Season 3 of the Emmy-winning series The Last Kids on Earth, with action-packed animation from Atomic Cartoons, is now streaming on Netflix. It hails from bestselling author Max Brallier and showrunner Scott Peterson, and continues the adventures of Jack & Co. as the kids attempt to survive a monstrous post-apocalypse. The new season adapts Brallier’s Book #3, “The Nightmare King,” and uses clever storytelling techniques to explore the dreamscape nestled inside the kids’ minds as the narrative unfolds. It’s definitely worth a watch so put it on your list now at the very least!
With the arrival of the new season of Last Kids, I had a chance to chat with star Nick Wolfhard about the events of “The Nightmare King” and where Jack’s head is at this season. Jack and the kids will have to face terrors both real and imagined, but they’ll also have to deal with internal conflicts within their friend group. It’s not all doom and gloom though! Above all else, The Last Kids on Earth is a super-fun ride into the post-apocalypse. Read on below for Wolfhard’s insight into just how fun it was to make! Some light spoilers follow:
So how are you doing in this increasingly crazy year of 2020?
Nick Wolfhard: Well, I have been getting auditions non-stop, which is nice, but everything feels like it’s going very, very fast, but because like you said, everything is just constantly rapidly changing and it’s surreal to try and get through, but I guess I’m just trying my best to keep my mind focused in one or two places and continue trying to do what I do best.
So just in terms of Last Kids on Earth being on Netflix, getting to experience a new medium of storytelling, having it find its audience, how has that experience been for you as the star of the show?
Nick Wolfhard: It’s been fantastic. I mean, the fact that we have toys now and the books, as well as the show. It’s like a big franchise now, which is fantastic. And all these kids love it and I’m seeing people talking about it on Twitter, because sometimes I search the show up and just see if people are talking about it recently. And yesterday I saw, yeah, they’re talking about it more than ever. Because the audience for the show is very much the little kids, but it’s great to see that people a little older are able to enjoy it and watch it, which is awesome.
Absolutely. And even old folks like me, I get to watch it and enjoy it too and it’s an absolute blast. There are fun things in there.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
Yeah. There are super fun things in there for folks who grew up with Mark Hamill and Bruce Campbell and Catherine O’Hara. It feels like a throwback to a Saturday morning cartoon, which is what we love.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. I think I talked to you about that in the previous interview. We were talking about how there’s just so much for the older audience in terms of either references or cast members and all that stuff.
Definitely. For folks out there who may not be familiar with your character or the show or the books itself, how would you set up Jack’s journey so far and how he got to where he is in season three?
Nick Wolfhard: So Jack started out as this very lonely character. His foster parents abandoned him, but through the apocalypse, he met June, Quint, and Dirk. Well, he already knew June and Quint. Dirk was kind of his bully that along the way became his really good friend and they formed this family together and through trust and bonding, they were able to get to know each other better and fight off the apocalypse.
They also met these monsters that came from a different dimension that an alien called Rezzoch sent them through and they met a bunch of monsters, namely Thrull who was a very, very much almost like a father figure to Jack, but something happens regarding them that I’m not going to get into in case you haven’t seen the first season. But I love, the character designs are great, they’re all different shapes and sizes. And there’s just a lot of great fun. There’s comedy, drama, action, it’s got the whole shebang.
Yeah, fun is definitely the first thing that comes to mind when I think of describing this series. And speaking to the showrunner and then creator Scott and Max as well, fun is always the driving force in the creation of this thing. Does that come through in the voice recording booth as well? Is that like a note that you get? Just like, “Have fun with it?”
Nick Wolfhard: I wouldn’t say it’s a note, but we definitely just end up having fun naturally. And it’s great because we all get to, not riff off each other because we got to stick to the script, but we each say our lines one after the other for the actors and that’s fantastic for chemistry, both in the show and outside of the show. So, that’s great.
So what do you think Jack’s headspace is like at the beginning of this season when everything’s going his way?
Nick Wolfhard: I think, honestly, he’s really satisfied and happy that, like you said, everything is going his way. They’re by Joe’s Pizza now, which is kind of the headquarters where they get lots of mission, I mean, info on missions. Bardle and Skaelka and Chef are right there. You get some weird interdimensional pizza or some human pizza, Dirk helps teach them how to make some actual stuff that humans can eat. And Skaelka maybe for battle advice, Bardle for magic or wisdom in regards to if they have a mission. But it’s just fantastic because Jack finally has that family he’s always wanted and friends and all that stuff. And right now I think everyone’s in a pretty good headspace.
Definitely. And that’s how we start out the season, but as we learn pretty early on in this season, there is an external threat of, a more personal one. The kids learn that there may be other human survivors out there. So maybe give us a peek into how Jack reacts to that? Because it might not be the way you think he would react.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. So the problem with Jack, and not the problem, but the thing about Jack this season is that he was left by his foster family, he was betrayed by a character last season. So it gets to a point, last season where he didn’t really know who to trust, but he slowly learns how to regain his composure. But he’s been through so much in such a short period of time that he’s afraid that his friends discover this radio and they find out they’re not the last people on earth, he’s afraid of losing that just forever. And it’s pretty understandable and I sympathize with that, but yeah, it’s definitely a hardship he has to deal with throughout the season.
Definitely. So what was that like for you to tap into a different side of Jack and explore that vulnerable side, but also the hurt and some anger that he had?
Nick Wolfhard: So I was actually rewatching episode nine of book one recently. And I remembered that I recorded Jack very solemnly for the part where after he gets betrayed. And then he, throughout the episode, regains his composure again. But there are parts in this season, or this book rather where Jack goes crazy. He kind of loses himself and I mean that both figuratively as well as literally, because there’s Rezzoch and Rezzoch actually… There’s something that ends up happening with Rezzoch this season that Jack can’t really tell anyone about, because he’s worried that everyone will freak out and he doesn’t want them to panic.
That’s the last thing he wants right now. He wants to try to convince them to stay, but not only does he have to deal with the fact that his friends might be leaving, he also has to deal with the fact that he’s got something supernatural inside him that he can’t control and potentially is spying on them or perhaps using him for otherworldly deeds, like genuinely evil stuff. So some of this season is… It does definitely get darker than the first season. Jack is very much uncomposed and a little unstable in this season, and it’s not even his fault.
Right. Yeah. Jack has a pretty tough time.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. And it’s not his fault.
No, he’s definitely got a tough time. He’s facing some personal demons, some almost literal demons, and then he’s balancing trying to keep his friend group together and he’s concerned about losing them and what the future holds, especially right as they had just built this new community of humans and monsters and everything seemed to be going well.
Max and Scott likened it to maybe a group of friends who graduated from high school and then some go to college and some don’t. So it’s that sort of feeling of being left behind. Have you ever felt anything kind of like that? Can you put yourself in Jack’s shoes for a little bit there?
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. I mean, I definitely, I remember when I first got out of high school, there was definitely a point where everyone was going to do big things and in terms of just academics, everyone was going to university, but I didn’t really want to go to university. So I didn’t for a while and then I decided to take a semester of college. I tried to get into UBC, but I couldn’t, so I went to the college right beside it to try and get good grades. But then voice acting really took off for me and it ended up all working out.
So, I mean, yeah, I definitely know this feeling like that before, where it feels like your friends are so ahead of you or are moving away, especially after high school when everyone’s going off to do their own thing. Some people I haven’t in years, since graduation, but sometimes that’s just how things go. And you got to learn to live with it, learn to grow with it. And plus, you can always talk to them online and all that stuff. But I guess Jack can’t really do that, which is even more of a reason for him to be freaked out by this radio thing.
Exactly. Yeah. Each of the characters has a thing that they’re wrestling with and struggling with this season. And I like relatable all that was, but I don’t want to give listeners the impression it’s all doom and gloom. This is maybe the most fun I’ve ever seen in a season so far because we get so many characters, so many more imaginative events. I mean, we’ve got cart racing, we’ve got new tech that Quint is making up. We’ve got Bardle churning out all kinds of magic. We got Chef cooking up interdimensional pizzas and Dirk is eating some questionable things.
Nick Wolfhard: I don’t mean to describe it all doom and gloom. It’s still Last Kids. It’s still going to be really funny and there’s still going to be lots of the same humor from the last season. And it’s still going to have all the classic Last Kids stuff, but there’s also parts that are going to get a little deeper for Jack, specifically. So look out for that. That should be interesting.
Definitely. Yeah. It’s fun because you get to play that whole range. You get to just go wild and be a kid in a post-apocalypse, just having a blast. And then you also get to dig into some deeper stuff too.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. Exactly.
So what was it like for you on the other end of the spectrum? What was it like for you to perform some of these actions and dialogue that break the shackles of reality a little bit, let’s say?
Nick Wolfhard: I remember the first dream sequence we recorded. I put my all into it and I was very… At first, I was very shocked at what the dream sequence portrayed, and I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I was shocked like, “Wow, we’re really doing this. We’re really doing this in the show. That’s incredible.” Especially given what we’ve done so far with the humor and with the seriousness. So we’re really taking this next level, but that first dreamscape sequence, I remember vividly recording. And that was, I think one of my favorite parts of this season or this book to record. So look out for that, you’re going to be surprised to say the least,
Definitely. This is October, it’s Halloween month, it’s spooky season. This is a perfect time for this particular season to be popping up on Netflix. So yeah, keep an eye out for that.
Nick Wolfhard: Exactly.
Get in the spooky mood. So my last question for you today, before I have to let you go, what is up next for you, whether it is Last Kids related or otherwise?
Nick Wolfhard: So I’m currently signed on to a series called New-Gen with my brother, Finn Wolfhard and Anya Chalotra.
From Witcher? Nice.
Nick Wolfhard: Yeah. I’m currently signed onto an animated series with my brother and Anya Chalotra called New-Gen and I’m not allowed to say what character I am or anything like that, but that’s going to be a lot of fun. And other than that, I also recently recorded an Adult Swim pilot called Smiling Friends. And hopefully there will be more of that as well in the future. Other than that, I’m always online. My social media is twitter.com/nick__wolfhard and my Instagram is instagram.com/thewolfhard. And that’s where you can find me, so any news or any announcements that you want to see or just me just messing around, that’s where you will find what I’m up to.
Fantastic. That sounds good. I wanted to ask about New-Gen, since I haven’t heard of that. Can you tease the genre or maybe the network? Is there anything you can tease about that one?
Nick Wolfhard: I’ll say this, if you want to learn about New-Gen, there are two separate comic series, one of which is a prequel and that will let you know all you need to know about the series until the show comes out. So yeah, that being the characters, the setting, the world, everything like that. So, yeah, but I will say it’s focused on two brothers and that’s all I can really say.
Fair enough. That’s a great tease and good teases for hopefully the future of Last Kids on Earth, too.
But in the meantime, everybody can check out your work, fantastic, stellar work from you and your co-stars on Netflix for Last Kids on Earth. Thank you so much again for your time today and best of luck with the rest of 2020 and everything else going forward. Hope to talk to you again soon.
Nick Wolfhard: Thank you so much, Dave. Bye bye.