When TNT’s alien invasion drama “Falling Skies” returns for Season 4, expect it to look very different from the past three seasons.
The premiere — airing Sunday (June 22) at 10 p.m. ET/PT — may start out like any old episode, with the Second Mass together and happy, arriving home after a long journey, but a few minutes in, the mood immediately changes. An attack from the Espheni scatters the group, separating all the main characters for the full first half of the season.
“Falling Skies” star Drew Roy couldn’t be happier about the change of pace going into Season 4. “What I like most about this season is that this is the third time that we’ve had a new writing staff come on,” Roy tells Zap2it. “What’s special about that is that is always takes the direction of the show and shifts it just a little in one direction or another. It keeps things quite unpredictable. I love the vision the writers made for this season in splitting us all up for the first time.”
Roy loves how splitting up the group shifts the dynamics of the characters on the show. “The show had gotten into this rhythm of particular characters interacting with other characters and basically, you were confined in who you could interact with,” Roy says. “But now we’re split up into these four different camps you get to see characters interact that you’ve never seen before. I thoroughly enjoy getting to act with these different people as well as watching the other actors intermingle with people they’ve never gotten to work with before. It creates all these new dynamics going into this season that’s going to be really exciting to watch.”
Something else that changes the TNT drama drastically is the fact that five minutes into the premiere, the show jumps forward four months. “We’re going to get started right from that point and not show flashbacks to those missing months,” Roy reveals. “Our show has always made a point to live by where we never do flashbacks. We’ve had episodes with alternate realities or dream sequences, but we like to keep the viewers in the same playing field as the characters. What’s going on right then and there is what you see. Anything that happened in the past, you just have to hear through the stories being told by the characters.”
Roy continues, “I think that’s a pretty good rule to live by. It helps the story to not get too complicated. When you’re doing sci-fi, the ability to jump back into the past to show something or recreate something allows you to do things that can get very complicated. I like the simplicity of staying in the same time plane and getting all the details to the viewers that way.”
When the show picks up four months after the Espheni attack, Hal ends up in a dangerous, poverty-stricken concentration style ghetto with his father locked up in solitary. It’s dark, it’s bleak and Roy loves every minute of it.
“Hal’s new reality is dirty and I love it!” Roy says with a laugh. “I had to go into the hair and makeup trailer every morning and just had them make me look filthy. It’s awesome.”
Despite these tough conditions, Hal rises above and finally gets to be a leader. “One of the main things that’s going on with Hal this season is that we’re getting to see him continue to grow into a leader,” Roy says. “As the episodes progress, we’ll see Tom really allowing Hal to lead people. He’s always been a leader but he’s never actually been the person at the head, taking control of situations and making decisions. In the first episode you’ll get a hint of that, but in particular in the second episode because Tom has been locked up in solitary and he’s been liaising back and forth with Hal, giving direction on what’s going on outside, searching for a way to get out of the ghetto.”
Roy is happy that Hal finally gets a chance to shine, and has enjoyed playing that mature side of him. “That’s been a nice challenge to take on after four years of watching Noah [Wyle] play Tom as the leader,” Roy says. “As a real son would do watching his father, I picked up little clues and hints as to what works and how to carry yourself to play a leader. This year we’ll find Hal literally in front of crowds of people making decisions.”
Does that mean that Hal and Tom will butt heads as father and son when Tom gets out of lockup? “Every now and then there will be a little friction by matter of opinion of what these guys think is the best way to go about things,” Roy teases. “But as we’ve seen, Tom has raised Hal pretty well in some tough situations and he’s grown up. So even when they don’t completely agree on something they can find common ground and find respect for one another and move forward. But yeah, there will be a little friction.”
“Falling Skies” Season 4 premieres Sunday (June 22) at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.