NOS4A2 post-mortem: EP Joe Hill talks season 2 finale, possible season 3 plotlines
The author of the original novel sinks his teeth into Sunday's show.
In Sunday night's season 2 finale of AMC's horror series NOS4A2 Ashleigh Cummings's Vic McQueen and Jahkara Smith's Maggie Leigh finally triumphed over Zachary Quinto's vampiric Rolls-Royce aficionado Charlie Manx. Or did they? Actually, the alive/dead status of Manx was just one worrying aspect to an episode which saw Maggie determined to encounter more supernaturally-powered creatives while Manx's highly dangerous daughter Millie (Mattea Conforti) made nice with Vic's troubled son Wayne (Jason David).
"In terms of that final half-hour of the final episode, I think it taps into and expands on some of what’s there in the book," says Joe Hill, who wrote the original 2013 novel NOS4A2 and is an executive producer on the series. "In the show, Vic rescues Wayne, but Wayne is still kind of wrestling with some things. Wayne has been through something that has left him profoundly changed and that feels emotionally true to me. There are stories about children in jeopardy and the parents scratch, fight, claw and kill to get their kids back and the kid is like, 'Mommy, mommy!' and throws his arms around his mom’s neck and everything is okay. But that’s not how the real world works. So, that’s interesting. And then, you also have this parallel storyline with Millie Manx, who’s spent almost a hundred years in Christmasland, and in the final season she’s kind of wondering, did I miss out on something by never growing up? So she has this menacing Pinocchio storyline. I think there’s something very chilling in bringing her and Wayne together in that final episode. He’s wondering what he missed out on with Christmasland being destroyed and she’s wondering what’s out there in the real world to explore. Together, they’re a somewhat troubling pair. I think there’s no reason to assume there will be a third season of NOS4A2, but if there was a third season I think one of the questions it would have to answer is, can Wayne pull Millie towards humanity or will Millie pull him towards monster-ousness?"
Below, Hill talks more about the season 2 finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, is Charlie Manx definitely dead, as far as you are concerned, regardless of whether or not the show does get picked up for a third season?
JOE HILL: I think we had an amazing team of actors on this show. Zachary is amazing. He has such a subtle wit to him, such tremendous emotional range, he so perfectly captures Charlie Manx’s disturbed psychology. And I think, as an artist, he accomplished what he hoped to accomplish with that character. Could there be more about Charlie? There’s a graphic novel called Wraith, which I always describe as "Con Air-in-Christmasland." I would love to see that as a standalone movie, so if AMC ever wants to do a spin-off film, like they did with El Camino and Breaking Bad, I’d be all for it. Let’s go! But I think, barring something like that, the story now is, who else is out there in this world? We know that Maggie is interested in making contact with other strong creatives and that could lead her to trouble. There are some good folks out there like Jolene, who we met in season 1, but there are plenty more folks like the Hourglass, and if Maggie comes across someone like that, she’s going to need Vic.
Maggie is obviously on the side of the angels but she does seem temptable if that’s a word.
Yeah! [Laughs] That is a great description! Temptable? Temptable is the best adjective I've heard for Maggie Leigh. I mean, I think that she’s traded one addiction for another. In season 1, she was addicted to drugs and alcohol and in season 2, she’s addicted to her own power and the idea of discovering more people, making that connection with more people like her.
Vic wants a normal life. Vic wants to be a good mom, she wants to be someone who Lou can count on as much as she has always been able to count on Lou. She wants to be an artist and have a professional life. She’s ready for that and I think the last thing she wants to do is tangle with someone like Charlie Manx again. But, as is the way of things, if AMC demands another ten episodes, Vic may have no choice but to face evil once again, since we probably can’t do ten episodes about her having a happy career in comic books. I mean, as exciting as that might be to me, to see her doing a series of bestselling children's books, and living a happy contented life, the exigencies of TV drama probably require that things will have to go bad pretty quickly.
We left Maggie at the hotel. Do you know with whom she’s meeting?
Well, the version of the show that airs on AMC does not include a bonus scene that’s hidden after the credits on the digital version of the broadcast, and that might shed a tiny bit more light on where the show could go with the third season. Spoiler here: the scene is not Nick Fury showing up to recruit Vic to the Avengers, as cool as that would have been.
Has your involvement with the TV show got you thinking of writing a sequel novel set in the same world of NOS4A2?
I’ve had an idea for years for a story called The Crooked Alley, which is about Maggie Leigh, and takes place not long after Maggie first meets Vic McQueen in the novel. I’ve seen that hilariously reported as a spin-off TV series and, just to clarify, it’s an idea for a novella. In some ways, I think all the books I've written sort of take place in the same world, with the exception of The Fireman. Because the Night Road appears in Heart-Shaped Box and, in NOS4A2, when we see this map, the United Inscapes of America, one of the Inscapes we see is the Lovecraft Keyhole, which is a reference to Keyhouse (from the Hill-written comic Locke & Key), another is to the Treehouse of the Mind, which is a reference to Horns. So, I do feel that all these stories are adjacent to each other.
NOS4A2 (2019 TV series)