Ahead of the November premiere of "Into the Badlands," the cast of the highly anticipated AMC series descended on New York Comic Con to introduce fans to the show's unique world. Unique is an understatement. AMC is billing the show as the first true martial arts-based series on television and the network has pulled out all the stops to bring the futuristic tale to the small screen.
The result is a lush world of feudal barons ruling over a warrior class of poor commoners in a gun-free, dystopian version of America. Marton Csokas, who plays Quinn, the Badlands' most powerful baron, and Orla Brady, who plays Lydia, Quinn's calculating wife, spent Comic Con teasing TV's most ruthless power couple since the Underwoods ("House of Cards").
Quinn and Lydia lord over their alloted section of the Badlands -- there are seven barons in total -- with the help of an army of former impoverished children known as Clippers. Series star Daniel Wu plays Sunny, the most feared Clipper of them all. Quinn keeps Sunny and the other Clippers under his thumb by convincing them they are better off under his rule than outside the Badlands where they would struggle to survive. Csokas told International Business Times at Comic Con Quinn's pitch is, at least, partly true.
"He probably believes that that's true, but he certainly is using it as a ruling rod," Csokas said. "But I think in part it is true."
After all, in the Badlands, no one can truly trust anyone else, not even their own son.
"Everybody that they come across wants to usurp, even in his own house. His son that he shares with Lydia wants to do exactly that," Csokas said. "He does not agree with how things are run and in the confidence of youth, which can overleap itself, if he was not psychologically dominated, he would be happy to kill Quinn. And in fact he does just that. All these forces to bring him down and what he has built -- it would end. I think he believes he is preserving the people in an extreme way. So, in the Darwinian sense I think he thinks he is doing what he has to because if he didn't somebody else would."
— Into the Badlands (@IntotheBadlands) October 10, 2015
Meanwhile, Quinn's wife Lydia has her own perspective.
"She is in that curious position of not being empowered herself, but deriving her power from the people around her and having been married to the most powerful baron in the Badlands, she has been in a pretty good position" Orla Brady told IBT. "That is changing at the start of the show. [Quinn] is exercising his right to take another wife. It's not easy for Lydia. That's where she stands at the beginning of the story. She is literally seeing a younger version of herself. She sees ambition and knows that puts her in danger."
Lydia might not have any combat prowess, but she's still a fighter. In fact, elsewhere in the "Badlands" universe the wife of another baron has killed her husband and taken over as the first female baron, going by the name the Widow (Emily Beecham). The power move could serve as inspiration for Lydia, who wants to see her son take power.
"When someone does something that is an entirely new idea and you see that it is possible -- Quinn has a line in episode one [when he gets the news about the Widow] that is: 'I hope this doesn't give [Lydia] any ideas.' It's said as a bit of an aside, but many a truth is said in jest," Brady said. "I think a seed has been planted there."
However, predicting too much discord between the longtime partners might be premature.
"They have been a team for years. There is no reason for them to be against each other," Brady said.
"Even if [Quinn] wouldn't admit it, they would be lost without each other," Csokas said.
Fans will have to tune in to the "Into the Badlands" premiere to see how the couple's complicated (to say the least) relationship shakes out. The six-episode first season of the AMC series begins airing on Nov. 15.
Watch the trailer for "Into the Badlands" below: