The End of an Era: On Set of 'The Man in the High Castle's Final Season
The Nazis are on the run. Well, one is, at least. In an otherwise quiet mountainside forest in the land formerly known as the United States of America, gunfire disturbs the tranquil, snow-covered setting as armed insurgents pursue a high-profile military man desperately trying to flee.
The intense scene, which TV Guide Magazine was on the Western Canada set to witness one wet day last March, is just one of many violent battles that play out as uprisings accelerate on the final season of Prime Video's The Man in the High Castle.
Can the good guys actually prevail this time? That question will be answered on the last 10 episodes of the alt-history sci-fi drama, which imagines a world in which Germany and Japan — not the U.S. and its allies — won World War II, and now each occupy the East Coast and West Coast, respectively.
When Season 4 begins in 1964, about a year after the events of Season 3, the outmanned and outgunned rebels finally have a tool "that gives hope to the hopeless," says Jason O'Mara, who plays Wyatt Price, a cynical black market trader turned rebel leader.
That would be those outlawed newsreel films that show a parallel world in which the Allies were victorious. Price has taken up the cause of distributing copies "to build some sort of network that should become an organized resistance," explains O'Mara, whose character is carrying on the hard work of his martyred rebel friend Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos).
But in a twist, Crane isn't dead. After being shot last season by Reichsmarschall John Smith (Rufus Sewell), the leader of the Nazi America, Crane — a so-called "traveler" who can visit alternate realities — transported herself to the Nazi-free version of the U.S. Sound a bit complicated? It is.
"We’re digging deeper into the sci-fi this season," explains exec producer Isa Dick Hackett, the daughter of writer Philip K. Dick, who wrote the 1962 bestseller that's the basis of the show.
Crane's new world is populated by familiar-looking faces who are much different versions of their counterparts in the other reality. (Crane, explains Hackett, "is that one unique person who is consistently the same [in both worlds].") For instance, Smith, Crane's would-be murderer, is a friendly salesman.
And even though this affable Smith has no idea about his Nazi alter ego, he's still of use to the freedom fighter. "Juliana is gathering intel in the alt world to gain insight as to who Smith is [in his Nazi persona]," says Davalos.
In fact, the Reichsmarschall has become increasingly disillusioned with the Nazis, who exterminated his son in Season 2 because he suffered from a congenital illness. "Smith has doubts about this machine he has become loyal to," notes Sewell, who says the man nevertheless clings to the party out of an instinct to survive.
After all, they seem to be expanding their power: Nazi scientists have not only perfected devastating nuclear weapons (built to destroy their rival, Japan), but they also have opened a portal between their world and this alternate one. Their plan is to take it over — along with every other parallel reality that exists.
Price, meanwhile, has been suffering huge losses battling the Nazis, so he heads to San Francisco to enlist the aid of Bell Mallory (Frances Turner), leader of the Black Communist Rebellion, a revolutionary group bedeviling the racist and oppressive Japanese government.
The BCR could use help as well: Since the assassination of a prominent Japanese official, military police commanded by ruthless Chief Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente) have been hunting for people of color.
Smith, Kido and the other evildoing men may ultimately get their comeuppance at the hands of tough females like Crane and Mallory. "One of the things I'm most excited about this season is the powerful women," teases Hackett. "Once we get to the end, you'll see [their] power."
The Man in the High Castle, Season 4 Premiere, Friday, November 15, Amazon Prime Video