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NBC’s Revolution Began With A Sword Fight In Front Of A Starbucks

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If you ask any fan of Eric Kripke’s Supernatural what they remember most from the pilot episode, I’m betting most of them will point to one unforgettable image: a woman pinned to the ceiling as flames erupt from behind her. In fact, Kripke says that first image was the single spark that eventually became Supernatural. For his latest series, Kripke says that he had a similar singular moment of inspiration: the idea of two men sword fighting in front of a Starbucks. From that one vision, Kripke began trying to answer the questions his own brain had asked, and once that thought combined with his love of The Lord of the Rings, Revolution was well on its way to being born.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Kripke explains that he liked the idea of telling a story set in America, but in an America that has been rolled back to a medieval way of living. That idea merged with his desire to tell a “quest” kind of story along the lines of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. “I wanted to take everything I love about Lord of the Rings — swords and swashbuckling and quests and damsels in distress — put all that deep nerd fantasy stuff on the American highway.” That particular wording is interesting, because among its other influences, Revolution also fits firmly into the American tradition of the cross-country road trip…just without the cars.

When Kripke pitched the idea to J.J. Abrams, who became an executive producer on the show,
the show was going to involve a super-virus that wiped out much of the planet’s population and rolled mankind back to a more primitive, agrarian lifestyle. After putting their heads together, they eventually decided on an anti-tech apocalypse. Aside from having plenty of narrative potential, it also solved one of the most prevalent problems modern writers run up against. Here’s Abrams:

One of the things that’s difficult and frustrating about all the technology we have is it eliminates a lot of potential for drama. [Characters] can communicate instantly, they can research things, they can jump on a plane and be anywhere. Writers contort themselves to eliminate cell phones from scenes. And one of the beautiful byproducts of Kripke’s idea is that there’s no longer that immediate access.

Revolution airs Monday nights at 10/9c on NBC, available on your TV, tablet, laptop, and assorted other still-functional technologies.

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