When Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency returns with new episodes this fall on BBC America, we'll see the return of familiar faces as well as plenty of new characters looking to either align themselves with or hunt down Dirk (Samuel Barnett) and Todd (Elijah Wood). At San Diego Comic-Con, Daily Dead had the opportunity to take part in roundtable interviews with returning cast members Barnett, Wood, Hannah Marks, and Jade Eshete, as well as new additions Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, to discuss what's to come in season 2.
What can we expect from season 2, especially your relationship with each other? Can we expect you to work better together or will we still get head-butting moments?
Elijah Wood: Yeah, there's actually been kind of a shift in regards to our relationship. In the first season, Todd is super reluctant to do anything that Dirk wants him to do, or to believe in the things that Dirk believes in. And in season 2, we find that there's a shift. He's having a sort of existential crisis about the universe and what it all means and Todd is very much on board, very enthusiastically. So, it's sort of a bit of a role reversal.
Samuel Barnett: It's a real switch. Dirk just doesn't want to have anything to do with it. He wants everything to slow down and Dirk just wants to be like a normal detective. Until they use his super power, but it's like, "My super power gets people killed, I don't want to do that anymore." So yeah, it's definitely role reversal.
Elijah Wood: And it's been fun. It's a very different dynamic, but inherently the same dynamic exists that we ended with, that they really became friends by the end of the first season. That sort of the fight back and forth ceased to exist by the end of the first season, and so now that the underlying truth of their relationship is this friendship and a bond. But now they're sort of fighting about a different thing, which is to get him on board.
Samuel Barnett: But I feel like they can have that fight because they are now friends. Dirk actually does think he has a friend and believes that. Which is part of what I think freaks him out, that if you have friends, that friends can get killed. And if you care about people, then that's going to be really sad.
You have Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine joining you this season. What dynamic do these actors bring and how do they play off your characters?
Elijah Wood: Well, Tyler plays a sheriff in the town of Bergsberg, a fictional town in Montana that a good portion of this season takes place in. We interact with Tyler's character a lot. We interact with Allen's character less. Allen plays a character name Freest. He works for Black Wing, which is the secret government division that is kind of trying to harness all these people with special abilities. He's kind of the enforcer, I suppose, of that particular division. We only interact with him sort of briefly, but it's intense [laughs]. It's incredible. They already feel like family.
Samuel Barnett: It's very intense. We are so lucky to have both those actors doing these roles, because they bring so much more than what's just on the page in those characters. They really bring them alive. And it's so weird because they feel like they've always been part of the Dirk Gently universe, those two, even though they're totally new. So, I want them back in season 3, but I don't know if that happens.
And what's brilliant, actually, is taking the same characters and putting them in totally different situation [laughs], because the audience seems to have really taken to the characters a lot more. It's like they are watching them in different setups.
Elijah Wood: And we, the actors, literally get thrust into very strange, unique scenarios as well. Like, "What? we're doing this?"
Samuel Barnett: There is never a normal thing.
Elijah Wood: Nope. Not a single normal thing [laughs]. Todd has a pararibulitis, instant karma after revealing to his sister that he'd lied all that time about having had it, and he never really had it, and then he gets it. So he's very vulnerable. We pick up and then, there's not much I can tell you beyond the fact that he's been kidnapped, and our other friends have been compromised as well. And so Todd is kind of on the run with Farah at the beginning of this, ultimately trying to get back to Dirk and find him. And the fact that he has pararibulitis has put him in kind of a tight spot. He's very vulnerable now.
Samuel Barnett: But also we can say that there are no accidents in the scripts. There are no accidents that characters have pararibulitis, and things like that, because everything is still extremely connected from season 1 into 2.
Elijah Wood: Max is so detailed that he's talked about things that he's planted in [season] 1 that won't be revealed until [season] 3. We're still finding out about this stuff.
Did you play a role in coming up with any of the comedic or slapstick elements that make up the show? For instance, jumping up and trying to climb the fence, of the electric grid or playing out the details of the time travel sequence?
Samuel Barnett: I certainly didn't! [Laughs] That is all from the great mind of Max Landis. And also, I think that particular one of climbing the fence and wiggling my butt around was Michael B. Jordan, our director on that part. But no, it's all in there. I've been really aware of not wanting to be too like a comic book version of myself, but I think the material kind of lends itself to it now and then. It's been a lot of fun to find that stuff as we go along. And also Max writes an awful lot of slapstick right into it.
Elijah Wood: There's a lot of physicality that's written into the script from Max that's pretty specific.
Have you been happy with the response to the first season of the series and the fan community that has built up around this show?
Hannah Marks: I think [so], and we all really love it now that we've seen everything. And it's cool to come back and have people talk to us and say, "Oh, I loved this part or this part. And the ending was so satisfying." And it's a complicated show. So, for people to connect with it and talk to us and be able to talk about it on the same level that we can talk about it because we read the scripts a million times and we're there. So, the fact that people are following it and are that invested, is so beautiful to me.
Jade Eshete: Yeah. I think, like, last year, especially when we were watching the episodes as they aired and seeing all of the love that the show got on Twitter. People just falling in love with these characters and trying to predict things and being insanely wrong. And still coming back, for me that was really, really exciting to see all of the love that the show got.
