With massive battles, several alien species and even a trip to the moon, Falling Skies has been a hell of a ride. We’ve been onboard from the beginning, and during San Diego Comic-Con we got a chance to sit down with some of the cast and crew to discuss the show’s fifth – and final – season.
Beware: Spoilers for the final episodes of Falling Skies
Doug Jones (Cochise)
Thank you for showing up today by the way, it’s very sweet of you. It’s out final brouhaha, so thank you.
Are you sad it’s your last season?
It’s the bittersweet thing, of course. I’ve been on since season three, so this is my third year on the show and three is the longest running gig I’ve ever had, And when you’re wearing a makeup that obliterates your face and you’re glued in to it and you have to remove it… three years of that?! I… I… I could be DONE!
You’re ready for a role that lets you wear a bow-tie to work?
I would love to wear a bow-tie to work! My next job is going to be that, I’m going to be Raquel Welch’s butler. I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be! Isn’t that awesome?! That movie’s called The Ultimate Legacy. It’s third in a trilogy: The Ultimate Gift, The Ultimate Life and The Ultimate Legacy. It’s an inspirational, happy, feel-good, something I never do. [laughs] Yeah, as a human! I’m so excited about this, yeah!
What can you tease about what’s coming up? What are we going to see?
Well, for me personally, for Cochise, episode four [which aired 7/19] is mostly my storyline, which they rarely do with my character, so that’s the Cochise episode. I’ll be reunited with my dad. My dad, Waschak-cha’ab, also played by me… I altered my voice slightly and they altered the make-up a little bit, costume is a little bit different.
So when I’m doing scenes with myself there’s one, long scene where we have a little bit of an argument, because dads and sons… I have my daddy issues on the show as has been established before. So having an argument with myself, doing Patty Duke style you know, play it from this side, go make-up change, play it from this side, I was schizophrenic that episode for sure.
But there’s some resolve and some resolution with those daddy issues finally, so you’ll see that. It’s a very heartwarming episode. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, the writers really did a great job with Cochise this year. I’m very, very proud of what happened.
And they wrote more funny in for me this year too. Especially moments with Weaver, because our personalities are so different, and also with Dingaan played by Treva Etienne. He and I are the two smart guys that have to figure stuff out when things aren’t going right. They wrote in a couple of humorous jabs and the show needs a few laughs, can we be honest about that? [laughs] It’s dark right?! Kinda dingy, so we’ve enjoyed a couple lighthearted moments in the midst of this big brouhaha finale.
Are you happy with how it tied up at the end?
I am. When we got to episode ten, our final one, you know we’re all getting the scripts going, “Okay,” because we don’t see it before they send us the script the week before the show, so we don’t know what’s coming and we always check for, are we going to die? Do I make it to the last page of this particular script? So when I read the script for episode ten I was like, “Okay, I have closure myself. I hope the audience does too.”
If you’ve been wondering all this time, why did the Espheni invade earth in the first place? That is answered. How we get there and are there any important people that you’ve grown to love that will live or die? That I will not tell you, but [laughs] there’s a lot of, I think resolve and resolution and closure are the key words, as the season tapers down. But [the season] just started now, so it’s still exciting.
Drew Roy (Hal) and Sarah Carter (Maggie)
Can you give us any inside info on the season you can tease the fans with?
Drew Roy: These are always the hardest questions. But of course there’ll be questions answered. As far as a tease… we really shake it up about episode five. I feel that’s when it kind of takes a turn that we’ve never seen, that the Second Mass have to deal with.
The aliens will always be a threat, but for the first time we really see a human against human interaction that is possibly more dangerous than most of the interactions with the aliens. I think that is something that several of us have really wanted to explore. That darker side of humanity when there isn’t anybody who’s watching out for country or just a collective group of people, what happens to the worst of us? and we sort of get to see a little taste of that.
Sarah Carter: I think that’s what this season’s about. It’s everybody coming together as a group, initially to fight the aliens as a unified force. It’s pretty exciting rebuilding America and then by the middle, [it] takes this surprising turn and causes another divide within the group and you see how human beings come together even in that circumstance to try and help even that one person who might be a threat.
It’s a really interesting season. I think it’s darker than any other season and I like that about it, and actually I wish they took it even further. That’s just my personal opinion, and I think it looks darker too this season, with Olatunde Osunsanmi leading the show this year as the overseeing director.
Sarah Carter: Let’s just say Maggie chooses herself… and we’ll see what that brings.
Drew Roy: Maggie chooses herself? That’s a good answer. Hal chooses himself too. [laughs]
What does Hal think about his youngest brother growing up, getting more action in the field?
Drew Roy: I think even in the first season Pope makes some comment about how he should be out there and Tom (Noah Wyle) is not for that at all. Hal had a little aside to Tom, saying something along the lines of, “If he can, he should.” Hal’s always been for him being able to protect himself. Maybe not going out there and fighting just for the greater cause of everyone, but I think he’s always been for Matt knowing how to handle himself. Now that he’s finally stepping up, I think there is a little trepidation there, but we never really got to explore or see that. At this point it’s kind of every man for himself within a certain context of what the missions are.
