Tomorrow, The Peripheral, a brand new sci-fi series from the minds of Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, arrives on Prime Video, and ahead of its eagerly-awaited premiere date, we were able to sit down with the stars and creators to learn more about what's to come in season one.
We spoke with Academy Award-nominated screenwriter/executive producer Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight; The Prestige) and actor Gary Carr (21 Bridges; Bolden) about their new show and learned quite a bit about how the series flips the concept of virtual reality on its head. While Carr details his character's journey this season, Nolan speaks at length on the themes he wanted to explore with this series and why he believes gaming and virtual reality are the future.
The exciting new sci-fi mystery series is headlined by the fan-favorite Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass; Tom & Jerry), with Gary Carr (21 Bridges; The Deuce) and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction; Cherry) in key supporting roles. Stay tuned into CBM for our interviews with the two leads later today!
The Peripheral starts streaming, exclusively on Prime Video, on October 21!
Check out the full video interview below and please remember to SUBSCRIBE to our channel!
ROHAN: Jonathan, you've explored the future in many of your works, including Westworld - what major themes did you want to explore with The Peripheral that you hadn't before? What was it about this novel that excited you the most?
JONATHAN: It's as if we've been in our little spaceship exploring the future for years, and now, we've linked up with the giant William Gibson mothership, alright, we’ve kind of hooked up to it, and it's taking us into uncharted territories. Gibson, from a hugely influential, brilliant science-fiction author, and so, it’s just fun to be hanging on for a ride into his vetted imagination, and I think one of the things that he's exploring, one of the reasons - and I grew up reading his books - but, with The Peripheral, one of the things that he does, which I'd never seen him do before, is he brings it a little bit closer to home.
You have two distinct timelines that we're exploring here, 2032, 2099, and I don't even know which one I'm more enamored of - the near future-ism, which feels right there and a little scary, and very easy to wrap your head around, where you've got small communities in America that are now, you know, the big box stores have emptied out and it's just a little corner of it is a fabrication store, and you got a bunch of veterans with implants, and then, the far future world where Gary's character lives, which is just mind blowing. So, in terms of themes, yeah, it really covers an awful lot of territory, the end of the world, the beginning of the next one, and everything in between.
ROHAN: Gary, I know you can't say too much because of spoilers, but what can you say about Wilf's journey this season from episode one to episode eight, especially after he meets Flynne?
GARY: Sure, yeah, without saying too much. There definitely is a journey with him. I always see Wilf being very strongly connected to Flynne, Chloe's character, there's a sort of mirroring thing that's happening between them, whereas they sort of meet because of the circumstance, and I think they have this impression of each other where they don't really consider each other as human beings. They know they are real people, but they both have a mission.
I think what you see with Wilf, over the course of the series, is how he basically just finds the humanity in Flynne and her world, and he really starts to care. I can't say too much, because there are certain things that he's on a mission and he's trying to find answers for things which I can't speak about right now, but yeah, I love that the art between him and Chloe's character, where he just basically starts to care for and that kind of changes the whole dynamic, and his whole approach to everything else, like past that point. I think he's just very much, I don't know, I can't say much about the character other than there's a change in him that from the start of the series to the end, I think there's a big change, actually.
ROHAN: Virtual reality and gaming are becoming increasingly popular forms of escapsim and your series really takes that whole concept to an entirely new level. What do you think it is about these forms of entertainment that people are finding so captivating?
GARY: I think it's probably because, well, it's fun. I mean, gaming, I was a gamer up until, I guess, 12 years old, on the old consoles, but it's a form of escapism…
JONATHAN: Which console did you have?
GARY: I had the Sega Mega Drive, but over here it’s called the Genesis.
JONATHAN: Yeah, oh shit!
GARY: And my friends had Nintendo and I was always part of the club. So, I was getting some good gaming in.
JONATHAN: What was your favorite game?
GARY: For Mega Drive, it's gotta be like classic Sonic…
JONATHAN: Yeah, Sonic was terrific.
GARY: But a lot a lot of Streets of Rage as well. That was amazing.
JONATHAN: Yup, Yup!
GARY: Then, I used to pay Fifa when football season came back.
JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GARY: But, now it's got to be Tekken 7.
JONATHAN: *laughs* I haven’t played Seven.
GARY: It’s the best.
GARY: And I'm like, I'm good. *both laugh* I love that game. But yeah, just how I am with those games, it's just a form of escapism. I think what you realize is in Wilf's world, quite a lot of bleak things have happened, a lot of huge events have really shaken up the world and humanity, and I think, yeah, it's just a form of survival. I think that's what people are trying to basically do, survive, and I think they use gaming and AR and VR as the method to do that.
JONATHAN: Yeah, people like the gaming world, because this world sucks. *chuckles* Parts of it are okay, but you know, there's a lot of old world like, it sucks, right? Where the rules suck, the hierarchies suck, the structure of it blows, you know, it's poorly designed, the levels are ugly, you know, whereas in the game world, it used to be this before the advent of microtransactions, and all this other nonsense that they've that they've shoved in the gaming world, it starts to echo our world, and that the fundamental unfairness of it, but games were totally open playing fields, you go into it with your skill, and your time and create. It's kind of how the world should be in some ways.
Some of gaming is this sort of utopian vision of the possibilities, and that's why I think this really interesting moment we're in right now, we're starting to merge our online gaming selves, with the real world and there's a bit of a collision there. I think that's one of the things that series explores.
Plus, check out our additional The Peripheral interviews below:
Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz), her Marine veteran brother, Burton (Jack Reynor), and their dying mother live in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032. As their mother’s health deteriorates and the medical bills add up, Flynne and Burton make extra money playing simulations (Sims). The two siblings share Burton’s avatar, “jockeying” for high-paying customers to beat challenging game levels. When Burton is offered a chance to beta test a new Sim, it’s Flynne who ends up playing, pretending to be her brother. The Sim takes place in London and it tasks Flynne with breaking into a corporation known as the Research Institute—to steal a valuable secret.
When the assignment goes badly wrong, Flynne begins to realize the Sim is more real than she ever could have imagined. The London she’s exploring exists in the future…year 2099. And what Flynne has uncovered in the Research Institute has put her and her family in grave peril. There are people from the future who want to use Flynne for the information she’s stolen…and there are others who want Flynne dead. Flynne encounters Wilf (Gary Carr) in Future London, a man who may be the key to unlocking the mystery at hand. But first, in her present, Flynne and Burton, along with his former elite military unit, must rally to save themselves from forces intent on killing them—forces sent from the future to reclaim the vital secret Flynne stole.
The Peripheral starts streaming on October 21!