The students at King’s Dominion school for assassins learn more about how to kill people than traditional students, but the bonds they have formed in their group are universally recognizable. Deadly Class, whose first season just wrapped on SyFy, is adapted from the comic book series of the same name by Rick Remender and Wesley Craig. Cast members Benjamin Wadsworth (Marcus), María Gabriela de Faría (Maria), Luke Tennie (Willie), Liam James (Billy), Taylor Hickson (Petra) and executive producer/co-showrunner Miles Orion Feldsott took to the stage at WonderCon for a deep dive into the show’s first season.
Maria about her character's arc this season said, "Maria is constantly all over the place -- she goes through every emotion in just one scene. It was really hard for me trying to find that darkness within myself so I could portray her in an honest way... it was cathartic in a way. I've been dealing with anxiety for years... it really is personal."
Executive producer Miles Orion Feldsott talked about storytelling choices from the comics and said "we wanted to stick to the bones of the comic book... I'm coming to the show as a fan of the book originally." Their goal was to flesh out things from the comic that maybe wasn't explored as much, such as the dynamic between Petra and Billy.
Benjamin said about his journey by the finale: "I was so tired. But it was amazing because I got to kick some ass as Marcus."
About comic book adaptations, the cast described fan reactions to their version of the characters. Benjamin said, "it was positive for the most part... we all really tried our best to what our characters did in the comics."
As far as getting into his punk character, Liam said, "A lot of the work gets done for you by people who care about telling this story like Rick Remender... he was the punk skater rat in 1987... getting to know him and having him around was really helpful... when Rick gives you permission to write a character that has so much fun, it gives you permission to have fun."
"He told me go home and watch Daria... and then we found Petra," said Taylor on what advice Rick gave her.
Like Luke, Maria was afraid of the responsibility of playing Maria, but Rick and the producers gave them all the confidence they needed. Luke said that Rick would say "We hired you for a reason," and the cast was made part of the process.
"All of them are affecting us as we're writing," said Miles. "Some of the story... is directly from the actors... Like with Benedict Wong, that story came from his energy on set, and how he's playing his character that's outside of the scope of the comic book."
As far as Season 2 predictions and their relationships progressing, Maria said, "I really hope that Billy and Petra get together! Please!"
Taylor doesn't want Maria to be in a relationship and "break her codependency and stand on her own."
With the action sequences, Maria said, "It's tough, and we don't have a lot of time. We would rehearse in between takes and on the weekends. I was not a fit person at all before starting this show, so I had to prepare myself physically... it was challenging physically and emotionally... to say those amazing lines while kicking ass was amazing and an honor."
"Benjamin was really miserable that day! It was so uncomfortable" said Maria about the day Benjamin had to shoot the crapping his pants scene.
The crew talked about the boot camp for assassins they went to before filming so they learned how to punch and kick properly. It was a tease for Luke who said, "I was ready to pop somebody and they were like 'nah, you're a pacifist.'"
The Russos were working with them every step of the way from casting to editing said Miles, who got to go to the Avengers set to see how fight scenes work.
"My mixtape was different than the people to right and left of me... because I'm chocolate," said Luke about the mixtape he got to get into the mood of his character, which featured NWA and Public Enemy among others. "Straight Outta Compton" was the song that inspired him the most.
Maria looks forward to her character having a relationship back with Saya in a potential Season 2 and "figuring out who she is outside her relationship."
Liam on Season 2 hopes said, "I think there's a ticking clock on this school... I can't imagine what another year at this school will look like. It's probably like one of Billy's costumes just trying to hold on as much as he can as it's falling off of him... I'm looking forward to what will happen with Petra."
"Being Latina and being part of the show playing a Latina... it didn't use to happen that much. Now it's happening more, they're giving these opportunities to us... and with the mental health part of Maria, it hits home. I've been dealing with anxiety for years and... I used to lie about it to not let people know that I was going through those situations.. playing Maria and receiving those comments, it's really amazing, and it makes me want to be more honest and serve as a platform to talk about these issues we all feel nowadays," said Maria.
About his favorite scene to adapt from the comics, Miles said "shooting the scene in the comic shop was one of our favorites... I was watching Ben's face and RIck's face... I've never seen the guy happier than when Ben shit his pants."
Deadly Class stars Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, María Gabriela de Faría, Luke Tennie, Liam James and Michel Duval.