The crew of the Raza make their grand return when Dark Matter‘s Season 2 premieres July 1. Well, not grand, per se. After Six’s (Roger Cross) betrayal in the season finale, most of the crew find themselves locked up in a maximum security prison with only Two (Melissa O’Neil) remembering who it was that put them in there. In true Dark Matter form, the Season 2 premiere offers plenty of answers to follow that massive cliffhanger, along with plenty of new mysteries to keep us guessing along the way.
The TV Junkies had the chance to speak exclusively with Anthony Lemke, who plays Three AKA Marcus Boone, about how this next season builds on the nature vs. nurture narrative of Season 1, Three’s continuing character development and how the show’s new massive set helped create a vision of a much bigger world for Season 2.
The TV Junkies: The first season of Dark Matter was this very intimate, character driven story. How does that evolve in Season 2?
Anthony Lemke: Unfortunately you can never dip your toe in the same waters twice and we told that small, self-contained story of who wiped our memories and who we are as people. Season 2 necessarily has to grow; it has to be a more expansive world, we have to introduce more technology, we introduce our first alien being, which is interesting. In the first season you don’t get a sense that it’s that kind of world.
We play with the sci-fi genre a lot of more in this second season, whereas with the first season I had people come up to me and say, “I don’t watch sci-fi shows, but your show is great.” Literally, they would say that. Now, I love sci-fi, I’m a big fan, but I think there was a kernel of truth in what they were saying. If you don’t jazz on all that stuff with aliens and quantum theory, you would still jazz on the first season of Dark Matter, because fundamentally it was a simple question of if it’s nature vs. nurture that makes you a bad person. If you forget everything about who you are, are you still who you are?
Those are basic fundamental, really interesting questions that we kept dealing with in Season 1. I wish we could deal with them every episode from here until Season 7, but the truth is you can’t. We have to grow, we have to evolve and I think Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie did the right thing by expanding the universe and bringing in larger questions about what the world looks like.
TTVJ: There’s a belief that the only story that anyone ever tells is ‘who am I?’ From what you’re saying it sounds like next season moves from the Raza wondering who they are as people, to figuring out who they are in the world at large.
AL: Yes, fundamentally that’s exactly what it is, right up until the very end of the season. We have to decide who we are by our actions. Are we mercenaries or do we do things to help people? That’s not who we were. That was also a story in the beginning of the [first] season with the miners, but it becomes a more central thing as the season progresses, culminating in something of a selfless act.
I do think that’s fundamentally what Dark Matter does continue to trade on is that idea of who am I, and you definitely find out a lot more about each character’s past and that gets incorporated into the manner of which they move forward, and all of a sudden now they’re not behaving the way they used to behave. As an actor [discovering] that piece of information I didn’t have for the whole first season is a lot of fun to play, and I think the audience is going to respond to that. I hope they do.
TTVJ: I found myself particularly drawn to Three as the first season progressed and we discovered more about him. In terms of his evolution this season, are we going to see more shades of Marcus Boone or will he become his own man?
AL: I think what you find out in Season 2, that you don’t know in Season 1, is that they are one in the same. The empathetic person you talk about as Three vs. Marcus Boone the mercenary are one in the same and have always been one in the same. In fact, Marcus Boone is probably a younger character, and that’s been really fun to discover as an actor and to layer in as the season progresses. I believe in Episode 4 information will be brought out that will make that answer clear and that ripples forward.
I remember going to Joe after Season 1 and asking about his plans and where we want to go for Season 2. I asked him if we could still walk this line between selfish criminal and empathetic hero, because if we go too far to one side or the other we lose what’s really fun about Three. We don’t really know which guy is going to show up, is it Three or is it Marcus Boone? I think Joe has done a good job of walking that line in Season 2.
TTVJ: Three and Two had a really interesting relationship throughout the first season. How does that continue in Season 2?
AL: It evolves. I think we ended up in a neutral place of respect and that’s where we start the second season. You saw a number of love stories in Season 1, and you will see more in Season 2, but it may not be the same characters. And I’m going to leave it at there.
TTVJ: When this season kicks off most of the Raza crew are stuck in prison. What was it like to shoot those prison scenes?
AL: It was great! You know what’s neat? That was a massive set build. If you’re the type of individual that likes to pause and rewind, you will probably see that set in eight different episodes, but completely transformed into something unrecognizable. You’re going to see similar parts of the architecture, like the cells, but it doesn’t look anything like the cells, it’s a back alley for instance. It was such an expensive and big build. In the first season we had one studio, they built the whole Raza, spent a whole ton of money. For the second season they get the same amount of money to shoot, and they’d already built that stuff, so [Executive Producers Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza] could have put it in their pockets, but they didn’t. Instead they got a second studio and built another massive set for people to look at.
So the world expanded, the set expanded, we’re off the ship, we’re in this set that gets converted a thousand different times, and Jay spent a ton of money on this thing. Kudos to him for doing that, for investing in the show to make it bigger and make it better.
TTVJ: In three words, how would you describe Season 2?
AL: Continuity, because it continues what we started. Explosion, because it explodes the world; it’s a much, much bigger world. And fun. It maintains that tone that I think was great about Dark Matter. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but seriously enough, so you’re going to laugh every episode and you’re going to have fun going on this ride with us.
Are you excited to catch up with the crew of the Raza? Sound off in the comments below.
Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space Channel and Syfy.
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.