The adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel The Man In The High Castle, and its alternate history tale of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan winning World War II, continues this fall on Amazon Prime.
Set in America in 1962, the show not only deals with life in the US under occupation, but the apparent existence of a parallel Earth in which history played out the way we know that it has. Executive producer Dan Percival discusses the show.
What do you feel the power of this particular work by Philip K Dick is?
We’ve staged our alternate history in the same period he wrote the book. What is extraordinary to us is how the messages of that time still have some resonance and relevance today. Even more so because the further we get away from the Second World War, the further we get away from what you remember the Nazis and the totalitarian Japanese States represented to our parents’ generation and our grandparents’ generation.
What Philip K Dick wanted to remind us is all it takes is the world to turn the other way for the ideals of bigotry and xenophobia and totalitarianism to take hold again. All it takes is a slip in the economic system, a war, fear of enemies that may or may not be as real as they’d like to imagine. Very quickly people get into power who would have you believe what they say. Even in our democracies we can be vulnerable.
Hitler rose in a great democracy. He rose by convincing his nation he would lead them to greatness out of a time of great strife, of economic strife. They believed him and they followed him and then when he had power, we saw what he did. Let us not forget. That’s what Philip K Dick wanted us to remember, that actually all of us are capable of sliding in to supporting something that can overwhelm us and overtake us very quickly.
The final shot of Season 1 revealed the alternate Earth, which is our own history. How prominent is that element going to be in Season 2?
You will experience a ton of realities season two. What Philip K Dick was interested in was that your circumstance in your life, in your work, is determined by the environment you’re in. Your moral choices, your social choices, your work choices, your choices of love are totally tainted by the environment in which you live. You change that environment a little bit and your choices change.
In some worlds, maybe we remain consistent and the same, and we are either good or bad. Maybe some people are completely consistent and some people are completely inconsistent in their environment. In all the characters that you see in The Man In The High Castle, some are intrinsically noble to their character and to the core all the way through. When you start to make them in a different reality, they’re going to be different. This is an area that we really want to explore this year.
It also feeds into the principal world that we’ve introduced our audience to. We stay and remain within that world, but as you saw at the end of episode 10, we do travel elsewhere.