AMC’s Preacher has done a spectacular job at bringing a rich world full of monsters, both of the literal and metaphorical nature, to life. The series might have a habit to slow down every so often, but once it hits the gas it’s like nothing else on TV. There have been many bad-asses that have shown up on Preacher, but they all look like Muppet Babies in comparison to the ultra-deadly Saint of All Killers.
The Saint of All Killers sometimes feels like a sheer force more than he does an actual character at times, but Graham McTavish plays the character with a chilling vulnerability that still shows his humanity. He’s not just a monster, and that’s what makes him so interesting. The Saint of All Killers was last seen during the show’s second season in a grueling underwater grave of sorts that was finally able to ensure that the Ghost Cowboy Terminator finally comes to an end. While it seems like this could have been the end of the character’s story, he’s back in a big way this season and he’s not exactly happy with the “time out” that Jesse put him in. With the Saint of all Killers finally returning to the picture in Preacher’s recent episode, “The Tombs,” we touch base with Graham McTavish and discuss what his vengeful gunslinger is out to do this year.
DEN OF GEEK: Talk a little bit about the changes that the Saint of All Killers goes through this season. Where’s his head at this year?
GRAHAM McTAVISH: It’s a different season, for sure, as up until now the Saint’s goal has been pretty clear. He needs to take down Jesse Custer. It was a very linear story up until this point and you’re just waiting for their two paths to eventually converge. This season however is very different. I literally go to hell and back and I need to make a deal. The Saint needs to strap himself together with Eugene, which is certainly an interesting change of pace. It’s a lot for him to carry on in his usual manner, get back to Hell, but also have Eugene along at his side. There’s this fascinating strained relationship between the two of them.
Eugene is such an interesting character in this story because he’s the one pure character in all of this. Everyone else is either good or bad and plays with a duality, but Eugene is pure and doesn’t have to wrestle with these justifications in the same way that other characters do. So it was a lot of fun to see the Saint reacting to all of that and perhaps see in Eugene what he misses in himself. He sees in Eugene an innocence that he will never get back. So there’s a point at the end where the Saint asks him to join him and they enter the next stage of their journey together. It was really fun to get to explore this stage of the character because it’s unclear how much revolves around Jesse and it looks like there’s a different story in play between the Saint and Satan. It marks such a huge shift for his character.
Satan tells him that all of this is really God’s fault–not Satan’s, but God’s–and that information and what he does with it really propels that next chapter of his story in a brilliant way. The Saint’s story in the comics is rich, but it also hits a bit of a dead end. What they’re doing in the show where they draw in other characters to help the Saint on his growing journey is such a good idea.
Another character that I really enjoyed seeing the Saint bounce off of was Satan. Would you have liked to get to explore more of his time down in Hell? What about an entire episode set down there?
I would have loved that. I mean I just love that character and what the actor brings to the role. It’s such a fun interpretation of a character that has been played so many times before. He’s like this used car salesman. You see so many more takes on Satan and Hell than you do with God and Heaven, too. So it’s interesting when you can breathe new life into those areas and I would definitely like to do more episodes down in Hell, if possible.
The relationship between the Saint and Satan is so interesting though because it’s purely pragmatic. They don’t like each other. They don’t dislike each other. He just has a job to bring Eugene and Hitler back and he’s carrying out his service. They’re not interested in shooting the breeze or anything—and you’ll see Satan do that with other characters, but not with the Saint. It’s transactional.
So much of this season is about family in terms of Jesse’s return to Angelville. It kind of puts Jesse and the Saint of All Killers on parallel missions in a way.
It’s rather interesting because while their stories may be thematically in sync, they don’t actually encounter each other at all this season. I thought that was a really smart move on the part of Sam Catlin. So much of this season sees everyone off in their own worlds as their own drama plays out. None of us really see a lot of each other this year, but it makes it that much more satisfying when it all comes together again. There are seven storylines that this show tries to navigate between!
We touched on God a little. Do you think that there’s any way that the Saint of all Killers could maybe be used to take down God, considering that they both seem to be similarly immortal and powerful?
There’s definitely a potential collision course that’s happening here. Many alliances are taking place between God and other important figures and all of that is going to have consequences. There’s also the idea that the further that Jesse goes along, the more he’s becoming like God in a number of ways. Something is going on there. Going back to what I was saying about purity, the Saint doesn’t get distracted or can’t be swayed by arguments. He’s just a seeker of the truth in the same way that Jesse is. However, if the Saint is a sledgehammer on the matter, then Jesse is much more surgical. They’re both fighting the same fight though. It’s been quite the existential experience to try to wrap my head around.
Lastly and to change gears a little bit, I’m also a huge fan of your work on Netflix’s Castlevania animated series. I’ve heard that a third season is already underway before the second has even aired! Has it been fun to do so much more of that?
Oh yeah! It’s been great to get such a vote of confidence from Netflix to be able to move ahead with it all. As much as I’m a fan of Garth Ennis, I also love Warren Ellis, and so it was fantastic to work with him here. He’s very heavily involved, too. He’d be listening in along with the director and producers during recording sessions and offering input. It’s a blast to have him so hands on with the show.
Preacher’s third season continues to air on Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC.