Penny Dreadful Boss Addresses Vanessa's Sexuality, Ethan's Werewolf Origins
Penny Dreadful creator John Logan and stars Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, and Harry Treadaway were on hand at Comic-Con on Thursdayto talk all things demimonde. Unfortunately, stars Eva Green andTimothy Dalton were working on projects and couldn’t be present. Moderated by Whose Line Is It Anyway? host Aisha Tyler, a true Dreadful herself who tweets her reactions to the series, the panel delved into the first season’s “holy sh–” moments and teased Season 2.
So let’s get down to it:
Ethan’s beastly revelation: “What this show is about is the monster in all of us,” Logan said. “When I thought about Ethan Chandler (Hartnett)… I thought of hiking in America …and coyotes and wolves.” But was he a werewolf born or bitten? “To be decided,” Logan teased but added that like the flashback episode revealing Vanessa’s past, “Next season we will do something similar. I hope to continue doing that for all the characters.” In Season 2 Ethan will find out exactly what he does during those lycanthropic blackouts and deal with that knowledge.
The return of Madame Kali: As Showtime boss David Nevins said at the Television Critics Association fall previews earlier in the month, the medium Madame Kali (Helen McCrory) will be the main antagonist in Season 2. “Her supernatural world will become the big threat,” he said before introducing a clip in which Kali discusses Vanessa Ives (Green) with Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale). “Miss Ives, Miss Ives, speaking to demons and touching lives,” she says. “What games we’ll have, Miss Ives and I, where one will live and one will die. My dear friend, we’ve just begun. Soon we shall unleash glorious horrors.”
Lots more Lyle: As that clip implies, the eccentric Egyptologist will get pulled into Madame Kali’s scheme, but not, according to Logan, willingly. “He becomes deeply important,” he said. “His accent is actually — and this is a spoiler– a version of the great playwright Thomas Stoppard.”
Dracula looms: At the end of last season, it turned out that the dreaded Master is still alive. Logan said that Season 2 will delve deeper into “our version of the Dracula story” and that another character will help lead the show in that direction.
Ethan and Dorian’s connection: Will there be more Ethan and Dorian hookups going into Season 2? Logan hedged and just said that the family he built in the first season will in Season 2 build the relationships that will “evolve.” He did, however, explain that “As a gay man, I thought it would be correct and organic to deal with all forms of sexuality on this show.”
Ethan’s daddy issues: Although Logan doesn’t plan to explore Ethan’s relationship with his father, he did say, “The essence of their relationship is dissatisfaction. His father is a titan of industry named Jared Chandler. He was a monstrous man and he treated his son brutally.”
Vanessa’s evolving sexuality: Just because Vanessa’s sexual interactions tend to spring from — or end in — betrayal or demonic possession, Logan doesn’t intend for female sexuality to be seen negatively. “It doesn’t work out for any of these people when they have sex,” he said. “In no way is sexuality a bad thing, nor is unlocking a demon a bad thing.” He emphasized that the point is to have these characters become the “truest version of themselves,” and sometimes demonic possession is key to this evolution.
Ethan’s love life: Although Logan is still exploring different ways to reveal to Ethan that his former lover Brona (Billie Piper ) will soon be Caliban’s (Rory Kinnear) bride, he said that in Season 2, it’s the relationship between Ethan and Vanessa will be explored on a “granular” level.
Missed the first season of Penny Dreadful? Catch up here.