Like most television writers, Damon Lindelof cut his teeth as a staff writer and producer on a handful of television action-melodramas, including Crossing Jordan, but broke out as one of the key creative forces behind Lost, alongside J.J. Abrams. This led to a slew of major writing gigs, including penning the scripts for Prometheus and World War Z, and recently re-teaming with Abrams on the unfairly derided Star Trek: Into Darkness. He’s also written extensively for a handful of animated series.
These days, Lindelof’s primary focuses is on Tomorrowland, the upcoming, highly secretive science fiction epic that he wrote with director Brad Bird, and The Leftovers, the supernatural drama series he developed for HBO, which got picked up for a second season following its initial run last year. Adapted from co-creator Tom Perrotta‘s novel of the same name, the show takes a distinctly mordant look at the aftermath of a Rapture-like event for a group of people left behind on Earth. According to Lindelof, The Leftovers Season 2 is currently filming, with its 10-episode run set to premiere Fall 2015.
We got a chance to sit down with Lindelof recently to talk about how the writer-producer decided to approach the second season of The Leftovers, and Lindelof was quick to point to the narrative trajectory and storytelling of another HBO series, namely The Wire:
Although some people think the second season for The Wire is its least successful, I was just completely and totally captivated by the audacity and boldness of just shifting the storytelling down to the docks, and taking the characters who I had become deeply enamored of and sidelining them in favor of entirely new characters. In my mind, it paid off huge because it set up the paradigm for what the third season and the fourth season of The Wire could be, not to mention the fifth season. So, I’ve always felt that the next logical season of The Leftovers would just be the continuing adventures of these people in this place. Let’s not do that. Let’s try something different.
So, it would seem that Lindelof is just as interested in exploring the world he’s created outside of the main characters he set up in the first season of The Leftovers as he is in building the interpersonal connections amongst them. And though he avoided giving any salient details about the story in The Leftovers Season 2, Lindelof pointed towards Perrotta’s continuing influence on the series and input on the writing process:
We’ve exhausted all the story from Tom Perrotta’s book. It was a novel, it wasn’t meant to be a continuing series. Tom remains very involved in the storytelling moving forward but what could we do that would shake things up a bit and pitch a bit of curve ball but at the same time, not reinvent the wheel. We’re still making a show about the same exact thing thematically, we still want it to feel the same way that the first season felt, but I do feel like the catalyst for coming back was “let’s try something bold!” And if it doesn’t work, well, it will be a spectacular failure as opposed to a humdrum one.
Lindelof is far from the first show runner to suggest a swing for the fences, and many of these ambitions simply don’t show up on the screen. That being said, considering the unique tone and subject matter that The Leftovers deals in, it’s easy to believe that Lindelof has sincerely attempted to retool and streamline the series for the better. Sadly, however, I doubt that municipal corruption along the Baltimore docks will be a key storyline in The Leftovers Season 2.
Look for more from Steve’s interview with Lindelof soon.