Hannah Marks: Also, so much amazing fan art! The fans of the show are so talented and so observant. I did my nails green for Comic-Con because that's [how] the Rowdy 3 does Amanda's green in the show. And people have already been pointing it out and it was such a subtle part of the show, so I'm amazed that someone picked up on it.
What can we expect in season 2 from your characters? How are they dealing with where we left off at the very end of Season 1?
Hannah Marks: So, we're still shooting. I'm still in the middle of learning what's going to happen. I can say that we will reunite and things will happen. But I'm not even sure. Amanda starts off season 2 basically being the leader of the Rowdy 3 and being the opposite of everything she was last season. I mean, look at this sh**. [Points to shaved side of her head.]
It's all Mohawked back there, but last year she was like a scared little girl stuck in her house. And now this year she gets to be strong and find herself again.
Season 1 was built on themes of personal change and characters making drastic changes to their lives. What will we see as major themes as we transition into season 2?
Jade Eshete: Well, I feel like this season, it's kind of turned on its ear a bit. Yesterday, we were talking about how Sam was mentioning for Dirk. Last season he was all about, you know, "The universe will guide me." And completely confident in that way of thinking. And this season Dirk kind of has an existential crisis and is a little bit off-kilter—not really sure how to proceed. Farah kind of does a 180 in that sense as well. She was very much by the book, following all the rules. And this season, she's kind of a full-on criminal, hacking into government service and doing whatever.
So I think everyone has kind of done a 180 and is now on a different path. It's hard to say. Last season there was a lot, as far as themes go. There was the body swapping, time travel situation happening. And this season I think it's more of a magic fantasy land. I'm sure you guys have heard of Windemere and the overall storyline and all the things that are going on there. So, I think there will be some new and interesting, exciting things for the fans to get involved with.
Hannah Marks: I think the characters always are having personal growth and learning new things about themselves and making mistakes. And that's to Max's credit. It always comes down to the characters. There can be so much plot. So much action. So many fantasy elements to the shop. But ultimately, what he cares about are the characters and how they're feeling and how they're evolving. So, that never goes away.
Personally, how do you feel you and your character have grown together from season 1 into season 2?
Jade Eshete: For me and Farah, there's a bit more for me, I think, in confidence in knowing her. Last Comic-Con we were here and we had barely shot three or four episodes. So we were still very much learning who these people were. At least for me. And this season, you learn so much more about Farah. You learn why she is the way she is. Why she is so neurotic and has these bouts of not believing in herself and is so hard on herself.
You learn a lot more about her. And it just helped me to connect that much more to her because that's something that I struggle with. That I think a lot of people—fans of the show—struggle with. And that's the exciting thing about the show as well, is that it kind of celebrates those weird oddities people have and like to hide. It just showcases them and says, "Here. You can be weird and be a lead on the show. Not the side person, but the main, and be just as engaging and just as wonderful."
We’re excited to see you both in Season 2. What can you tell us about your characters?
Alan Tudyk: I’m sort of a Sherlock in my own way. I’m darker.
Tyler Labine: You shoot people.
Alan Tudyk: I shoot people. There's a great little exchange I think I can share where somebody is telling me, I'm tracking down these people and looking to bring them to justice. And I say at one point like, "I might kill some people," talking to my supervisor. He's like, "No! No! No! Don't kill anybody." I go, "Well, we'll see." He's like, "I said no! Don't kill anybody." "Well, we'll see.” He's sort of on his own. He likes to be his own man. I have a machine gun, so that's been different.
Tyler Labine: Well, my name is Sheriff Sherlock Hobbes. My character just goes along for the ride. He’s a sheriff of this fictitious town, Bergsberg, Montana. For all intents and purposes, he should probably just arrest this gang as soon as they walk into my department. But, I don’t, and I inexplicably go along for the ride and then me and my partner, my deputy, Tina Tevitino, played by the brilliant Izzie Steele, we sort of enable them. We go along for the ride and we use our badges to kind of get them into places where they wouldn’t normally be able to go. And Hobbes and Jade, [played by] Farrah, have a real sort of law enforcement love affair. I enable her to go after those law enforcement tendencies that she has that she has not been able to explore fully. And I literally give her a badge.
What interested you in the role and the series itself?
Alan Tudyk: It was called in to my representation and I honestly wasn't aware of the show prior and watched it and said, "Yeah! I'd love to go play." I love Vancouver. I haven't spent a lot of time there in several years. It's a perfect time to be there. Tyler Labine. Truly, that was a deciding factor. We could work together more as our characters, but I like working with this guy.
Tyler Labine: Yeah. You were talking about Whedon words. Max Landis has a way, all the writers on the show have a knack for writing verbal gymnastics. It's like this very odd, jam-packed way of speaking and I find that that lends itself very well to almost burying some of the subversiveness in it. But, it's definitely there and you kind of, I don't know, I was saying this at the last table, it's almost like shooting a live-action cartoon. The sky's the limit, the stakes are high, and the humor is definitely dark and dirty. A little bit dirty, dark. And my character is maybe the cleanest, most sane character in the show. Which doesn't say much, because everybody is clinically insane in the show.
In case you missed it, check out our Comic-Con 2017 coverage hub for all of our news and features from San Diego, including part 1 of our roundtable interviews with the cast and crew of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.