Emily S. Whitten: Warehouse 13 Interviews – The Final Season
I love Warehouse 13. It’s clever, it’s fun, it’s steampunky, it’s got tons of awesome historical references, and it’s full of great characters and relationships. Sadly, it’s now coming into its last, and shortened, six-episode season – but that’s not slowing the cast and crew down one bit! I got to talk with some of them at SDCC, and they shared both some retrospective thoughts on past seasons, and a bit of what we can expect to see in the final season! So read on for details!
Aaron Ashmore (actor, Steve Jinks)
Hi Aaron! Tell us what you can about the new season.
We’ve got a great way to wrap it up; and if you have been watching Season 4, Paracelsus has taken over the Warehouse, so we obviously have to deal with that. There’s also an issue with Claudia and her having a sister, and that’s a big thing that takes up a big part of the six episodes. And then our finale is the best; I was told that they wrote ten episodes, but only got six, so in the last episode, they basically jammed five episodes into one. So it’s a really compact, really cool finale. I’ve read it; we got to read all of them, which is not usually the case with TV; so we know how everything’s ending, and it’s really good. But I’m not going to tell you guys how it ends.
Are we going to see Claudia’s evil sister Claire on screen? Are you going to get to interact?
Yes, we do get to see that storyline unfold, and it’s definitely interesting. It’s not maybe exactly what people think it’s going to be. As per usual, there are always a couple of layers to it.
There’s been a lot of relationship upheaval in the last season. Is it going to be a happier time again this season?
I think like any family – and that’s really what the dynamic is – there are always tough times, but absolutely I think we will wrap up with everything being well; but we have to get through a lot of stuff to get there. So by the end, I think, yes, families usually work it out and we will; but there’s definitely some stuff to get through.
What’s your favorite artifact you’d like to see come back, or would want to own?
I would like the metronome that brought me back to life. It’s my favorite one because it let me come back to the show, which I was very grateful for, but I also think it was very interesting because we got to really see how using an artifact in the longer term affected everyone. And there’s I guess the astrolabe, where you get to see the long-term effects as well. But I don’t know, it’s kind of cool, a little metronome; I can put it on my fireplace or something like that.
What have been some favorite moments from the last five years?
It was one of my first scenes. I got on set, and I was with Saul and Allison and Eddie, and basically everybody was having so much fun, and they were improvising so much, and just riffing off of each other; and I was like, “holy…this is going to be a blast. Because these people are so into and passionate about what they do.” Because sometimes you go to set and people are just like, “Meeeeh.” but everybody was so into it, and that was probably one of my favorite moments, because I was like, “Oh wow, I think I’m going to actually get to be on a show that I’m going to really enjoy doing, and that everybody is so engaged in,” and that’s just not always the case; it’s really not. So…you know, it’s always funny when Eddie takes his shirt off, that’s always a bit of a giggle, and he enjoys that. But pretty much the whole thing. We really do have a good time together. And it’s sad that it’s coming to an end, but the show got 64 episodes, and I got about 30, and as a show, to go to four or five seasons is pretty good.
Are we going to see new characters even with the condensed season?
Yes; though not really long-term reoccurring characters. We definitely will see some characters from previous seasons. And of course Mrs. Frederic; and Abigail will come back. There are a couple of other ones that I don’t really want to say, because it’s maybe more of a surprise.
Is there anything about the Warehouse and its history that you’ve wanted to ask that hasn’t been answered?
These guys have been really good about explaining when something happens in the show; there is usually an amazing explanation, or at least something that makes sense. So not really, because they’ve painted such a beautiful picture of the place and how everything works.
Is there anything you’d like to see more of for Steve?
