This article contains heavy spoilers for Into The Badlands season 2.
Times are changing in The Badlands. AMC’s breakout hit Into The Badlands followed up its six-episode first season with huge upgrades for season two, from the levity of Nick Frost’s Bajie to maximizing the effect of television’s best fight unit with some clever and unique martial arts mastery. Into The Badlands season 3 is going to expand on the world created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Quinn’s reign of terror has ended, Sunny has been widowed and left to care for his child, and some new, exciting bad guys are on the horizon.
Den of Geek spent a day on set in in Dublin, Ireland where we learned the secrets of Into The Badlands season 3. Here’s what we got…
Two Men and A Baby
In a heartbreaking finale, Veil made the ultimate sacrifice to rid the Badlands of Quinn and protect her child. That leaves Sunny with baby Henry. So Into The Badlands season 3 will have a bit of a Three Men and A Baby situation on its hands. OK, more like the ‘80s sitcom My Two Dads. Anyway, how will Sunny and Bajie handle having a child around? For Sunny, we’ll see a different side of the newly single father.
“You see this really violent side of Sonny but at the same time, this really caring, fatherly side of him, which is a really interesting paradox,” says Daniel Wu, who took the fake child off his back in between takes to chat for this interview.
“The way he fights is a little more brutal,” he continues, “Before it was more balletic and beautiful when now he’s like you fuck with me, I fuck with you. But then he’s got this baby with him. Immediately after a fight, he’s bloodied, he picks up the baby, and he’s trying to soothe his baby. It’s a really interesting image that you see because there’s this mass of violence that just happened but then there’s this really caring side of him.”
Naturally, Nick Frost’s Bajie isn’t quite as graceful with the child.
“He tries. He’s not great, but he does try, but he gets very attached to the baby as the series goes on,” Frost says. “There’s high drama and tension, and a lot of it is around the child.”
By all accounts, the crew is great with the real babies used for tight shots in the show. As for the prop babies used in fights? We found one resting under a bed of prop swords. After all, this is Into The Badlands.
A Night At The Museum With The New Baddie
It’s a fascinating exercise when you’re on set to look at the clues of what the world was like before order was forged from chaos. For the first time, we got a glimpse into the history of this world by stepping foot into a museum. The set looked like something we’d see at a natural history museum today. Only, it’s being used as a base for this season’s big baddie. His name is Pilgrim, and he’s played by Babou Ceesay. So who exactly is Pilgrim and what is his business in the Badlands?
“He has a power that has not been seen in the Badlands,” Ceesay says. “It’s the yang to the dark chi. He’s very determined. He’s a zealot and that’s the problem with zealots, they’re all or nothing. It’s clear in his mind where they need to get to. Whenever he wavers, it’s around two of the characters who have dark chi.”
Ceesay went back and research zealots old and new, going back into scripture to provide a base for his character work.
“He believes you have to make the world better by any means necessary. Some things I read I say ‘that’s tough, how can I justify that?’”
On the new character, Wu gave us some more insight into what to expect from Pilgrim.
“This guy is bringing this army of people and we have no idea where they came from, what are they about, so we’re trying to deal with that,” Wu says. “They’re great, they bring so much to the show as well. It’s a cool replacement bad guy, it’s different but also very cool.”
Lydia Gets In On The Action
Last year, save one bloody scene, Orla Brady’s Lydia mostly sat on the sidelines while her Badlands counterparts participated in expertly choreographed fights. This year, Brady was happy to share with us that she finally made it to the fight unit.
“They promised me they’d get me on to fight unit this year and they did,” Brady says. “It’s not much, it’s a little moment in the midst of a huge battle. There’s a bigger fight and things happen in different corners of the room. I got to work with Master Dee Dee and Stephen Fung. That was amazing. She’ll never be the martial artist because that’s not her character. There’s a little bit of elegance to it.”
Since moving the production to Ireland, more cast members have been immersed into the fight unit. Brady says they all understand that an increased focus on marital arts can’t come at the expense of drama, though.
“At any moment we can fight. Stuff happens and you need to get yourself out of a situation. Iconically the show is about the fights, so just as an actor you want to be involved. You want the experience. It is the right thing for her, it’s like she discovered a side of herself.”
Part of Lydia’s new identity is moving on from her toxic relationship with Quinn. Early in the season Lydia becomes an ally of The Widow.
“Although she’s second in command to The Widow, she chooses a new set of colors and insignia because she doesn’t want to take Quinn’s,” Brady says. “She has to get away from [Quinn] and associating herself with his world. She can’t be his widow, she has to make her own mark. She’s determined to do that and I think she’s understood she spent a lot of her life living around a powerful man.”
The Youths Are Growing Up
Ally Ioannides’ Tilda has been a fan favorite character since the beginning. She potentially could break out in an even bigger way in season 3. Left beaten and caged by The Widow, Tilda has escaped and come into her own as the season begins. She found a group called the Iron Rabbits, a collective of outcasts, people of all ages and backgrounds, who wear orange warrior costumes with masks.
“They’re the Robin Hood outcasts, of all ages. All kinds of people. Her main prerogative is helping the refugees,” Ioannides says. “It’s an interesting place because, taking away all Badlands stuff, she’s been with the Widow for so long and living under her militant rule that she can finally do whatever she wants. She’s figuring out who she is. It’s a fun place for Tilda to start because she can go anywhere.”
MK, played by Aramis Knight, is another polarizing character within the show for his obvious abilities. In Knight’s words, MK will be a sort of “King of the Badlands” this season. Everyone wants him on their side, but the challenge for him will be to stop letting people tell him what to do. This season we’ve seen every indication that the character will experience some emotional growth.
“MK is trying to figure out what’s going on and piece it together. He thought he figured out what happened in season two but after an overdose he figures out something different,” Knight says.
Behind the scenes, Knight, one of the youngest cast members at just 18 years old, was gushing about how he grew from being part of this cast for the past three years.
“Any future project I do I’m going to be bringing so many skills from this show,” he says. “Especially with the fighting. I started at zero percent. Now I can choreograph things and do them myself. I’ve learned so much stuff and I feel like they’ve given me more respect. I’ve been on the show for so long and no one knows M.K. as well as I do. If I have a suggestion normally they’ll listen, which is nice.”
When asked if he sees himself as an action star in the future, he responded with the best quote of the set visit:
“They call Tom Cruise an action star and he can’t do the shit I can do. Just saying…”
The Season Will Be Split Into Two Parts
When AMC likes a show, they tend to bump up episode orders then split the seasons in half. They did so for the final seasons of Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and they’ve done the same for Into The Badlands season 3. They have finished production on 16 episodes, but will split up the release into two chunks of eight episodes. The first half of the season premieres April 22 at 10 p.m. The second half of the season will likely air in 2019.
We have more on Into The Badlands season 3 as it gets closer to the premiere.