The world of Colony will be expanding in season 2.
As Colony leans heavily into its sci-fi roots in season 2, the premiere provides a reset by flashing back to the terrifying arrival of the Hosts, before subsequently expanding outside the Los Angeles Colony to see “more of what the global and worldwide occupation looks like,” executive producer Ryan Condal teases.
While Will (Josh Holloway) scours the lawless Santa Monica bloc for his son Charlie (Jacob Buster), an emotionally isolated Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) atones for her sins of working with the Resistance — made more difficult as said Resistance goes to darker and deadlier places in its fight for freedom. Below, Condal and fellow EP Carlton Cuse tease what’s in store for season 2:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now knowing the truth about Katie working with the Resistance, how does that affect the Bowmans’ marriage?
CARLTON CUSE: We left things in a place where there was a lot of tension that was not fully resolved between Katie and Will, and that continues into the start of the season. There’s several layers to the show, one of which is how did this couple survive in a world where all the rules and the society has been completely upended? Then, how do they put their relationship back together? The show is exploring both those questions at the same time.
RYAN CONDAL: Season 1 was an infidelity story, so season 2, we have them fall out of that infidelity being exposed.
If the first season was about that slow-growing Resistance, what would you say season 2 is about?
CUSE: I think season 2 is what do we do about this? Season 1 was reactive and the characters were being introduced to this world. Will was forced into working for the Occupation and Katie was a nascent member of the Resistance. In this season, it’s really solidifying what they see as their role of being in this new world. This is, in many ways, about what kind of action can they take and how do they go about doing it now that the secrets between them have been lifted?
CONDAL: Yeah, and I would say semantically, it’s about the advancing extremism caused by living in a totalitarian state, so you’re going to see a much more extreme version of the Occupation, but you’re also going to see a more extreme version of the Resistance that comes in response to that. Extremes fight each other with extremes, so everything is being pushed into a darker, more violent place.
At Comic-Con, you mentioned that you’re going to be leaning more into the sci-fi elements this year. Can you expand on that?
CUSE: It was something that we just wanted to do. The show is not really about the mysteries of the world. It’s about this family’s struggle to survive in this world, so we wanted to explain more about the world of the show and get deeper into some of the science fiction that’s associated with the Raps. Now we’re aware that these are aliens and this is what the show’s about. We also wanted, particularly in the first episode of the show, to take the audience back and allow the audience to really re-experience what the Arrival was like. We feel like the first episode of season 2, there’s kind of a big reset to it. You really can understand from that episode what the show is about, so even if you haven’t watched season 1, we encourage you to jump in.
You’re also going to be exploring outside of the Los Angeles bloc. What can you tease?
CONDAL: One of the big things we’re doing geographically this season is world expansion. There are multiple facets to that and one of them is this story that we’re obviously telling far outside the walls of the colony in the labor camps where Bram (Alex Neustaedter) ends up as a result of his arrest in season 1. But what you’re also going to see that begins to be revealed in the first four episodes is getting a much better sense of what’s going on outside not only the Los Angeles Bloc, because we’re going to be telling a story inside the Santa Monica Bloc, but also outside the Los Angeles colony and more of what the global and worldwide Occupation looks like, and how everything is organized from a governmental and managerial standpoint. So there’s going to be a lot more opening up of the world and world expansion going on into season 2.
CUSE: It was always our intention to iris out from these characters. We didn’t want the audience to know; we didn’t want to stop and explain all the rules of the world. We just wanted to throw you in with these characters and then have you figure out the world as we went along with the story. Ryan and I always planned that we would be irising out from that small, personal narrative to give the audience a continually greater understanding of what’s happened in the world, what this alien invasion is all about and that progresses across these [episodes].
Where are we picking up with Bram after he got caught in the tunnel?
CONDAL: We always want to tell the story that he was the Bowman child that was closest to adulthood, so we always wanted to tell this coming-of-age story. For Bram, as he becomes an adult in this very dark and oppressive world, that would mirror the experience that somebody would have growing up in the Soviet Empire or under an Occupation or North Korea or something, where the experience and maturation changes due to the extreme circumstances. So Bram’s circumstances are very much like that. We know from season 1 that Bram’s very much his mother’s son and he does have some of the same predilections towards idealism and Resistance that his mother does. That gets him into trouble in season 1 and then he deals with the fallout of that in season 2. His story this year is largely making the choices that are going to fully define him as an adult through this prism of Resistance and Occupation, and Bram is going to figure out who he really is.
You’ve talked about the Bowmans’ marriage, but what are Will and Katie dealing with separately this year?
CUSE: At the end of season 1, we saw Will making the journey into Santa Monica, and season 2 picks up with him there, and we get to see what life is like in Santa Monica, we get to see Will’s hunt for his son, we get to see the consequences of Occupation in Santa Monica, which are different than what it’s like in the Los Angeles Bloc. Will has an adventure to try get his kid back, and then once he gets his kid back, he’s got to get back into the L.A. Bloc to reunite with the rest of his family, so that’s where they start.
CONDAL: The last image of season 1, if you recall, is a surveillance image of Katie alone in her house as a result of the choices that she made throughout the course of those first 10 stories, so season 2 picks up immediately with Katie knowing about the fallout of the decision she made in season 1. They’ve isolated her, both in a physical isolation because she’s separated from most of the people in her immediate family — she’s separated from her sister Madeline (Amanda Righetti), who’s gone off to live in the green zone — and Katie’s also emotionally isolated, because she feels like she’s been left alone in this world. She’s trying to atone for these sins that she has committed and also to make right on them, and you see a much more humble person than you did when she was at the height of her fighting for the cause in season 1. We wanted to break down the character so that we could have her also figure out who she is over the course of season 2, and build herself back up again as she desperately tries to put the pieces of her life back together.
Can you talk about some of the new characters we’re going to be meeting this season?
CUSE: Bram, we really love his story and he meets a Resistance activist when he — we saw him at the end of last season getting arrested and he’s sentenced to a labor camp. Then in this labor camp, he meets a Resistance person. His relationship with this woman becomes a very interesting story.
CONDAL: That’s Maya, who’s played by Jessica Parker Kennedy, who did a terrific job this year. We also have, who we’re very excited about, two more people on the Occupation side. One is Dan Bennett, who’s played by Chris Clemens, who is the new head of the Homeland Security Counter Terrorist Division, taking the role that Phyllis (Kathy Baker) vacated abruptly last year. He’s a very vicious political climber character, so you’ll see a much different tonality for his character and with that, comes a much different leadership and management style inside the Occupation. There’s also a new detective in the unit named Bob Burke, who’s played by the inimitable Toby Huss, who did just an awesome job this year and really brought a lot of life into the character. You’re going to see into the world that we experienced through Will’s eyes last year, what is it like when we actually populate the Nazi offices with real Nazis? Bob is a very particular type of evil.
What’s next for Snyder (Peter Jacobson)?
CUSE: Snyder is sort of in exile and that’s really fun and interesting. He thought he was making a deal where he was going to have the life of a leader in the green zone, but that did not turn out to be the case. He ends up as being the commandant of this labor camp. It happens to be the same one where Bram is out-posted, so they develop a relationship there, but obviously, Snyder is extremely unhappy to be where he is, and being the guy that he is, he’s not going to accept that.
CONDAL: Snyder was hoping it exited into a production deal and what ended up happening was he was basically sent to Bulgaria to manage an over-budget movie with a very mercurial director, to use a film/business analogy. [Laughs]
Can you talk a little bit about what we’re seeing with Greatest Day and the Burgess (Adrian Pasdar) storyline moving forward?
CONDAL: Burgess is hoping to use the Greatest Day movement as his way to catapult to greater power and leadership, and in the meantime, he’s also very much enjoying his relationship with the very beautiful Maddie Kenner. The show has already explored each person’s solution to how to survive in this world. Maddie’s solution was to attach herself to a powerful man and it doesn’t work out quite as she planned. There’s a cautionary tale there. She would have been better off had she been a little more independent perhaps.
CUSE: Yeah, don’t join a cult.
Colony returns Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on USA.