The CW drama series The Tomorrow People follows a generation of humans born with paranormal abilities, who are the next evolutionary leap of mankind. Up until a year ago, Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) was a “normal” teenager, but then he learned that he is part of a genetically advanced race that is being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra. In Episode 17, “End Game,” John (Luke Mitchell) and Russell (Aaron Yoo) learn of a dangerous plan that Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino) has in motion while Cara (Peyton List) gets a lead on a new break-out that turns out to be someone from her past.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Luke Mitchell talked about how Episode 17 really turns things on its head, what he felt about John’s loss of leadership, savoring the good that happens to his character, how each of the remaining episodes just keep getting bigger, that they needed extra shooting days for the final three episodes, figuring out who the real bad guy is, how John feels about revealing the Tomorrow People to the world, the unexpected friendship between John and Astrid (Madeleine Mantock), and all of those shirtless scenes. Check out what Luke Mitchell had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
LUKE MITCHELL: Goodness, I don’t know if I can answer that. The writers are doing a great job at surprising us with pretty much every episode. But I have to say, it’s not just because you’re talking to me about the episode, but Episode 17 was my favorite episode to read, up until that point. By the end of the episode, you’re just shaking your head going, “I don’t know who to trust or who to believe.” We turn things on its head, and at the end, you just don’t know who the real bad guy is. It’s a really juicy prospect.
When the show started, John was the leader of the Tomorrow People, who everyone looked to for direction. At what point and how did you learn that that leadership role would be taken away, and what did you think about that turn in the story?
MITCHELL: It was a huge turning point for my character. When I first heard about it, I was really excited by the prospect. I think change is always a good thing. Change keeps things moving, and obviously that’s a big change. So, I was excited to find out how and where that would go. And I was glad to read that Cara was going to kick John out. I just liked the idea of it. John had the storyline where he was crashing at Stephen’s place. It brought different colors to the character that I’ve very much enjoyed. Now, he’s on that journey back to the lair, from living with Stephen and realizing who he is, despite the fact that he’s not leader anymore, and realizing that he does belong down there. It’s not an ego thing. He doesn’t have to be leader. Right now, things are okay. They’re not great, but they’re okay. He’s trying to keep everything balanced and even. He’s got a good poker face on right now, but there’s a lot of stuff bubbling below the surface. And he’s trying to support Cara in her leadership, as best he can.
When you read about something good happening for your character, do you read the next script, waiting for the other shoe to drop?
MITCHELL: No. As soon as something good happens to your character, you do a little happy dance You don’t want to find out what happens next. You’re like, “This is awesome!” You invest yourself in that prospect and in that storyline. The way our scripts are unrolling, something big happens in pretty much every episode. Maybe not something big for each character, but there’s generally a pretty big revelation in every episode, and that’s exciting. Speaking for myself, I very much enjoy each new script, as it comes in, and I enjoy it, at the time. I’m obviously aware that things are going to change, but you’ve got to savor the moment.
MITCHELL: Everything, seriously. Episode 17 lights the fuse. Episode 18 ramps up. Episode 19 is huge. And then, Episodes 20, 21 and 22 are like a trilogy. Each episode is like a movie, unto itself. I’m so excited. There’s a lot more John and Jedikiah coming up. Also, they’re dealing with the prospect of, now that Stephen’s dad has been found to be frozen, there’s the idea that he could still come back. If we find a way, we can still bring him back, and that’s exciting. We’ve gotta also decide who the real bad guy is. We’ve been led to believe that The Founder is the bad guy, but in this current episode, that’s going to be thrown on its head. You’re going to be scratching your head going, “Well, what he said makes sense, and now I’m looking squarely at Jedikiah as an absolute ruthless killer.”
Have you already shot the finale?
MITCHELL: No, we’re currently shooting Episode 21, and we’re about half-way through. And then, we’ll be starting Episode 22. But for the last three episodes, we’ve extended our shoot dates for those episodes because of the content. Instead of doing eight-day episodes, Episode 20 was nine days, Episode 21 is nine days, and Episode 22 will be ten days. And we’ll see if that’s enough because it’s huge.
In this next episode, Jedikiah goes to John to kill The Founder. What sort of through process will go into the decision John makes about what to do?
MITCHELL: It’s not going to be a snap decision, that’s for sure. Throughout the series, we’ve talked about how, just because John has the ability to kill, that doesn’t make it easy for him to kill. Every time he kills someone, it takes a part of him, and he doesn’t like that. He’s torn by that. So, there’s that side of things, and then he’s also being requested to do this by the man he trusts least in the world. He’s gotta work out why he should trust this man and go about doing this. And then, even if he comes around to that idea, we’re talking about The Founder, who is one of the most powerful Tomorrow People, ever. He’s one of the first break-outs. It’s not going to be as simple as finding him and pulling the trigger. It’s the complexity of it. You’d have to find him with his guard down. Where does he live? How would you break in? It’s that kind of thing. So, there are multi-levels.
The episode with the introduction of the Red Avenger and the idea of the Tomorrow People acting as superheroes brought up some interesting new ideas about how they could be using their abilities to help people instead of hiding them. Where would you say John falls on the subject of whether they should reveal themselves to the world?
MITCHELL: On a base level, I think the idea of helping people is in John’s nature. But the idea of dressing up as said superhero, I think John would find pretty ridiculous because that’s just drawing attention to yourself. So long as Ultra is still around, it’s a dangerous prospect. So, as much as the idea of helping people would be a good idea, it’s at the risk of your own life and the lives of the people that would be helping you. It’s just about management. So at this point in time, while Ultra is still around, John thinks it’s a silly idea.
It’s been interesting to see an unexpected friendship form between John and Astrid. What’s it been like to hear feedback from the fans, about how much they love seeing those characters together and how sweet that relationship is?
MITCHELL: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy! I wasn’t quite expecting it, to be honest. There’s been quite the fan reaction to it. It’s very flattering. I really enjoy working with Maddie [Mantock], who plays Astrid. I think she’s a great actress. It’s a very different dynamic between Astrid and John, and they bring out a different side to each other. It has a lighter air about it. Instead of John being dark and angry and brooding, you get to see a lighter, slightly more fun and motivational side to him. That’s certainly fun to play, as an actor. You get to show more stuff. It’s not just playing the same stuff, all the time. So, that’s been fun, and because Maddie and I have fun working together, I guess that translates on screen and people are enjoying that. And the writers have obviously caught onto the fan reaction, so they are writing more John and Astrid stuff. Whether it’s going to be romantic or not, I can’t say. But they’re definitely getting to spend more time together, are growing closer, and are definitely forming a bond. I’m excited to see where it goes.
What goes through your head when you read a script and John is doing something shirtless again? Do you just laugh about it? Is that something you’ve come to expect from the show?
MITCHELL: Yeah, a little bit. It depends on what it is. If it’s working out, then okay, I would work out without a shirt on, just because of the practicalities of getting your clothes dirty or sweaty. I can see that. But if it happens too much, you do shake your head at it. It just is what it is. As long as it’s not all about the shirtlessness, when it’s written in, you’re like, “Okay, that’s there. I’ll make sure I don’t eat too much cake on the weekend.” I just try to do the best job that I can, as an actor. Hopefully, that carries through. That’s all I can do.
The Tomorrow People airs on Monday nights on The CW.