The following article contains spoilers if you’re not up to date with Misfits.
With shooting having started in May according to the show’s official Facebook page, series three of Misfits is now a third of the way through production – if star Iwan Rheon’s July tweet is accurate, that is.
With that in mind, it’s high time we took a look at what we know so far about the new series – specifically, the epic changes that are to take place. Make no mistake, this fall, we may just see the most unpredictable series of Misfits yet, and that’s saying really something.
Robert Sheehan is to leave the show
This is the biggie, and much of it we already covered when the news first broke. In short, it seems pretty clear that this was a last minute decision, as Nathan’s departure is to take place in an online special set in Vegas rather than in a full episode. You’d have to be the most humourless creature alive to not see that this move is going to be a loss for the show.
Fortunately, many of Nathan’s outrageous lines were written by series creator Howard Overman, and he appears to be in it for the long haul. With Overman still at the helm, the show may lose Nathan, but hopefully, none of its bite.
New character Rudy (Joseph Gilgun) will join the ASBO Five
Being a This Is England fan, I like Joe Gilgun, and look forward to seeing him in a new role. Rudy has been described as a “classic Overman creation”, so it’s likely he’ll be as oddball and offensive as any of the main cast.
A statement released from Channel Four has made it clear that, like the rest of the cast, Rudy comes with his own superpower, though specific details are being kept under wraps. Judging from what’s been announced, it’s likely that Rudy will be the focus of the first episode, starting his first day of community service to find that there’s more running and screaming to be done than litter picking.
The online episode will be set in Vegas
Here’s hoping this won’t just be Carry On Abroad with superpowers. The trip to Vegas has been built up as an important point in Alisha and Simon’s relationship, though with Nathan’s exit and Rudy’s intro to deal with, it’s possible that this could be pushed into the background.
It would be sad to see the writers undermine one of the most surprising relationships of the series in exchange for wacky hijinks abroad, but bear in mind that these will be Howard Overman hijinks. Expect to see all manner of foul, politically incorrect humour.
Villain Seth, the power dealer, is to make a return
This is a move I find very interesting as, up until now, all the villains have been disposable storm-freaks with the life-expectancy of a lemming. Seth, however, was a very durable villain, as chilling and unique as any of the others, but set apart by his motivation. He wasn’t a megalomaniac, a proselyte or a psychopath, he was a businessman.
He was the fictional equivalent of Jim Chanos, short-selling the stock at Enron right before the company went bust. Seth knew that trading and selling superpowers would have deadly consequences, and he didn’t care. He created a world of trouble for the ASBO Five without even leaving his chair, which is why I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do over an entire series.
All the characters will have new powers
Last year’s season Christmas special ended with ASBO Five having sold their powers but (largely due to their own criminality) they were able to purchase any new power from Seth’s stockpile. It’s a move that is likely to be the most dramatic of all, given how much each power reflected each character.
Simon began the show always feeling ignored and so was granted invisibility, Curtis was able to turn time because he regretted the past. Changing the powers completely undermines the way in which the characters have been defined over the last two seasons.
However, this will have advantages for the characters whose development was somewhat limited. While in season one Alisha actually had a strong look into how shallow and empty her life of constant sex really was, her character didn’t develop further.
Likewise, once Curtis learnt his obligatory lesson about not messing with the nature of time and so forth, the writers didn’t seem to know what to do with him, other than to repeatedly use him as a deus ex machina.
Lacking a real plot thread for season two, they decided to give him a love interest, which meant we were saddled with Nikki for several agonising episodes. I must give props to the character, though, who managed to be both wildly inconsistent in every scene yet equally unlikable.
They’ll be back in jumpsuits
This isn’t so much a dramatic change as a dramatic case of keeping things the way we like them. While the ASBO Five completed their community service at the end of season two, it’s hard to deny that the garish orange jumpsuits of the Payback Scheme have become an iconic motif of the show.
You can even buy Community Blow Back hoodies. Iconography is important for a successful show, especially one with a cult following. Heroes had Save the Cheerleader t-shirts, and every vampire worth his salt has imbibed a bottle True Blood at some point.
The question, though, is how to you get the rest of the characters back into community service without it feeling like a contrivance. It’s something that is likely to be resolved through Rudy, as press releases have confirmed that we’ll see him forced into the Payback Scheme, so it’s likely he’ll serve as the link.
Over the past two seasons, Misfits has established itself well as a show that takes conventional storylines and conventional characters, and does some very unconventional things with them. While on the surface the characters may be stock (the smart-arse, the nerdy kid, and so on), in execution, they are far from it, which leaves one wondering where the show can go in series three.
Superhero franchises usually follow a strict pattern, especially if you look at Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. You have the origin story, then you have the hero try to give up the mask, and then the hero goes dark. Will this be the fate of the ASBO Five? Can they even go evil(er)?
One thing promises to be certain, though: season three will almost certainly be the most unpredictable yet.