So it’s probably a bit extreme to compare the recent American presidential election to the world of an Axis World War II victory in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, but some fans are doing just that as the second season rolls out on the subscription streaming service.
How much does America of the near future compare to the 1960s America where Nazi Germany and the Japanese empire split what used to be the United States?
Without addressing the question directly, High Castle star Alexa Davalos – who plays resistant resistance fighter Juliana Crain – told The Huffington Post that as a society, we tend to not learn much from history.
“When Philip K. Dick wrote the book – 1962, fascism and all the rest, was obviously very prevalent then. And unfortunately, as human beings, we don’t seem to move on. We don’t seem to learn fast enough, and so history repeats itself.
“I think the show’s relevant now. It was relevant then, topically, and I think sadly it will be definitely.”
The series was developed by The X-Files alum Frank Spotnitz and loosely tackles Dick’s 1962 novel billed as an “electrifying” take “of our world as it might have been.”
For the television series, history changed when Franklin D. Roosevelt was assassinated in 1933, well ahead of World War II. His successor, John Nance Garner, ends up not being ready for war, allowing the Axis Powers to take command, ultimately dropping an atomic bomb on Washington, D.C.
After the war, both the Nazis and Japanese split the United States up. The east coast is controlled by the Reich, while the west coast becomes the Japanese Pacific States. The Rocky Mountains area becomes sort of a neutral zone for the two powers.
In the early 1960s, word comes that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is dying, and with it the fragile peace that exists between the technologically advanced Nazis and the more traditional Japanese. At the same time, a resistance has risen, primarily tasked with rescuing films that depict alternate versions of both the past and the future.
The first season was a hit for Amazon, with a second season fully released just before Christmas.
Brennan Brown had his role in the series expanded in the second season as an antiquities dealer named Robert Childan in the Japanese Pacific States who just wants to be accepted by the dominant Japanese society. For him, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the world today and the world depicted in the High Castle.
“I think all of us look at the world – particularly right now, particularly with the way things are currently playing out in this culture – and we think, ‘Is this real? This can’t be real? Is this really happening?
“‘What happened to make this happen? How did this ever get to this place?’ And I think what Philip K. Dick is saying with the book and what we’re trying to say with the show is if someone feels that way, you’re not alone.”
Both seasons of The Man in the High Castle is now available on Amazon Prime.
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