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YELLOWJACKETS

Yellowjackets (TV series)

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Warning: This post contains spoilers about the season 1 finale of Yellowjackets.

It's official: Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Misty (Christina Ricci), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) aren't the only Yellowjackets who made it to adulthood. In Yellowjackets' season 1 finale, it was revealed that not only is Lottie (played as a teen by Courtney Eaton) still alive in the present day, but also, she was the one responsible for emptying Travis' bank account after his death ... and now she seems to be running some kind of cult?

The episode ended with a few of Lottie's minions kidnapping Natalie in the present day after she inquired into Travis' death. And back in the wilderness, we saw Lottie emerge as the sort of spiritual leader of the group, offering up a bear heart to ... something. That ritual also gives us more of an understanding of the symbol we've been seeing all season — the same symbol that was sent to the four surviving women on postcards.

Speaking of that symbol, the finale also revealed that Taissa has been hiding an altar of her own in her basement, complete with the head of her family dog. Did she create the altar to win the senate race? Did this happen in one of her fugue states?

EW spoke with Yellowjackets creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, along with showrunner Jonathan Lisco, about all of those questions and what we can expect from season 2.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that we know Lottie is the leader, if you will, was the opening scene of the series purely a way to throw viewers off that scent?

BART NICKERSON: The intent was not necessarily to throw you off, the intent was to have it be a little up to interpretation who the girl running in the woods was. We were not trying to suggest that it was Lottie.

ASHLEY LYLE: We were also not trying to suggest that it wasn't. [Laughs] We used that to create a mystery.

We obviously haven't caught back up to that opening scene yet, in terms of timeline. Are we working our way back there?

LYLE: We absolutely will get to that part of this story over the course of the series, I will say that. That was always intended to be sort of the crux of their time out there and so the question that we wanted to pose was not so much what happens exactly — although the exact nature of what's happening there is ideally mysterious and poses some questions for the audience that we can eventually answer — but, it was always a question of how they got there. So we will ideally answer both: How they got there and what exactly it was we were seeing in that opening scene.

NICKERSON: We are definitely building back up to that. What we're seeing will represent a bit of a climax of sorts but not the end. The plan is for the story to continue after that as well.

YELLOWJACKETS
Courtney Eaton and Sophie Nélisse on 'Yellowjackets'

How long have they been stranded at this point?

LYLE: They have been there for several months. They embark on their journey in late spring, there's talk of prom, and by the time we get to the season finale, we are at the cusp of an early winter. The further north you get the earlier winter seems to hit.

NICKERSON: There were moments where we had considered and experimented with using things like title cards for dates to get a very specific timeline, but there seemed to be something useful and effective about a slightly disorienting vibe to what was happening, the same way that time can shift and move on people because they don't have calendars, they don't have watches. They're entering this blur of survival.

JONATHAN LISCO: I hope you noticed the change in the color palette as you move through the seasons and that was our way of suggesting to you that time was passing. But we were trying to tap into something more emotionally and psychologically authentic, like the way they were experiencing time, and that's why we chose not to go with literal time cards. 

Were there any Lottie clues in present-day fans might've missed?

LYLE: I would be reluctant to say that there are any definitive concrete clues that people have fully ignored. I think that there are some subtle indications that we tried to plant throughout that these four women might not be the only survivors out there. We wanted to make sure that, ultimately, we want to preserve the ability for our surprises to feel truly surprising so it's always a bit of a delicate dance. You want to lay the groundwork and plant the seeds so nothing comes out of left field but at the same time, you don't want anything to feel so inevitable that it loses its impact as a viewer. In many aspects of our storytelling, that was the balance that we were trying to strike.

The real question: Will we be seeing adult Lottie in season 2?

LYLE: We will be seeing adult Lottie in season 2. Buckle up!

Have you all been dream casting her, along with any other adult versions we might meet?

LISCO: All the time, like non-stop.

LYLE: We've been dream casting this show for about four years now, at least. [Laughs]

Anyone you can share?

LISCO: I don't think we can in the sense that gets to be such a mess when you're actually then trying to have conversations with a performer.

