have to say Datak because heís in both of those
But thereís some great stuff coming down the road from Datak
and Yewll because Yewll is so utterly unafraid of Datak, and
Datak is so driven by vanity and how heís perceived the fact
that Yewll is the only person in his life that gives him the
straight scoop. Itís like even his wife doesnít really speak
directly. She handles him and he hates to be handled.
So in a certain way, even though Datak likes to be
respected, he doesnít like it when Stahma outsmarts him. And
Doc Yewll, at least you know where you stand with her.
James Hamilton: Right.
Kevin Murphy: They have a lot of screen time this year and
itís all really fun.
James Hamilton: Final question, we saw what was left of Los
Angeles. We got a glimpse of Chicago. Are we going to see
any other parts of the country this year?
Kevin Murphy: Yes, weíre going to get a real good look at
New York before the season is over.
James Hamilton: That sounds intriguing.
Kevin Murphy: Yes, and thatís about the only other city that
weíre going to be visiting. We also going to - what weíre
also going to hear a bit about New York and weíre going to
learn a bit more about Amandaís time in New York. And weíre
going to learn - you know what, thatís actually not true.
Thereís one other city that weíre going to get a little
glimpse of before the season is over.
Weíre going to - one of our characters who I will not name,
is going to be visiting San Francisco, which is where the
James Hamilton: Oh, okay.
Kevin Murphy: A little taste of that.
James Hamilton: And that will tie directly into the game
Kevin Murphy: Youíre going to have to wait and see.
James Hamilton: Oh, okay. Thank you very much Kevin. Lots of
Kevin Murphy: Thank you so much.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Courtney
Vaudreuil with Oh So Gray.com. Please go ahead.
Courtney Vaudreuil: Hi. Alak is in a tough spot with his two
domineering parents. Is he going to be able to carve out his
Kevin Murphy: I know, poor Alak. One of the things that -
two characters who are very close to my heart in the show
are Alak and Tommy because theyíre the only two characters
in the entire show who behave and think the way the audience
Everyone else is somewhat different and alien, but Alak
looks at the horrible things that his parents do and heís
rightfully appalled by it.
Like last year when he - when it dawned on him that his
parents had set him up to betray his own buddy to achieve
their means and to smear Nolan and ultimately knock Amanda
out of office, he was just appalled and just a
disappointment. And the horror in his eyes were terrible.
And that was exactly the way the audience feels.
And so when we kick around Alak, one of the things that I
love about him is that weíre kind of kicking around the
audienceís perspective. Itís like how would the audience
feel if they were in this world? And to deal with all these
strange things, and they didnít have the great big gun that
Nolan had. And they didnít have the knives that Irisa has.
How would you deal with it because, Alak doesnít have a lot
to go on?
And all he wants to do is, do what the rest of us want to
do. He wants to kind of sit home and play video games, play
some cool tunes, smoke a little weed and maybe get it on
with his girlfriend. And thatís not in the cards for him and
thatís kind of the tragedy for him is he is a guy who has
such a low bar for happiness, and it will forever be denied
to him just because of the family he happened to be born
Courtney Vaudreuil: And for his parents, unlike Stahma,
Datak seems more reactionary than kind of a long-term
strategizer. Is that going to change at all for him?
Kevin Murphy: Well heís going to learn - itís funny, youíre
actually paraphrasing a dialogue that appears later in
Season 2, so youíre barking up the right tree. Because
thereís actually a specific scene with them in Episode 11 I
believe the deals with exactly that.
But youíre right, Stahma is a chess player. She thinks many,
many moves in advance. Datak is a checkers player. He thinks
about just who heís going to jump next.
And both strategians can be effective, but it makes it
difficult to be married to a person who doesnít think the
same way you do because they keep getting in each otherís
And the only way that theyíre going to succeed and the
family is going to avoid being fractured is if they learn to
accept whatís - you know, their differences and move
And one of the big spines this season is the family story.
Itís the utter destruction and the war between the two
factions of the Tarr family, and which also ropes in the
McCawley family and how they come out of it or donít come
out of it at the end. And thatís the question that gets
answered in Episode 13.
Courtney Vaudreuil: And just one quick final question, are
we going to see Kenya again?
Kevin Murphy: It depends on how much people want to see her.
Courtney Vaudreuil: I think we want to see Kenya again.
Kevin Murphy: All right.
Courtney Vaudreuil: Well thank you. Appreciate it.
Kevin Murphy: Okay.
Operator: And we do have a follow-up question from the line
of Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie Ruby: Hi again. So with everything going on with the
eWrap, and I know you talk about, you know, how the Tarr
family, you know, is broken up and everything, but obviously
we have, you know, I want to call him Grant, that heís not -
that the lawmaker, not necessarily at the beginning and
Is it possible that maybe some of the people that are, you
know, on opposing sides like during the season may start to
maybe work together against them. You know, kind of the
enemy and my enemy is my friend type of thing?
Kevin Murphy: That is entirely possible. I might even cross
over to say it is likely.
Jamie Ruby: Interesting. Very interesting. Can you - you
talked a lot about the Tarr family, but can you talk about
how the changes are going to affect the other characters
like Nolan and, you know, that kind of thing on the other
Kevin Murphy: Well the Tarr - you know the problem with the
Tarr family wanting something is that when the Tarr wants
something, people get hurt. When the Tarr family wants other
people in the Tarr family destroyed, people get hurt.
Thereís inevitably collateral damage.
Itís like if the Sopranos go up against each other, you know
it will be the innocent New Jersey civilian who gets in the
And I think that trying to put a lid on that is - you know,
becomes Amandaís problem and it becomes Nolanís problem.
Because by the - you know, if youíve seen the screeners,
Nolan does regain his law keeper status. So the safety and
the welfare of the town very much becomes his business, you
know, by early in the season.
Jamie Ruby: Great. Thank you so much.
Kevin Murphy: Youíre welcome. Thank you.
Brenda Lowry: And thank you everybody for joining us today.
Thank you Kevin for your time.
As a reminder, Defiance is premiering its second season next
Thursday, so please let us know if thereís anything that we
can do to help with your coverage. And thank you again for
covering the series. Have a good day.
Kevin Murphy: Bye-bye. Thank you.
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