Exclusive: Carnival Row Season 2 Cast Talks New Challenges and Philosophical Questions

Courtesy of Prime Video

Carnival Row is back on Amazon’s Prime Video, marking the highly anticipated final season of the fantasy series. It stars Orlando Bloom as Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate and Cara Delevingne as Vignette Stonemoss, a fae fighting to survive in a world that fears them. Originally premiering in 2019, it was set in the fictional city of The Burgue, where humans and magical creatures coexist, with peace hanging by a thread as fear, anger and hate rise.

The second and final season follows various characters as they navigate The Burgue and its surrounding worlds including human detectives, faerie rebels, a wealthy faun, and more. It is a dangerous place as these characters experience a hostile political climate, forbidden love, and the threat of war.

Tamzin Merchant portrays Imogen Spurnrose, a human heiress who has a romantic relationship with Agreus, a wealthy faun. Their forbidden romance will have them escaping the world they know, only to face more hardship on their journey.

“Yeah, it was really fun having seen, for me, Imogen, in the Burgue, being a high society lady,” Merchant tells Nerd Reactor. “It was really fun, obviously, to send her off in a ship at the end of season one, but then for her and Agreus to hit this rather large snag early on in season two. It was really fun to really flip the script on what’s happening, what’s happening to them. Imogen’s power kind of gets completely taken away really, and she’s completely thrown off her pedestal. She’s no longer in charge of anything.”

David Gyasi as Agreus, Tamzim Merchant as Imogen Spurnrose. Credit: Julie Vrabelová/Prime Video

Reprising the role of Agreus is David Gyasi, a faun shunned by Burgue high society because of his background and appearance. He takes Imogen with him in order to find a better place for their future, but that would seemingly be futile.

“To be honest, it was a bit nerve-wracking,” Gyasi said about the start of the final season. “And here’s why. Because I think season one sets up this story, and they managed to overcome a lot of things to fall in love. And then they go, ‘You know what, let’s just sail away and find a land. But they’re in the world and the world has the same kind of oppressive situations there. So what happens is they go, ‘We’re in love.’ And now they go, ‘What does that look like?’ And digging deep, like literally nerve-racking, reading each episode and go, ‘Do they stay together? Was it real?’ I felt myself being nervous discovering what their fate would be if I’m really honest with you. So that’s our fun.’

Taking the reigns for the final season of Carnival Row is showrunner Erik Oleson, who served as the showrunner for the third season of Daredevil. Carnival Row dives deeper into the hostilities between the humans and the magical creatures, eventually dealing with terrible acts of violence, death and destruction.

“So the writers and I wanted to take the next step of that journey and ask a question, a couple of philosophical questions,” Oleson explained. “The first was, how should we look at ourselves in the mirror? What defines who we are? Are we defined by our DNA that our parents had? And we didn’t get any choice in the matter? We were born this and we were born where. Or are we defined by the actions that we take, the choices we make and how we treat others when we’re on the planet and interacting?

“How do we face dilemma? Are we a moral person? Are we an immoral person? And so each character that was introduced in season one, we decided to say, ‘Well, let’s have all of those different characters answer that question differently in season two and go down different roads.’

“With the second philosophical question, which is, how does one respond to social injustice? Do you fight back with love? Do you fight back with hate? Do you fight back with trying to work within the system, and slowly over time, rectify those injustices? Or do you take to the streets? Do you pick up arms? Turn violent? All of those questions are happening here.”

Arty Froushan as Jonah and Caroline Ford as Sophie. Credit: Julie Vrabelová/Prime Video

Arty Froushan portrays Jonah Breakspear, who is now the chancellor of the Republic of the Burgue. Will his reign bring peace and order, or will it end with bloodshed?

“He’s really unsure of his desire to rule, let alone his ability to rule,” Froushan said of his character at the beginning of season two. “So there’s a lot of uncertainty for Jonah. And he’s fighting within himself to discover who he is and what he really wants to do. But it’s always open to the influence of others, as you saw in season one, and as you will see in season two.”

And one of those influences comes from his partner, Sophie Longerbane, played by Caroline Ford.

“Yeah, I mean, she’s absolutely the one pulling the strings,” Ford said of her character. “And I think her battle at the beginning of season two is trying to manipulate Jonah in order to stay in a position of power and to keep their relationship strong. And I think that is a struggle for her because she has to not say everything she’s thinking. She has to drip-feed ideas to him. She has to play a slow game of cat and mouse with him, which is fun. But I think it’s a challenge for her because she knows that she could rule pretty well.”

About Carnival Row

In a fantasy world where humans and creatures clash, Season Two of Carnival Row picks up with former inspector Rycroft Philostrate a.k.a. Philo (Orlando Bloom) investigating a series of gruesome murders stoking social tension. Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) and the Black Raven plot payback for the unjust oppression inflicted by The Burgue’s human leaders, Jonah Breakspear (Arty Froushan) and Sophie Longerbane (Caroline Ford). Tourmaline (Karla Crome) inherits supernatural powers that threaten her fate and the future of The Row. And, after escaping The Burgue and her vengeful brother Ezra (Andrew Gower), Imogen Spurnrose (Tamzin Merchant) and her partner Agreus Astrayon (David Gyasi) encounter a radical new society which upends their plans. With humans and fae folk divided and freedom on the line, each hero will face impossible dilemmas and soul-defining tests in the epic conclusion of Carnival Row.

The final season is now available on Prime Video.

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