Sugar EP Tells All About That Mind-Blowing Twist (And Why It Came So Late), Shares Season 2 Hopes

Sugar EP Tells All About That Mind-Blowing Twist (And Why It Came So Late), Shares Season 2 Hopes
Sugar EP Tells All About That Mind-Blowing Twist (And Why It Came So Late), Shares Season 2 Hopes

Warning: This post contains spoilers for all eight episodes of Apple TV+’s Sugar.

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Does Sugar still have more surprises left up its sleeve?

Apple TV+’s neo-noir detective drama blew our minds a few weeks ago when it revealed that private eye John Sugar, played by Colin Farrell, was actually an alien from another planet. In this week’s finale, Sugar solved the case of missing girl Olivia Siegel, bringing her home safe and sound — only to learn that her Hollywood producer grandfather Jonathan might be her biological father. Plus, Sugar discovered that his fellow alien Henry was an accomplice to Olivia’s serial-killer kidnapper, and he decided to stay on Earth rather than flying home. (Read our full finale recap here.)

The finale left us with a lot of questions — and got us thinking about the possibilities for a Season 2 — so TVLine reached out to Sugar executive producer Simon Kinberg (who has also penned big-screen blockbusters like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Mr. & Mrs. Smith) for answers. Read on to get the full scoop on why they waited until Episode 6 to drop that extraterrestrial bombshell… and how likely it is that Sugar will be back to solve a new case in another season. (Apple TV+ has not officially renewed the series yet, for the record.)

TVLINE | Before we get into the finale, I just wanted to go back to the big twist that was revealed in Episode 6. At what point in the process did you decide to keep it a secret for that long? Because I understand there was some thought of revealing it in the premiere.
Yeah, the original script that [series creator] Mark Protosevich wrote that got us all excited and got us all involved had Sugar revealing himself as an alien at the end of the pilot. And we talked a lot about if that would make it harder for the audience to connect and empathize with him as a character from that point forward, that it would feel like such a big departure that it would sort of color the experience of the show for them. So we then talked about: How much time do we want to create for the audience to form a human connection to him?

We talked about it possibly remaining a secret until the end of the entire season, and then we felt like that robbed the audience of something else, which is a different kind of connection to him, once you realize exactly this aspect of his identity. So we settled on it happening at the end of six episodes, so that you’ve laid enough breadcrumbs, spent enough time with him and now get to see the world through a slightly different lens as the audience. And so we landed there, from no exact science, but just a feeling, you know?

TVLINE | So the sci-fi aspect was baked into this series from the start? Was there ever any thought of just playing it as a straight-up human detective series?
The sci-fi aspect was baked in from the start. It was in Mark Protosevich’s pilot script, which he wrote on spec himself, and had spent quite a long time constructing and conceiving. There was only thought, and it wasn’t thought from the creative team, but there was thought around it just being a detective show without the science fiction aspect when we went to go sell it. Because a lot of the people that were buyers — networks, platforms — said, “We love it, and we love the writing, but does he really need to be an alien?”

And we gave it some thought because I think, as bears out for almost six full episodes, audiences are around for the ride of just him as a unique, idiosyncratic, film noir detective unraveling an interesting mystery. But we always felt like the big swing and what made it extra special was this mashup of genres, and I, personally, specifically, as someone who has done a lot of work in the science fiction genre and loved it as a kid, whether I was reading comic books or science fiction literature or watching Star Wars and all the great science fiction movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s… I just loved the idea of such an unlikely mashup. So I really held out for the places that were supportive of keeping the science fiction element, and Apple was incredibly supportive and never wavered in that support and real excitement about what it could be.

TVLINE | There’s a lot that sort of goes unspoken this season about Sugar’s identity and past, and I was wondering: Did Sugar use old movies as a way to learn about humanity, and that’s why he’s such a throwback to those old-school gumshoes?
I think that the answer is yes. He did use movies, in general, to understand modern human civilization and culture, which I think is a good way to understand it. But I think his taste was for film noir. It’s not like film noir was more insightful about the human condition than other genres. It’s just that he gravitated toward this particular genre, and that’s why he fashioned himself a detective of all the different things he could be on Earth. The protagonist, obviously, in so much film noir, is the detective. So it was a way to see the world, and it was a way to create his identity.

TVLINE | The season finale had a few more twists for us, starting with Jonathan Siegel possibly being Olivia’s father. How does knowing that change the dynamics of this whole case?
Well, it goes without saying, but I will say it, that Chinatown was a huge influence on this particular case this season, in the way that we portrayed sort of upper-crust Hollywood, especially in a missing-persons detective story. So that was something that we talked about: Is it too close to Chinatown, or is it kind of a nice homage to Chinatown? It changes a lot of the character dynamics more than anything, and I think it changes, for Sugar, his relationship with Jonathan and the way he sees him as a sort of paternal figure. But in a world where nobody is what they seem — which is a staple of the film noir genre, and maybe is true just for reality — we gave Jonathan the extra wrinkle or twist as well, so nobody left that season unscathed, in a way.

TVLINE | Then we learned that Henry was this silent accomplice to the killer, taking notes on his behavior. That sort of casts a sinister pall over the aliens’ mission, doesn’t it?
Well, I think it casts a sinister pall over Henry. What we talked a lot about is that aliens would have, for lack of a better description, bad apples the same way humans would. As we imagined it, he was their first bad apple, and they were scrambling as a community to figure out how to manage something they had never handled before, and they handled it, in some ways, the way humans would, which is that they bungled it a little bit. And they didn’t know how to handle amorality among their, let’s call it, race or species. We wanted in some ways the alien experience to resemble and start to reflect human experience as well. So creating a bad guy who was an alien, but not the aliens all being here to invade us or have some larger sinister plot… They didn’t have a sinister reason for being here. There just happened to be one guy who got a little too close to the subject of humans and became fascinated in ways that were perverse and violent and nefarious.

TVLINE | There are plenty of questions still left to be answered, and that leads me to the possibility of a Season 2. Is that still an option? Have you guys had discussions with Apple about that? What’s the status?
The status is: We would love it. We have had discussions with Apple and with Colin and with the creative team about it. It’s been great to see that the response to the show, both critically and from an audience standpoint, has been what we really hoped it could be. So yeah, all of us would be very excited about doing another season and creating a new mystery and case for Sugar.

I think what Colin did… I mean, the whole creative team, but specifically, what Colin did with this character is so indelible and special. As with anything in storytelling, but especially television, if you create a great character, that’s what is the franchise of the show. You come back for that character. And Colin is in this really kind of wonderful, unique place in his career where he is still a leading man, and obviously, he’s very sort of conventional square-jawed leading man in Sugar. But he’s doing these interesting, quirkier character parts. We just loved the way that he brought what he’s been doing with Yorgos [Lanthimos] or [The Banshees of] Inisherin, with Martin McDonagh. He’s been working with these really interesting filmmakers. He brought that character-y side and the kind of conventional leading man stuff and mashed them up, too, in the part of Sugar. So yeah, we would love it. He would love it. Fingers crossed we get to continue telling Sugar stories.

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