Death, carnage and the ultimate betrayal. This was the shocking state Dark Matter left us in at the conclusion of its Season 2 finale. The lives of Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Five (Jodelle Ferland) and Six (Roger Cross) were up in the air following the destruction of EOS-7, caused by former ally Four (Alex Mallari Jr.), now referred to as Ryo Ishida, Emperor of Zairon. Meanwhile, back on the Raza, Ishida stole the blink drive in the confusion, not knowing his right hand woman Misaki (Ellen Wong) had fatally wounded Nyx (Melanie Liburd), leaving the Android (Zoie Palmer) to cope with the sudden betrayal. All of this happened in just the last few moments of the season.
“Everybody is pretty much in total chaos in the beginning of Season 3,” Ferland tells The TV Junkies. “We left off on a cliffhanger not knowing if anybody survived. It’s about sorting things out and making sure everyone’s alive and try to get back to normal.”
The events of the finale not only resulted in a splintered Raza crew, but it triggered the beginnings of the major corporate war with Ferrous and the other rival corporations.
“Season 3 is the launch of the corporate war that they were dancing around throughout Season 2 and that dominates the story,” says Lemke. “Obviously we’re not a corporation so how we get affected by that is sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, but it takes up a big chunk of Season 3.”
In Season 2 the crew learned from their alternative reality versions that their ownership of the blink drive had a huge influence on their part of the corporate war, which they could use for good or evil. Without the blink drive, however, the Raza are one small part in a galactic mess, and not all of them can agree on what the best course of action is.
“Why would I go and involve myself in somebody else’s problems to save people I don’t even know?” says Lemke, describing Three’s thoughts on the corporate war. “But of course there’s characters like Six who are the exact opposite of [Three] and do get involved in protecting the little guy against the big baddie. That’s a big storyline for Six this year, and because he’s one of our crew it’s a big storyline for us as well, and the interactions between us.”
So where does fearless leader Two fall on the side of doing good or survival? The answer might surprise you. “Two has always tried to do what’s best for the crew, but has taken a bit of a backseat in regards to the decision-making [in Season 3],” says O’Neil. “One of the things in regards with the corporate war is that things are moving so fast, there are so many moving parts, it’s less about making decisions and more about trying to just keep up with everything that’s changing around her.”
The Series Gets Its First Big Bad
While the corporate war is an integral part of Season 3, the other major story is of a much more personal nature: getting revenge on Ryo for his betrayal. So much so that the former member of the Raza is considered the major villain of Season 3.
“First and foremost, Ryo Ishida stole a blink drive from them, so that sets off an interesting dynamic,” says Dark Matter co-creator and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi. “We’ve never really had a big bad in a season, but this season we will have a predominant big bad in one of our former allies.”
Part of what makes the dynamic so interesting is that Ryo doesn’t really consider himself a villain, according to Mallozzi. In his mind he spared the Raza during the coup on Zairon, and gave them a chance to give up the blink drive voluntarily. His actions were done out of necessity–that, and he has no idea what happened to Nyx.
Ryo’s ascension to the throne also significantly opens up the world of Zairon this season, which is a major departure from past seasons, with much of the action set in and around the Raza. “[Zairon] moves on its own, it has its own new characters, plot points and driving force forward,” says Lemke. “So much so that we didn’t see [Mallari Jr.] all that much this season. When I’m watching the episodes it will be the first time seeing that stuff.”
One of the new faces in Zairon is Teku, played by Andrew Moodie (Cardinal, Orphan Black), who has a deep connection to Ryo and a complicated history with the throne of Zairon. His presence creates some tension between Ryo and Misaki this season.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Dark Matter without a few baddies for the crew to handle, so it’s not just Ryo and Ferrous they’ll be facing off again. Mallozzi revealed that the “alt-crew” that were introduced last season will be returning this season, who he describes as the “totally amoral” version of the crew. “Despite the fact that they’re terrible people, you can’t help but like them a little bit,” he says.
Teasers for the new season also revealed that Tash (Jessica Sipos) and Wexler (Ennis Esmer) will be making an appearance, though how they’ve returned is still a mystery. “Is it a flashback or an alternate reality? In what capacity are these people back? The fact that they’re back is fun and implies a lot of interesting things,” hints O’Neil.
