Mr. Robot: Creator Sam Esmail Cracks the Code For Season 2

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 1

If only one could hack the mind of show creator Sam Esmail and uncover what he has planned for Mr. Robot season 2. The date for the show's return hasn't even been set, but if you ask fans of USA Network's hit show, they can't wait for more. The season 1 finale left so many questions unanswered. Who is Whiterose? Who is the visitor at Elliot's door? Where did Tyrell disappear to? What was with Elliot's missing time? What will happen to Angela at Evil Corp?

Esmail and his cast appeared recently at New York Comic-Con and PaleyFest, and Screen Rant had the opportunity to speak with Esmail directly. Though the executive producer likes to play coy when it comes to the details of what is next for Mr. Robot, he did share a few show secrets. For one, he revealed which character will see a more significant storyline next season, and surprisingly, his answer was Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen). Esmail explained, “I would say Joanna is somebody that we just got a little taste of in the first season and that is going to grow into a bigger character in the second season.”

Joanna is Tyrell’s (Martin Wallström) ambitious, crafty, ruthless and S&M-loving wife. Making very brief appearances in the show’s first season, this very beautiful, but often aloof and somewhat strange, character gave birth to the couple’s first son. She rarely speaks anything other than Danish to her husband. And she is so invested in Tyrell becoming CTO of Evil Corp, she'll look the other way when he goes to extraordinary lengths in his attempt to achieve the position. Things with Joanna became incredibly strange in the season finale, when she sent Elliot (Rami Malek) some mixed signals, apparently pumping him for information on her husband's whereabouts.

Martin Wallstrom in Mr. Robot

So, what would more of Joanna’s storyline mean for the show? Will her narrative grow as a result of Tyrell’s absence? Does it mean Tyrell’s disappearance will be lengthy? Esmail won’t say, but he did speak about Tyrell, saying:

We always felt like we needed [to] restrain Tyrell as much as possible, so later on, when he goes unhinged, it is such a drastic change. [We] do play a lot with expectations, because in the beginning you think Tyrell has it all together and he’s one step ahead of Elliot.”

Esmail again played coy regarding future storylines, but he did open up about the show’s signature running commentary on modern-day life.

It was our intention to make this [a] show of today…that was incredibly important to us. I always say it is almost like we are making a period piece on modern society so that was all intentional, that was embedded in the writing of every script.

As to what season 2 will tackle in terms of modern life, Esmail joked that issues like dating and addiction might return for the next round of stories. While winking, he said, “Absolutely! For sure!”

Setting speculation aside, Esmail and the Mr. Robot cast talked season 2 during the show's public panel discussion at New York Comic-Con and PaleyFest. Esmail dished on Whiterose’s real identity saying, “I would say one of them is a disguise and that would be, I'll just say it: the male is a disguise.”

Portia Doubleday in Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 10

Esmail also added that season 2 would continue to showcase unique locations in New York City, like Coney Island. “Coney Island is a huge back drop period for Mr. Robot…We always try to find little places in New York that are little gems that don't get filmed a lot,” he said.

Beyond the locations, one of the more fascinating aspects of the series has been Elliot's relationships with people who are presumably unaware of his hallucinatory alter ego. Elliot's interaction with his therapist Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) was one of the first the series introduced, but kept in the background for the most part. That may change in season 2, as Esmail said, “One of the things that I always say about the show is that … at the center of it is Elliott’s emotional journey, and since he is a little crazy right now, I think he is going to see a therapist.”

As for Angela and her new duties at Evil Corp, Portia Doubleday hinted that her character might turn evil.

“I am excited to see what will happen now, if she is going to hang on to her integrity and moral code, or if she is going to just slowly be corrupted into success…I have heard it will get pretty dark the second season.”

But will Angela and Elliot ever be a couple? Esmail said, “I am obviously not going to answer that question,” before adding that for the characters in season 1, it was far more interesting than the typical cliché love story. But hope for Elliot and Angela is not lost, as Esmail eventually acknowledged, “I would be a fool not to go down that path at some point.”

Rami Malek and F Society Mascot in Mr. Robot

Esmail also discussed how Mr. Robot was based on a movie that he originally wanted to make. During the panel discussion, he joked about how the series came to life from that original film script:

“This is how long-winded I am. Season 1 is actually just supposed to be the first 30 minutes of the movie…The story is really about after Elliot discovers that Mr. Robot is this sort of alter ego that he is hallucinating. That is really what the story is about. We are staying on track to what the end of the movie would have been... I mean [season 2] is very different than season 1. It kinda goes into a different stage of the story.”

Like other TV shows, Esmail promised that most questions from season 1 will be answered in season 2, but even then, fans still might not be satisfied. Esmail explained:

“Doing a show like this with a lot of mysteries, there is a temptation to just keep lingering on the questions, but I love actually answering them and having the answers have more questions."

It was announced recently that Sam Esmail, Rami Malek, and Christian Slater will return to the 2016 SXSW festival to discuss Mr. Robot. That old stomping ground was where Esmail premiered Mr. Robot to rave reviews. The show ended up winning the audience award at SXSW. Hopefully they give us more answers about when we'll be seeing season 2.

Mr. Robot season 2 will premiere sometime in 2016 on USA.

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