Moon Bloodgood (Anne) and Connor Jessup (Ben)
What can you tell us about the final season?
Moon Bloodgood: Two of our characters kind of go off the ledge. They kind of lose themselves and turn against us and cause a lot of tension.
ConnorJessup: Because it’s the final season, major things can happen to major characters and be permanent. Where as in previous seasons, if someone got angry at someone else and stormed off they would come back into the fold.. this season, no.
Moon Bloodgood: We introduce some new characters, I have some conflict with some characters that do something behind my back and go against me.
Connor Jessup: The show definitely ends, it’s not going to feel like a non-ending.
Moon Bloodgood: And characters do die.
Is Tom’s rage beginning to make him willing to risk his families safety?
Connor Jessup: As we get towards the end of the series, for Ben there definitely becomes a position where we’re building towards this obvious climax and he has the ability to get information, stuff that other characters can’t, at a personal cost to himself and a personal danger. In the past Tom would have said, “You can’t do this. It’s not worth risking your life.” and now it’s totally flipped and he’s the one pushing for it. It’s a dynamic we’ve never had before.
Colin Cunningham (Pope)
We’ve been teased that characters die, if Pope dies it’ll be devestating.
We’ll I’ll tell ya, before we even shot anything I said, “don’t let this guy live! This is gonna be our last season, you gotta take this guy out.” I mean, what’s he gonna do? Walk off into the sunset and open a deli? I mean what’s gonna happen, right? So I said, “Let’s knock him off.” and they said, “Okay, if we did, how would you want to do it?” I said, “Well, we can do, Jimmy Cagney White Heat ‘top o the world ma!’ Kaboom! Or we could do: kill me off quietly on some beach somewhere with a whisper.”
It was neat to just talk about it before we even did anything else. Pope should go out… if anything, yes, people die. I was surprised it wasn’t way more. I thought we were gonna go Game of Thrones and just wipe everybody out. Just wipe everybody, gone man.
We’ve heard humans are going to start fighting each other, is Pope going to have anything to do with that?
Yes. Absolutely. Oh, hell yeah. Hell yeah!
Olatunde Osunsanmi (Executive Producer/Director)
So what’s it like coming to the end of the series?
I was a fan before I started working on the show. For the first three seasons I watched it broadcast. I found it through the NBA actually, they advertised it heavily during the NBA Playoffs on TNT and I got sucked in right away. Then I got asked to direct a couple of episodes, and I was like, “Wow!” Fast-forward to where we’re ending now, I remember that last scene where we had most of the cast, it was very emotional.
You’re not just saying goodbye to them as characters, but also as human beings. Then they’re all saying goodbye to each other from six years of friendshi. I know everyone always says, “The cast gets along,” but these guys really got along. People have had babies, crew members as well. People seeing their kids grow up, it was pretty emotional.
Did you have any personal goals coming in as a director on the last season?
I wanted to get more into the violence of war. Even though these guys are fighting aliens and even though it’s nothing like real war, what our troops go through, I still thought it would be interesting to get a little bit closer. I started channeling Spielberg, taking the show more towards Saving Private Ryan.
For most of these seasons, it’s been Children of Men with a little bit of Saving Private Ryan. I thought, let’s go more towards that. I just told all of the directors, “Be bold, be edgy. Really go for it.” We had the same conversations with the cast. Noah’s very passionate and the rest are very passionate, they just jump into it. Being edgier and being bold was the mantra for this season.
How would you describe the theme of this last season?
Revenge, if I were to choose one word. For the longest time these guys have been getting their asses kicked, so what a wonderful opportunity to go on the offensive. “This bullet is for my husband. This bullet is for my son. This bullet’s for my daughter. This bullet’s for my wife.” So yeah, I would say revenge.
What can you tell us about the final battle?
I don’t want to divulge too much, but I guess I have no choice. Yes, there is there one decisive final battle, I mean it is Falling Skies. Our showrunner, David [Eick], put a very unique spin on how that battle takes place. We all found it rather surprising in a good way. There are multiple battles along the way, but there is one “battle of all battles.” It’s just not quite in the way that I think you’re picturing it as.
It’s been teased the final episode takes place at an iconic location. Can you give any hints?
I can’t without getting whacked on the head. But I can tell you, and hopefully without slipping up, when we built that set I was like, “Wow”. I’ve actually been to that location in real life and I thought, “This is a big fucking deal! And I’m getting the opportunity to shoot here! I can’t believe we spent the money to do this right!” A big portion of the show takes place there. That’s about all I can say.
Falling Skies airs Sunday nights at 10pm, exclusively on TNT.
Comic-Con Photos Credit: Paige Wilson