The long wait for Jane Badler’s return is almost over! When V bows on ABC Jan. 4, it will feature a much-anticipated appearance by the franchise’s original reptilian boss - the evil Diana. EW talked to the Australian-based Badler – who appeared in the original NBC miniseries and its series sequel in the ’80s - about reprising the role that wasn’t so easy to score.
EW: How many episodes will you be in?
JANE BADLER: I’m in all of them.
What was your initial reaction when the producers approached you about reprising the role?
Can I just tell you, when I heard that V was coming back, I could feel this huge swell just from my Facebook page that there was a lot of interest in it and my old character. I thought, that’s it, I’m coming back to the show! So I called my old agent, who told me I was ridiculous, that they weren’t going to be interested. And so that was that. Then I called the producer and met with him. Since then, the show got a new producer, so I did the same thing and met with him. But when this role came up, they weren’t thinking of me. Can you believe it? They called the character Diana as an homage to the original one, but it wasn’t the Diana. Crazy! Later, I got an email from my agent saying some person from Los Angeles wanted me to audition for the role of Diana and I went, what? That’s a hoax! How would anyone want me to audition? So I had to audition. And from what I hear, there were a lot of very well-known actresses who wanted the role, like big names, which is very flattering. But my audition was the best. So that’s how I got the role! It wasn’t, like, handed to me. Isn’t that kooky? So here I am with what I thought was going to be four episodes, and it turned into the whole season, which has been absolutely amazing. I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s been crazy to be back involved in it again.
How is your character re-introduced as Anna’s mom?
I think it’s a really powerful thing. It’s a whole Greek tragedy, mother-daughter. I was the queen before her. She imprisoned me. She put me in a dungeon, and everyone thinks that I am dead. And so she has become the new queen. Very early on, she comes to visit to me, so that’s when it is revealed that I am alive. It’s a whole power play – my different ways of ruling versus her ways of ruling. They make me out to be the more benevolent of the two. And perhaps I am, but I’m also the queen. That carries arrogance with it. It’s not just all nice. It also is revealed why I can’t leave the dungeon, which is all kind of exciting, too. There are lots of special effects.
Where is the dungeon?
I’m in the bowels of the ship. But in the hole where I live, they have recreated it like our planet. It’s like this extra -terrestrial terrain. It’s really cool.
Do you undermine Anna?
Yes. It does take a while but once people come to visit me by mistake, once people enter my lair…I can’t say what happens, but it’s huge last episode and hopefully viewers will flock to see the show because it will be amazing.
Is there a potential for you to come back?
I always thought I’d be a one-season person, but there is always that potential. It depends, I guess, on the reaction to me. I’m very pleased with this one season. It definitely did what I wanted to do!
Ratings weren’t so great for V’s first season.
They are trying to reinvent it in their own way. You can never recapture something. Who knows why something becomes magic in its time? I don’t understand it. To this day, I get on my Facebook page because it gives me contact with the fans. And each day I might have 20, 30, or 40 messages from new people who all remember the old V. I just think, wow. Why? Why did it capture so many young people? I guess that was the genius of [creator] Ken Johnson and maybe it was the time we lived in. I don’t think the show will ever be that, but I still think it’s a very, very good series and I’d love to see it find some sort of an audience.
Does it air in Australia?
Yes it does, which is weird, because I got call from the local Channel 9 and they asked me if I would do publicity for it. That was very painful. It was like wheeling out the old. Let’s just put her in a wheelchair and wheel her out to do publicity! I had very mixed feelings about it. I did it because I have an album coming out and that’s been my main thrust in the last five years, I’ve been recording and performing. I haven’t done V conventions. I haven’t wanted to be that old Diana forever. But now that I’m in the new series, I’m very happy to promote it. It’s different.