I really liked, and would like to see more of Steve’s romantic side if the show kept going. I think it was really cool last year that they touched on that, and showed his ex, and really showed how…I mean, Jinks is a little cranky sometimes, a little sarcastic, and I think that episode sort of showed where that was coming from. If you’re trying to have a relationship with somebody, and any little thing that they say, you can tell when they’re lying – even normal people get jealous and have all these emotions. So I think that really showed, in a way, how that shaped him. I thought that was an interesting thing. I’d like to see a little more romance with him. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t; I don’t want to give too much away, but I think for coming in halfway through the show, they really fleshed out a pretty interesting character and gave him a lot of dynamics. Some of the Buddhist stuff I’d like to see a little more. There was an episode where Steve was focusing this portal thing that Leena used to do, and Steve’s kind of Buddhist side came into play a little bit. Just little things like that, seeing different parts of his personality being used in the Warehouse for different things, that would be really cool to see in the future – in my mind, as I’m writing fiction after the show ends – I’ll probably put that in there.
They had talked about a spin-off at one point, with H.G. Wells. What would you like to see as a spin-off?
I think the H.G. spin-off would have been awesome. I think that’s the perfect character, very popular and such an interesting character. It could have been a period piece, and I think that would be cool. But, you know, Claudia’s the caretaker, so maybe a flash-forward, even. So you could do something that jumps forward a few years. There are tons of different things that you can do. But I really liked the H.G. idea, I thought that would have a great one.
Allison Scagliotti (actress, Claudia Donovan)
What can you tell us about the evil older sister thing?
When we last left Artie and Claudia having that argument at the end of Season 4, we learned that Artie was keeping the fact that she’s still alive from Claudia. So that affects the Claudia and Artie relationship in that their father-daughter dynamic is being tested. Claudia is an adult now. She’s saying, “You don’t need to protect me, you don’t need to shelter me.” But at the same time, you learn as an adult that there are some things you can’t fix. And it was very important with this storyline for Claudia to encounter that. She’s had, in the past, the advantage of the Warehouse, when saving her brother Joshua, and bringing Steve back to life; and she really needed to put on her big girl pants and recognize that some things you just can’t fix. But we have this amazing actress, Chryssie Whitehead, who’s playing my sister; and we have so much in common, we’ve bonded so much already, I hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler, but we get to sing together – we get to do another coffeehouse performance in Season 5 – so I’m really excited to play through this very full arc in the final six episodes.
What has been the biggest challenge over the past five years?
The biggest challenge is just keeping it fresh. Because even though it’s a dream job, it’s still a job. To come to set and work long hours and sometimes be staring at a green screen instead of real action happening, is challenging. You’ve got to keep your imagination on point and flexible. But it’s been a real joy and a workout as an actor to just sort of let go and give over to it.
Are there any aspects of the Warehouse and the show that you would like to see explored in the last few episodes? Or that we will see explored?
Yes. And I’m not going to tell you too much more, but the phrase that Saul came up with that I think is perfect is “Unexpected by inevitable.” The finale of the show does such wonderful things to honor what we’ve brought to life about the Warehouse, and preserves its legacy, so you feel like this mythology is really eternal.
What is your favorite artifact?
My favorite artifact is the one that I will be taking home with me when the series wraps, and that is the metronome that saved Steve.
You’re going to have to fight for it, because Aaron wants it too.
Aaron wants it? Oh, no no no, he’s not getting it. I have dibs. Sorry, Aaron, love you, but; I’m the one who plays music on a daily basis; I’ll actually use it.
Did you Sharpie the bottom of it?
That’s a good idea. I’m going to do that. First thing I do when I get back to Toronto on Sunday night.
Have you read all of the scripts for the final season?
Yes, I waited until we had all of them. Because we’re shooting a couple of them out of order. And then I just read them straight through; like marathoning the show.
Are you happy with Claudia’s arc?
So happy. I am so incredibly satisfied with Claudia’s resolution and potentially not resolution. I think the fans will love it; I loved it; I cried when I read the finale; I think we all did. It’s just satisfying. It’s exactly what I wanted to see happen for my character. It feels very triumphant, almost.
Any final season hints you can give us?
Sure; we have a telenovela episode; maybe I tap dance at some point; we go to a Renaissance Faire. And Eddie’s already said it on camera, so I might as well say it here: “Pyka,” question mark? I don’t know…
Do you have a favorite historical figure, where you’d like to see an artifact of theirs show up on the show?
Some feminist artifact from Susan B. Anthony. Or Woody Guthrie’s guitar has got to be an artifact, right? I mean, talk about telling the stories of the people. I’m sure Woody Guthrie’s guitar could probably bring about a whole movement. That would be cool.
What were some of the biggest surprises in the last few seasons?
You know, I was really surprised when, in Season 2, they threw the possibility of caretaker at me. I did not see that coming from miles away. But as unexpected as that was, I like how unexpected that was. You have this sort of street rat computer hacker, who has the potential to be Mrs. Frederic. It’s cool. Overwhelming but great.
Are you going to wear the suits when you become “Mrs. Frederic?”
We’re still deciding, actually! If that happens – what will it look like? Because it will probably be in the future. I don’t know; watch and see what happens!
Would you like to see a spin-off with Claudia?
Oh, man; I don’t know if you could build a spin-off about the caretaker. Because what’s so great about the caretaker is how mysterious she is. I think it would be a little tough to hang a show on someone where the great thing about the character is how much you don’t know and probably shouldn’t know.
What kind of spin-off would you want to see?
Well there was talk for awhile of Warehouse 12, and going back and centering a show around H.G. Wells. You know what, oddly enough, I would want to see Artie’s origin story. I would love to see Artie’s early years. Like his first year at the Warehouse. I think that would be so cool. Come on, you’d watch that, right?
(Emily note: Yes, yes I would!)
Jack Kenny (executive producer)
What can you tell us about the new season? I know you can’t spoil everything…
Ah, no, what do I care? Eddie will tweet everything anyway! I will tell you that it’s going to be a jam-packed season, and I think we’re going to make the fans incredibly happy. Every character gets fun stuff to do. Every character, especially in the finale, learns something new about themselves; about another character. They all find some really cool resolutions in their lives, and yet we can still move on.
Pete and Steve go to a Renaissance Faire chasing an artifact; Pete, Myka, and Artie fall into a telenovela in an episode; we have a big bad coming back; we meet Claudia’s sister; we find out why she’s a fairly dangerous woman; and we have some really cool resolution with that.
Do we find out more about Artie’s history with that as well?
Yes, we see flashbacks to how it happened when he first met Claudia, and how that all happened. It’s so moving and touching, and it was a beautiful scene between him and the little girl. And we get some resolution with Claudia and her sister. And Allison’s gotten so close with the actress who plays her sister; they’re like besties – it’s really fun.
And then the finale; you know, we had come up with ten stories before they said we only had six. So when we found out, I went to SyFy and said, “How about we do five, with five big penultimate episodes, and then six is a clip show?” And they said, “What do you mean a clip show?” I said, “Clips you’ve never seen.” So we get to see the culmination of five amazing episodes, with scenes you’ve never seen before. Really big stuff. Stuff that could make an entire episode. I don’t want to spoil it, but every cool story you think we could do, we’re doing. And everybody finds a little resolution; and it’s incredibly emotional, and incredibly moving, and there’s a nice resolution to the whole show, and you get the sense that it always goes on. And everybody learns something cool about somebody else. It’s a really fun, great end. I’m directing it at the end of the summer, and I’m very excited about it.
So we started a fight over there – because Allison and Aaron both want to take home the metronome. Which artifact would you take home?
Well, I have Magellan’s astrolabe at home. I stole Magellan’s astrolabe, because that’s the coolest one for me. Really mostly because the prop is so cool. They made this amazing brass astrolabe. It’s really cool. They do amazing props. But I’m not as…to me, it’s what the artifacts do that’s the coolest. Like I was just trying to remember, like the episode where they fell into a video game – I don’t even remember what caused that. But the fact that they were in a video game was cool. Like the noir episode, too. It doesn’t really matter how they end up there; what’s fun is that they’re there. So to me, what’s fun is the world the artifacts create and hurl them into. That, to me, is what’s exciting and fun about the show. We get to go to all these amazing places.
