After what felt like the longest year since last season’s amazingly ridiculous finale aired, Syfy’s Z Nation will finally kick off its fourth season Friday, September 29 and no doubt will bring all the zaniness and eccentricity only a post-apocalyptic horror dramedy can!
Project Fandom was able to gain a bit of insight – and spoilers! – about season four from Z Nation’s core survivors: Kellita Smith, Keith Allan, Russell Hodgkinson, and DJ Qualls! During our rather lively round table, the group discussed their journey so far, what fans can expect at the onset of season four, and how none of them are dead after that insane season finale. Seriously, a UFO???
Thanks to what few skeleton governments remained in power, Murphy decided to go into the tyrant business in season three, giving most of the gang no other choice but try to overthrow their former friend while coming up with a makeshift vaccine for ZN-1. Well… things did and didn’t turn out as expected, but as Keith Allan states, old grudges have been squashed.
“Everyone had their own storyline [in season three]… this next season, the gang’s all back together! And that’s one thing I think the fans are going to love, because I think so much of our show is based on our comraderie, the chemistry between the actors.”
For DJ Qualls and Russell Hodgkinson, the shift in narrative excited them how this new perspective will alter the world as we know and where it’ll drag their characters off to next.
“At the beginning of the season we jump ahead two years, so stuff has happened. And we even start off in whole new, fresh place,” Qualls states.
Hodgekinson adds, “I would like to know what drugs the writers were on this year, because we have some seriously out there episodes. I mean really crazy, psycho… I wanna know what they’re on! I mean, right? [Allan interjects, “I’m in a box! We’re in a box!”] It’s gonna be some intense shit.”
“The writers really make us excited to be on this show,” Qualls affirms. “First of all, they’re all bright and funny, and have great ideas. We have limited resources on our show, and they’re able to write these spectacular things and our amazing crew knows how to bring them to life. It’s great, it’s really great. For me, it feels like summer camp. It just feels like I’m in a play!”
Keith Allan seconded the sentiment, as reacquainting with old friends during production makes slipping back into the role of Murphy all the easier. “For me, it’s just fun to work with my buds again. We get to joke around and crack each other up, and commiserate often! One of the great things about our show is they’re pretty flexible with us. Our ideas, letting us throw in our two cents and often Russell and I would be like “How ‘bout you say this and I say that?” and I’ll go [claps hands] “Yeah yeah yeah, that’s good!” so a lot of times we’ll tweak the dialogue.”
Due to the time jump, no doubt the mission will have changed a great deal, along with their most persistent adversaries, the Zs. One of the more entertaining aspects of Z Nation is how the undead constantly adapt to their respective environment, creating wildly unique variants that literally and figuratively drove the team up a wall.
According to Qualls, Smith and Hodgkinson, this will be present and provide an even deadlier challenge for everyone. “We can’t tell you [the specifics], but they’re evolving in an interesting way. We have a specific kind of zombie which is really challenging this year for all of our characters.” “Basically, they’re getting harder to kill,” Smith interjects. Hodgkinson, a practical sieve when it comes to spoilers, dropped a vague nugget in the midst of the conversation: “We’re also losing team members and gaining team members.” Granted, this practice is standard for the show… but what? Who are we losing???
“Which I think is always interesting about our show is not one zombie fits all,” Allan remarked. “They’re evolving and changing and they’re different kinds of them, which gives a lot more freedom to have fun with them! Our makeup team [Synapse FX], they got to do some really fun stuff!”
Ever the informant, Hodgkinson excitedly remarked on other species that’ll soon terrorize the survivors. “And what other show has zombie animals? This year we have the z rats, a camel… there’s an episode coming up that’ll be off the hook! Crazy!”
Despite the time jump and a change in priorities, to skew an old adage, the more things change, the more they stay the same in the post-apocalypse! Lucy (now played by Tara Holt) is back and more precocious as ever, or as Allan described her, she’s “a mutant zombie teenage daughter with attitude”. As the team reforms along the way, expect to see notable guest stars like Michael Berryman and Henry Rollins grace the small screen! Whether they have time to shine or ultimately become lunch meat for Zs is anyone’s guess.
After all of this revealing material, is there possibly anything else we could know? Russell Hodgkinson, do you have anything else to add?
“Oh it’s going to be dark. But fun dark! Our kind of dark. … 10K gets laid! There’s a spoiler! I looked at the script… He’s living with Red, and it says ‘No longer does he look like he used to. Clearly somebody’s getting laid.’”
Have mercy, indeed!
The fourth season of Z Nation premieres tonight at 9/8c on Syfy!