As alien-filled as it is, Falling Skies has kept its characters Earth-bound throughout the show’s four years on TNT. But it appears that’s about to change. The 2nd Mass’ latest strategy for winning back their planet is rocketing themselves beyond Earth’s atmosphere – to the Espheni power converter on the moon.
The mission-to-the-moon storyline came from the show’s executive producer, a guy you may have heard of: “That was Mr. Spielberg’s idea,” Noah Wyle told EW.
Wyle (Tom Mason) admitted that crafting that storyline was a challenge. With Falling Skies’ fourth season nearing its big finish, Wyle talked to EW about shooting for the moon, about recent character deaths, and about what fans can expect from the season finale, which airs Sunday.
On the mission-to-the-moon storyline:
“The biggest challenge that we had this season was executing a mandate that we were handed from Steven Spielberg, which was that Tom’s gonna find the beamer and fly it to the moon. And the other thing was we want Lexi to be blonde and sort of considered to be like a god. So we took those two mandates and thought, ‘Alright, this is gonna be tricky.’ It’s such an out-there premise. It’s such a ‘come on’ moment.
“The only way we thought we could get away with it was by striking the tone of incredulity ourselves. We acknowledged that this is far-fetched. We acknowledged that this is insane. But we also acknowledged that there are other alternatives and this one is on the table. So that was my job in attacking [the scene when Tom declares they have to go to the moon] was to strike that note right off the bat.”
On Tom quoting John F. Kennedy’s 1961 “We choose to go to the moon” speech:
“I watched a clip of the speech. It’s a beautiful speech. I watched it just to get a sense of his cadence when he delivered it, but the rest of it was just as good of a Boston accent as I could muster.”
On the moment Anne calls out Tom for his hubris:
“We needed something, some flaw in Tom’s character that everyone could find issue with. We chose hubris. To me, creatively, it’s not the strongest choice we could have come up with. I never thought that Tom had hubris. I thought that occasionally he got a little cocky after a good win or when he did something really excellent. But for the most part, he’s a pretty humble guy. The gist of it was Tom doesn’t want to put anybody else in harm’s way before he puts himself there. And he’s willing to sacrifice himself before he sees anybody else die. He stretches the ethical boundaries by cheating in the draw because he’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and he doesn’t really want to ask anybody else to do it. I don’t think he’s really that egotistical of a man.
“I did like the scenes with Anne, though – and there’s been a few where we’ve really had some very heated discussions. I think it’s very well-written, very mature, very interesting looks at sort of the way men and women look at a certain situation and how they view responsibilities to each other and to their family. I was very proud of those scenes.”
On showrunner David Eick, who joined Falling Skies at the start of season 4:
“David came in and he had some very big and bold ideas. I feel strongly about giving somebody who was new the chance to put their own approach on the show. They have to make it their own. And I thought David did great. I look at the episodes, and even though we went on our farthest science fiction strand we’ve ever had before, it was grounded with a sense of humanity, family, and truth and all the other things we really try to keep alive on the show in a more profound way. I was really pleased with all 12 episodes under his tenure. I’m really excited that he’s going to be at the helm to take it around the final lap.”
On what he’s most excited for fans to see in the finale:
“The first hour I’m very excited about. That was directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, who is going to be our new co-executive producer and gonna direct the majority of our final season. That episode, the first one of the finale, is his second one that he did for us, and he did a lot of very inventive camera tricks, using doubles and some very interesting kind of old-school camera tricks that I think the audience is going to love.”
On new developments for Tom and Lexi’s relationship in the finale:
“They finally acknowledge that they have [a relationship]. Tom’s had this ambivalence about how he feels about this girl that he doesn’t really know. He had a sort of feeling towards an infant daughter and a little bit of a moment or two with this [apparently] six-year-old child, but then the next time we see her, she’s 22 and she’s got powers and she’s got blonde hair and she’s saying the Espheni are also her parents, and she kills Lourdes. She’s really a character that’s very difficult to find any sentimentality towards – if you’re not her mother. So what these last couple episodes allow is the character Lexi to prove herself to her father, for her father to really see that he does love his daughter. It’s the closest that they’ve come to acknowledging that they are father and daughter that we’ve seen all season.”
On the triple-whammy character deaths in the Aug. 3 episode, “Saturday Night Massacre”:
“It was a sad departure, saying goodbye to those characters. Lourdes in particular, who’s been with us from the beginning. The character of Tector, who I was personally not a fan of killing. I thought we should have kept him. And I was really sad to lose Robert Sean Leonard as well. Dr. Kadar was wonderful to watch, but even more so Robert Sean Leonard was just a dream to work with. I miss him already.”
On whether fans should expect any more deaths in the finale:
“Well, you know, it’s the apocalypse. It’s got a revolving door to it. People come, people go.”
On how the season 4 finale will end:
“It wouldn’t be Falling Skies if we didn’t do some kind of weird plot twist at the end, something big that’ll help define the next season.”
Falling Skies’ two-hour season finale airs on TNT Sunday, Aug. 31 at 9 p.m. Afterward, come back to EW.com for David Eick’s answers to burning questions about the finale.
Want another chance to look back at four seasons of Falling Skies? Check out Wyle and Maxim Knight’s attempt to summarize the series in 30 seconds: