Just watching the pilot episode of The CW's new real-world superhero genre series The Tomorrow People, you might assume that John Young (Luke Mitchell) is the clear-cut good guy. He's the leader of his kind for a reason, right? He must not only be extremely trusted among his people but also be just as good at keeping Ultra at bay. And in the pilot alone it becomes apparent just how adamant he is that all new "break-outs" join his team, so he certainly wants to keep his people together and safe. But things are not usually what they seem when such complicated matters are at hand.
"He's doing his best, you know, with his idea or ideal view of what is best for his people, his species, the Tomorrow People, but he's a flawed character, and he faces difficult choices," Mitchell said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with him in Los Angeles.
"It is a very interesting character to play, someone very different to myself, and I know for a fact, he's kind of mysterious character, and so there is actually a lot to him that the pilot hints at but is definitely going to be explored and fleshed out as the series [goes on]."
In the pilot, John and Stephen (Robbie Amell), the newest break-out immediately butt heads. John is older, wiser with more experience, and has a handle on his powers though perhaps is a bit peeved that Stephen not only seems to have more powers but he has one very special one that connects him with John's romantic interest Cara (Peyton List). The slightly contentious relationship, though, isn't just from a big brother/little brother dynamic being set up-- or due to an ill-timed love triangle.
"I think that's an ego battle that most guys have...especially when you're the leader, and you're not necessarily the right man for the job, but you had to step up because the actual leader disappeared," Mitchell said.
"He does the best he can."
We will also learn that John has quite a past, though-- a past that proves he has much more in common with Stephen than he probably wants to admit to himself, let alone anyone else. Now, John just wants to put that behind him and lead his people to better ways. But of course the past has a way of catching up with you.
"We're definitely going to be flashing back into some of the characters' history as the series progresses because when we meet the characters in the pilot, they're already in the midst of it, and so there are questions that you have that are 'How did these characters meet?' or 'How did these characters come to be living like this?'" Mitchell said.
"We will look at where John came from, i.e. family, that sort of thing, the real world, human beings, but also, he considers the Tomorrow People his family now."
Mitchell shared that a big struggle for John is an internal battle to "do the right thing by his people but also knowing that Stephen is potentially the key to getting out of that underground." He wants to protect everyone, but at times he has to accept that he can't. Though John's plan is to take in all of the break-outs to teach them how to handle their powers and explain to them the danger they could be in if the wrong people got a hold of them, Mitchell noted that there will always be "strays" who the Tomorrow People can't bring in-- for a variety of reasons. Coming to terms with this won't be so easily for a guy like John.
"We're not about being heroes for one person; we're about saving the majority," Mitchell said.
"Here's the interesting thing: I don't know that John['s ways are] correct. John will definitely go on a little bit of a journey in terms of the way he sees things, and he may, in the not-too-distant future realize that-- not that he's on the wrong path but that-- he may just need to adjust the way he sees things a little bit."
The Tomorrow People airs on The CW this fall on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Be sure to check out our full video chat with Mitchell!
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