‘Man in the High Castle’ NYCC Panel: Jason O’Mara, a Philip K. Dick Surprise & the Chinese Army
We didn’t see this coming: The Chinese army helping the American resistance against the Japanese in Amazon’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s iconic anti-fascist novel The Man in the High Castle.
That was just one of the surprises announced by the producers and cast at New York Comic-Con 2018 on Thursday night about the Amazon Prime Video series, which focuses on a dystopian alternate history set in an America conquered in WWII by the Axis powers — Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Fans have to wait for Season 4, now filming, for the Chinese to enter the fray along side a new more united resistance group. That news was delivered from the set by Jason O’Mara — who joins the cast in Season 3 as a suave Irish immigrant wheeler dealer known as Wyatt Price — and Season 4 cast members Francis Turner and Clay Bennett as leaders. “It’s a more capable Resistance,” Issa Dick Hackett, the beloved sci-fi writer’s daughter, explained at the panel.
But there was also plenty of news from the panel for this season starting today (Friday, October 5, with all 10 episodes available). The lineup included stars Rufus Sewell, Alexa Davalos, Chelah Horsdal, and Joel de la Fuente and producers David Zucker and Hackett.
First, Hackett revealed that two chapters of her father’s unfinished sequel to Castle will be part of this season. “His lifelong fear was fascism and we carry that with us,” she said. “The top of the third season really digs into those chapters. It felt important and really pretty perfect to incorporate into the story,” she added, noting that the story “is as relevant today as it was in 1962 when he wrote it. The themes are timeless.”
A lot of time will be spent in a new region, the so-called Neutral Zone, a Wild West kind of buffer zone comprised of such states as Colorado and New Mexico lying between the German Reich in the East and the Imperial Japanese zone in the Pacific West. It’s the home of Wyatt, a survivor of the War in Europe and in the States, who tends to do business with all sides.
There’s also immediate chemistry between Price and Juliana Crain (Devalos), the show’s focal point, a woman hardened by years “of deep-seated pain and loss,” explained Davalos.
At the beginning of the season, Hawthorne Abendsen (Stephen Root), aka The Man in the High Castle — the keeper of the old newsreels that show another timeline where America and its allies won the war — wants Juliana to take over the role of hope-giver to the Resistance. She’s not eager to assume that responsibility, even though she sees versions of herself in some of the films.
Sewell’s Nazi character John Smith will be promoted to the second-highest position in the American Reich. “As he gains power and his position ascends,” Sewell explained, “he and his wife Helen (Horsdal) are on two journeys going in opposite directions.” They’re both grieving the loss of their son Thomas who, when he discovered he had a genetic illness, surrendered himself up to be euthanized for the so-called good of the Nazi state. “Helen and John will deal — or not deal — with their grief in very different ways,” the actor said.
Also, expect some tough times and bad choices for Juliana’s former lover, Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), as well as her struggle with the shocking appearance of sister Trudy (Conor Leslie), a so-called “traveler” who was killed in our world. You see, she’s very much alive in another world where some of the characters lead other lives, close to but not quite the same as those in the world depicted in the show. Flashes of Juliana’s own fate in that world haunt her.
Despite the coming pain this season — there will be serious loss — Zucker promised “A little bit of hope and some influence of the alt world” — the one where many of the character seem to have other lives, close to but not quite the same as those of the show’s world.
We can expect more science fiction this season, Sewell told TV Insider. “But the more we delve into that, the deeper the story gets.”
The Man in the High Castle, Season 3 Premiere, Friday, October 5, Amazon Prime Video