An Exclusive Sneak Peak Into Season 3 With Penny Dreadful’s Josh Hartnett

April 22, 2016

In anticipation of its Season Three premiere on Sunday, May 1st at 10/9c, we’re excited to give viewers a sneak peek into Penny Dreadful‘s new season with an in depth interview with Josh Hartnett aka Ethan Chandler. With so much at stake after Season Two’s finale, we couldn’t help but ask Hartnett some tough questions about what viewers can expect moving forward. Check out part two of our interview here, and make sure to set your DVR for Penny Dreadful’s premiere on May 1st at 10/9c on SHOWTIME®.

Where did we leave off last season?

The beginning of Season Three finds us almost exactly where we left off last season. Our anti-hero crew are scattered to the four corners of the world, and Ethan’s no exception. He’s been taken back to the states by Inspector Rusk with a few of the other cast members in tow, unbeknownst to him, it was sort of a bleak ending to the last season and this season is going to find us trying to right some of the wrongs of last season and come back together.

So what specifically is going on with Ethan this season?

Ethan’s being brought back to stand trial for a crime that he committed a few years ago—he’s been running from it since the beginning of Season One. The thing that Ethan hates about this situation more than anything, is that he’s getting closer to his homeland. He’s closer to his father and the land that he grew up in, and he doesn’t really want to be reminded of that. He’s been running away from it for a long time. We find Ethan in a very uncomfortable position at the beginning of this season.

Inspector Rusk is taking him to ostensibly be hung by the courts in New Mexico territory, and he’s actually being brought back the area in which he grew up. There are multiple antagonists who want to get a hold of Ethan. The people that want him to stand trial are Rusk and his junior inspector, and of course Ethan’s father would like to have him back on the ranch. Ethan has a lot of daddy issues.

Can you tell us a bit more about what’s going on with Hecate and why she’s after Ethan?

Hecate’s chasing Ethan because she believes that Ethan is the key to her becoming a more powerful person in the darker side of this world. She’s aligned herself from a very young age, almost from birth with the devil, and Ethan could be useful to her. Hecate wants Ethan to be a part of her army, or wants to be part of his army, essentially to bring back the forces of the night into the world as we know it right now. At the same time Vanessa is being sought out by Dracula who is also trying to bring about dark forces. In a way, we’re all sort of being led down this path toward the final showdown between the devil and the best humanity has to offer. Vanessa’s character and Ethan’s character are are wound up in it very tightly. Hecate is taking care of one end. Dracula is taking care of the other, and so Hecate’s there to kind of recruit Ethan into the dark side—into the devil’s side.

What is it about Vanessa, that even though Ethan chose to leave, he still longs for her?

Ethan and Vanessa have been drawn to each other from the very opening scene in Season One. I think it’s inevitable that their conclusions have to be intertwined. It’s not stated specifically what attracts them. They just find each other oddly different from the rest of the people that they encounter, in a way that people, when they fall in love, find their partner to be different from anyone they’ve met before. I think that Ethan and Vanessa care about each other very much, and Ethan was not purposefully trying to go live his life without her when he gave himself up at the end of last season. He was hoping that he would be hung quickly, and rid the world of his curse—he thought he’d spare Vanessa the agony of having to see that happen, so he slipped away. He didn’t expect to end up in the situation where he’s running around the American West without her, and isn’t able to protect her, but this is the way it is. He didn’t get what he expected.

What is the overall journey this season with Vanessa, and how does Ethan find his way back to her?

Ethan and Vanessa have little time together this year, because Ethan is in the states for most of this season. Vanessa’s in London, as usual, the group of us that are in the states find out that Vanessa’s in trouble. We try to mount a rescue mission, but it being 1892, it takes a while to get back. When we do get back, things have not gone as well as we’d hoped, and we have a whole new kettle of fish to deal with. Vanessa has been seduced by the devil, essentially. The devil in the form of Dracula and all of our good guys have to go and try and save her. It’s a similar sort of feel to what we’ve had in the last three years, or the last two seasons. Once we all get back together some new characters will emerge, and join forces with us and and it becomes a bit more classic from there on out. For the beginning of the first half of the season, there’s lots of longing and regret from Ethan’s standpoint. He’s not spending a lot of time with her, obviously, but he thinks about her often and wishes he could be there with her, to help her, or to just to be her companion.


Check out part two of our interview with Josh Hartnett here, and make sure to set your DVR for Penny Dreadful’s premiere on May 1st at 10/9c on SHOWTIME®.

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