10 Things We Learned About Syfy’s ‘Defiance’

The whole cast of “Defiance” dished on season two and more at San Diego Comic-Con.

Katrina Hillby Katrina Hill

Syfy's new show “Defiance” finished up a successful first season and has been renewed for a season two. One of the most notable characteristics of the show is its unique world and the societies found in it, which includes not just humans, but several distinctly alien races.

On this future Earth, aliens and humans have been at war for many years, practically destroying all of the cities and resources. They call a truce, and they are now focusing on trying to survive together on what's left. “Defiance” also stands out above other shows by having a video game released simultaneously with the show, with a possibility of interaction between the two.

We sat down with the entire cast of “Defiance” at San Diego Comic-Con to see what we could find out about this fantastic world they're a part of, and what's coming in season two. Here's what we learned.


I Don't Think We're in Defiance Anymore

When Stephanie Leonidas, who plays Irisa, talked about what's to come, she revealed that St. Louis won't be the only setting. “It gets much darker from what we can see. We've been released the first couple of scripts, and it seems like the world opens up hugely. We find ourselves in L.A., so it's not just the town of Defiance anymore.” Jesse Rath (Alak Tarr) chimed in on this as well saying, “It's really cool to see some landmarks of the cities, how they've been affected by the terraforming, and what certain thing- I don't want to give it away- but there's some recognizable stuff that we'll be able to see.” They joked about there being a Pink's Hot Dog stand, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were true.

Stahma Will Be Testing the Limits

In the first season we saw some conflicting sides to Stahma (Jaime Murray). One minute she was a loving, supportive wife, doing her husband's bidding. But when her husband wasn't around she became more assertive (and manipulative). So which is the real Stahma? According to Murray, Stahma will be exploring the latter side of herself in season two, she'll be “daring in other ways and pushing the envelope.” She continued, “[She’ll be] taking risks and really dangerous things for a woman from her culture to be doing. You would never have known that if we hadn't of carefully set the stage in the first season. Now I feel like some really gritty, edgy, frightening stuff can evolve.”

Tony Curran Looks Forward to Getting in the Bath Again With Jaime Murray

Season one brought a memorable scene for the Tarr family as Datak and Stahma performed a ritual that involved them being bathed by servants. Tony Curran (Datak) jokingly listed that as the biggest thing he's looking forward to doing again, and in doing so gave a hint for the next season: “Unfortunately I won't be doing that where I am.” He then became more serious and described what's next: “What I'm looking forward to is Datak wising up a little bit and not attacking first and asking questions later. Instead of him being so spontaneous with his rage, I think he has to try to keep a lid on it a little bit more because it obviously hasn't done him too well in last season.”

Nolan and Irisa's Relationship Could Be in Trouble

Nolan and Irisa's father-daughter bond gets tested in the first season, but now Irisa being the chosen one could end up tearing them apart in season two. Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa) commented, “I think that it brought them together and equally took them apart. I feel like she's been trying to find herself, and it's been left in a way where she's done a lot of growing up, but also she has no clue where she is or what she's doing. I think it pulls her away from Nolan in many ways. She found herself more as an Irathient. It gets a lot darker with those two. Darkness is the word of the day I think.”

Nolan Probably Won't Have Superpowers, But May Have a Better Connection to Irisa

Grant Bowler plays Nolan, the Chief Lawkeeper of Defiance who experiences some unfortunate events in the last episode of season one. In a science fiction show, one can't help but wonder if those events will change Nolan, like give him some kind of special abilities, for season two. Bowler gave his thoughts: “I think it's very important Nolan always remains our eyes and ears. No matter how much freakiness is going on around Nolan, his responses will always be a very human one… In terms of like does he awaken with any Spidey senses or powers, my gut tells me no… If there was anything, maybe it'll be a link of some description to Irisa, but that will be about it. The great thing about him is he's us. He's the audience. He's going, 'I don't understand any of this, but it looks real.'”

The Characters in Defiance Don't Watch the Show!?!

Julie Benz who plays the former mayor of Defiance, Amanda, enlightened us on what she's looking forward to: “I'm looking forward to a new Amanda and what her journey is going to be. In the end of season one, they stripped away everything from every character. The beginning of season two is like the reset button has been pushed, and it will be really great to see everyone's journey. Especially for Amanda, just to have everything stripped away from her, and see how she's still surviving. You also forget that her ex-husband died as well, so she's starting in a pretty bad place. She has to redefine herself in the town of Defiance, she has to figure out where she fits in, and [she] has to figure out what happened to her sister. She doesn't know what happened because she doesn't watch the show! She's really struggling at the beginning of season two.”

You Might See Nolan Spit on a Dog

While describing the challenges of playing Nolan, Bowler discussed the anti-hero aspects and how there are so many anti-heroes today. He described how he tries to bring different characteristics to Nolan that also won't make the character feel so outdated on retrospect. He also explained how he wanted to bring the past forward by looking back at old westerns for influences. He said, “I went with a lot of stuff like Gary Cooper, what I like about him as an actor the best. Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne- those guys that played the original standup heroes, and throw in a little bit of outlaw Josie Wales, who's still going to spit on their dog. I'm going to do that in one episode!”

Getting Into Character Feels Like Morphing Into a Superhero

Jesse Rath and Stephanie Leonidas both have quite the makeup process to go through before becoming Alak and Irisa. Rath related it to a superhero suiting up, saying, “It's kind of like putting on armor. I get a kick out of getting makeup done, but you don't really feel complete unless every little tiny detail is finally done. The moments when you're walking by and you catch a reflection of yourself in the mirror- you kind of forget and it's just awesome.” Leonidas echoed the same feeling telling how she can't do the stunts properly unless in full costume: “I did some stunts before lunch when I wasn't in costume yet. Shelly the stunt coordinator was fine, but the others didn't think I was going to be able to do it, and she said, 'Don't worry guys. As soon as she's got Irisa's costume on, she'll be fine.' And it's true! I put the costume on and suddenly I was like- I can do this! You don't feel like the character until you've got it all on, and then you feel invincible.”

Jamie Murray Actually Watched Defiance

Actors may or may not like watching themselves onscreen for various reasons. Most are critical of their performance and can't actually get into the show/movie for being too close to the project. Jamie Murray is one who rarely watches the things she's been in… until “Defiance.” She explained, “I don't really like watching myself usually, but I look so different that I was able to lose myself in the drama of it. I've done lots of things that I've never even watched because it's not good for my process so this is one of the first things I've watched and enjoyed.”

The Cast Receive Homework Assignments

The writers and producers can't come up with every tiny little detail in a world with so many different cultures, so they'll sometimes leave it up to the cast. According to Curran, “A lot of the times we had to come up with the physicality of Castithan or Irathient- how do you go to temple, etc. The director tells you on Friday, 'On Monday we need you to come up with some spiritual movement.' And I'm like 'Okay, I'll think of that over the weekend.' So a lot of that was a collaborative process. It's nice to keep it that way. It's no dictatorship.” He went on to boast how they are free to email the producers and writers with ideas and suggestions if they feel so inclined.

“Defiance” season two will premiere the first of its thirteen episodes in 2014 only on Syfy.