LYLE: We have incredible casting directors and they have proven themselves to be so good at coming up with fantastic ideas, and sometimes ideas that hadn't occurred to us, so I think we would be doing them and ourselves a disservice to be putting too much out into the universe right now.

YELLOWJACKETS
Tawny Cypress on 'Yellowjackets'
| Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

One of my biggest questions is about Taissa and whether she was in a fugue state when she created that altar because she seemed to be aware of what she'd done in that final moment.

NICKERSON: Taissa having to reconcile what she comes to believe is responsible for her very surprising victory in that campaign will be a big thrust of season 2.

LISCO: I will say this: I think she's been suppressing if not repressing her alter ego, let's call it, for her whole journey from the wilderness till now. When we're holding on her, in that scene, when it's announced that she wins the state senate race, I think it's hard to deny that the seeds of recognition are entering her psyche at that point. She's realizing not only that this is true, and of course that she's the lady in the tree and all those things that we've set up, but also more darkly that this bifurcated personality of hers could have dark advantages and not just be a burden moving forward. I think that's in some ways some of the scariest components of her storyline moving forward, especially now that she's going to be a legislator.

NICKERSON: I would also add, the extent to which a person has that ability to create that sort of bifurcation is an ability that they retain and I think there are varying degrees of acceptance that one can find and there's continued denial. I think the extent to which she will be willing to personally acknowledge all that she has done will also be part of the story.

I want to talk about the decision to have Misty kill Jessica (Rekha Sharma) after making it seem like Misty's need for connection had finally won out. Why was it important to give her that moment?

LYLE: Misty is so many things, I think that is why she's so much fun to write and Christina is just having a field day with her in the best way possible. For all of Misty's foibles — her desperate desire to be loved, her desperate desire to be seen, her hunger for connection — she is not stupid. When push came to shove, there was something very fun about playing with those needs of hers and yet ultimately proving that Misty should never be underestimated. In terms of the way that she deals with Jessica, we wanted to hammer that point home for the audience: Do not ever make the mistake of underestimating Misty.

LISCO: In this crazy mixture of what Misty, one thing that rises to the surface is loyalty. The surprise of that storyline and what delighted us about it was a sense that despite the fact that everyone had assumed Jessica got under her skin, in fact, she's deeply loyal to these people, and not just because she went to high school with them but, of course, because of the trauma that they all went through. I think that begs the question of what else happened out there that bonded them together in such an intense way?

NICKERSON: In the construction of this misdirect, this idea that Misty might betray the Yellowjackets, there is this wonderful place where those things meet. She is so starved for this genuine connection. Her relationship with the rest of the team is so imperfect that she's forced to be creative in how she finds these moments of connection where it's almost like a temporary fantasy of sorts that she knows is limited. Because ultimately her loyalty is going to win.

Could Misty possibly be protecting Lottie's cult? Is that a question we should be asking ourselves?

LISCO: That last scene, which we really worked hard to make evocative and lead to season 2, when Van [Liv Hewson] and Misty [Samantha Hanratty] are behind Lottie and she sets down what is a bear heart, by the way, because I saw some people on the internet think it was a human heart — but it is indeed the bear heart. So she's putting it down on the ground, and you understand, I think, why Van is there because Van has articulated an interest in some dark energy and something larger than themselves and in something potentially supernatural. Misty? Not so much. And so I think the question of why she is also there is extremely interesting, which we have many ideas about and intend to explore.

So are we getting into the cult of it all in season 2?

LYLE: We are very much interested in exploring the theme and concept of belief and what that means for us in terms of our worldview — the way that we interact with the world around us, the way that we interact with other people, and forge those relationships. That is absolutely something that we will be investigating by means of this growing belief that has started to emerge amongst the girls in the wilderness and what that might mean in the present day.

The last thing I'll ask is: Do you all consider the "who is Adam" mystery solved at this point?

NICKERSON: In our minds, the "who he was" in terms of his unknown connection to one of the survivors has very much been answered. I think the question about what kind of impact he will have on the story moving forward is very much open.

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YELLOWJACKETS
Yellowjackets (TV series)

Twenty-five years after a plane crash left a high school girls soccer team lost in the Canadian wilderness, the secrets left in the mountains threaten to expose the surviving women. 

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