Emily Thorne has it all.
Or at least she thinks she does at the start of Revenge Season 4.
On Revenge Season 3 Episode 22, Thorne pretty much got rid of the Graysons since Conrad was sent off to jail and Victoria ended up in a mental institution, where her cries about Emily being Amanda Clarke only sounded like the cries of a crazy person.
But we know something Emily doesn't: her dearly departed father is alive and seemingly well.
How long before Emily the rest of the group from the Hamptons finds out David Clarke is alive? How will this return affect everyone on the show? And what of characters like Daniel and Jack ,who were once do-gooders but have definitely gotten sucked into the darker side of things over the years?
I grabbed some time earlier this week with showrunner Sunil Nayar, who answered all the above and also talked more about what we'll see next month when Revenge returns.
TV Fanatic: What’s the goal going into season four?
Sunil Nayar: I think that one of the overarching goals in sort of this process, and one of those that’s really, I have to say, wonderful, is that we’re a fourth year show and this network has so much other great stuff coming up and just to have kind of the amazing support of the network all the way up to Paul [Lee, President], who’s still such a giant fan of the show.
I think the season premiere is going to be full of surprises, full of unexpected payoffs to our cliffhangers and I think the big question that we’re looking to answer this year as Emily and Victoria and as David comes back this year is that people are asked to change who they are yet again and that is really the battle of who people have been.
Emily has been Emily Thorne for so long and the idea is what does it mean to be Amanda to her? Victoria’s been next to Conrad for so long and what does it mean for her to be a free woman now? David’s been wherever David’s been for so long and what does it mean to be back in the world? And so I think one of the things that we are fascinated to explore is to figure out who our people are and who they really are struggling to try to be and who they’re actually capable of being.
TVF: Are we getting a direct pickup or has some time passed?
SN: There’s a lot going on and like this show always does, there’s like little bits of time jumps so we always think there’s sort of the fun things to embrace as we jump forward. So I think you’ll see where the episode picks up. We found a perfect spot to do it.
TVF: What can you say about David? Will we get filled in on where he’s been all this time or not right away?
SN: It’s a bit of a slow burn. There’s so much that we want to slowly mine and we want our audience learning who David is along with our characters in some ways, so we didn’t feel like burning off a lot of the story because we have some wonderful story to tell, but it’ll be a slow burn. You’ll get your answers in sort of little bits and pieces, where he’s been and what he’s done over the last ten years.
TVF: Will the characters know pretty quickly that he’s around or is he going to be lurking for a while?
SN: Certain people come to be aware of his presence. People will become aware of his existence very quickly and some people will become aware of his existence much later.
TVF: I have to say this because the finale was just so good but I want to see Victoria in the mental hospital for a while and just see her go through some Cuckoo Nest stuff. Do we get that?
SN: I think that you will be not disappointed with where you take up with Victoria.
TVF: There have been some kind of early casting announcements with some new characters coming in. can you kind of talk about some of these new characters and how they’ll fit into the world?
SN: Absolutely. In addition to making James Tupper just a part of the fabric of the show which has been just so fun, he’s such a joy to work with, we’ve added Brian Hallisay who’s playing a character named Ben Hunter, who will come in through Jack’s world, basically, and he’s just a wonderful actor who brings such a vitality and just a kind of raw, wonderful energy to the show.
And then you have the same thing where a woman named Elena Santine is joining us to play a character called Louise Ellis, who is Southern money and just a little bit unhinged but for the most part just kind of, again, this burst of life that we’re going to bring into the Grayson world. So we have these three new characters, one of whom is David Clarke, and they’re all going to be so additive to the show as we go forward, especially because obviously we’re mourning the loss of some of the actors that we loved and lost last year.
TVF: Do we find that out Conrad’s fate in the first episode?
SN: Yeah, you’ll absolutely find that out in the first episode.
TVF: Looking at the entire cast, I feel like Daniel and Jack are both characters that have changed so much since the first episode of the series. What can we expect for them moving forward? Will they be on the good or not-so-good side of things?
SN: I think you’re going to love where you find both Jack and Daniel at the beginning of the season. I think that we’ve found really fun ways to answer that because we took them down these paths that we haven’t seen them go down before and to understand both from the character motivation and who they are right now, the choices that they’ve made and the places that we find them I think are really dynamic, really surprising and sort of in keeping with the theme of what our general idea is which is people trying to examine who it is they really want to be. I think that you’ll see Jack definitely answering that question and you’ll see Daniel struggling with his answer to that question.
TVF: Charlotte’s definitely got some axes to grind. What are we going to see with her?
SN: Charlotte’s definitely got a little bit of anger. Obviously she thinks that Jack is the one who kidnapped her at this point in time so we will see how that pays off. But each year one of the things that we really wanted to do with her is to take her to the next step of growing up and getting out of the fold of her family and I think you’re going to see a Charlotte who is now absolutely independent, who is really informed by the world around her and will really come to learn a lot about who the people she knows are and I think that the journey she has is amazing and I can’t wait for you all to see what Charlotte’s going to do this year.
TVF: And, of course, Nolan. It seems like every year he has one big kind of romance, whether it’s with a woman or with a man. Where do we see Nolan this year? Does he have a new romance?
SN: You know, we’re talking about it. We’re not going to launch him into a romance right away because the person who’s eventually going to come back into everybody’s lives obviously is David Clarke and that’s our most exciting addition because we haven’t seen that everybody has an emotional connection to him in a different way. And so we’re also going to do a slow burn with Nolan and you’re going to see him, as the season goes on, start a brand new venture that I think is going to be a lot of fun for him and the audience to see what he’s doing. And, obviously, just his friendship with Emily goes forward, especially as the rules of the game have changed as just a dynamic that we adore and we love seeing it grow and deepen as the years go on.
TVF: Last but not least, where do we find Emily? In some ways, as far as she knows, she’s got all her ducks lined up in a nice little row. Is she in a good place at the start?
SN: She’s in a great place. As you’ve seen, she’s cleared her father’s name, took Conrad down and took care of the Victoria threat, so we’re going to find Emily in a really wonderful place when the year begin. But then this being Revenge there’s always the pulling back in the Godfather III-ness of it where as much as you try to get out, this is not a world that lets you out.
TVF: I don’t know if you can talk to it or not without spoiling but what will the David and Emily relationship be like? All we know of them has been in flashbacks since the first episode.
SN: Gosh, that’s a really good question. I mean, I think that there’s so much to mine exactly what you said about what they thought of each other, what do they think of each other? I mean I think that you’ll be surprised. I think the audience will be surprised by the dynamic between Emily and David as they get to know each other because there’s a tentativeness there, there’s information and there are questions they’ll both have about the other one and so I think that there’ll obviously be a warmth because there’s a connection that is unbreakable that we’ve seen in the past, but the way that it’s plays out in the present will be very different.
Revenge Season 4 kicks off on September 28 at 10/9c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.