Star-Crossed was introduced in the pilot as a Romeo and Juliet story between a human and an alien.
When Emery's father accidentally killed Roman's father on Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1, the similarities were even more apparent.
On Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 2, the series became much more complex. It was no longer just a troubled high school love story, but a tale of two groups of people trying to co-exist. There are those on both sides that want a peaceful integration, while there are others who are ready to fight to keep the Humans and Atrians apart.
I spoke with series creator Meredith Averill to get some insight into the characters, their motivations and various allegiances. The shocks will keep on coming throughout the rest of the season.
When you developed the Red Hawks and the Trags, did you base them on anything from history?
Averill: I think that we were sort of inspired definitely by certain things in our history. The Sector being kind of reminiscent of internment camps. Our Red Hawks, which are our anti-Atrian Human hate group are definitely reminiscent of the KKK. And our anti-Human Atrians, which are called the Trags, are kind of reminiscent of the Black Panthers
But, when we were talking about how these certain groups reacted to one another and their strategies for their war on one another, we didn't want to follow exactly what happened in history. We definitely made them our own and they are definitely their own kind of evil than what we've seen in the past. We did acknowledge that they are reminiscent of things in our history. Just like the integration program is reminiscent of Brown vs. Board of Education and the Little Rock Nine. So that's definitely part of it
With the Sector itself, will we see any flashbacks to see how that was created over the years?
Not in the first season, but that's definitely -- I love employing flashbacks, especially in shows like this. I think that in season 2, we would definitely delve into how the government created the Sector and how the different neighborhoods emerged. We do have flashbacks in the first season to the spaceship right before it crashed on Earth. We'll be revealing how exactly the spaceship crashed and it may or may not be what the Atrians have been told the reason for coming to Earth has been. We think that's a really interesting reveal that we'll get to mid-season
I really love that at this point, the human government and Atrian government from we've been shown want to work together and are peaceful. And then there's the two extremist groups. Will the show be looking at how those are defined? Are they freedom fighters, terrorists, extremists?
We refer to the Trags as terrorists. We definitely think of them more as sort of our terrorist sleeper cell group within the Sector. And the council that we meet in episode 2, the Hwatab , they are definitely more peaceful and more in line with what Nox wanted for the Atrians, which was integration. The government within the sector, the Hwatab, the peace loving government is also fighting against the Trags who have no interest in integration. They are convinced that the Humans just want to wipe them all out and they are going to get the jump on them and wipe them out first
With Roman, I was really impressed to see that the show wasn't going to just be the Roman and Emery story. He has to make a decision about being the leader, approaches the Trags, and he doesn't initially trust Castor. Roman ends up giving his uncle the leadership role. It seemed like Roman was a little naive in that moment. Is that how it's supposed to be perceived or is there a reason for him to trust his uncle?
In that moment when he hands the reins to Castor, it's two-fold. For one thing it's about faith. He put his faith in Castor the night before to go and try and stop Hadar from arming the Trags inside the Sector. It was sort of a moment of desperation for Roman to do that because he was faced with that decision. Do I stay and stop Hadar myself? Or, do I go the carnival and save Emery, the girl that I love. And, that's a dilemma that Roman, we're going to see throughout the season having. His people versus the love of his life. Who does he chose? We'll see him make different choices a lot throughout the season
In that moment, it was sort of a test for Castor. Do this for me and then the next day when he approaches him and says, "Well, how did that go?" And, he tells him that not only did he get rid of Hadar, but he was very politically smart about the way he got rid of Hadar, it impresses Roman and makes him have faith in Castor. Sophia is also kind of pushing Roman in the direction of wanting to trust their Uncle Castor. He has told him, "Yes, I used to be a Trag. That is who I was, but that's not who I am any more. I loved your father even though we didn't always see eye-to-eye."
