What is Dutch’s relationship with mystery man Khylen? Is Johnny worried D’Avin is going to put the moves on Dutch? Speaking of D’Avin … is he human? Those were just three of the many questions we had for Killjoys creator Michelle Lovretta after Friday’s newest episode, “The Harvest.”
Dutch, Johnny and D’Avin’s warrant to snag a missing migrant worker on Leith wasn’t as easy as the trio assumed (when is it ever?), testing the group’s loyalty and opening the door to questions.
In our first of several planned chats with Lovretta, we got the scoop on Killjoys‘ genesis, a possible love triangle, upcoming episodes and why D’Avin doesn’t want anyone looking into his eyes.
I really like the humour, the action and the retro feel of Killjoys so far. It reminds me of Star Wars, Aliens and a bit of Blade Runner too. Is that what you were going for?
Michelle Loretta: Chris Grismer, our consulting director, and Michael Marshall, our director of photography, kind of helped us figure out the overall look and how we would differentiate the worlds. But back when it was just my baby and on the page, there are certain movies and shows that you love and your reference. For me it was Aliens and Outland. You definitely get a feel for the Blade Runner stuff as well, but in terms of the retro aspect for me, it wasn’t even about the look, it was about the set-up and me being an 80s kid. Yes, there is clearly some Star Wars in there but I loved Simon & Simon and Riptide and Airwolf. People with a love of their work, catching bad guys.
It has a retro sensibility to it because it’s something I have a nostalgia for. Just from the first scene set-up there is a twist on that, but it’s something at the heart of the show.
Did Killjoys come about while you were still working on Lost Girl? When did you first come up with it?
Development is such a long process. I know that I was in L.A. at the time but I was still consulted for a season or two of Lost Girl. I think I had fully left Lost Girl by then. I was just trying to come up with some ideas for things I was looking for on the air and not finding—a vibe and something I’d enjoy seeing—and then creating something that would answer that for me.
Killjoys, Defiance and Dark Matter are all on the air this summer. It must be rewarding to know this genre continues to have legs.
It’s particularly rewarding given my track record. Genre isn’t something I jump into because it’s saleable at the moment or the hot thing. It’s just something that I’ve always done. When I pitched this, it was so long ago, I really didn’t think that anyone would say yes, that we could go into space. I also didn’t believe that anyone would say yes, you can have a succubus! [Laughs.] I believe that you should be ready to actually do it because somebody might actually call your bluff.
I’ve spoken to several showrunners lately who have told be they couldn’t believe it when their idea was given the OK.
It’s very often the thing that is in your heart is not what they’re going to buy because it’s not a fad at the time and no one is ready to back it.
My inner geek is gobsmacked that this is happening now, and with shows like ours and Dark Matter, I hope that fans receive them well and it encourages networks to support them and to keep bringing in other shows as well.
Let’s get into these characters. Hannah is fantastic as Dutch. What was the journey to landing her?
The thing with Hannah that I have come to appreciate as the season has gone on is—you don’t really know how a character will pull together on an effects-heavy show like this until you get into post—and Hannah is such a lovely, funny, effervescent young actress and we were very hopeful she’d come across with a degree of authority, confidence and swagger and she absolutely does it. She’s very bonded with this character. When we were first auditioning, that was a problem because we had all these actresses who had a physicality to them and/or beauty or talent, but couldn’t be funny or approachable. You need a character who is a killer but who you empathize with and worry over and like. It’s a lot to ask for and she more than delivered. But it was a long, long, long look. We looked in Germany and the UK and kept going back and back. Once we found her and brought her in it was incredible because we were at that stage where you don’t want to say yes just to say yes and keep the show going. We were about to do that. We were almost at the 11th hour, which was scary, but that’s often when the magic happens.
We’re getting a little back story into Dutch. She has this father figure in Khlyen and the assassination she was supposed to carry out. Can you talk about the relationship between those two?
Khlyen is probably the most, other than Johnny, the most formative relationship that she’s had. He is somebody that she has known since she was a child. One of the struggles and the journey she is on this season is trying to—now that he was inserted himself into her life—try to understand the mystery of why. What is it about her that he has a particular interest in and why won’t he let her go? There is a bit of a dance and a push and pull between them. As time goes on we’ll get to see other sides of Khlyen. He has more texture to him, so he’s not just good dad/bad dad.
You mentioned Johnny. He’s been showing a little bit of jealousy with regard to D’Avin becoming a Level 4 Killjoy and being teamed with Dutch last week. Is that jealousy going to become a love triangle or did you shelve that with Dutch’s comment last night?
There is a rivalry between the brothers based on the fact that they’re estranged. It’s not a fight for, or over, Dutch. We’ve seen hints of that in the first three episodes because that’s the natural assumption of people. D’Avin isn’t interested in Dutch that way. He is interested in being respected by her and feeling that the time he has put into this relationship has paid off. And I think he’s offended that Johnny assumes that D’Avin is going to come in and Alpha the shit out of it and be better. More than his relationship with D’Avin, Johnny values his relationship with Dutch.
It’s not a love triangle.
Lucy is great. How did having the voice of the space ship come about?
In the early days she had another name that we couldn’t to clear but she’s always been the same concept. If we get more seasons, we may expand on that slightly, but basically there was Dutch and Johnny and Lucy. They met when Johnny was trying to steal Lucy.
What do writer/producers like Adam Barken, Emily Andras and Aaron Martin bring to the table when you’re putting together a show like this?
They bring a lot of wonderful ideas and camaraderie and fun. I’m really good friends with all of them now and had previously worked with all of them except for Barken. Another person I’ve worked with before and on this is Jeremy Boxen. Boxen and Emily have worked with me as far back as Lost Girl and I’ve hired Emily on everything I’ve run. They are people that I have a long-standing comfort level with and they hit the ground running. Adam has a really exciting episode coming up in five and Jeremy in eight and Emily’s in four.
D’Avin didn’t want the doctor to look into his eyes. I can’t help but wonder if he’s not human or some kind of tech is back there. Am I on the right track?
Yeah, I’m certainly comfortable with that being the direction of assumption. D’Avin is hiding from his past—that much is clear—what is unclear is how much he knows about his past and whether or not that is accurate. A large part of his journey this season is figuring that out. All of which will be clearly explained by the end of this season.
Does the season finale leave us with questions unanswered?
Yes. What we appreciated being able to do with our warrants is our first three to four episodes used warrants as an adventure throughout The Quad and visit these places. By the end of Episode 4 we also introduce the last of our secondary characters. From there on we start to increase the serialization and get more into what the mysteries are. By the time we get to the end of the season there are quite a few new mysteries that are raised, but we will put some firm answers to some of the earlier ones.
Killjoys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.