Greg Yaitanes and Jonathan Tropper Talk BANSHEE Season 3, Character Journeys, Sexual Tension, Pushing the Envelope, and More

     April 1, 2014


Even though it will be about a year before Banshee returns to Cinemax for Season 3, the creative team is already hard at work on writing the scripts.  While some questions have been answered and some relationships were resolved, there are plenty of new questions and new story threads to be explored.  So, while you’re waiting to see how it all plays out next, Collider spoke to show creator/writer/executive producer Jonathan Tropper and director/executive producer Greg Yaitanes to get hints about what to expect from Banshee Season 3.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Jonathan Tropper and Greg Yaitanes talked about how satisfied they were with the results of Season 2, why they wanted closure with the Rabbit (Ben Cross) plotline, that we can expect to see Fat Au (Eddie Cooper) again, the ongoing battle between Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), why Emmett’s (Demetrius Grosse) journey ultimately ended the way it did, the unsettling sexual tension between Proctor and Rebecca (Lili Simmons), just how far they’ll push the envelope on this show, that Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) will be back, just how far along they are in writing Season 3, and just how strong and unpredictable this upcoming season will be.  Check out our Jonathan Tropper and Greg Yaitanes Banshee Season 3 interview after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

banshee-greg-yaitanesCollider:  Looking back on Season 2, do you feel like you hit all of the story notes that you wanted to hit with it?

JONATHAN TROPPER:  We’re actually extremely satisfied with Season 2.  We feel like we came into the season having learned a lot about our process from Season 1, with the amount of space we had to tell story and really where to put our focus.  We came in with the objective of telling much richer, denser stories than we did in Season 1, and really going deeper into all of the characters.  We’re actually very, very happy with the results of Season 2. 

When you put your characters through so much in one season, did you feel like you owed it to them to take out Rabbit and give them that closure?

TROPPER:  We feel like the show keeps evolving, and it was time.  It was time to move the show forward.  When a show drags out a particular plotline for too long, it loses its potency.  We never really considered letting the Rabbit plotline go beyond the second season.

Did you intentionally decide to set the final shoot-out in a church with a priest?

GREG YAITANES:  The Banshee: Origins comic was so exciting when it came out between seasons because we introduced that Rabbit had a brother that was a priest and we’d been forming that character.  It was the natural place to bring it.  The thing about Banshee is that it has a nice, complicated relationship with religion.  Having everybody’s reckoning take place in a House of God was beautiful and visual and thematic, but it was not easy to find a church that would let us do a giant shoot-out. 

Fat Au was a great character to add to this group of tight-knit characters that you already have established.  Is it challenging to match another piece to that puzzle and find the right actor for it? 

TROPPER:  We wanted to create another character that felt very much of the Banshee world.  Initially, he was conceived as an Asian, but that just felt a little too predictable and a little too easy.  Over time, we developed this idea of an African American man who had completely absorbed Asian culture.  That just felt very organic to our show.  And everyone is always very welcoming for guest stars like that.

Since Fat Au made it out of the big shoot-out alive, will we see more of him, in the future? 

TROPPER:  Perhaps.  

YAITANES:  I would expect to see Fat Au again.

Lucas has ended one war with Rabbit, but he’s ignited this new war with Kai Proctor.  Will that be a big focus in Season 3?

TROPPER:  Lucas and Proctor have always been the two Alphas of our show.  The entire eco-system of Banshee will never be at rest while they’re in the same town.  That is an ongoing battle that, unless one of them dies or leaves, will never end.

banshee-antony-starrYou’ve been flashing back to the backstory of what led this group of people to where they were when we met them at the beginning of Season 1, but it feels like that backstory has been told now.  Are you going to continue to have flashbacks on the show, to different points in their lives, going forward?

YAITANES:  The two-year plan that the finale brought together is that we’ve been telling the backstories at  It’s not been an accident that we’ve been creating a graphic novel that told the story and that we’ve been filling in the gaps of the mythology that happened over the last 15 years.  It all led up to the finale, in a big way.  While we do plan to continue Banshee: Origins, the show is very much putting the past behind it and looking forward.  This is the natural evolution of what our plan has been since the beginning of Season 1. 

What made you decide to end the character of Emmett, in the way that you did?

