Last night’s Man in the High Castle panel brought some chilling alternate history to San Diego Comic-Con. Season one was the biggest hit from Amazon’s streaming service, and also turned out to be one of the strongest Philip K. Dick adaptations I’ve ever seen. We have a few highlights from the panel below, plus some new footage, but only click through if you’re caught up on season one!
First of all, there was no commentary on the show’s behind-the-scenes shake-up, which saw showrunner and The X-Files alum Frank Spotnitz stepping back to an executive producer role. Instead, producer Isa Dick Hackett spoke about the show’s production.
Hackett is the daughter of Philip K. Dick, and has been closely involved in this adaptation of her father’s novel. She told the crowd that they’re currently shooting episode seven of a ten-episode season. She also assured the crowd that while the show has strayed from the novel (in strong and fascinating ways, in my opinion) they’re continuing to use the book as “a spiritual guide” – which is appropriate for one of PKD’s works.
Two of her statements were more concrete: first, we are going to literally meet The Man in the High Castle, and second, Tagomi’s abrupt timeline shift at the end of last season was not a dream.
What does that mean for the universe of the show? Executive producer Danny Zucker clarified that TMITHC was “not a science fiction show” but rather an “alternate history show… the films will continue to play a role in the sense that they inform the characters and give them information. So only in the sense of these circumstances do we use this.” So presumably shifting timelines isn’t going to become a staple of the plot. We’ll also get to see a little bit more of the world, and learn how the Allies’ loss in World War II has affected other nations, but the show is still going to emphasize life under the Occupation in what used to be the United States. In addition to premiering a trailer, Amazon has released a clip. Here’s Ridley Scott’s introduction to season two, which includes a tense scene with Alexa Davalos’ Juliana Crain showing her usual fortitude:
And here are Rupert Evans, Bella Heathcote (who will be playing a new “sassy Nazi” character), DJ Qualls, Rufus Sewell, and producer David Zucker discussing the ways the world will expand in season two, with Sewell pointing out that some aspects of Americana don’t have to change too much to fit into the blonde, blue-eyed Nazi ideal:
I thought season one of TMITHC was one of the greatest television series I’ve ever seen (thought, admittedly, extremely difficult to watch) and I’m excited for season two!