To an easily outraged portion of the population, Preacher is the show that depicted Jesus as a philandering dude-bro and his descendant as the inbred simpleton Humperdoo. But those who actually watch and love Preacher know that, frankly, that’s barely scratching the surface of how crazy this show is. One person who fully understands the wackiness of Preacher – as well as its strangely sweet heart – is Julie Ann Emery, AKA zealous Grail member Featherstone, who shot and killed Tulip in the season two finale.
“Featherstone finds herself a target of retribution [in season three],” she understates, pointing out that the trailers have already told us that Tulip is returned to life, no doubt courtesy of Jesse’s psychotic Gran’ma.
Despite being adversaries on the show, Emery says that she and Ruth Negga, who plays Tulip, actually love working together, but in Season Three Featherstone won’t be hiding behind the facade of her alter-ego Jenny. “This season [Ruth and I] get a fair amount of time on screen together as well, but it’s more straightforward,” she says with a laugh.
This time, while we definitely will see more of Featherstone’s “freakishly brilliant” alter-egos, Emery promises us that “we are going to see a lot more this season of Featherstone as herself in the Grail in the white suit, I will tell you that. We’re going to see quite a lot of the Grail this season,” she hints, although what the Grail will be up to is heavily under wraps. They are glimpsed briefly in the trailer, and we know that the grotesque Allfather from the comics will be appearing this season. The Grail were one of the highlights of season two, and we can’t wait to see more of them. “I think there’s a whole other layer that the Grail brings to the table which tends to push things along,” Emery says, “that tends to energise the story quite a lot and tends to maybe feel like sometimes the Grail harkens back to the tone of the comics more than perhaps some of the rest of the show does.”
The Allfather isn’t the only well-known face from the comics making his debut in Season Three – it’s also introducing Jesse’s aforementioned Gran’ma and her loyal henchmen, Jody and TC. But that’s not where it ends. “We’ve announced so many characters – our poster this season has 12 or 13 characters on it – there are more,” Emery tells us. “There are so many characters that pop up from the comics this season that people are just going to freak out over… You will not be disappointed. This season is an embarrassment of riches of characters from the comics.”
Emery also promises that Preacher isn’t going to start shying away from controversial or downright shocking material. “AMC, to their credit, picked up Preacher to let Preacher be Preacher… [F]rom the time I get the studio draft to getting the shooting draft, the network very rarely steps in. But we’ve got to be losing advertisers. That’s the tightrope that AMC is walking with us.” She goes on to add that “if you love Preacher you’re a very specific audience, and we’re probably never going to be for everybody and that’s okay, AMC are okay with that.”
Preacher might not have This Is Us levels of broad appeal, but if it did we wouldn’t get to watch Herr Starr doing, well, literally anything that Herr Starr gets up to. We think that’s a fair trade.
Preacher Season Three starts on Amazon on Monday 25 June. You can read more of our interview with Julie Ann Emery in an upcoming issue of the magazine.