Once the show ends, could you conceivably do more? Like a movie of the week, or a spin-off?
Yes – we could do that. Like I said, the end will have great satisfaction for everyone; and yet, not an absolute. It will be very satisfying and very moving and sad, but not absolute.
Does the story dictate the artifacts, or do the artifacts dictate the story?
It’s “A.” The story dictates the artifacts. Because to me, the hard part is the story. I’ve been saying, “Hitler’s microphone,” for years; but we can’t find a story that makes it work. You find a story about a radio disc jockey who’d wreaking havoc in a city, then it could be like, “maybe that’s Hilter’s microphone he’s talking into.” So it’s the story that drives you to the artifact. Where do we want to throw them? What’s the fun place we want them to disappear into next? Sometimes we’ll do a story that’s just about characters. Like doing an episode where Pete and Myka essentially run into doppelgangers of themselves. Not real doppelgangers, but a Secret Service couple that they had worked with before; and we just wanted to do a story where they see themselves in another two people; and I don’t remember what the artifact was. Because sometimes it’s the story that’s interesting. It was an artifact that caused you to drown in salt water as you were standing there, so the water’s coming out of you. It’s a really cool effect. Robert Duncan McNeill came and directed it. He’s a wonderful guy. I love Robbie.
Were you inspired by other shows for the finale?
Not really. We didn’t want to do anything sad. We didn’t want people to die. We don’t kill anybody. I think what we wanted to do is, honestly, we wanted to do something fun for the fans. It’s their last show; the actors will go off and work on other things; but this won’t exist again for the fans. I wanted the fans to go, “Oh my God, that’s so great. I’m so glad that happened. Yeah, I’m sad that it’s over, but boy do I feel like I got what I needed from that.”
What about a spin-off series?
I want to do the H.G. series, desperately. We had three great outlines for that.
Can you tell us what were some of the biggest challenges over the last five years?
Producing a television show is always a challenge. It’s always exhausting. I think the biggest challenge for me was, I’m so in love with this show that I wanted to be on set every minute. I actually have this big director’s chair with a desk on it, so I could sit there and work, and re-write scripts and do notes and stuff, and watch the monitor, and then run in and pitch jokes, and pitch story changes, and give emotional beats, and then go back and sit in the chair again, and the challenge for me was just trying to do all of that at once. Because I just love it so much. Like most show-runners don’t go to the set that much – certainly not all the time; and I just live on the set, because I just love this cast so much, and we have such good energy together – we come up with such great stuff together, that it was important to me to be with them a lot.
What were your favorite episodes?
I really love every episode so much. “The Greatest Gift,” the Christmas episode that was an It’s A Wonderful Life take-off, was a fav. Because I loved seeing the family that didn’t know they were a family become a family. That was, to me, the show in a nutshell; that these people are such a family, they can’t not be a family. Even when they’ve gone off like that, they come back together, and they work together. And that is, to me, the crux of the show. I loved the introduction of H.G. Wells, and the introduction of Steve, and of Claudia. Whenever you introduce a new character, it’s so much fun. I loved meeting Pete’s mom. That was one of my favorite moments of the show, was when Pete turned and said, “Mom!” I love surprising people, in a good way. And in a scary way. Leena’s death, to me, was incredibly moving. When Pete and Myka found her; or when she turned, to save Artie; any moment that has to do with these people loving each other. Seeing Pete so incredibly torn about whether he should believe Paracelsus that he could save Myka. That, to me, was the perfect example of who Pete is. He’s an adult, and he’s a ten-year-old boy, who’s scared that the person he loves is going to die. So “I’ll do whatever I have to do.” You know. I love this show.
Eddie McClintock (actor, Pete Lattimer)
What can you tell us about the upcoming season?
I can say, one word: Pyka. That’s all I can say there. As for the season, it’s just more of what everybody’s come to expect from the show. When I found out that these would be the last six episodes of the show, I said, “So what are you going to do? Are you going to kill us all? Are you going to blow us up?” And Jack was like, “Nah, we’ve done all that.” And Jack, because he’s such an amazing writer of relationships, and of the human condition; I think that he’s ended the show in a perfect way. I think that if you have a sentimental bone in your body, you’ll be pretty strung out by it.
What artifact would you like to take home?
I’ve already gotten dibs on a Farnsworth and a Tesla. …’Cause I can fetch like $1500 bucks apiece for those on eBay.
What have been some challenges over the last several seasons?
I think the biggest challenge that comes to mind is leaving my family; for the last year, I was in Toronto for nine months. I have two sons, a six and a seven-year-old, and it’s hard. Leaving my wife and my boys? They get to visit sometimes, but the boys are in school now. If it weren’t for Skype, it would be impossible. I will just put the Skype on, and not even necessarily talk to anybody. Lynn would just turn it on, and put it in the room, so I can hear them playing, and getting ready for bed, or having dinner, so it felt kind of like I was in the room. That was the biggest challenge.
Other than that, I mean, what challenge could it be? I run around with a ray gun, I get paid to pretend that I’m saving the world; my mom is a Starfleet captain – who’s on a new show now, called Orange is the New Black. We’ve had a lot of great guest stars – sci-fi icons. It’s been amazing – I mean, I’m from Ohio; I wrestled in college; I was destined to be the funniest ditch-digger in my home town. You know, my high school football coach took me out in the hall and said, “You know, college isn’t for everyone.” So I was not voted most likely to end up where I’ve ended up. So the fact that I have been so fortunate – I owe a lot to Jack, and Syfy, and my cast.
Can you tell us about a typical day on set; and have you ever pranked anyone on set?
For me, I show up, I turn on the news in my trailer, I get makeup and hair, have some breakfast. A lot of times before work I go to the gym; I have this trainer, he’s about 230 pounds – I have like, a 34-inch waist; he weighs 230, and his waist is 32. He kicks my butt every morning; because they make me take my shirt off; and I don’t want my one-pack to fall over. So I work out, go in, and after hair and makeup I block. Blocking is where we read the scene and decide where we’re going to go; and as we go there, someone from the camera department puts tape down so the cameras can know where we’re going to go, and anticipate where we’re going and move in unison. After that I finish hair and makeup and go back and shoot it; and then in between takes, I screw around on the computer, I talk to my friends, I tweet, and…I mean, it’s a vacation. It’s all a vacation. As far as pranks are concerned? It’s all one giant prank to me. If I’m not giving somebody a wet willy or a wedgie…
Have they ever gotten you?
Well, Jack is the king of cunning. He’s very cunning. And he likes to make sure that I don’t think that I’m too cool for school. So he smacks me down emotionally a lot.
What have been your favorite episodes to work on?
This season in particular, what comes to mind is the noir episode. So much fun, and to work with Enrico Colantoni and Missi Pyle was great. And the pirate episode – I thought it really embodied what, for me, a Warehouse 13 episode is. It was this great adventure, and the effects weren’t too sloppy. The Spine of the Saracen episode, too. It was the first time in my career that I’d had the opportunity to play that emotion; and so I kind of walked away from that going, “Okay, maybe I can do this.” There’ve been so many. I’m proud of the show.
Tell us, if there was an Eddie McClintock artifact – what would it be, and what would it do?
Ooh, that’s a good one. Um, Eddie McClintock’s binky. The binky would help me to be a better father. I know it’s not exciting; but as a parent, I’m always wondering, “Oh my God, am I doing this right? Am I ruining my kid’s life?” If there was something that would help me be the perfect dad, that’d be great. But there’s always a downside to an artifact, so I guess it would be, I don’t know, a lifetime filled with poopy diapers.
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… And on that note, thanks to the Warehouse 13 cast and crew for some great interviews, and until next time, Servo Lectio!
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis and Cowards
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold and Going Batty