Co-Executive Producer/Writer David Rambo Talks REVOLUTION, Increasing Intensity on the Show, Monroe and Miles Face to Face & Expanding the World

     April 5, 2013


After an extended hiatus, the NBC drama series Revolution is back with more action, heightened emotion and even higher stakes.  At its heart, the story is about a family (both blood and otherwise) struggling to stay together in an American landscape where every single piece of technology – computers, planes, cars, phones and even lights – has mysteriously blacked out forever, or so they thought.  Having harnessed the power of the pendant, militia leader Monroe (David Lyons) sets out to obliterate the Rebels, and if they don’t do something fast, they won’t stand a chance.  From executive producers Eric Kripke, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Jon Favreau, the show also stars Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Elizabeth Mitchell, Zak Orth, JD Pardo, Daniella Alonso and Tim Guinee.

While at WonderCon, co-executive producer/writer David Rambo spoke at a roundtable about how things will be getting more intense as the show moves toward the season finale, that there will be another face-to-face with Miles (Burke) and Monroe (Lyons), that the Neville family will be very challenged, the reasoning behind the recent death of a character, the character he most identifies with, that he’s under strict orders not to talk about the meaning and purpose of the mysterious capsule, how answers will lead to new questions, and how Georgia and California will play into things.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

revolution-castQuestion:  What can you say about these last episodes of the season?

DAVID RAMBO:  They get better and better.  I don’t like spoilers.  I can tell you that.  I can tease you, but I can’t give you spoilers.  I can tell you that it does become more epic.  It gets both bigger and it gets smaller.  It gets bigger, in terms of scope, action, battles and things like that.  But, it gets more intense and smaller, in terms of what the family interactions are.  And by family, I don’t mean just the Mathesons.  Miles and Monroe are a kind of family.  There’s a lot of intensity between them, coming up.  There is another face-to-face encounter with the two of them, and it doesn’t go the way anyone will expect it will.  And the Neville family is going to find that they’re really challenged.  Their relationships are going to start changing.

The momentum of the last several of episodes just keeps raising the bar and each episode has been getting more intense.  Does that go all the way through to the finale, or is there a little bit of a rest or a breather?

RAMBO:  There is no breather.  Each one notches up.  I’m so glad you mentioned that, too, because we really tried to make that happen, and it’s very hard to do.  This is a very hard show to write.  I think we’ve done it.  Time will tell.  I know I look forward to every episode more than the last, once we start to talk about the story.  There are no limit to stories we can tell in this world.  We get in the room, every day, and say, “What if?”  It’s a great, “What if?,” show.

You spent 10 episodes trying to rescue Danny, and then you immediately killed him off, before the audience could even become attached to him.  What was the purpose of killing him off, before the audience could even get to know him?

RAMBO:  The purpose was that we wanted to raise the stakes, in the second half of the season.  We wanted the fight against Monroe to become much more personal than it already was for all of what we call our heroes, like Miles and Charlie and the people around them.  We talked about a lot of different ways to do that, and the one that seemed to have the biggest bang for the buck, in that moment, was to kill Danny and remind the audience that this is a very, very unsafe world.  This is a world where you can die, if you step on a nail.  There are militias out there, there are rebels, and there is a guy who has helicopters and machine guns.  No one is safe.  It was shocking.

giancarlo-esposito-revolutionIs there a character that you identify with most, as one of the writers?

RAMBO:  There is a character that we have coming in Monday’s episode, who is a librarian.  I love the idea that, in this world, there are books that haven’t been burned for fuel yet and someone put them together.  Since I am the son and the grandson of librarians, I love seeing librarians in this world.  That is a character we are going to spend a little time with.

Is that a nod to The Twilight Zone episode?

RAMBO:  It certainly is a nod to The Twilight Zone.  The character even has the same name, Henry Bemis.  But, his glasses are not broken.  He’s too bad-ass for that.          

What can you say about the capsule that was removed from Danny’s body?

RAMBO:  Oh, no!  I can’t tell you anything.  That is the one thing that I am under strict orders not to talk about.  I wish I could!

Do questions get answered by the finale, and how many more will emerge to take the place of the ones that get answered?

RAMBO:  We ask more questions than we answer.  We will answer a lot of the big questions, and all of those answers will lead to more questions.

How much of the answers did you have from the beginning, and how much emerged on the journey?

RAMBO:  I can tell you that we didn’t know any of it.  I don’t even think (show creator) Eric Kripke knew.  He’s one of the great poker players of plot.  He does not show all of his cards for what he’s thinking of until he hears what everybody else is thinking ‘cause if there’s a better idea, he’s going to run with it.  But, we came in with some big ideas about, “Hey, we could try this or we try that,” but it was not mapped out.

What about the trip to California?  Is that going to happen this season? 

RAMBO:  I think we are saving a real exploration of California for the future, but we reference California in a couple of the upcoming episodes.

revolution-mapWhat can you say about Georgia having power?

RAMBO:  Georgia is not like the Monroe Republic.  Georgia has better climate and better clothes, they have a little more commerce and they have more agriculture. They are thriving in a way in this world, and Georgia, as far as power.  I can’t give spoilers.  I hate working on a serialized show because I am dying to tell you things.  There are such cool ideas.  But, I really can’t tell you about power in Georgia, except that we are going to see a lot of Georgia.  Georgia has interesting kinds of power.  You are going to see that Georgia has harnessed steam power, in a way.  The great thing about Revolution is that we don’t do a whole story about that.  It’s there, in something that goes by, and you think, “Did I just see that?,” and you did, but that’s not what the story is about.

revolution-posterHave you or any of the other writers tried living without technology, for any span of time?

RAMBO:  Only when there’s a power outage and we know it’s coming back on.  We’ve talked about what we would do, in that circumstance.  The other writers want to come to my house because I have a nice, big wine cellar and lots of candles.  I told them they can all come to my house.

Have any of the actors’ performances changed what you might have intended to do with their characters?

RAMBO:  Yeah. Their take on material always inspires us and we go, “Oh, let’s write more of that,” or “Maybe they can do this.”  This is a pretty inspiring cast.  You can tell that they love working with one another.  It’s really genuine.  One of the big surprises – and he is an excellent actor, so we shouldn’t have thought it was such a surprise – is David Lyons.  Eric Kripke did not have long-term plans for the character of Monroe, and then he saw the performances David was doing and he thought, “Oh, Monroe is going to play a huge role.  He is not going to get killed, right away, this season.  We are going to take Monroe to the limits.” 

Revolution airs on Monday nights on NBC.