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SDCC 2014: Excitement and Intrigue in Penny Dreadful’s Future

Sophia Ritchie ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Josh Hartnett and Harry Treadaway in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Jonathan Hession/Showtime.
Josh Hartnett and Harry Treadaway in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Jonathan Hession/Showtime.

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful premiered this May quietly and with only eight episodes to woo audiences and the network. And with it’s subtle sensuality and Victorian class, it passed every critical test with flying colors. So much so that Penny Dreadful’s panel in Ballroom 20 (the last of the day) was packed to the brim, awaiting any news of season 2 that showrunner John Logan could offer up.

“I spent ten years of my life thinking about this show, and it’s my first television show,” Logan said. “I try to take it seriously.”

Logan cited inspiration from romantic poetry (Wordsworth, specifically) as well Universal’s monster-movie mythos in the creation for his Victorian supernatural thriller.

The panel, moderated by nerd icon and Dreadful fan Aisha Tyler, was personal and in-depth. Stars Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, and Harry Treadaway joined Logan onstage, trying to assist in puzzling out the future of their characters.

Reeve Carney in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Jonathan Hession/Showtime.
Reeve Carney in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Jonathan Hession/Showtime.

Of course, thanks to Logan’s amused mysteriousness (as well as his, “to be decided” attitude about the journey his story will take), not a lot of major questions about the future were addressed. This did, however, leave a lot of time to ponder over the first season’s already-existing mysteries.

In fact, the biggest reveal came not from a sneak peek, but from a cut Season 1 scene, which reveals previously unassuming character Madame Kali (Helen McCrory) as a terrifying temptress who seems obsessed with lead female character Vanessa Ives, even stating that the two will have to face off eventually.

Will we eventually meet our big bad Dracula (if he does exist?) Logan wants to focus more on Kali and her potential.

“What excites me about the second season is that the cosmology of the show gets much larger,” Logan said. “In the second season, [our heroes] are thrown into a much larger theological world. [Kali’s] supernatural world will then become the threat to the heroes.”

Ives, played by an absent Eva Green, will see more exploration of the nature of her demonic possession in the coming season. In response to whether or not her plight was self-inflicted or out of her control, Logan replied, “A little bit of both.”

Eva Green in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Patrick Redmond/Showtime.
Eva Green in Penny Dreadful. Photo Credit: Patrick Redmond/Showtime.

Another big question of the night centered on Hartnett’s sharpshooting character, Ethan Chandler, turning out to be Dreadful’s own “American Werewolf in London.”

“The werewolf thing…made me feel more ingrained in the world of Penny Dreadful,” Hartnett said. “Everyone had their secrets, and I wanted mine.”

Logan wouldn’t confirm, but Hartnett puzzled out his own ideas for Ethan’s sudden and horrific transformation. The character knows he is responsible for terrible violence, around the full moon, but not how or why. Logan could assure fans that season 2 will finally show Ethan learning his own secret.

Treadaway’s Frankenstein and Carney’s Dorian Grey will both be experiencing character development, though the direction was vague. Of course, no one can really blame Logan for playing his cards close to his chest; Season 1 only just concluded at the end of June.

“Horror is about exultation, a transference, transformation,” Logan ultimately said. “What I think this show is about is the monster in all of us. The thing we must embrace, the thing that frightens us, the thing that makes us find out who we are.” With that in mind, one can only wait anxiously for season 2’s expected air date in 2015.

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