When “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas and longtime collaborator Diane Ruggiero-Wright decided to adapt Vertigo’s “iZombie” comic book series for The CW, they took the basics of the presence and built a world all their own. Sharing primarily the title and zombie conceit, the TV version of “iZombie” replaced Gwen Dylan with Liv Moore (Rose McIver) and surrounded her with a host of new characters. Among them are Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), her medical examiner boss at the coroner’s office, and Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), whom she assists under the guise of psychic visions. Those visions actually stem from her zombie diet — brains — and the residual memories she gets from the people they once belonged to.
Ravi and Clive interact with Liv in different ways, and while Ravi is in on her secret undead life, Clive has been in the dark despite working closely with her for nearly two years. At WonderCon 2016 in Los Angeles, CBR TV’s Kiel Phegley welcomed Kohli and Goodwin to the world famous CBR Tiki Room to discuss what’s ahead for the final installments of Season Two, their characters’ unexpected journeys as the show continues, and whether their respective journeys will collide in the finale. Goodwin also talks about whether his character will discover Liv’s secret while Kohli discusses his attempts to stay in shape and if that will factor into his Season Three arc.
On whether Goodwin wants Babineaux to learn about Liv being a zombie:
Malcolm Goodwin: I think Rob said it’s gonna stay in the box as long as possible. Obviously as a fan it will be interesting to see how he would react and see how his world is just turned upside down and he’s in on what we all know. I think it’s fun. I always say, Clive has tunnel vision. He’s worried about bringing these murder victims’ killers to justice, that is his main priority, so even with Liv’s going on the different things he doesn’t really say much about it because he’s focused on the task at hand.
But will it happen? I don’t know. I think it would be fun. I think he would have a real world honest reaction if it does happen. He would make a lot of faces and a lot of sounds. He would be shocked. … But that means, for Clive, that means there’s a Santa Claus; that means there’s a Tooth Fairy; that means there’s vampires. It opens up this whole entire Pandora’s Box if that stuff happens in his world, the way he sees it. But I think it would be fun.
On whether Kohli wants to explore more of Ravi’s past and the relationship between him and his medical examiner nemesis:
Rahul Kohli: It was so nice to get just a sliver of past that didn’t involve any of the other characters, that was something that he had been dealing with before. And the actor, Steve Hytner was so funny, from “Seinfeld” and stuff, and we had a great time doing that. But at the same time I’m very funny about backstory. I enjoy it for Babineaux and stuff, but playing it for me I’m always worried because I’m a big “Star Wars” fan and Vader was my favorite character. Then when I found out he was a 9-year-old pod racer [Laughter] and had a bowl haircut and did everything because of Padme, I was like, “Oh no, you’ve weakened my favorite character by showing too much.” There’s always trepidation about backstory and sometimes, with prequels in that respect, learning too much about someone can sometimes take away from it. Like the Joker, same thing.
On what’s in store for Season Three and whether Ravi will have to enter the fray more than in the past:
Kohli: The truth is, we don’t know what’s happening for Season Three. It’s so early and the writers’ room hasn’t opened yet, there hasn’t even been a discussion. But it’s one of those things, I looked at the character, I looked at his journey through Season Two and the finale, and I just felt like Ravi’s life has become extremely dangerous, as has everyone’s. Seattle’s become a dangerous place to live. In a vain hope that I might have made the right assumption I just thought maybe Ravi would look after himself a little bit more. That was it. Nothing’s set in stone, and who knows, but it was just a little idea I was working with.
On whether the mystery each character is investigating pulls together by the end of this season:
Goodwin: Kinda, sort of. But the way it pulls together is I think in a way that is very unexpected. It surprised us. We didn’t guess what was happening and I don’t think the audience is gonna guess what was happening and that’s why everybody needs to tune in — catch up, and then tune in — because those last two episodes are just–
Kohli: I think they’re the best we’ve done in two years.
Goodwin: Incredible. Yeah. Things hit the fan in a big way. Just like Rahul says, Seattle becomes a very dangerous — if there’s anything to spoil — it’s a very dangerous place, more dangerous than it is now.
“iZombie” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
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