*Spoilers lie ahead for the first two seasons of RISE and REVOLT.
Rise and REVOLT - Season 1: A invitation to ask the question "What happens when you stick the youth in an environment stricken with chaos?"
It is rather fitting that the series opens up in a rather normal manner, thrusting characters that readers already know through their familiarity with Rise into a world of normalcy that will inevitably crumble just as it had in the parent series. I wanted to make it a point to distance the series as far away from the New England areas of the continental United States, because I wanted to present readers with an environment completely new to them from the parent series, as well as a concept and direction of the overall story they'd never received before. The first season of RISE and REVOLT as I had intended it to be was born out of the question that I had presented myself with a few years after leaving high school. If I went back and found myself in a circumstance similar to Lou, how would I have turned out? How would those that I knew have turned out in comparison?
From there, RISE and REVOLT was born. There are times where I write a story with a very strict set of events in mind, characters that I wanted to impact the story in specific ways and people that I wanted to interact with the story itself in a manner unlike their contemporaries. Other times, I'll simply start with a premise and see where the series naturally concludes from there. In other circumstances, I present something to myself like RISE and REVOLT. I'll ask myself a question, try to answer it to the best of my abilities, and present those answers and results in the route of different characters as I build a world around that question. In many ways, if you find yourselves wondering why- in spite of it being a direct spin-off of Rise- RISE and REVOLT feels drastically different, it's because I took a different route with the series from each other. With Rise, I simply placed characters in a chaotic world such as the post-apocalyptic world that both series experience, but with RISE and REVOLT, I built that chaotic world and fit characters into it with the specific intention of answering the question I asked earlier- what would happen if a group of high school seniors were dropped into the world of Rise?
Through the first season, I presented readers with the answer. People like Ally and Lou would naturally adapt, and some would follow suit based on how well-equipped they were to evolve with a world such as their own. Others would evolve in different ways, and find themselves less adapt or more so to deal with what others may or may not struggle with. Others may be incapable of changing with the world, and others may not be given much of a chance at all. The world of Rise is brutal, and unlike the parent series- I think RISE and REVOLT displays that truth perfectly.
I was very pleased with the turnout of characters in the first season, where they were able to change fundamentally and show growth in spite of the entire season taking place inside of one fixed location. The rationale behind why some characters succeeded and why some failed was illustrated- in my opinion- incredibly well. As someone that had always gone with the motion of the ocean, it made sense that Lou would not only become a leader figure in the group, but would adjust to the changing world the most naturally. With someone like Fink, it made sense why she would be amongst the first to fall- so caught up in the world she wanted in spite of the change it had approached her with, and the inability to change with it even within its earliest moments. And of course, the hybrid of the two shown in Vinny- someone that felt the same earth-shaking change as Fink had, but ultimately adapted with time in spite of the way his story came to a conclusion.
More than many may perhaps expect, Vinny's death at the end of the first season proved- and still proves- to be crucial to the development of the survivors throughout the series' duration. His ability to show up when needed and ultimate selflessness to sacrifice himself in favour of helping his group make it out of the second breach of the undead at the end of the first season completely changed the way most of the then-students had reacted to the world. For one of the few first times in the series, they were left without direction or hope. They'd watched yet another friend die, and now they were left without their home. As we entered the second season, it became even more clear that they had nowhere else to turn, with the discovery of Terry's neighbourhood being empty- they realised they were truly on their own as they had always assumed. As ironic as it was, the congratulatory message over the radio amidst their escape from the burning rubble of their school at the end of the first season gave them a lesson at the most-necessary moment- there's always something else to fight toward.
Without a home and without a number of the friends they had initially survived the first wave of undead beside, the group was left without hope in the event that the S.S. Euronam's message never reaches them, and their rudderless existence may have only persisted to even more worrisome consequences. However, as we entered the second season, the group was tested with the true lengths of the apocalypse they'd yet to see the true aftermath of.
RISE and REVOLT - Season 2: Where the Students were allowed to become Survivors.
Something about me that you probably don't realise is that I have been very critical of the American educational system in many ways, both through what I've said publicly and what I've implied through my stories. I look at the way in which students are held back from reaching their true potential as a massive hinderance, and that fitting them into a finite curriculum withholds them from becoming more than they're forced into the mould of. In the second season, I wanted to free my characters from the restraints of that system in every way and look at how they may naturally evolve when allowed to exist as themselves. Looking back, it's quite fitting that such an evolution was offered to them the moment they placed the school in their rear-view mirror, as it wasn't initially an irony I had written into the story.
However, once aboard the S.S. Euronam, the group stopped being a mass of young adults and came together as a unit, trying to understand the complexities of people and their surroundings. Losing an arm, Lou was allowed to become his own person without the restraint of his parents, teachers or adults telling him exactly what he needed to be, something that he was perhaps the most vocal opponent to. Ally, Jenn, Halston, Terry and Jules followed much the same suit and took direct guidance from Theo, Lee and Elsie. Throughout the second season, even in spite of running away from the problems of the undead on land, the group faced their biggest issues head on- the result of their actions and the consequences of trusting the wrong people. In many ways, being ripped apart at the season's conclusion was what the survivors needed- a way of testing themselves in an environment where they alone get to declare the rules and follow only what they believe to be worth following. This self-dependence is the most natural way of figuring out exactly who they are supposed to become in a world as liberated as Rise's.
But for the first time, the series sets itself up to have a protagonist in more than just name. Throughout the series, Lou has always been the centre of an ensemble cast, but that ends in the third season. At the end of the second, he is the only one left alone. Washing up on the shoreline of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the rest of his group is split between two different sides of the aisle- Lee with the masse of survivors he'd led off the Euronam amidst it's descent below the waves, and everyone else aboard a lifeboat en route for the mainland. For the first time, Lou faces the real world for what it is- a world that left society behind and abandoned principles in favour of letting its people fend for themselves whilst targeted by the relentless force of the undead.
RISE and REVOLT - Season 3: A Soft Reset on the Series.
In the third season of the series, RISE and REVOLT will focus less on action, more on character development, and more on the drama between survivors as a whole. Questions will be asked throughout the duration of the series, and they will gradually be answered one at a time. Lou will officially become the series' protagonist as a new cast of characters are introduced. Lou's development as a survivor and as a human being will be on full display in a third season that will burn slowly and sit satisfyingly amidst the series' chronology, and a cast of characters- all vast in their approach to this new world- will leave readers sinking their teeth into.
RISE and REVOLT's third season premieres on the 26th of May 2023.