When it comes to adapting beloved comic book series, translating the language of mediums and appeasing fans of the source material leaves a miscule amount of room for exploration. In its first season, AMC’s Preacher clutched the soul of Garth Ennis and the late Steve Dillion’s celebrated series, while changing things that would’ve hindered the story in television form. We saw Jesse Custer actually be a Preacher, Tulip O’Hare not only got an updated look but she became a badass instead just the love interest; change seems to bother the “nerd” community regardless and Preacher to its credit pulled off its pivots. As season 2 debuts this Sunday on AMC, we talked with producers and the cast of Preacher. Now that we’ve seen the first few episodes, we can say all your issues of not pulling more from the books are answered. Those that want something new in properties they know by heart will get a lot more substance than ever.
According to executive producer Seth Rogen, “Everything does kind of shift, all the characters change in ways that are unexpected…there’s no single episode that’s a single issue of the comic but this is the closest we’ve come to the books so far.” As season 2 shifts the setting away from Texas to the American road trip fans will get to see more characters from the comic such as Herr Starr and finally coming out by calling “the cowboy” The Saint of Killers. While we saw some of the character’s back story in season one, the upcoming episodes showcase the unrelenting brutality of The Saint. Graham McTavish who plays the character joked about his scenes with incoming cast, “Anybody that has a scene with me…it’s going to be a short scene. Just leave the engine running in the car, it won’t take long.” It’s a foreshadowing of things to come as you’ll see the Saint of Killers live up to his name.
Evident to viewers from the start, season 2 of Preacher will push the envelope when it comes violence on television. In fact, Sunday’s massacre which occurs before the credits even roll (an episode directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) was a shot the team wanted to fire even when the storylines were mere ideas. Showrunner, Sam Catlin described the mindset of that opening. “We knew we wanted to pick up where we left off with the trio unincumbered in a way we hadn’t seen them be in season one, then we wanted to turn it to the darkest sh** possible.” Catlin who’s largely the adaptation muscle of the show is committed to finding the “pit stops along the way and dig into places that were only touched on in the comics.” His example was finally getting Herr Starr in the show, a character that can be explored beyond motivations into things such as the villain’s childhood.
As Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip deal with new troubles in their search to find God who’s abandoned his throne, the show hasn’t forgotten its lingering threads. We’ll find out exactly what Eugene has been doing after Jesse sent him to hell. This plot comes in as a break from the intense drama going on with the trio while being something the source material never explored. As Eugene’s look is full Arseface, the character himself is still on the road to becoming a nemesis of sorts. Ian Colletti (Eugene) described his character’s journey in the early half of season 2 as “figuring out if he truly belongs here [hell] and what does he truly deserve.” One of the biggest updates from the comics to screen for Preacher was the circumstances of Eugene’s suicide attempt, something which even before the show debuted last year the team knew would need to be done differently. It was shifted from simply being an angsty Kurt Cobain worshiping teen to a misunderstanding you’ll get the full picture of in the new season’s third episode. Colletti attributes that update to going hand-in-hand with the character himself, “he goes from being the punchline to an empathetic character you want to know more about.”
While Preacher returns to television this week, comic book fans watching the show will look on with a bit of sadness remembering master artist and Preacher co-creator Steve Dillon passed away in October of last year. When we asked executive producers, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the pair spoke about spending the most time with Steve at SDCC, “He was just like Garth in disbelief the show was being made but always very supportive of what we were doing. I feel lucky that we got to know him.” Sam Catlin would later add “My first reaction to reading the comic was how cinematic it already was, his [Steve] use of wide and close shots and pallet influence our director of photography. He was such a big influence on the show before I ever even met him.”
There’s very little on TV that can expose you to absurd levels of violence yet ensure a healthy diet of food for thought. The first 20 minutes of the season premiere exemplify just how special Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s creation is to the creative community at large. Preacher returns to television in a two-night premiere event beginning Sunday June 25.