YAITANES:  The thing that Emmett’s death really represents is a microcosm of the show itself, which is evil for evil.  Just because somebody did something to you and you went down the path of revenge, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the story.  Keeping true to the show, as well as real life consequences for things, sometimes it just doesn’t have a happy ending.  I found Emmett’s death really powerful.  It embodied so much of the show and it gives us a real catalyst, going into Season 3. 

TROPPER:  If you think about our show, in general, the idea is that the corruption and what’s happening in Banshee means nothing pure can really survive.  Emmett was the purest force on the show.  He was a good man.  He was an uncorrupted man.  And because he couldn’t be corrupted, he was corrupted in a way that ultimately led to his death.  Nothing is safe from the corruption that’s been set in motion by Lucas showing up in Banshee.

It seems to be acceptable in TV and film to show intense violence and graphic sex, but showing them in the same scene and combining the two, it seems to cross some taboo line.  Were you playing with that notion, in that very violent, bloody and sexually graphic scene between Rebecca and Alex Longshadow, or was that just the natural way to play that out?

TROPPER:  Rebecca, up until this point, has always viewed sexuality as her weapon of choice.  It’s the only weapon she really had.  But the more time she’s spent with Proctor, the more she’s picking up other weapons.  We’re gradually evolving her to a place where she no longer has to use sex as a weapon because she’s developed a lot of other weapons in her arsenal.    

YAITANES:  We had talked about having those two things inter-cut with each other for that sequence.  The thing that I like, that people have come to get used to with Banshee, is that anybody can go, at any time.  You probably thought Lucas was a goner, as well, when you were watching [the finale]. 

bansheeThere’s such a creepy and unsettling sexual tension between Kai Proctor and Rebecca.  What should we make of the scene of him walking into the room naked and her hugging him?  Should we be feeling that sexual tension?

TROPPER:  I think you should feel whatever you feel.  We’re not going to tell you what to feel.  But, the fact is that Kai Proctor has been alone for a very long time.  Rebecca is the only person who could possibly understand him, and he’s the only person who can understand her.  As a result, they don’t have the social mores that protect them from occasionally straying over lines because they’re so removed from regular society. 

Is there such a thing as too far, when it comes to this show?  Are there things you wanted to do, but decided to cut because it felt like it was going too far?

YAITANES:  We keep ourselves in pretty good check.  We have freedom, but we also have restraint.  We never go at it thinking, “How can we outdo ourselves?”  If we are going to tackle something, we do set out to make it the best version of what it is.  For example, in Season 1, Episode 8, we had Carrie and Olek fighting, and we were like, “All right, we’re gonna make the best man/woman fight that’s ever been done in film or TV.”  If we’re gonna do it, then we’re going to make sure it’s the best possible version of that.  Our fight sequences do that.  Episode 10 has what I think was one of the most brutal, frightening fight scenes ever, at the end of it. 

Since it was set up to appear that way, will we be seeing more of Chayton Littlestone?

YAITANES:  Yeah, I would expect to see Chayton back in Banshee in Season 3.  

TROPPER:  We spend a lot of time really thinking about guest stars.  We spend a lot more time than you would think, in conceiving them and casting them.

As far as Season 3 goes, do you already have the general plot arc? 

TROPPER:  We’re well into scripts.  We have an entire season outline and we’re ready.  

YAITANES:  Cinemax’s enthusiasm when they read the season opener that Jonathan wrote for Season 3 was fantastic.  I don’t think anybody will imagine how we’re going to open it, just like nobody can possibly predict how we’re going to end Season 3.  All I can say about Season 3 is that when Jonathan came up with the end of Season 3, I had a palpable desire to see up to Season 4.  I can’t believe how awesome Season 3 is going to end.  There’s no Banshee fan on the planet that isn’t going to be dying.  It’s going to be the most anticipated season of our show.

banshee-antony-starr-ivana-milicevicWill we get to see what fatherhood looks like for Lucas Hood in Season 3?

TROPPER:  We might see some faltering steps around that, but Lucas knows that he’s not, at this stage in his life, cut out to start something there.  You might see the Lucas Hood version of fatherhood.

Are you at the point now where no one who stays in Banshee will ever get a happy ending, and it’s more about just staying alive, at this point?

TROPPER:  I wouldn’t say that no one can get a happy ending.  But it’s a corrupt place and Lucas’ arrival set in motion a chain of events where nothing can remain untouched and pure, so happy endings aren’t really in the cards for most people. 

Banshee will return to Cinemax for Season 3 in 2015.


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