So, Castor makes a very convincing case for why he should be trusted. And that's one of the reasons he hands over the reins to him and also Roman realizes that it's almost impossible for him to protect Emery and also be the leader of the Atrians. That would mean he would have to step out of the integration program all together and if he did that who would be there to make sure that it works. Certainly, if you leave Drake and Teri on their own devices things probably wouldn't work out very well for the Atrian 7
But he recognizes that his place right now is in the integration program and making sure that everything outside the Sector is copasetic, especially now that he knows that there are Atrians that have had their markings removed living outside the Sector. Castor can't go outside the Sector, not like Roman can every single day. So they form a little bit of a team by the end of the second episode, where Castor is going to keep watch inside the Sector and Roman is going to keep watch outside.
You kind of alluded to Officer Beaumont, who has had his markings removed. He gives Roman a warning that one of them is always watching. Does that put Roman in an awkward position that he not only has to protect Emery, but he's almost becoming a protector of the Human race?
Yeah, 100%, because now suddenly, this is the comparison to something like Battlestar Galactica where anyone could be a Cylon. Anyone could be an Atrian. If they've gotten their markings removed, chances are they've done it because they are planning to try to do something outside the Sector.
They are working with the Trags. Roman is no longer concerned with just the Trags living inside the Sector, he has to worry about some that are living outside the Sector with their markings removed. He has to go on a little bit of a hunt to try to snuff out who outside the Sector, potentially even inside their school, could actually be a hidden Trag. And, by episode 5, we reveal that one of our student is a hidden Trag living outside the Sector
One thing that almost disappointed me, but it was a good disappointment was to find out that Grayson is working with the Red Hawks. At the end of episode 2, it almost seemed like he was reluctantly in that position.
That is a good way of putting it. In episode 3, we'll reveal exactly what Grayson's connection is to the Red Hawks. Just the fact that there is one that he's obviously not being forthcoming about to Emery and everyone else is a huge reveal for that character who up until then just seemed like a very sweet guy who's interested in Emery and is there for her. In that moment towards the end of episode 2, when he goes up against Vartan, you can see the splash in Grayson's eyes where you can see he's not messing around. There is a darkness to Grayson that you will start to see
Is that partially or entirely related to what happened to his brother on Arrival Day?
Yes, it is definitely related to what happened to his brother.
I kind of feel bad for Emery right now because she has Roman who has his own issues with being an Atrian, there's Grayson who has something going on, and now her best friend has a secret she's keeping. Is Julia's blue blood a side effect of the Cyper?
Yes. It is a side effect of Roman having used the Cyper on Julia. In episode 3, we'll delve a lot more into that and how she's going to try to get rid of it. It has its own kind of consequences because if anyone sees her arm or sees that it goes blue, it potentially puts at risk that everyone will find out about Cyper, which would have terrible consequences for the Atrians.
A major part of episode 3 is that side effect and how are they going to get rid of it. You'll see that it actually spreads a lot more. It becomes a big danger to her and it's a secret she had to keep from Emery, her best friend. It kills her, but she feels like she needs to. It creates a bit of a wedge between the best friends for the next few episodes
Anything else you want to tease about the direction of the show going forward?
Going forward, I like that you pointed out the fact that the pilot is very much about Roman and Emery and their emerging reunion, but in episode 2 the show does open up in a big way. And it will continue to open up as these two sides kind of battle it out and how that affects our characters directly on how they work to try and maintain some kind of peace for themselves
We'll delve a lot more into the world of the Sector and in episode 3 you'll meet the new head of the Trags and it's a surprising reveal who that is. And in episode 5, we'll reveal one of our characters is actually a hidden Trag who's had their markings removed and living outside the Sector
It's a ride. That's why I love doing 13 episodes, because we really got to pack every single episode with so many reveals and juicy mysteries. And, I love shows like that are constantly moving so fast. We pack so much plot into every episode. No one will ever be bored with what goes on the show
Episode 3 has some very cool reveals. I will tell you it opens with a very hot sex scene