After a lackluster second season, Revenge is going back to its roots for season three, according to star Emily VanCamp. That involves refocusing on the original cast, something that will happen without show creator Mike Kelley, who left the ABC drama after season two (writer Sunil Nayar is taking the reins this year).
ETonline caught up with VanCamp at ABC's Television Critics Association Press Tour All-Star Party on August 4 to talk find out what this regime change means for Revenge, how the show will go back to its roots in season three and why the first thing you'll see this year is Emily floating in a pool of blood.
ETonline: What's the showrunner transition been like for you?
Emily VanCamp: It's definitely difficult. I love Mike and thought what he was fighting for was definitely something that should have been addressed. I believe Revenge can only sustain a certain amount of episodes per season, so to fight for a fewer number of episodes per season was definitely a topic worth bringing up and I'm proud of him for fighting for it. Ultimately it didn't turn out how he wanted, which is difficult, but we have Sunil, who is a wonderful writer. We also have an incredible team of writers. Obviously we love and miss Mike, but I'm excited about this season.
ETonline: What excites you about Revenge under Sunil's leadership?
VanCamp: He's really taking Revenge back to its roots. Old-school take-downs. Emily is fired up. She's been given an ultimatum by Jack to get this done by summer because he's completely uncomfortable with what she's doing, and having the knowledge of what she's doing. He doesn't want to see anyone else suffer at the hands of her plan, so he gives her a timetable, which makes her put a very specific plan into action. I can't say what that plan is, but we start the season with a flash-forward of Emily laying in a pool, with blood surrounding her. Later this year we'll pull back on that shot and you'll see the whole environment, but it could be the beginning of the end for Miss. Thorne.
ETonline: So Jack definitely heard Emily reveal she is Amanda? Some people were worried the show would back out of that admission.
VanCamp: Oh yes, Jack knows who she is. Jack heard. That relationship is incredibly tense when we come back. We see the first moment they see one another since she told him and it's really charged. They've always had this incredibly intense chemistry, but he never knew why. Yet that doesn't take away from the fact he's incredibly livid with what she's done, and it's interesting to see who Amanda Clarke is through his eyes as an adult because you do start to see how crazy she is. How this sociopathic behavior, who was born out of trauma, is ingrained in her. The way she describes what she's doing without a hint of thinking it's immoral, makes Jack basically say, "Girl, you are crazy!" [laughs] As an audience, you really start to get a sense of how deeply this need to get revenge is in her soul.
ETonline: Will Emily ever use Jack to get Revenge?
VanCamp: I had a conversation with Sunil at the very start of this season about that very thing. I told him that Emily will do anything to protect Jack, so to involve him in her plans is completely out of character and makes no sense to me. If anything, she takes a step back from Jack and tries to keep him out of it as much as possible. The minute she uses Jack to get revenge, her integrity is gone. He is Emily's one connection to her past, so we cannot go there.
ETonline: Justin Hartley joins this season as Patrick, Victoria's long-lost son. How does Emily react to his arrival?
VanCamp: Emily's goal is to turn Victoria's children against her, so he's in her sights. But, there's something very interesting between Patrick and Victoria. It's kind of creepy.
ETonline: Like incestuous?
VanCamp: Almost. Like, it could totally go there. But I think that's a result of Victoria struggling so hard to hang on to her children and to make things right in her mind. This is someone new she can redeem herself with. It's a fascinating relationship that's so profound for Victoria. And the moment Emily sees that, it's attack mode. She wants to get Patrick on her side, but he's surprisingly unwilling to go against Victoria.
ETonline: How much of a time jump is there in the season premiere?
VanCamp: It's about six months later, but it doesn't play a major part aside from knowing Nolan is in prison, the Graysons are broke, Conrad is governor. The idea behind that is to skip some of the boring stuff and get people back into their community of crazy people.
ETonline: What are you excited for Revenge fans to see in season three?
VanCamp: I think they're going to be really happy we're going back to our roots. We're simplifying. We're trying to play more on the characters' emotions than working in big, Initiative storylines with people we don't know. We're honing in on these central characters and watching them brawl ... and along the way, Emily Thorne takes a bullet.
Revenge premieres September 29 at 9 p.m. on ABC.