‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Creator Tees Up Final Season & Teases What Could Be Next

Motherland: Fort Salem - Amalia Holm + Taylor Hickson
Preview
Freeform/Jeff Petry

In the world of Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem, witches are the country’s military might and men, well, we kind of suck. But sadly, the enchanted badasses’ tour of duty is coming to end with Season 3, which kicks off tonight with our main witches on the run, a certain General transforming into something even cooler and the witch-hunting Camarilla cabal enacting their master plan.

We spoke with creator and showrunner Eliot Laurence (who also created TNT’s tremendous Claws) about forging the final season and what he has brewing for Motherland’s possible future.

OK, so at least you get to end the show on your terms, right?

Eliot Laurence: [Laughs] Oh yes. It’s very rare that you get the opportunity. And you know, I had an end in mind, so we [moved it up] and that actually kind of set the story on fire a little bit, in terms of not stretching things where we might have been stretching them. It worked out pretty well and again, like you said, it’s just so nice to get the chance.

Motherland: Fort Salem - Jessica Sutton + Ashley Nicole Williams + Taylor Hickson

Freeform/Jeff Petry

And it’s great for the fans to at least see how you wanted it to end. This way, you can design it so the characters get the proper goodbyes.

And maybe even hopefully for them to have some new life, because it does end in a kind of a provocative place, in terms of unsettling some stuff that we have assumed for a couple of years now. I don’t want to give away too many specifics, but you know, we’ve always been a show that’s kind of sci-fi and kind of fantasy in a way. Like the magic is not ancient languages, it’s frequencies of sound and stuff. So it’s a cool season because it really thinks a lot about “What is a witch?”

We see in the first episode back that you’re tapping more into the true nature of Wicca.

Oh yeah, yeah. And it’s prehistoric, it’s older than race and countries and anything. It’s just this massively powerful kind of common lineage and we’ll start to unpack. This lineage, because we’re a sound show and a voice show, it takes the form of a song that could change the world or end the world, depending on how it’s sung.

In the premiere, you see at the very beginning how it’s tied to prehistory and it’s pretty dope. I love it. I don’t wanna spoil it, but like I said, it kind of pulls the rug out and makes you think differently about what a witch is.

You hit the ground running when you come back—the girls are literally on the run and in hiding—but I love that they’re still operating as a unit.

Totally. Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) is still trying to boss everybody around. Tally (Jessica Sutton) is challenging it. And what’s really nice is that Raelle (Taylor Hickson) and Scylla (Amalia Holm) get to be together for a f**king minute and actually be physical with each other.

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Plus, what to expect in the Season 2 finale as things get 'crazier.'

In other words, giving the fans what they want.

[Laughs] Right, right. You know, it was really fun for me and the writers to give people what they want. And they’re so incredible together.

What can you preview for the final season? You pulled back the curtain on a couple things in the season finale about what the Vice President (Victor Webster) has been up to and who’s been pulling the strings. And in the first episode back, you reveal that it’s even bigger than just getting our unit shut down.

Oh yeah, it’s dark. The dark ambitions of the Camarilla are in full flower and like you said, we hit the ground running. They’re in a very powerful place and they just take and grab more and more power as we go. So yeah, we’re off to the races with those terrible people.

And do our witches gain any new powers or abilities as we go forward?

Yeah. We’re gonna see a lot of new magic because we’re gonna be in different places. We’re not gonna be at Fort Salem as much, but there is still a Fort Salem presence in the show because we have Petra (Catherine Lough Haggquist) and Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) over there trying to save the world. But we’re out and about…we’re in the Cession a lot, so we’re gonna see some indigenous workings that we haven’t seen before. It’s nice to learn about the Cession because it’s a place we’ve heard about for a couple seasons, it’s where Raelle grew up and it’s sort of this massive prosperous combination of Indian reservations that kind of cuts the country in half. And since our ladies are fugitives, they’re gonna spend a lot of time in that part of the world.

So yeah, in terms of more powers, they’re gonna get deeper into what they are already good at. Like Tally, we all know she has this sight thing so it’s gonna take on a scary new dimension. And I can’t say anything else about the other two, Raelle and Scylla, but each of those two have a big kind of evolution in their abilities.

Motherland: Fort Salem- Catherine Lough Haggquist

Freeform

And since they’re no longer under government control or military leadership, how many of them are gonna fall into practicing magic that they’re not supposed to?

A lot of them, because one thing is, they’re just trying to survive, right? You know what I mean? They’re truly in hiding so they’re pulling out all the stops whenever they can. And of course, there’s a lot of tension around that. Nicte (Arlen Aguayo) is with them and there’s a lot of feelings about that whole situation that are not resolved yet. So there’s gonna be a lot of tension that way, but you know, again and again, they’re just there for each other and the world is gonna need them.

Nice. Being away from the Fort, did you get to shoot any new locations?

No, but we did a really good job making it look like we were all over the world. [Laughs] Like we’re in Ghana, we’ in Iceland…and that’s a great thing to highlight. It’s kind of a much more out-and-about season.

I am assuming that everything the ladies have gone through has prepared them for whatever is coming their way as the end approaches?

Yeah. The only ones that could really get the job done.

And you have Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary) coming back in. I mean, come on!

The dream of all time. Honestly, she’s incredible. And she has a really rich storyline this year, like dangerous and and multi-layered and a lot of surprises. She’s President Kelly, Wade and just don’t ever mess with her. Mark my words. [Laughs]

And we also get to work with the incredible Michael Horse, who was on Twin Peaks and Claws. I put him in Claws because I’m obsessed with him! He plays this incredible law-enforcement guy in the Cession who’s very, very intimidating. But of course you love him because it’s Michael Horse. And was have a freaking wealth of Battlestar Galactica on the show. Like, it’s an embarrassment of riches. We have Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas. He plays a total asshole and has so much fun with it.

It’s a little poignant because this is also our prettiest season, like our best design season and the best sound design and everything. It’s the one where we figured it all out. But who knows what will happen,

Well, I wanna congratulate you on getting to end the show in your way. And like you hinted, it could have other life, right?

For sure. There’s more stories to tell in that world, I think.

Motherland: Fort Salem, Tuesdays, 10/9c, Freeform