INTERVIEWS: ‘Timeless’ Cast and Executive Producer Discuss S2

timeless season 2

We had the opportunity to sit down with some of the cast and the executive producer of NBC’s Timeless at this year’s WonderCon! Showrunner Shawn Ryan had a lot to say about Timeless’ cancellation reversal, which left its devoted fan base (affectionately called Clockblockers) beyond excited about the chance to hop into the Lifeboat again with the Time Team. “It was really exhilarating,” Ryan says of the quick turnaround. He notes the show’s loyal, outspoken following and good ratings as reasons why Timeless should have been renewed in the first place. Check out the videos below to see what everyone had to say about the surprising renewal and hints about the plot and character arcs coming up during Timeless’ second season.

Shawn Ryan mentions the sense of responsibility the writers felt regarding the fan response to Timeless after its first season. “…For the fans to be so passionate, to have their voices heard by NBC, and for NBC to so publically say, ‘You know what, we rethought this, and we think we made a mistake and we’re going to bring it back’… All of that good will goes away if you then make ten episodes that suck,” he says. He further explains that the thrilling story of the renewal—that went viral across social media—added an extra level of expectation to create something the fans would enjoy. But he believes that season two is even better than season one. “We value each episode,” Ryan continues, speaking of how grateful the writers, producers, cast, and crew are to be able to visit these characters and stories again.

Of the approach to season two—moving Timeless from Vancouver to Los Angeles presented an interesting challenge—Ryan says there are still some big set pieces, but they made the decision to lean into the characters that the audience fell in love with. Now that most of the characters have moved into the underground bunker, they’re working and living together, which creates a lot of unique opportunities. Ryan teases some of the show’s upcoming set pieces: “We’ve got this big suffragette march in episode seven this year down the streets of 1919 New York,” he reveals.

Focusing on the character driven aspect of the show, Ryan speaks of the loss a lot of the characters have gone through: “This show ultimately is a story about how people come together to create their own family.” Which is good news for those of us who love the particular story trope of found families.

In delving into more backstories, we’ll get to learn more about Emma this season, who grew into a larger role. We’ll see how she got into Rittenhouse and what led her to where she is now. Ryan cites show creator Eric Kripke in emphasizing how important it is to make your villains interesting. Emma is certainly the hero of her own story, and Ryan promises that she’ll become a “valuable” cast member as the season wears on.

Regarding the future of Timeless, Ryan comments: “Our attitude is, ‘let’s do the best season two and let’s end in a way that would allow for the best season three.’” And one last teaser for the diehard Clockblockers: Rufus and Jiya are working hard to be able to fit more people into the Lifeboat safely!

Next up, Malcolm Barrett—Timeless’ “hero in a hoodie” Rufus Carlin—gives a little insight into Rufus and Jiya’s relationship and how her prophetic visions will affect their dynamic over the course of the season. Jiya hasn’t exactly been up front about what she’s been seeing, so expect that to cause some strain for everyone’s favorite nerdy couple. “That kind of winds up wearing on their relationship,” Barrett says. “What are the secrets going to tell? How much of the visions do they know? What do they mean?” He brings up an interesting bit of speculation, too, that’s been floating around the fandom: is Jiya seeing the future or the past?

Barrett also shares Rufus’ character growth this season; he’s the same introverted nerd we all love, but he’s taking more initiative and getting more involved, especially with Jiya and calling out Wyatt’s behavior. When asked if he prefers saving the day from a technical or action standpoint, he sees the appeal of both. “I really love exploring a hero whose biggest superpower is his genius.” But Rufus can also surprise himself by getting physical and taking out a few bad guys if needed. “It doesn’t come easy to him to fight, it doesn’t come easy to him to kill a man, but he knows what has to be done.”

As to improvisations, Barrett claims the ad libs that are pure fan service, like tossing in the term “Clockblockers” in this season’s premiere, as a shout out to the fans. “You’ll see that a lot more this season,” he promises. Be on the lookout for those hilarious ad libs sprinkled in throughout season two.

When asked if he was surprised by the intense fan reaction to bring Timeless back, Barrett smiles, “Yes, a lot. I’ve never had a fan reaction play like that. […] This definitely took it to a whole new level.”

Our interview with Sakina Jaffrey and Paterson Joseph (Agent Denise Christopher and Connor Mason, respectively) touches on more of the family dynamic that will come into play in season two now that everyone’s been crammed into the secret underground bunker. Jaffrey hints at more time spent outside the bunker, too; a visit inside Agent Christopher’s home will allow Timeless fans to meet her kids. “This is the only normal relationship outside this bunker,” Joseph muses. It will also show Agent Christopher’s softer side, which is something she has to protect when she’s on the job.

Timeless will also delve a little more into Agent Christopher and Connor Mason’s reluctant friendship, one they’re forced to cultivate in such close quarters—and because Mason’s literally lost everything. “We get to find out who each other is,” Jaffrey and Joseph agree. “Everyone in the bunker, we become a surrogate family,” Jaffrey adds. She even teases a moment in the season where Mason will save her.

“Things get terrible, but it’s his own fault in some ways,” Joseph says of Mason’s arc this season. “Because when you’ve got lots of money and people to do stuff for you, you do get lazy about all sorts of things. […] He’s lost a step with the technology, he’s lost a step in terms of his skills even as an engineer. He doesn’t really know who he is anymore.”

Teasing a little about what’s coming this season, Jaffrey hints, “There’s four seats this season,” in reference to the Lifeboat. They won’t say whether Mason or Agent Christopher will eventually take a trip back in time, but that fourth seat leaves a lot of possibilities.

Of the rampant fan speculation and theories, Joseph and Jaffrey have nothing but good things to say. “I love how smart the fans are!” Joseph exclaims. They wonder if some of the Clockblockers have gotten a peek at their scripts…

Goran Višnjić, Timeless’ charming antagonist-turned-reluctant ally Garcia Flynn, attended WonderCon after wrapping the season finale mere hours prior. He tells With An Accent that he believes season two is even better than the first season, echoing showrunner Shawn Ryan. “The characters are more grounded,” he explains. “It’s the willingness of the writers to give back to the fans in a way. It’s smarter, but it’s more fun at the same time.” Timeless knows what it’s doing now and the objectives and villains are clearer than they have been in the past.

Višnjić hints at the “weird” dynamics that will happen as a result of Flynn making himself at home in the Time Team’s bunker, one of the major twists revealed in last episode’s final minutes. The new dynamics will not only provide a lot of humorous situations, but heartwarming ones as well.

On Flynn’s character arc this season, expect to see somewhat of a lighter side to our favorite antagonist. He’s unpredictable, but he and the Time Team share a common enemy in Rittenhouse and he doesn’t want to pass that up that opportunity. “It’s a little bit weird in the beginning,” Višnjić says. “We’re shooting at the same people. There’s a lot of interesting situations happening.”

One of those interesting situations? Višnjić teases a future conversation between Flynn and Lucy that will reveal just how Lucy’s journal came to be in his possession. It provides a whole new set of questions that would lead into a third season of Timeless. “[…] in a way that we presume there are going to be some new scientific discoveries that are going to enable time travel to be done a little bit differently.” Intriguing!

There’s plenty of time for fans to speculate about all of this, since Timeless is on a break for the holiday. It returns next Sunday, April 8 at 10PM EST on NBC.