7:23pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
'The Leftovers': Damon Lindelof, Cast Tease Season 2 Changes
Damon Lindelof has no regrets about the somber turn his HBO drama, The Leftovers, took in its premiere season.
"The first season of the show we make no apologies for," the former Lost co-creator said Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour, adding: "We wanted to ground the world. To some, that maybe have felt bleak and depressing — but to us, it felt honest."
The first season of the series, based on Tom Perrotta's novel of the same name, explored what happens in a small New York suburb after two percent of the world's population inexplicably vanishes. But co-creators Lindelof and Perrotta ran out of source material at the conclusion of season one, and have since been tasked with inventing new and original storylines for season two, which is set to bow October 4.
"This season is not a reboot," Lindelof emphasized from the stage, "it’s the next chapter." The upcoming ten-episodes will expand on the book's original concept of a rapture-like event, "The Departure," and how ordinary people react to unexplainable events like it. It'll also bring a location change, as teased in the most recent trailer, removing the majority of the characters from their longtime home in Mapleton, New York.
One of those people is police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), who gives up his job in hopes of a fresh start and relocates his family to Jarden, a small town in eastern Texas where no one departed. With him is new lover, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), who's found purpose in caring for the baby she found on Kevin’s doorstep at the end of the last season. Equally eager to leave the grief-stricken town is Kevin’s daughter, Jill (Margaret Qualley), and the town reverend, Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston).
"Season one was about how a family fell apart, and season two is about how a family comes back together," said Lindelof. He explained the reason for the location change, noting that it'd make sense that the Garveys wouldn't want to stay in the same place geographically — or emotionally, for that matter — after the terrible tragedy they've suffered through.
Upon their arrival in the "miracle" town of Jarden, the newly formed Garvey family meet their neighbors, the Murphys (played by Kevin Carroll, Regina King, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Jovan Adepo), a local family who seem to have been spared from the event that shocked the rest of the world. A clip played exclusively to the press ahead of the show's TCA panel hinted at a possible second "Departing" — and this time, Jarden doesn't appear to be exempt. When asked about the potential plot twist, Lindelof did everything but actually confirm that it happens, acknowledging that he's "sick of keeping secrets."
Meanwhile back in Mapleton, Kevin’s ex-wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) has left the Guilty Remnant (the dark religious cult that wrecked havoc in the town) and reunited with her son, Tom (Chris Zylka), who may have finally discovered a cause to help replace the pain in his heart. And though Meg (Liv Tyler) remains in the Guilty Remnant, she finds that it may not be the same cult she originally joined. Also returning to season two is Ann Dowd (yes, you read that right), though Lindelof was mum on exactly how her character will manifest in the forthcoming episodes.
Currently in production on season two in and around Austin, Texas, the seriees is produced by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television. Mimi Leder, Tom Spezialy and Peter Berg serve as executive producers, along with Lindelof and Perrotta. Gene Kelly, Jacqueline Hoyt, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa are co-executive producers.
The Leftovers returns Sunday, October 4 at 9 p.m. on HBO.