The Order (on Season 2 & Origins), An Interview w Dennis Heaton

28 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

With a simple teaser from Netflix back in March of when season two of the horror drama The Order will arrive, coming soon is not enough. Filming the series depends on availability of when cast and crew can be at the University of British Columbia between semesters (or during). When detailed information was lacking at their presentation at the San Diego Comic Con last month, I was glad I spoke with Dennis Heaton, the creator, beforehand.

Like Ghost Wars, The Order is a product of everything he’s enjoyed as a fan of horror and comedy. The latter is more of his baby than previous works. To speak to him ahead of any current promotion (to which Netflix has been quiet lately) is to show I’m enjoying the series, and I binged the series at least three times. I spoke to him about the series and hoped to maybe get an idea or two about what’s he has in mind happen for season two.

How did the ideas come about. What were your inspirations?

DH: The Order came out of the conversations I had with Netflix. It was basically about what kind of horror movie stuff we were all interested in and what can we do: we all grouped in on werewolf lore and incorporating magic into it. We wanted a different kind of mythology. At the same time we were talking about magical secret societies and I always liked the idea of the idea of werewolves being created by magic instead of a viral thing–where a werewolf bite turns you into a werewolf.

Here, it’s more of a magically imbued idea: The hide acts as the symbiote and it turns you into the creature. So, the ideas started flowing once we sort of had the idea for this world set. There’s going to be inevitable comparisons to Venom (Spider-Man). I know I can think of a ton of other severe relationships that would have had the same subconscious influence on me when I was coming up with those characters.

Why did you give the werewolves a different personality when they are in full Lycan mode?

DH: I just didn’t want them to be generic. They should have their own personality in the same way with all the pet dogs I’ve had in my life. SIlverback is still the toughest werewolf and the most powerful of them all. I don’t think he should never be counted as down and out.

So he’s coming back then?

DH: That’s right. Jack’s got Midnight right now. But as we’ve seen The Hive make up their minds who they want to who they want to have wearing him.

So does that mean we will also see more of Sam, the Ethics Professor?

DH: There’s definitely an opportunity to see more of Professor Clark (played by Sam Trammell, pictured above) as we saw with the return of Emir in Episode 9 “Finals.” Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you’re not necessarily going to have a voice in the show.

With similar supernatural type productions going on in Vancouver, were you aware of what was being planned for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?

DH: It certainly wasn’t on air [when were were creating] It came from all the stuff that influenced me over the years (see previous interview here) which is generally horror movies from the 80s and 90s–specifically horror comedy stuff.

What would you say to people comparing your work to White Wolf Game’s Worlds of Darkness?

DH: I don’t know the game so I didn’t know that people were making comparisons.

We had a pretty good series bible laid out. Once you write the actual episodes and you start to get into the realities of production, those stories change. But we had a really solid understanding of who Jack and Alissa were and who the The Knights of Saint Christopher were when we started writing the episodes and there’s always gonna be things that change as you go through production. It was nice to have that level of detail that we had. And it was a combination of stuff that I wrote beforehand and stuff that we developed in the first couple of weeks of being with the entire writing staff.

With all these secret societies that you came up with, did you draw on any actual sources?

DH: I really leaned in to the history of Alister Crowley. I had a huge interest in him when I was in high school and when I started building the administrative structure of the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose, I really leaning on what we knew about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Was there any Victorian-age influence too? Supposedly many secret societies existed back then that grew to be huge powerhouses today.

DH: Definitely. Perhaps to a lesser extent; we’ve (the writer’s room) got a lot of books around the office on different secret societies. Even Bohemian Grove plays into our idea.

The way I perceive The Order is in how this society formed in a time when witchcraft and magic was being persecuted. They saw themselves as the guardians of information, of knowledge, that was in danger of being lost. And over time this magical society started out with the best intentions: to preserve magic and use it to the benefit of mankind. But over time institutions are subverted. Individual attitudes of certain members want more–to take over. Today, they are much more selfish. It’s gone from how can we make the world a better place for all mankind to how can we make the world a better place for us.

The members like Alissa (pictured above) who see the good work that the order is capable of doing and has done will do their thing. And then there are members like Gabrielle who will definitely use magic for much more selfish ends.

I really feel the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose is much more like a fraternity. If I would compare the secret societies to anything in real life I’d probably compare them to biker gangs.

How many sides would you say we have within this group?

DH: Aside from the obvious–one for good and one for selfish reasons–there isn’t a delineated faction. It’s the personal attitudes of the members and whoever can get in charge. When Edwards was in charge, he talks a good game about how they need to use magic for the benefit of society but he is really just trying to increase his own net worth, right? He’s doing that is he’s performing the ritual at the end of season one.

When Vera takes control at the very end, she’s a very different kind of Grand Magus. She sees the danger of invoking that spell, but that doesn’t mean she’s not tempted by it. It’s also that point of will [absolute] power corrupt inevitably or can it be fought off?

So is she going to be the next villain in season 2 or what do you have planned now that production is well under way? (i.e. is there anything you cay say regards to certain people’s memories being wiped?)

DH: Why would I spoil the surprise? Everything that the fans who reacted to the ending of Season 1, they’re…. We will definitely answer all the questions that you may have had at the end of the first season as the second season gets going.

For me as a producer, it’s doing what I do with every second season of a TV series: ramping up everything that we loved about Season 1 do more of the same in Season 2 and go crazier.

With ways to communicate with the dead, are we going to see ghosts? How about any other monsters?

DH: Yeah well we don’t know. In episode nine, we’ve already seen ghosts in the sense that Jack went into the collective unconscious and he had interactions with Amir and everybody else that had died that season finale.

I don’t know if we’re gonna see ghosts in Jack’s waking world but there’s definitely a connection between the human and the spirit world. We’ve certainly seen Jack and Pete talk to Jack’s mother over the necrophone and we saw Josette talk to her sister Rene too. So we know that there is a realm of spirits–whether they’re going to show up visually in the human realm, I haven’t decided yet.

As I recall, there were more than one golem walking about.

DH: I just like the idea of that Clay wasn’t the only golem walking around the campus. Also, you’re never gonna see [Roswell type] aliens on this show because that’s that just feels like it’s changing the scope of the show.

The thing I’ll say about monsters in the series is every monster that we see in the show has to be created by magic somehow. Which is why we have a golem in the first couple of episodes that’s why we have werewolf.As long as as long as I can create a creature through the use of magic that monster is open territory for us to introduce.

When can we expect next season to air?

DH: We’re gearing up for a summer shoot. So if everything goes according to plan we should be we should be on track for that. I don’t have any official information from Netflix yet about dates, but what I’m gunning for is to get Season 2 on again by early March.

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