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A Japan/Nazi Cold War Comes to The Man in the High Castle's Second Season

Illustration for article titled A Japan/Nazi Cold War Comes to iThe/i iMan in the High Castle/is Second Season

Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle took on the monumental task of adapting Philip K. Dick’s alternate history story into a television series. Its attention to detail and depth of character made it a must-watch, and, at San Diego Comic-Con, the cast and crew revealed a bit of what comes next.


First things first: we will meet the titular Man in the High Castle, just like we do in the book, in season two. And Tagomi was not having a dream last season when he traveled to “our” reality—the one where the Allies won World War II. These facts were made emphatically by executive producer Isa Dick Hackett during the Amazon show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

But will we get answers? “I was looking for such an answer in the first episode to why that happened,” said Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who plays Tagomi. But, he said, season two’s plan is to reveal things by “not overblowing it and letting it work itself through several episodes and build through another dimension.”


The effect of “our” reality on The Man in the High Castle “plays a role to the extent that it informs the character and the stories,” explained executive producer David Zucker. There are other things to worry about in season two, including a cold war between the Japanese and the Nazis, the possibility of a coup in Berlin, and the mysteries of the neutral zone. We also saw a clip of Juliana escaping from the trunk of a car driven by some new characters, who debate killing her. Apparently, Juliana saw “his face” and she’s a liability.

UPDATE: The clip is now online:

Amazon also released this new teaser trailer, which hints at all the problems to come in season two:

One new character joining the show in season two is a Berlin-born filmmaker named Nicole Becker (Bella Heathcote). In a press roundtable before the panel, Heathcote told us that she did a lot of research into Leni Riefenstahl for the role, “She’s a documentary filmmaker, she’s a Nazi-ish. I think she’s more into her films than she is into Nazi ideals.” At the panel, Heathcote added that Becker represents the second-generation Nazis, who don’t hold the Nazi ideals as strongly and are young kids who mostly want to have fun.

Everyone on the panel was aware that their show, set in an alternate past, is becoming increasingly parallel to the modern world. Zucker said that seeing the world get “ever more turbulent” made the show “ever more relevant.” The Man in the High Castle, he said, shows that the same decision-making that created that alternate universe is present today.

Rufus Sewell, who plays American-born Nazi John Smith, said that he thought the show was always relevant. Characters like his show the extent to which people can delude themselves in order to make themselves the hero. Sewell elaborated on that idea, telling us in a press event that his character “believes he’s a decent guy—he’s wrong as fuck—but he’s managed to come up with a narrative, as people do.”


It was important for Sewell that Smith be a well-rounded character, because the question of the show is how much of what people do is nature and how much of it is nurture. Of his character, Sewell asks, “Who would he had been if Hitler hadn’t become Chancellor in 1933? What would he have done? Who would he be? Would he be a good man? Would he be a bad man? Who’s the Smith that existed in our world?”

Or, put the way Sewell put it in the panel, “You don’t have to shift the ‘50s Father Knows Best far at all to get the Nazi regime.”


Katharine is the former managing editor of io9.

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I was interested in this show... until I finally got around to reading the book, which had some interesting world building, but was overall dull IMO. Is the show more exciting?