Teenagers have pretty complicated lives these days – particularly on television. Amazon’s The Wilds intensifies all those young adult issues by dropping eight teenage girls onto a remote island and forcing them to face their demons in order to survive.
While at first, it may seem like just a teen version of Lost, The Wilds is actually a whole lot more than that.
(Warning: spoilers for season one of The Wilds are ahead.)
For one, not only is the group stranded on an island, they’re actually unknowingly there as part of an elaborate social experiment and every move they make is taken under a watchful eye.
Secondly, each and every character has a compelling and diverse backstory to tell from their time prior to the island, and all of them give insight into the different elements of the female experience.
Lastly, let’s not forget that flashbacks aren’t the only time period we’re dealing with here. The Wilds also flings us into a present-day narrative where the girls have been rescued and taken to a bunker for interrogation. But not everything is what it seems.
To find out what other twists and turns we can expect from the new season of The Wilds, Lifehacker Australia spoke with cast members Sophia Ali, Jenna Clause, Sarah Pidgeon, Reign Edwards, Shannon Berry, Erana James and Mia Healey.
Heading into season 2, our cast of characters has even more issues to unravel, ones that will both strengthen and test their bonds.
For Pidgeon, season 2 implemented “more layers” to all the characters, particularly for her character, Leah, the chief conspiracy theorist of the group.
“In season 2 [Leah] meets certain obstacles that I think make her recalibrate how she is dealing with the conspiracy theories she has,” Pidgeon said in a roundtable interview.
“There were surprises that Leah had that I was not expecting… but her theories are never far off, no matter how tempered they may seem.”
She also teased more comedic moments ahead for Leah, in particular, some that she shares with Edwards’ character Rachel.
“Rachel and Leah together have some very comedic moments, which I think was really cool for us both to experience,” she said.
As for Rachel, Edwards said her character very quickly learns to “let life happen” in season 2, which is a departure from her methodical behaviour in the first season.
“I think [Rachel] was so caught up in being strategic and trying to plan everything out because that’s what she did in diving,” Edwards said.
“And then she’s on this island, and even more things are being presented to her that she never would have thought she would have ever encountered.”
For Jenna Clause, who plays the loveable Martha, season 2 sees her character opening up to the others more.
“Martha has kind of a new flair to her, more of a backbone if you will,” Clause said. “I think it’s really important for her to have that with what she’s going through.”
The confident and sarcastic Fatin sees a bit of a role reversal in season 2 with Sophia Ali teasing that audiences will see a “different side of her”.
“I feel like you see Fatin go to a place that you just wouldn’t expect, which is like the caretaker role.” Ali told Lifehacker Australia.
On the other side of the coin is Dot. Traditionally the survivalist of the group, Aussie actor Shannon Berry said her character learns what it means to be supported in the second season.
“Dot takes a big fat backseat. She lets people take care of her which is amazing and you’re able to see her be supported by all these wonderful women.”
Rounding out the group is Shelby and Toni, the main romantic pairing in The Wilds.
For Mia Healey and Erana James, portraying such a prominent LGBTQIA+ relationship on screen is a great privilege, and the pair said it’s one dynamic that grows even stronger in the new season.
“We definitely see them in a very different place in themselves and together in this season compared to season 1,” Healey explained. “For Shelby, we see her the happiest that we’ve ever seen her. It’s very beautiful and joyful seeing her kind of fall into Toni and giving herself to her in a way.”
“Similarly, Toni’s so calm and she’s found a lot of peace in her relationship with Shelby and that’s beautiful. It’s been really interesting building the arcs as our characters together through their relationship,” James added.
Adding to the changing dynamic of The Wilds this season is a pretty big curveball: boys.
The Wilds is known for having some truly unexpected twists, the biggest of which was the reveal at the end of the first season that the girls weren’t the only ones trapped in this warped social experiment. There was also another island where a group of boys were also stranded.
Season 2 introduces a group of new teen male characters into the mix, who are forced into the same survival situation as the girls but with differing results.
Similar to the way The Wilds shed light on complex female issues in its first season, the series aims to do the same thing for its male characters in the second season, which is something the cast was excited about.
“It opens up a conversation that I think is really necessary and important. I think it opens up the sphere and it shows more of the world,” Berry said.
The Wilds cast members were also confident that the addition of an all-male group wouldn’t take away from the female stories within the show.
“I think that there’s still a very strong female presence on the show,” Edwards said. “And having the guys, interestingly enough, helps tell that story a bit more as well.”
Healey agreed, saying the male cast members changed the dynamic, but not in a bad way.
“I think one of the coolest things about the show is how it’s constantly evolving. These characters are constantly evolving, and growing and changing and the show does that as well,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to people watching season 2 and seeing the backstories of these men and I hope they finish watching it and have empathy.”
As for whether The Wilds has any more mind-blowing plot twists in store, Pidgeon teased that “there’s far more than meets the eye” this season.
Fans will have to wait and see for themselves when The Wilds season 2 hits Amazon Prime Video on May 6.