New Faces and Expanded Origin Stories
Fans will be treated to a few more new faces on the Raza this season. When Tabor Calchek (David Hewlett) goes underground following the launch of the corporate war, his former assistant Adrian Maro, played by Mishka Thebaud (Bitten), takes on his business, which means taking over his work with the crew. “He’s a Tabor wannabe, in way over his head,” teases Mallozzi.
The other major new character is Solara Shockey, played by 12 Monkey‘s Ayisha Issa, bringing in another tough, kick-ass female character to the series. “As actors, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to have new people on the show and figure out those dynamics,” says Lemke. “As characters, everyone reacts differently, but Adrian for sure brings a comedic flair to the show.”
“So does Solara in a very dry sort of way,” adds O’Neil. “It’s a kooky pair. Definitely an odd couple syndrome, the two of them. It’s an energy on the ship that we haven’t seen yet.”
While Adrian and Solara may bring something new to the table, the focus will still very much be on the core crew of the Raza. In fact, this year we’ll learn more about them than ever before.
“In Season 3, the past comes back to haunt our characters with their respective backstories,” says Mallozzi. “They discover more about their past and, quite literally, aspect of their pasts come back and cause problems for them.”
Mallozzi confirmed that fans will finally get the Android’s full origin story at some point late in the season, which was hinted at near the end of Season 2 when Ryo told the Android that the information about her past is not lost, but simply inaccessible, due to the reboot in the pilot episode. “In this episode, she is able to recall certain flashes, glimpsing life prior to the group going into stasis,” reveals Mallozzi. “It sheds light on her relationship with Portia, with Portia’s relationship with Das, and [the Android’s] relationship with Ryo.”
“What’s most going to surprise people are the things that we learn about Three and the Android,” says O’Neil. “Those, for me, when I was reading the script, really stood out as the biggest shockers over the course of the season.”
So what’s in store for Three this season? Unfortunately details are sparse on that one, but Lemke did reveal that one relationship that develops for Three during this season has huge ramifications for the series. “It’s a relationship through which you’ll grow to understand Three even more moving forward,” teases Lemke. “It’s pretty exciting, and by the end of the season will spin off in a way that is going to be so friggin’ cool for future seasons.”
Another origin story we’ll learn much more about this season is Five, which Mallozzi says is one of the backstories that are expanded early on in Season 3. “One of my favourite things about this season was finding out more about Five’s backstory and her family, because I had no idea,” says Ferland. “Joe [Mallozzi] has probably known since day one, but he doesn’t tell us. Everyone thinks that we know more than the fans, but we don’t!”
In fact, Mallozzi has known since day one, as well as every major plot point from Season 1 to 5, which he says helps maintain the continuity of the show, and allows him to drop small hints early on that will pay off far down the line–a trend that will continue this season, so fans should definitely be paying close attention.
“Each of the characters have an ending I have in mind,” he says. “It’s just a matter of having the opportunity to get there.”
Having fun with Time Travel
With corporate war at their doorstep and a major villain to deal with, you’d think the series would only get darker from here, but this season will inject a bit more humor, much like the Wendy the Robot (Ruby Rose) episode back in Season 1. This time, instead of robots, the crew will be messing with time.
“They travel back to 2017, in our time, and have to go undercover as a suburban family in Wisconsin,” says Mallozzi. “I would describe it as Back to the Future meets Stranger Things.”
How do they get to modern day Wisconsin? Well, the circumstances that lead them there are still to be revealed. However, Ferland says it was one of her favorite episodes to film this season. “It felt like we were filming a different show,” she says. “I think everyone is going to really enjoy it because with all of the craziness in Season 3 you need something a little bit lighter to keep things entertaining and not have it be too dark all the time.”
Time travel isn’t all fun and games, however. It turns out that messing with time results in the crew meeting one of their future selves, who drops some big hints about what’s to come, which rarely turns out well. “One big one happens at the end of the season, and others we’ll find out about later in the series,” says Mallozzi.
What are you most looking forward to when Dark Matter returns for Season 3? Sound off in the comments below.
Dark Matter premieres Friday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space Channel.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.