Jose Molina interview: Agent Carter, Firefly, The Tick, Weird City
We talked to writer/producer extraordinaire Jose Molina about reviving Agent Carter, his time on Firefly and new sci-fi show, Weird City...
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Jose Molina has forged a career that started with him landing a student internship at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences by submitting a Star Trek: The Next Generation spec script, and built to him writing and producing on some of our all-time favourite TV series, including Dark Angel, Firefly, Castle, Haven, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Grimm, The Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hollow, Agent Carter and The Tick.
We had a quick chat with Molina about the possibility of bringing Peggy back, working on Firefly and his new YouTube series for Jordan Peele…
We started chatting in the wake of Roseanne being cancelled at ABC, and there was another groundswell of support from fans to try and get Agent Carter back on our screens after that particular incident. The love for Peggy has never waned! It really doesn’t feel like anyone’s given up on her, including you and the other fine people that were involved in the series. What do you think it would take to revive the show at this point?
I think the creative team would all line up to return — the cast, the writers, etc. — it would just be a matter of finding an outlet interested in airing the show. Given the series’ ratings when it aired on ABC, finding that outlet seems like a bit of a long shot. It would be lovely to think that Netflix (home to so many awesome Marvel shows) would pick it up, but their shows all share a common universe and timeline that Carter doesn’t share. Creatively, these shows tend to be very dark, and Agent Carter just doesn’t have dark and brooding in its DNA.
Maybe not dark and brooding, but it definitely packed some serious emotional punches along the way. Right now, I’m thinking of one scene specifically in season 2… I think it was episode 9, where Peggy and Jarvis are fighting on the road, when he’s lashing out at her. I tear up even thinking about that. At this stage, can you talk about where the team were thinking of taking us in season 3? Would Peggy have become embroiled in some escalating cold war espionage?
If memory serves, the initial thrust was going to come from the investigation into the assassination attempt on Jack Thompson. We were hoping (assuming we could afford it) that the story would then lead us to London, where we would learn that Peggy’s late brother Michael was not only alive and kicking, but involved in some very nefarious, super-villainous shenanigans.
You worked on the first season of The Tick with Ben Edlund, but you guys go way back, right? You both wrote for Firefly and helped bring us that iconic image of Nathan Fillion buck naked in the desert musing on his life’s mistakes in Trash. Was that the first time you’d worked together? What was your experience of working on that series? Did you know those few episodes would have such a cultural impact?
I’d been a fan of The Tick ever since the animated series, so getting to work with Ben on Firefly was a huge kick. Getting to write with him was an even bigger thrill. Once during the process, I made him laugh so hard that he kept cracking up about the joke throughout the day — and that remains one of my proudest moments of the season! Unfortunately, the joke got cut in post!
Working on Firefly as a whole was a bit of a dream come true. I’d been a huge fan of Buffy’s, and had worked as an assistant on both Buffy and Angel, but I always felt like I was the kid looking through the candy store window — on the outside, looking in. Getting into the store was amazing. We felt pretty early that we were doing something special, something that was very different from anything on broadcast TV at the time. We couldn’t have known the show’s staying power or the extent of its impact, but we knew we were creating something unique. The fact that the network didn’t “get it” just helped cement that belief.
Are you working on season 2 of The Tick?
I’m no longer on The Tick. I’m currently running a YouTube Premium show called Weird City. It’s a science fiction/comedy anthology show co-created by Jordan Peele, who is producing. The gist of it is Black Mirror, but funny.
Can you tell me a little bit about some of the stories we can expect to see on Weird City? It sounds pretty intriguing.
I can proudly say that the first batch of Weird City episodes covers a wide variety of topics. We’ve found new, fun spins on some familiar sci-fi tropes… which I unfortunately can’t describe without giving away major spoilers. We are first and foremost a comedy, but we’re also using our futuristic setting to satirise modern-day society and even poke fun at where we think society may be headed.
I know you’ve written for The Amazing Spider-Man in the past, is there a comic series you would love to write for in the future? What’s your dream run?
I geeked out like a twelve-year old when I got that Spidey gig! He was one of the few comic book characters I had access to growing up in PR, so I’ve always loved him. In terms of current comics, I’ve been a Deadpool fan for ages, so I would love a crack at the “merc with a mouth.” But Captain America is my all-time favourite, so writing Cap would be a serious dream come true. However, now that Peggy Carter is the new Captain America, that’s the one I’d kill to write. So, I’m really hoping my old Marvel editor Nick Lowe reads this and drops me a line!
I was going to say, Peggy taking up that shield was one of the highlights of my year!
Jose, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much!