'Wayward Pines' Guest Blog: Executive producer Chad Hodge reveals the series' complicated timeline
Welcome back to Wayward Pines. Hey, maybe that’s what the town’s welcome sign should say. Welcome Back to Wayward Pines. That would have been good. Too late. Damn.
Anyway, welcome back. And thank you for watching and spreading the word. Because of you, Wayward Pines is the #1 scripted summer series on broadcast and cable. We are all so grateful.
If you haven’t seen Episode 6, stop reading and click on something else quick! If you have seen Episode 6, here we go:
This episode wasn’t always part of the series plan. In early versions of the show bible, all the information came in one big dump in Episode 5. As we got further into production, we decided to parse out the truth between two episodes. The fifth episode tells you it’s the future and that humanity has de-evolved into abberations, while the sixth episode tells you how David Pilcher built Wayward Pines and how all these people got here. The superstructure. The volunteers. The suspended animation chambers.
This is the piece of author Blake Crouch’s mythology that I respect most. Suspended animation is a real thing. It’s used with plants and tiny organisms, and research is being conducted for use with astronauts, and you know what I could write a whole term paper but just Google it. Point is, while we take some artistic liberties, this is not the story of a wizard. It’s the story of a scientist who foresaw the future and did something about it.
Including a lot of illegal s–t.
But it worked.
What’s interesting is that you can’t really characterize David Pilcher as a total monster. He did something brilliant. If you accomplished the saving of 1,000+ humans through 2,000 years (during which the rest of humanity expires), then restarted civilization in one small town, you would at least get a Nobel Peace Prize. Too bad there are no more Nobel Peace Prize people.
But there is a coffee shop! And really, that’s more practical. For survival at least. I think most of you would agree.
I know some of you were scratching your heads after Episode 5. Wait, how did they make the time jump? Now you know. But you might still be scratching your head. Still, why has Kate been there 12 years longer than Ethan?
These are normal questions. While writing the initial series bible I had to call Blake on a daily basis for clarification. It’s a lot to keep in your head. So one day, with Blake’s help and the help of our brilliant script coordinator Bill Hooper, I wrote down a timeline of everything that happens in this story from beginning to end with names, dates, and ages.
I’ll give you some highlights (the real thing is three times longer). Think of it as your very own WP Cheat Sheet.
1996: At 30 years-old, a young David Pilcher (Toby Jones) discovers the human genome is changing due to our own destruction of the planet. He dedicates himself to finding a way to preserve humanity, to give us a second chance… in the future.
1997: Pilcher sets up a lab and drops his inherited millions into researching suspended animation. At 31 years-old, Pilcher successfully suspends a rat. He begins fabricating suspension units for human beings. But he needs more money, more support, more people.
1998: Pilcher tries to get people to follow him, but doesn’t find much support in the academic community. He begins focusing on people who are willing to leave their current lives behind for a better one in the future. People who can help him rebuild civilization. His “inner circle”. He finds a few. His sister Pamela Pilcher (Melissa Leo). A hypnotherapist named Megan Fisher (Hope Davis). A down-on-his luck security guard named Arnold Pope (Terrence Howard). And everyone who works in the eventual superstructure.
1998: Meanwhile, Pilcher searches for a beautiful yet naturally walled-in town, a safe zone for humanity to reawaken. He discovers the real town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. He’ll need a lot of people to repopulate this town in the future. After all, they will be the last of humanity. But how many people would give up their lives and families to go into suspended animation without any guarantee of survival? Very few.
1999: Arnold Pope begins abducting people. The first abductee is Dr. Charles Keen. Later, he abducts Beverly Brown (Juliette Lewis) who was in the town of Wayward Pines to sell Y2K software protection to the local school.
2000: Theresa Burke (Shannyn Sossamon) gives birth to a son and drops out of training at the Secret Service, where she met her husband Ethan (Matt Dillon).
2001: Peter McCall (Justin Kirk) attends a conference in Los Angeles. Has a drink with Pilcher’s sister Pam. He’s abducted that night.
2014: Seattle. Ethan Burke and Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino), partners in the Secret Service, have an affair. Ethan is 45. Kate is 27.
September 2014: Theresa learns about Ethan’s affair with Kate.
October 2014: Kate transfers to the Boise field office.
October 12, 2014: Kate Hewson and Bill Evans drive to Wayward Pines to investigate David Pilcher. It’s a fake name so they don’t know what he looks like, but they’ve been tracking financial records and too much money has been flowing in and out of Wayward Pines. Just outside of Wayward Pines, they get into a car crash.
October 15, 2014: Three days later, Ethan Burke’s boss Adam Hassler (Tim Griffin) tells Ethan that Kate Hewson and Bill Evans are missing. Ethan is booked on a flight to Boise.
October 16, 2014: Ethan Burke checks in with the Secret Service via email from Lowman, Idaho at 1:21 P.M. Ethan drives with Agent Stallings through the Boise National Forest to Wayward Pines. They get into a crash with a semi-truck. Stallings is killed in the crash. Pope carries Ethan away and puts him in suspended animation. The car is torched.
October 18, 2014: The Secret Service inspects the recovered car. No sign of Ethan Burke.
October 20, 2014: Hassler meets with David Pilcher. Wants to call it off. Too late.
Late October, 2014: Someone in Pilcher’s inner circle gets a recording of Theresa’s home answering machine message.
October 22-23, 2014: Theresa and Ben drive to Boise. They track Ethan to a town called Wayward Pines. Hassler alerts Pilcher. Theresa and Ben are pulled over by Arnold Pope, who cuts the car’s break line. They later (offscreen) get into a car crash, are abducted by Pope, and put into suspended animation.
December 31, 2014: Everyone in the inner circle goes into their suspended animation chambers, including David Pilcher (now 48) and his sister Pam.
By 2514: According to Pilcher’s projections, the entire human race will be extinct.
4014: Pilcher comes out of suspension along with most of the members of his inner circle. The group surveys the wreckage of the town and the world after 2,000 years. They see an abby for the first time. They build the electrified fence. They start to rebuild the town.
4016: After two years, the town is rebuilt. Pilcher brings the first group of abductees, Group A, out of suspended animation. There is a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Main Street. He tells them the truth. Most don’t believe him. 26 escape and are killed by abbies. Those who do believe him commit suicide. The rules are changed. The adults can’t know the truth. Anyone who doesn’t follow the rules will be killed. Kill one to save the rest of the last of humanity.
October 14, 4016: Kate Hewson is brought out of suspension. She’s still 27 (you don’t age during suspended animation). She thinks it’s 2014.
October, 4017: One year later, Kate marries Harold Ballinger (Reed Diamond).
April, 4027: Bill Evans is brought out of suspension.
October 21, 4027: Beverly Brown is brought out of suspension. She thinks it’s 1999 because that’s her last memory. Pope takes her to the Biergarten and tells her she’s a bartender there.
October 6, 4028: Bill Evans tries to escape. He’s caught and murdered via public reckoning on Main Street. His body is placed in the house at 604 First Avenue.
October 16, 4028: Ethan Burke is brought out of suspension and placed in the forest on the outskirts of town. He wakes up, bruised and bloodied from his car accident.
And the rest… is history.
On Twitter: @chad_hodge