At the USA TCA panel, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail was on hand to talk about the upcoming season, and to beam with pride over winning the Golden Globe for best drama series (Christian Slater also won best supporting actor, and star Rami Malek was nominated for best actor). Still, Esmail (who will be directing all of the excellent show’s second season, which he did not do for Season 1) said that he prefers to, “keep that out of the room because at the end of the day its about telling this story, and that’s where our hearts are.”
In their coverage of the panel, THR notes that Esmail says Season 2 will revolve around Elliot (Malek) coming to terms with Christian Slater’s character, and how to reconcile that in his daily life. (On Twitter, several journalists also reported that according to the cast, extras and others were told to never look directly at Slater’s character, a twist that Malek said he knew from the start, and one that Slater suspected instantly in regards to his true nature). Esmail continued,
“I will say that in season two, there will be a lot more backstory that will be shown. Yes, the timeline is going to get a little bit clearer. Not 100 percent because what’s the fun in that, but a little bit clearer.”
For example, there was a “reason” that Darlene (Carly Chaiken) wasn’t present in the Times Square scene with the rest of Elliot’s family, and there are other aspects of Season 1 that aren’t real, but not even the cast knows what they are. Esmail said he likes providing twists, though not to the detriment of the story:
“The series is filling in the blanks of the past and the present and even the future of this character. You’re this close to the painting, you take a step back and then you see more of it. … I think that’s how I’m approaching every season. I’m not interested in gotcha moments or trying to shock the audience or surprise the audience. It’s not my agenda to keep shocking you.”
Esmail directing all of the episodes apparently “terrified” the network, but it’s a precedent we’re seeing more and more in great TV shows like The Knick, the first season of True Detective, and others. And, it’s especially important on a show like Mr. Robot, whose visual style is so stunning and cinematic.
Esmail also said that actor B.D. Wong, who played White Rose, will return, though “sparingly, because his character has such a great mystery around him.” Also, another big thread in Season 2 will be the conflict that comes between Angela (Portia Doubleday), who is now an Evil Corps employee, and Darlene.
“We’re really talking about a person of the Occupy Wall Street versus the Wall Street mentality and seeing it through the eyes of two young women,” Esmail said. Though Doubleday added, “I don’t think that she’s crossed over…. I think she might be a little bit over head but it will be interesting to see if she can keep her head above water.”
But what I really want to know is … where is Wellick?
Mr Robot Season 2 will debut this summer on USA.