'Defiance' Resets for Season 3 and Returns to Its "Dangerous Roots"

“The town is too safe by having a military presence in it,” showrunner Kevin Murphy tells THR.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

Defiance showrunner Kevin Murphy is shaking things up for season three. The town is "in a much more dangerous, existential crisis. Which I think is a lot of fun and makes life a little bit harder for our characters," he tells The Hollywood Reporter.

THR spoke with Murphy about his decision to shake up the show's core relationships, getting rid of the Earth Republic and more of what's to come.

As season three begins, the Earth Republic is essentially gone and once again everything is in flux.

I had enjoyed the presence of the Earth Republic in the town. But by the time we had reached the end of season two, I had grown a little weary of what they had done to the town. Having the Earth Republic created more infrastructure in the town than I think was good for the show. We told some great stories and I really enjoyed what we did. But I really wanted to get Defiance back to its more dangerous roots.

So when we come into season three, Irisa has destroyed New York, which essentially destroys the Earth Republic and it also destroyed the mines. So Defiance, which once was a boom-mining town, has now lost its lifeblood. The soldiers who deserted their posts have raided the treasury and the town has nothing left. The stasis nets are down, the town is down to its last dregs of power. Now the Votanis Collective, sensing a power vacuum, is now slowly moving forward with the intention of killing all of the human beings in their path.

You're introducing a new race to the mix and that makes it a much more global show.

Season two was all about getting a sense of the Earth Republic, meeting people who were part of Earth Republic and seeing what their day-to-day lives looked like. This season we're going to be getting into the Votanis Collective. There are Votans who feel that the humans treated them shabbily, gave them the District 9 treatment. Now everything the angry Votans do to the human beings they feel is justified because of the atrocities committed against their people.

Factored into this is a new race called the Omec. The Omec were the Votans' dirty little secret. The Omec was the race that advanced first technologically. They were slavers and they were predators. They ate the other Votan, they used them as sex slaves and as forced labor. When the Votan system looked as if it were going to be destroyed, the Omecs built their own arks and all of the other Votan built their own arks. All of the other Votan races were terrified that the Omec were going to follow them to this new paradise that had been discovered and take it all away from them. The human beings on the show know nothing about any of this — they have no dog in this race. But it's going to create bloodshed and potentially world war, and the humans are going to get caught in the middle.

You've introduced all of these new characters and some old favorites who you're just not going to have space for anymore. Like the Spirit Riders, who seemed to have faded away from the show.

The Spirit Riders are gone this season. They're there, but they're not on camera. If we're lucky enough to come back for season four, the Spirit Riders will figure prominently in that season. But I had to rest them for the year because I was dealing with the Votanis Collective. The hole that used to be occupied by the Spirit Riders is now occupied by Rahm Tak and his militia. He's played by Lee Tergesen, and he's a general who has a motive that will become more complicated. But he and his band of privateers are coming for Defiance and are coming to take over the town and kill all the humans. They've taken over the threat that the Spirit Riders used to present to the town.

The new season of Defiance premieres Friday at 8 p.m. on Syfy.