Dark Matter Stars Talk Season 2 Finale
In a sea of space opera adaptations Dark Matter certainly stands out.
A comic book adaptation, the series follows a group of six people who suddenly wake up on a vessel with no memory of who they are or where they’ve come from. With no identity, they come to name themselves sequentially — as one through six — to reflect the order in which each awoke. As they work to stabilize their ship and reprogram an aggressive android, they begin to test and figure one another out. Slowly this group of lost space misfits starts to unravel who they are, but in the process raise even more questions about why they’re there and what it’s all for.
Now in its second season, the group has uncovered a powerful key used for advanced space travel. They’ve also managed to outlive zombie-like creators, corrupted androids, and perhaps most surprisingly, each other. But it would seem that the surprises Dark Matter has already doled out are only the beginning. While at DragonCon the cast of this addictive space thriller spoke to fans and the press about set shenanigans, why Marc Bendavid’s One had to die (all over again) and what to expect out of the season three finale.
Here is what we learned from the Dark Matter cast appearance at DragonCon.
During the pilot shooting, Melissa O’Neil was still learning how the mechanics of the set work, specifically blocking tape.
“I had no idea what was happening,” Melissa O’Neill said.
“She still doesn’t,” quipped O’Neill’s Dark Matter co-star Roger Cross during a press conference with the actors.
“I pride myself on my consistency and knowing what was what and there were times when they’d put the tape on the ground and the cameras would shift and we’d come back into the room after they excused us from set to set up the next shot, and the tape would be in different places. The first few times I was out of it. I was like ‘I did not stand here, it’s important that I be over there.’ And Roger’s just like ‘Can you just move? I’ll talk to later. We’re trying to shoot so if you could just move and go to your tape–’
“No, I told you why,” Cross laughed.
“You were super cool about it but I was like ‘I don’t know. This is not where I stood and this shot is gonna be wrong,’” O’Neill said. “But yeah, there was a steep, steep learning curve and everyone was so gracious and very helpful.”
Zoie Palmer didn’t base her android character on otherwell-known androids like Data from Star Trek
“I mean, I obviously know of Data in terms of pop culture, but I didn’t watch Star Trek so I didn’t base it off of him or another android,” Palmer said. “And I think because of the nature of that character it would have been way too difficult to create my own version of it.”
Dark Matter is known for its surprising twists which, on some other shows, have a tendency to get carried away. So what makes Dark Matter different than other shows like it?
“What I think is great about Joe and Paul and what they do is that they’re not just gonna go off the rails. They are still going to keep it very, very grounded,” Cross said.
One’s repeated deaths don’t necessarily mean he’s gone forever, but even more interestingly it was a plot twist that showrunner Joe Mallozzi didn’t really want himself.
“If it were up to us, we wouldn’t have killed him in the first place,” said O’Neill during one of the cast’s public panels.
“Listen, I got killed on 24–” Cross said.
“Yeah, but nobody liked you on 24,” Cross’ Dark Matter co-star Anthony Lemke interjected.
“[Laughs] But I mean, it happens. Sometimes they do it for effects — I mean it got popular, especially on 24 but also on The Sopranos. They killed main characters almost regularly, which is kind of stupid but it is a thing that made people go ‘Ooooh. That makes an impact.’ So they do it.”
“It spikes numbers,” O’Neill said. “[There are] people who are in charge of that stuff and that those things are important to — numbers, money and stuff like that. At the end of the day you have to make a difficult decision. We’re an ensemble cast so it wasn’t like ‘This character is more important than this character.’ It’s that you have eight characters who are all equally important to the telling of this story. So it sucked that anyone had to go.”
“I also think that Marc Bendavid who plays One is a phenomenally talented actor and human being, so it was by no stretch personal,” Palmer said. “It was a storyline character choice that happens on many shows.”
“To be honest with you, Joe did say — and I’m not saying anything bad about Syfy — but that during the first season they thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to kill one of the main characters?’ And he absolutely refused.”
“No doubt there’s other stuff going on,” Lemke said. “But the truth is if you’re asking us you’re asking the wrong people. They made a phone call and said ‘They’re gone.’ So we don’t actually know why. But I’ll tell you this: it can be capricious. You get cast for whimsical reasons and uncast for reasons. We have no idea why the choose what they choose.”
Each of the characters had their own surprise twists, many of which the actors were unaware of until the moment in the script came. That includes Cross’ six reveal at the end of season one, which the cast found out about much like a game of Weakest Link.
“He didn’t let us know until the final day, and it was literally just before the final scene was shot,” Cross said in the Dark Matter press conference. “He kept it a secret because he didn’t want to taint it. And it’s true, you think you’re professional enough to not let it affect your character, but when you know certain things, subconsciously you might throw bits into your character that might give things away. We had inklings of who it was and why it might go that way. It was always tossed around a little bit. But I think [not knowing] is why it came across as such a shock to everyone.”
“On the day Joe Mallozzi literally went, ‘So here we are about to shoot the final scene. And we’re gonna start with four,’” Cross continued. “And he’s got the gask mask and goes ‘And… you are not the traitor. And Two, well she’s this and the reason she’d do this is this, so you are not the traitor. And he just went around like that, until he finally went ‘Here’s Six, he’s the good guy and he’s this and this and… you are the traitor. He literally had Anthony and Alex (Mallari, Jr.) going for fittings to kind of throw us all off and he was telling them, ‘Don’t tell anyone you went in for these fittings.’ So they were both thinking ‘Oh my god we’re actually the traitor.’
The Anders character actually went in for a fitting as well. He was there the whole day, but they literally had to hide him like ‘People can’t see you! They can’t know you’re here!’ because then they’d know it had something to do with him because the last time they saw him was when they left him. So when we were on set, he had to secretly go to makeup and then go right back to his trailer and couldn’t leave it until he came out to film. He’s very sneaky that Joe Mallozzi.”
Dark Matter’s second season concludes Friday Sept. 16 with “But First We Save the Galaxy.”
In the meantime, Dark Matter stars Melissa O’Neill and Roger Cross have the following message for fans gearing up for Friday’s finale.