‘Vagrant Queen’s Adriyan Rae on Elida’s ‘Journey of Self’ & Teaming up With Isaac & Amae
Ready to meet your next Syfy obsession?
An all-female team of writers and directors have brought Vagrant Queen to the network, and we think it will fill that Killjoys-shaped hole in your heart. The 10-episode series follows Elida (Adriyan Rae) from child queen to orphaned outcast, as she scavenges the treacherous corners of the galaxy.
She teams up with her old friend Isaac (Tim Rozon) and new ally Amae (Alex McGregor) to rescue her mother Xevelyn after learning she’s still alive.
Here, Rae previews her new series.
How would you describe Elida and how does that differ from how she would describe herself?
Adriyan Rae: I’d describe Elida as loyal, badass. She’s got some inner child work to do for sure. And compassionate. Depending on where you find her in her journey — in the beginning, Elida would agree with that, except for the inner child work. She’d be like, “I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong. Let’s keep it moving.”
She’s thought she was an orphan all this time, so what does family mean to her?
Family, honestly, means a lot. She’s extremely loyal. Family means everything. Even her friends that become family, they mean so much to her, and people will see that in the upcoming episodes. It really hurt her to just be abandoned and left alone like that, in that way, where she couldn’t even do anything to help it and everyone was sacrificing for her and she really wants to sacrifice for them. Thinking that you’re an orphan for so long and then hearing that your mother’s alive, that’s a really big, heavy weight on Elida.
And how does that change her world — or should I say galaxy — view?
It’s the stimuli that catapults her into this whole journey of, “okay, my mom’s alive, is she going to be proud of who I am now? I thought she was dead, so I kind of let myself go. My mom wouldn’t want this, my mom wouldn’t want that.”
It starts making her question her choices. It starts making her question if she became the best person she could and if her mother was around, if she would be the same person that she is. All those thoughts start a journey of self, understanding self, getting to know self, and self-realization, self-awareness. That’s the journey you’ll see in her arc throughout the whole season.
And how does her past affect her view of royalty, especially when it comes to the loyalists?
She just thinks they’re all weirdos and rude and dumb and idiotic. She thinks it’s something that’s so unnecessary. She doesn’t want to be a part of fighting against it, because that means you care too much, and she doesn’t want to be a part of it, period, because she doesn’t care that much and she doesn’t care for what they do and how they treat people.
But it’s through them that she meets Nim, who I love.
He’s great, right? Nim is a character that pops up and in the midst of when you first see him, you just think he’s another loyalist. Even Elida is like, “okay, all these people are creeps.” But then somehow after some conversations and things like that, Nim gets in there, and he pulls on those heartstrings and then all of a sudden, you look up and you care about him and you don’t even know when that happened.
That dynamic is really a quick — and a quickly deep — connection and it really makes Elida feel a kind of way, for someone to be a loyalist but still understand her and her mindset and not think she’s crazy for wanting to do what she’s choosing to do. It’s a level of, “wow, you actually see me,” where everyone else doesn’t see Elida. They see Aldea or the Queen and the House of Beliar protector, all those things. He sees Elida.
Elida’s relationship with Isaac is so much fun. What were they like in the past and how does that affect what we see between them when they reunite?
In the past, they were best buds. There was never anything sexual or anything between hem like that. They have their own handshake and they could finish each other sentences and laugh at the same jokes and things like that. They went on these great adventures around the galaxy together and made memories. Something detrimental happened and their relationship deteriorated.
So when we find them in the pilot, they’re not on good terms. Time, for Elida, doesn’t change anything. “No, I’m still not your friend. I don’t care if it’s been two years or 20, we’re not friends.” That’s where we find them and then the journey starts of, will that friendship reconcile? Will it become stronger? Will it completely dissipate? We don’t know, but it’s based on this new journey they’re taking of finding Elida’s mother.
And Elida meets Amae along the way. What’s their dynamic going to be like?
Amae is the glue that holds the trio together. She’s the grounding plug. She’s the moral compass. She’s so necessary, and we — Elida and Isaac — didn’t even know that we needed that. Amae is where she finds the compassion from. Isaac’s going to be there for her and stuff, but it’s not going to be compassionate like it would be with Amae.
In addition to Amae as the moral compass, what do she, Elida, and Isaac each bring to the team that they need on their journey?
Isaac brings great ideas, sometimes, and he’s always down for the cause. He’s loyal in his own way. Elida brings leadership. She brings the plans. She brings the fight tactics and the fighting skills. Amae [also] brings the compassionate version of it that they need to actually progress.
“I can’t have more blood on my hands” is something Elida says a lot. Can you talk about the pressure she puts on herself?
You have to remember that Elida’s walking around with guilt for years that her mother was killed because of her. Her mother sacrificed herself because of her, because of this Queen stuff. So she does not want to continue to be a burden to the world, because there was a time in her past where she felt like she was, where her existence was really literally just killing people.
That’s something that’s constantly on her mind, especially in the beginning of the journey, and she puts this weight on herself of not wanting to be a burden to the world, so she’s by herself. She doesn’t want to have people killed for her, in the name of her, anything like that, because she doesn’t even want the crown, and she doesn’t see their vision, so she feels like by not taking the crown, they died in vain, or things like that. [There’s] a pressure she puts on herself to not hurt anyone.
And let’s talk about the villain Commander Lazaro. What’s their past like and what will we see this season?
With Lazaro, you’ll see a Republic government that’s out to extinguish a royal bloodline, and Elida trying to stay five steps ahead of [them], the frustrations that come to him with her being five steps ahead, and the fear of not being five steps ahead for her, and the things that he does and he tactics that he uses to try and get to her.
Is there anything that they each respect about the other?
If anything, she would respect his drive, his perseverance, and the persistence of not stopping, not giving up, whereas she did that, she gave up. She was just like, “I can’t do this.”
Are the biggest challenges these characters are going to face this season more physical, emotional, or psychological?
The biggest challenge for Elida will be emotional, for sure, mental, and physical. Emotional for Amae [and] Isaac.
Vagrant Queen, Series Premiere, Friday, March 27, 10/9c, Syfy