Into the Badlands Creator Says There Are No Happy Endings in the Badlands

Antony Platt/AMC
Antony Platt/AMC

*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Into the Badlands Season 2 finale episode “Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” ***

If you’re a television viewer that came for a happy ending then you’ve clearly come to the wrong place. The Season 2 finale of Into the Badlands made very sure that none of its characters left this season on a happy note and two very big characters didn’t even make it out alive. Sunny (Daniel Wu) finally made his way to Quinn’s (Martin Csokas) lair and was, for a brief moment, granted a very happy reunion with his love Veil (Madeleine Mantock) and son Henry. However, Quinn wasn’t about to just let them walk off into the sunset together peacefully.

In a fight that has been coming all season long, Sunny and Quinn finally faced off and just when Sunny thought he official had taken the Baron out, Quinn fought back. It took Veil sacrificing herself in order to save Sunny and her son to kill Quinn once and for all. Sunny is now left alone with only his son as he headed off into the woods. Elsewhere, Bajie (Nick Frost) left M.K. (Aramis Knight) behind at the Widow’s (Emily Beecham) and made his way to a mysterious tower, using the compass to seemingly send a signal to the mysterious city of Azra.

The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with Into the Badlands co-creator/co-showrunner and executive producer Al Gough about the deaths of both Quinn and Veil. Gough talked about not only losing two great characters, but losing two great actors in Mantock and Csokas, as well as how the show could go about filling Quinn’s evil shoes in Season 3.

 

The TV Junkies: Quinn was such a great villain during the first two seasons. How do you go about topping someone like that in Season 3?

Al Gough: We certainly have our work cut out for us. We have a character coming but I don’t know if anybody can ever fill Marton’s shoes. He was so great and is such a fantastic actor. He was all in from the beginning and we loved working with him. He’s a wonderful guy and completely committed. The fact that people loved to hate him, or weren’t sure how they felt about him, and that he’s a very divisive character was great. People were like ‘he’s so creepy, but I kind of dig him!’

Antony Platt/AMC
Antony Platt/AMC

For us in Season 1 when you had these barons they are part feudal lord, part mafia don and part cult leader. They have to have a cult personality that you would follow and Marton had charisma in spades. This season he’s been so good and fantastic with Maddie and Orla [Brady] and then the final showdown with Sunny. It was everything we wanted it to be. We have very big shoes to fill.

TTVJ: The reunion between Sunny and Veil was so beautiful, but I knew in my gut it was one of those moments that foreshadow something bad is coming. However, I still was shocked at Veil’s sacrifice. Forget Sunny, how are we supposed to move on and come to terms with losing Veil?

AG: It was kind of foreshadowed all season that there is a price to pay and Sunny doesn’t get out scot free. We loved the idea of this season having him trying to get back to his family for a happily ever after, but there is no happily ever after in the Badlands. Now he’s a single father samurai and they will be a lone wolf and cub in Season 3.

Maddie was great. In Season 1 when we shot her first scenes with Daniel we saw they had great chemistry, were really interesting and she really brought a lot to this. In this season she had a bit of a thankless job standing up to Quinn and it’s not an easy role to play, make interesting and give strength to. She really did that. We do these things with the actors though and as we were talking about it she said ‘I feel like Veil’s story has been told. She needs to go out in a big way. What does she do?’ That’s why we wanted to give her that final choice. It was her choice, her sacrifice and we felt like she should be the one to ultimately take out Quinn to save her son.

Antony Platt/AMC
Antony Platt/AMC

That’s what ultimately makes it so heartbreaking too and I’m sure there will be a lot of hate and fury, which is fine, but you want people to have an emotional reaction to a show. The last thing you want is for people to have zero reaction because then you’re just boring people. The one thing I will say about our show, whether you love or hate it, it’s definitely not boring.

It was something as we were breaking the season, even though we were setting it up, we thought ‘Well maybe she lives and we get her out of there?’ But then what’s Sunny’s sacrifice and what does it do for her character? Sunny doesn’t get a happily ever after. There are too many marks on his back. It’s all been foreshadowed, like when he was in the fever dream and saw all the people he killed, and you don’t get to wipe that all away so easily. Look, it was a big decision but I think it was the right decision for the characters and the series in general. But it’s never easy. You never want to lose two incredible actors in one fell swoop.

 

What did you think of the Into the Badlands finale? Add your thoughts below!

Into the Badlands will return to AMC for Season 3 in 2018. Read part one of our interview with Al Gough here.

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